ESA assessments - this may be of use to you

I was talking the ESA reassessment I had recently in another thread. And I was awaiting for the medical assessment to arrive in the post. Now I have it, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss this in a properly labelled thread so others know where to find it, as I think it might be useful.

I have been moved from the support group to the work-related group. This is a reduction of approx £100 per month, and means I have to go to the job centre for interview to “prepare me for work.” The medical report makes for interesting read. And I thought it would be useful to share some of it with you all, so you know what you are/are not up against at these assessments. The assessment lasted 100 minutes - according to the report.

Apparently, I said I could walk 50 metres before needing to stop due to pain (correct).

Apparently, I also said I could “repeat this a few times” in the course of a day. I NEVER said that - quite the opposite, in fact, not least because I knew in advance that this was main criteria for staying in the support group. This one issue is why I am now in the work-related group instead of the support group. I made it known repeatedly that every step I took hurts.

It is noted that I do not use the top cupboards in the kitchen because reaching up is something I cannot do. I ACTUALLY said that I couldn’t use the BOTTOM cupboards in the kitchen because I couldn’t bend down! That said, the reaching up gave me 6 points - without this mistake on their part, I would have failed the ESA assessment through not enough points and been found fit for work!

I scored 0 with regards to how long I could sit or stand at a work station. I told the assessor repeated that I normally could not sit or stand at a work station because I had been told to have my feet raised whenever possible. According to the assessor there was no reason why I couldn’t sit normally for over an hour without moving away from the workstation. Presumably this was because I sat with my feet down during the assessment - but there was little choice to do anything else, and I certainly wasn’t expecting it to last 100 minutes. But he was told repeatedly by me that I would not/could not do this normally.

On the other hand, I was asked explicitly if I could go up just two stairs with the use of a hand rail. I said yes. He has marked it as “no!”

Apparently, I said I could pick up a 4-pint carton of milk, but I didn’t say that.

What I deduce from this is that the assessor should apply for ESA because he is clearly in a hallucinatory state and so HE is not fit for work!!!

Quite what I do next, I’m not sure. I’m awaiting a letter from my GP, in which I have asked him to outline my condition and the problems it causes When I get it I will decide whether to appeal or not. However, I only have 15 points - the bare minimum to be on ESA - so if I appeal, it could go the other way and I could end up losing the benefit altogether!

But the system is screwed. I got the bare minimum of points, but the assessor notes the following:

Uses aids to get dress.
Uses a bath lift to get in and out of the bath
_Has a raised a toilet. _
_Struggles to grip walking stick due to arthritis in hand. _
Unable to use computer mouse
Has to use phone on speakerphone as cannot hold to ear for long periods due to elbow pain
Poor grip of pen
Struggles to use shower gel bottled due to reduced grip
Cannot chop or peel food
Orders groceries online and due to mobility issues and reduced strength
Cannot raise either arm about head to reach for something
_Unable to manage steps. _
Lower limb movement are slow, stiff and painful
Had difficult rising from sitting in an upright chair
Stood up very slowly
Walked 15 metres very slowly
Stooped bent knee gait and a stick
Unable to use the step to mount the couch
Used his elbows to manouvre on the couch
Left and right hip bending considerably reduced
Left and right knee bending is slightly reduced
Unable to straighten knees
Hip movement limited by pain
Power in legs significantly reduced
Ankle movements reduced
Arm muscle power is significantly reduced
Thumb and finger grip is weak
Fist grip reduced
_All upper limb movement appeared slow, stiff and painful _
Significant disability is likely in mobilising and reaching activities.

And yet, despite all of that, I still only scored the minimum points to be on the benefit and to be viewed as unfit for work.

I hope this info is of use to others who are preparing for their own assessment in the future.

It’s a familiar tale, sadly.

I think I may have mentioned Citizens Advice before … seem to recall you were aware that they offer support with ESA forms and appeals. Obviously an assessor hearing what they want to hear isn’t something that can be addressed at the form filling stage but CAB advisors have a lot of experience of the process and your local CAB office will get their skates on if you tell them that you are appealing.

Key thing is avoiding an appeal going the wrong way and making things worse. I think they could be a great source of knowledge and support in this situation particularly.

So agree with the thought of involving the Citizen’s Advice people. They truly deal with this, every day and all day. Any chance you could have your doctor address the ESA assessment - point by point too, or is that too much to ask for?

