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My son suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and depression, he has been on ESA for a few years. He has a face to face assessment coming up shortly where I was told he will be seen by a neurologist to see if his ESA can continue or not. He doesn't have anything wrong with him to do with neurology it is mental health.

He is very worried and it has further impacted on his mental health to a point he has had to see his GP again to be re-referred regarding his psychotic symptoms.

He has been told in his letter that he has to go to the job centre for his assessment which he says he can't face going there because of his anxiety and psychotic symptoms.

Is there any advice you could give so he doesn't lose his ESA?


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5 Replies

  • Posted


    I've never ever heard of a HCP doing the assessments being a neurologist before. Who told you this? If it's true then it really makes no difference because they don't have to be qualified in a particular health condition because ESA isn't about a diagsosis, it's about how your conditions affect your ability to do any type of job.

    Assessment centres can be anywhere, sometimes they are in GP surgeries, it depends on where you live.

    Unfortunately, he does have to go to that assessment, otherwise he'll be found fit for work for failing to attend and then his money will stop. He could ask for a home assessment but a letter from his GP would be needed and they could still refuse, especially if he attends other appointments. They will say that if he can attend other appointments, then he can attend the assessment at the centre.

    If he does cancel this appointment then please remember that he can only cancel one appointment.

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  • Posted

    Thankyou Denise for your reply.

    When I rang the Benefit Centre to enquire how my son had got on with his ESA renewal it was the person I spoke to there on the phone who said there was a bit of a delay because they had to get a Neurologist to see people.

    My son's hospital appointment has come through at the Mental Health Unit to see the doctor there as he is feeling very unwell with his Schizophrenia, as it happens it is on the same day and time as his appointment for his face to face interview at the Benefit Centre.

    What should he do if he gets refused could he apply for a Mandatory Reconsideration?

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    • Posted

      As his appointment at the mental health unit is the same day as the assessment then if he hasn't cancel one assessment appointment already then he should cancel and book another.

      If he's unable to attend one of their centres then he could request a home assesment but he'll need a letter from his GP stating the reasons why this is needed. Although they could still refuse.

      Has he sent in evidence to support his claim? This will be needed because they very rarely contact anyone for evidence. The onus is always on the claimant to make sure it's sent to support a claim. Support letters from his mental health unit would be a start, as they usually state how you're affected by your condition.

      I'm guessing he's already in the Support Group? Knowing the reasons why he was placed in the Group the last time will help his claim this time. My guess is it was regulation 35 based on his mental health. Reg 35 is special circumstances. Basically it means that if he's found NOT to have a limited capability for work and work related activity (ESA Support Group) then he could be a danger to himself and others around him. Of course i'm only guessing here but this seems the most likely reason.

      Once the assessment is done then a report will be sent to DWP decision maker with recommendation in it to what they think. This recommendation will either be fit for work, WRAG or Support Group. If it's fit for work then his ESA will stop and next step will be the MR, likewise if it's WRAG.

      It's complicated as with most benefits but there's lots of information on the internet about ESA, the groups and the descriptors for each group. Sadly links can't be posted here.

      Hopefully a decision will go in his favour and he'll be placed into the Support Group. Good luck.

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  • Posted


    As your son has a severe mental illness does he have a CPN? A letter from his CPN/Psychiatrist or GP explaining how an assessment would cause harm to his health should get him a paper based assessment.

    Many people are under the impression (wrongly) that a face to face is the only option - it really is'nt

    No one can cause someone harm and if they go against medical opinion,the claimant would be likely to have a case under the Equality Act.

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