Frustrated after attending ESA assessment

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hi, I've just gone with a friend to her ESA assessment, and I feel really angry on her behalf, got the impression that the doctor had already decided not to put her in the support group before the assessment began. No understanding of either learning disabilities or mental health issues, it all seems so stupid, the reality that s my friend will never get another job, she has really limited ability to work, each time she had to go to the job centre she gets distressed for a week before, even though the current advisor there is good, she's had such bad experiences before, there's a whole list of stuff, learning remembering, coping with change, climbing stairs, walking, that she either can't do, or only with great difficulty, even round here where people are desperate for staff no one would employ her, and her physical health is so poor she couldn't manage more than an hour or two a week anyway! And yet she still has to go to the job centre, and do work related activities, it's  all a farce, plus she'll be using resources that could be helping another disabled person who has a chance of getting into work. 

i feel so frustrated, and upset on her behalf.

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi,

    Getting an impression really doesn't mean anything, i've heard of a lot people say this and been completely surprised when the decision's been made. After the assessment the HCP does a report, this is then returned to the DWP with a recommendation, the HCP does not make any decision. The decision can only be made by a decision maker. The fact the your friend attends the job centre tells me that they're in the WRAG for ESA. To be placed into the Support Group you have to satisfy at least one of those Support Group descriptors.

    Was evidence sent to support the claim? It's very rare for them to contact anyone for evidence. The onus is always on the claimant to make sure the evidence is sent to support the claim. It's not the health assessment providers job to prove a claimant has a limited capability for work, it's the claimant job to prove they have.

    ESA is about the work you can do and not about the work you can't do and during an assessment you're being assessed for the work you can do.

    If the decision is either WRAG or fit for work then your friend has 28 days to request the Mandatory Reconsideration (MR). If this does happen i'd advise them to get further advice from either their local CAB or other disability advice centre near them. Good luck to your friend.

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    • Posted

      Hi Denise, yes we had evidence from two hospitals, the GP the manager of the supported housing complex where she lives, and from friends, the thing that concerns me is that he just disregarded some of the things where she has the worst problems, and which really limit her ability for work, for example she can't climb stairs, because she has no distance perception, and having had a couple of falls is terrified of it happening again, but he just said this didn't count, stairs would only be an issue if she had lost the use of a lower limb! But, obviously being unable to use stairs would really limit the work she can do. Also, I tried to explain the problems she has with social situations, he cut me off, but then didn't ask her any questions, just said that because she made it to the assessment her problems with social situations couldn't be that bad.

      generally, it felt that he didn't look at her in the round, combination of LD mental health and physical health, just said several times that she didn't have any one single issue that would stop her working, this is true, with just LD or mental health, or even any one of her physical issues she probably could do work, but all of them together...

      anyway, we'll wait and see, but I'm not optimistic , hopefully he won't say she's fit to work, but even on WRAG each visit to the job centre gives her a week of rising anxiety, and another week to recover , and this is when she sees the nice adviser, I dread it if this one moves on, and she's back to one of the others.

      anyway, thanks for your sensible advice, if it is bad news we'll have to see what my friend wants to do next

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    • Posted

      Hi,

      This is the very reason why i personally find ESA even harder and more worrying to claim than PIP because the criteria for the Support Group is very specific. This is because they look at the work you can do, rather than the work you can't do and they'll assess you on your ability to do any type of work. I've also realised recently since filling ouy my own ESA50 form for my own reassessment that the more information you put on the form the better for you. This is because during the assessment there may not always be time for you to give all the information about how your conditions affect you.

      Walking up stairs or steps is not one of the Support Group descriptors, mobilising on level group no more than 50 metres is one of them.  Coping with change is. and so is learning tasks which maybe one of them you're friend may qualify for because of the LD. There's also another one that may qualify her and that's reg 35 which is the special circumstances. All of these are available to see for yourself if you google Support Group descriptors.... and regulation 35 ESA, links cant be posted here otherwise i'd post them for you. Please do take a look because having some understanding about all of this will most certainly help your friend. Another reason i suggested to getting further help if the worst comes to the worst and a Mandatory Reconsideration is needed. I really hope it doesn't come to this though! Please let me know.

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    • Posted

      Hi Denise thanks for your reply, I've had a quick look and regulation 35 does seem to describe my friend, definitely there is clear evidence that doing work related activities has a dangerous impact on her health, depending on the result and how she feels I'll look into this in more detail.

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    • Posted

      No problem, yes i thought that may apply to your friend. If the MR is needed then i'd advise you to concentrate on this reg 35 and the reasons why it applies.

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