Basically what I have done so far is emailed my GP on Monday and asked him to write a letter, commenting on two of the points mentioned in the assessment - whether I can walk 50m repeatedly under normal circumstances (ie. without the steroids I’m now on), and whether I should be sitting at a work station (with feet down) for an hour or more. Once I (finally) get that letter then I’ll decided what I want to do. Sadly, my doc is at the university health centre and so over-run with admin due to students wanting letters to get them out of exams! So, hopefully I will get it in time. I’m going to give it until the middle of next week and then try to do some nudging. If all else fails, I have an appt with him on Friday (which I was planning to cancel as I no longer need it) and can use that to nobble him then!

I agree, though, that I don’t have points to play with - and that bothers me, hence why I wouldn’t do it without a definite and solid argument in a doctors letter.

Statistics show that, of those that appeal being put in the work related group instead of the support group, 47% win the case, 50% remain where they are, and 3% get failed completely and get declared fit for work.

With your assessment as it is already, you can’t be found able to work. It makes no sense. Have faith and be persistent.

Well, I only have 15 points, so if the person in charge of an appeal decides that I can, for example, reach above my head and doesn’t award me points for anything in place of it, I’m declared fit for work and on Jobseekers!!

There is that small risk of the appeal going the wrong way. That’s why I think I’d go to CAB if I were in your shoes.

I volunteered for Citizens Advice for a while and it was their expertise with ESA & PIP applications and appeals that impressed me most. I can fill out a form, I can navigate bureaucracy, I usually win through … but I had to admit that CAB’s old hands knew a thing or two that I didn’t. You could seek their support … it’s not as if they write things for you but they should go over everything with a fine tooth comb and then it’s up to you whether you take any advice they offer or not.

(Something’s nagging at me though … I know I mentioned CAB a while back & a little voice is telling me you had this covered … sorry if that’s so.)

Sadly the CAB here in Norwich has been pretty awful when we have turned to them in the past. I am still humming abs having about it all. I think awaiting the GPs letter is the best way forward. If they have things in writing from him to back up what I say, I would feel at least it couldn’t make things worse to appeal. I just hope he gets his skates on writing the letter! I know I can send the letter on after I make the appeal, but don’t want to start the appeal if I am not going to get the evidence I need!

That’s a shame darinfan. At least the odds of getting a better or at least the same outcome are pretty good. Hope GP comes up trumps. Could give them a ring re. time constraints.

Had the meeting at the job centre today, and have to say the woman I saw couldn’t have been nicer. Don’t have to go there again for six months. So if I lose the appeal (or don’t put in for it), then the worst outcome is losing some money each week (which is more managable to me at the moment than being on a piece of elastic to the job centre). That doesn’t mean I’m rich, it just means I’d prefer being worse off than having more hassle in my life.

Meanwhile I’m still waiting for the bloody doctor’s letter for the appeal. He dictated it a week ago, but the secretaries seem determined to not meet my self-imposed deadline of Thursday. Am away FRiday to Monday, and the appeal has to be in by next Friday. Am getting very annoyed with them now, as I have told them I am on a short deadline. If I was them I’d be saying “let’s type the damn thing and get him off our backs!” Tomorrow I shall vent my wrath if I haven’t got it by late-afternoon…and they won’t like me when I’m angry…

Hope they get the letter to you. And so glad the woman behaved like a decent human being.:slight_smile:

Got the letter! Hurrah. Appeal in. Now fingers crossed!


Oh well done on your GP’s surgery and indeed you. Fingers crossed indeed. I tried to find the emoji for that and accidentally gave you the ‘middle finger’. Luckily I saw before I posted and deleted it. Couldn’t find a ‘crossed fingers’ one!

It wouldn’t be the first time I received it! Perhaps that’s what I should give the ESA assessors!

why do they make emojis so darned small? #middleageproblems

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Perhaps the ‘middle finger’ one should be deleted given our respective middle aged issues. Must go to Specsavers (opticians) again!

Even with my “readers” on I can hardly make them out on my desktop. It’s laughable on my phone.

Good luck! In a perfect world you wouldn’t need it… but still!

(Is this big enough? :yum:)

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Just adore! How do you import pictures? I haven’t figured it out yet! You need a prize Cynthia! Now where is the prize emoji???

Look for the icon that has a block and small upwards-pointing arrow above the text box for your comments. That’s the upload function. You can upload files, pictures or web images.