ESA Health assessment

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Ive been given an appointment for esa health assessment on the 25th and im terrified. ive been waiting since june and ive sent in all my medical eveidence and my support worker has even phoned them to see if an appointment is necessary or a home visit would be arranged. i didnt need an assessment for PIP as i gave them enough info and gave exactly the same info to esa atos but they still want to see me. i have mental health problems and i am unable to go out and im just getting in such a state that i am going to have to reliving horrendous events just to prove to them im not lying about my problems. i have had diagnosis from a psy and dr and receiving weekly cbt (over the phone). how can they see if you are well enough to work etc just by talking. i have mental health problems how can they see this by an appointment.

can anyone tell me what to expect or any advice would be greatly received.

many thanks

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12 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi my lovely so sorry you are suffering in such a way,

    When I had my assessment (mental health problems too) I had to go to the assessment centre and I had to go on my own as my partner is disabled and I had literally nobody else available to come with me.

    I had to pay for a cab there as public transport gives me major panic attacks, just being in the cab was bad enough.

    But I made it there, and to be honest I felt like I was almost penalised for making such an effort.

    When the report came back it said how I had proved I was confident in that I came to the centre on my own etc (even though it took several diazepam to get me out the house and I was utterly terrified, and despite me pointing this out at the time).

    I'm not trying to scare you or worry you I'm just hoping that, as you have some time, you may be able to arrange a home visit still. It was relatively easy getting that for my partner, his GP just had to sign a form to say he needed it.

    If you can't get a home visit is there any professional linked to your care who can accompany you? Failing that just anybody you trust?

    I'm not going to lie to you and say the assessment will be a breeze, but it isn't too dissimilar to all of the endless questions you have to answer when you say engage with CBT/see a psychologist/psychiatrist for the first time.

    The only difference is the emphasis being more on what you CAN do rather than how you are struggling. With every question they ask you have to remember how your illness affects you, your daily life and your inability to do certain tasks at all, timely, safely, or without a great deal of emotional or physical pain to yourself.

    It is particularly cruel I find that they make those of us who are struggling with mental health problems, who struggle to make it out of the house or talk to new people jump through these hoops. But I'm afraid I think that's the way it's intended, to be able to prove you wrong by pushing you out of your comfort zone.

    I would really try and insist on a home visit or make sure you have somebody who knows your illness, you and can support you to go with you.

    Sorry I can't be of more help.

    Take care xxxxx

    • Posted

      Hi Lovey,

      ​Many thanks for your reply I am due to speak to my support worker today and see if she can come with me or maybe my ex can (hes a dear friend).

      ​it is rediculous that we have to go through this, but the liars are the ones who put us through this as there are so many dishonest people in the world.

      ​was your assessment successful in the end?

      thanks again xxxx

    • Posted

      I think if you can get your support worker to go with you that would be the best all round.

      I know it makes me so angry when people lie about mental health issues, or exaggerate just a normal bad day, and it makes all of us genuine sufferers look terrible.

      Equally I hate it when I tell people I have mental health problems and they look at me or each other as if to say just get a grip or whatever...

      So tedious. So unfair.

      Yes I managed to get them to change their minds because the assessor failed to note all of my symptoms, medications and how long I'd been unwell correctly (despite him having them written on a piece of paper in front of him).

      Then I got put on my partner's ESA claim instead in the end, there was a lot of faffing about but eventually yes I got what I was due.

      It's an absolute battle and I know how hard it is, you have my sympathies!

      I really hope your support worker can go with you. If they aren't available for the appointment I would ring up and say you can't attend alone so need to please reschedule for when your support worker can come and see what they say.

      Having said that, I'm not sure how it would affect you money wise so maybe check that out first. It's all so complicated isn't it?

      I don't think they take into consideration the fact say that for example, I have been literally awake since 8am yesterday due to chronic insomnia, so if I had an assessment today, I don't think I'd exactly remember all the important facts etc you know?

      So unfair.

      I wish you all the love and luck in the world xxxxx

    • Posted

      thank you for your advice and support i will keep u updated with the outcome. i really appreciate your help.

      take care xxxx

  • Posted

    Hi there I had an ESA assessment back in August and it was quite an experience.The questions they asked bore no relevance to my problems. I have had Fibromyalgia for 8 years and Frozen Shoulder for 4 years so was on permitted work as a housekeeper. a month later two days after surgery on my shoulder I was told I had failed the assessment and my benefits would stop. I got my MP,GP and Surgeon  INVOLVED and this changed things. Due to this I had to start a new claim which meant a reassessment which meant they wanted me to travel an hour away for this .Luckily my GP and MP wrote again to say I needed a home visit. I have just had my PIPS REASSESSMENT at home and luckily had a really kind compassionate assessor.  Having had one bacK in my my house in May and was awrded enhanced rate for two years.It is possible to stop them a day before and insist on a home visit. I got a letter of apology from the DWP over the nightmare they have put me through which has seriously affected my recovery. Best of luck it is horrible what we have to go through to get £75 per week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    • Posted

      i also got my MP involved but she didnt even know what ESA was!?!?! that gave me confidence in her help lol.


