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Medical assessment and permitted work

ottoni Member Posts: 3 Listener
Hi, everyone, first-time poster. Quick background, I suffer badly from depression and anxiety and I am currently in the assessment phase of ESA contribution benefit. I have a medical assessment in Romford on Wednesday. I received my ESA50 form about 8 weeks ago and thoroughly filled it in, and continued on to separate papers to explain my conditions and how it affects me. I also included a GP's letter, a letter from my parents and an in-depth diary of my 'typical day'. Since I have sent off my ESA50 form my condition has worsened, I now am on anxiety medication as well as antidepressants 200mg sertraline (I have been on these for a long time) and I have just received back a letter from 'healthy minds' confirming that I have severe depression and anxiety. However, I do currently carry out permitted work, for 12 hours per week on a checkout. From what I have read on other forums it seems that as I am working all of this seems a waste of time as they will just see my working as if I am completely fine.

   I severely struggle to do those 12 hours per week, but it does help my self-confidence and general mood. However If I was to increase these hours or I was forced to my mental health would greatly suffer and have a detrimental affect on my mental health. Therefore would the exceptional circumstances rule apply? Still, I feel this will be used against me. Should I just ring up and cancel the assessment? 


  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,617 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 2017
    Firstly do the DWP know you're doing this permitted work? Permitted work is ok BUT you have to get permission from DWP before you do it.

    Whilst permitted work is fine, if the type of work you're doing is contradicting the reasons why you're claiming ESA in the first place then yes you're going to have problems and it will most likely go against you.  You say you're claiming for depression and anxiety but then you work on checkout. The exceptional rule would not apply to you in this instance. It's your choice whether you go to this assessment or not but i personally think this work will go against you in your assessment. Just my opinion of course, i'm sure others will come along and advice you too.

    This is was taken from the exceptional circumstances there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if the claimant were found not to have limited capability for work. As you're working on a checkout, facing customers all the time, you have proved there's no risk to you or anyone else.
  • ottoni
    ottoni Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Thankyou for the reply, yes I do have permission from the DWP to do permitted work.

  • BenefitsTrainingCo
    BenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,628 Pioneering

    Hi @ottoni

    Short answer - unless you are fit for work, don't withdraw your ESA claim.

    You are right to identify that permitted work can sometimes be a stumbling block for ESA claimants, however do bear in mind that permitted work was written into the regulations because it is acknowledged that it can have therapeutic value, and this should be considered by the DWP in assessing your claim.

    If the assessors decide that you are fit for work simply because you carry out your permitted work, you can appeal. There are lots of factors that can make permitted work ok for claimants when other work would not be - familiarity being the main one, but also the type of work - if your employer makes special allowances for you that other employers would not etc.

    Don't give up before you start!

    Hope this helps,


    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • ottoni
    ottoni Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Thanks Mary, I attended today actually and was in there for about 50 minutes. Seemed to go okay, but you can never tell.


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