  • Posted

    Hi Meme

    It is true that assessments can be an ordeal but it is also true that assessments can be a positive experience where your condition is understood and the assessor writes an accurate report.

    It simply depends on how competent the assessor is. You need to concentrate on what is relevant to you and refer to your medical evidence when asked can you complete a task. Mental Health is obviously different to physical disability and concentrates around how difficult you find interacting with others and being motivated to get things done.

    Also remember the task which you are asked to perform would have to be repeated for several hours a day, not just the 5 seconds it takes in the assessment. Therefore when asked can you perform a task answer with that in mind and explain why you could-not do this repeatedly.

    I always make this point about referring to other claimants. The odds are there are claimants who lie and cheat the system. However their number is small and neither I nor you are qualified to say who they are. This is a narrative is deeply damaging to the perception of the sick and disabled and I challenge it every time I see it expressed.

    I know for certain that health care professionals and DWP decision makers take a dim view of anyone who attempts to use the excuse of ‘bogus claimants’ as justification for their own ESA/JSA/PIP claim.

    As explained your energy should be targeted instead towards your own circumstances and being prepared for the assessment

    Good Luck

    • Posted

      No i completley agree that my energy should be focused on my own claim its not focused on anyone else, not sure if u were being funny by that comment! i dont need to comment on bogus claimants in a justification of my own claim my abuse, rape, split personality disorder, anorexia nervosa, ocd, anxiety, social phobia does that all by its self thank u
    • Posted


      Sorry I was bit mix up with another post. Please accept my apologies no offence intended

  • Posted

    To be honest I believed then and still believe now, that the assessors treat mental health issues as a 'scivers charter'.

    My first and one and only face to face assessment for ESA resulted in a report made by ATOS that I did not and have never had any mental health issues.

    This was despite a full account being written on the ESA50 that I had suffered problems since 1994 - this was backed up with a 40% IIDB award (purely for mental health) and DLA Middle care also because of mental health problems. In fact only weeks prior to the face to face I was under Section at the local secure psychiatric unit.


    • Posted

      Hi Les,

      so they still said u had no mental health problems even though you had been under section?? thats horrendous, u didnt need that.

      ​It so hard to keep having to go through my problems i never asked for them and i wouldnt wish them on my worst enemy. i suffered a mental breakdown in 2010 and everything has gone really bad since then i walked out on my husband of 13 years and my 2 children as i knew i wasnt right. i had my own business which was EXTREMLY successful and it was there that members of my staff date raped me on christmas eve of 2010 and it changed my life. after years of abuse as a child from a family friend, giving birth to a premature gorgeous little boy and suffering from an eating disorder since the age of 8 my brain just couldnt take anymore and i paid the price by losing me. ive lost everything my family, my business and so called friends all down to others. i only went to chat to my dr about my eating as i starve myself and take laxatives and more every day and my hair and nails started falling out that i realised i needed help and it was only when i saw a psy after being referred by my dr that i got the diagnosis of split personality disorder boarderline, anorexia nervosa, ocd, severe anxiety, social phobia etc.

      ​sorry i just realised that ive written all of this but sometimes your hands just dont stop writing lol.


    • Posted

      Yes they kept up that pretence. The only reason that the DWP gave me when they changed the award from 0 points to SG for 3 years was that I have to prove that what I say on the ESA50 is beyond doubt! Oh it was my fault. Notwithstanding a full report on the ESA50 and full details supplied at the face to face, it was assumed that I was a liar and a fantacist. 

      And people wonder why I am so anti DWP. I could write a book on the many instances where I have been led up the garden path with them, had to play their stupid games, and on occassions have had to put up with their lies.

      To finish off with the ESA assessor's report. There is a section of it that you do not get to see - Harmful Information.

      Unfortunately for them, when I demanded to have a copy of every bit of paper, computer record etc for all of the claims made, someone copied the page by mistake and sent it to me.

      It was clear from the copy that someone had put a post it note on it saying 'Do Not Copy'. 

      The only harmful information on that page was the 7 lines made by the assessor. It was the assessors personal opinion of me. He described me as being 'obnoxious, awkward and argumentative'. He continued to say that 'he was of the opinion that I was hoping to claim ESA based on false and overstated claims'. 

      When i challenged the DWP over this report they quickly apologised and said that the assessor had no right to make his opinion known to the DWP in that manner????

      I then received a revised copy of the 'Harmful Information' sheet showing how the statement had been blanked out with a black felt tip pen. Do I trust the DWP or their agents? Not at all having damn good reasons not so to do.


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