Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Fit to work note issues and benefits

MultitaskeralwaysMultitaskeralways Member Posts: 4 Listener
Hi please can you advise. I am 64 years old due to retire in November. I have been on universal credit for a year but I have had regular sick notes from my go. I have bulging discs diagnosed sciatica diagnosed. IBS diagnosed. Depression stress and anxiety diagnosed. Shortness of breath when walking etc.I have just been awarded pip and a full time carer my ex partner. I went for my work capability and I scored 0 points. I have asked for a Mandatory Reconsideration as the majority of the information is either untrue or incorrect. No approach was made to my gp for medical records to confirm my diagonisis. The assessment quite frankly is full of holes. I will appeal if I lose the mandatory reconsideration as i have bren treated disgracefully. My question to you is whete do I stand i have a cutrent not fit to work medical certificate up until 30th June but iam now told that its irrelevant as i have failed my work capability. I am not well hence why i have a sick note i disagree with their findings and i can back this up with medical evidence.does this mean they can force me back to work against doctors orders? I am really not well enough anyway please advise.

Replies

  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,419 Disability Gamechanger
    A diagnosis is irrelevant. DWP don’t need that to award ESA. Only the functional consequences of your condition matter. If you were to win your appeal you would not get any ESA for any back period where you did not have a fit note.
  • MultitaskeralwaysMultitaskeralways Member Posts: 4 Listener
    I have a fit note covering the entire period and I am signed off sick till 30th June.and this fit note has been accepted by Universal Credit and I have that in writing. My question is because I have been turned down for Esa even though a the majority of the information is incorrect hence why i have asked for a Mandatory reconsideration. In the meantime whilst I m appealing this does my current medical certificate  covering the next 3 months because of my condition mean that is is not valid therefore I must look for work.alot of the information on the assessment was totally incorrect. Does that mean an assessor who is not a doctor can overrde a doctors decision that you cannot work.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,419 Disability Gamechanger
    Your doctor has not made a decision. They have made a recommendation. Your fit note remains valid but until the MR is done your only options are JSA or UC and I’d get face to face advice before pursuing either. At the appeal stage you would ordinarily resume ESA at the assessment rate depending on your precise circumstances.
  • MultitaskeralwaysMultitaskeralways Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Hi Mike I am already on Universal Credit and have been for a year.i have been 3 montly fit notes for the entire period and going forward for another 3 months. Because I am really not well and in constant pain and breathless hence the medical certificate. Are you saying I have to now look for work in the normal way that you would if you had no health problems even though this would have a huge impact on me and my health. What is the point of having a fit note they accept it and ignore it.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,419 Disability Gamechanger
    The point of having the fit note is that you have no evidence you were unfit of you win your appeal... unless you have a fit note. A fit note is a row recommendation not a decision. 
  • MultitaskeralwaysMultitaskeralways Member Posts: 4 Listener
    So your saying a doctor has lost all power they cannot make a decision about your health only a recommendation which in turn Dwp ignore.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,419 Disability Gamechanger
    edited April 2018
    They’ve not “lost” anything. It’s not a power they had in the first place. It’s only ever been a recommendation albeit from a professional. You can ignore a fit note and go back to work any time you feel like albeit that the fact you choose to go against your GPs opinion likely means your employers insurance won’t cover you.

    And DWP aren’t ignoring anything. You’ve been found fit for work. If/when that decision changes your fit notes will be relevant as evidence. Until then they’re not. 

    Follow your logic through and there are literally no circumstances anyone could ever be found fit as long as their GP was onside. It’s a dangerous game. GPS are happy to be manipulated by some people if it gets them out the door quicker/if it’s the only positive thing they think they can do for them and for many other reasons.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    So your saying a doctor has lost all power they cannot make a decision about your health only a recommendation which in turn Dwp ignore.
    What a GP thinks about someones fitness to work is totally irrelevant to what the DWP think here. They can over rule what a GP thinks. Mostly a GP will only put down on paper what you ask him to. Evidence will been needed to prove your claim, they very rarely contact anyone for any evidence. I'm not familiar with the procedure for UC when you've been found fit for work, like i am with ESA. I'd advice you to visit your local CAB for further advise but the fit notes will not help you at this stage.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Pioneering
    Hi Multitaskeralways

    Just want to express how sorry I am to hear that your GP's opinion has not been accepted, as far as your benefit claim is concerned.

    I  appreciate that many people feel that their GP knows them well and understands their medical condition, so that if their GP says they are unfit for work, then that should be accepted by the DWP. Unfortunately that isn't how our system currently works. 

    For many years now, the DWP has arranged assessments with private companies that employ "Healthcare Professionals" who meet the claimant for half an hour and then write a report. On the basis of that report, the DWP decision maker makes a decision about whether or not benefit is payable. 

    Scope makes regular statements that these and Personal Independence Payment assessments are not fit for purpose, however it is taking a great deal of time for the government to make the necessary improvements. 

    https://www.scope.org.uk/About-Us/Media/Press-releases/March-2017/PIP-statistics-reveal-an-assessment-process-that-i 

    https://www.scope.org.uk/press-releases/response-pip-second-review

    https://www.scope.org.uk/press-releases/pip-fix-fundamentally-broken-assessment-process

    https://www.scope.org.uk/press-releases/pip-esa-assessments-riddled-with-errors

    https://blog.scope.org.uk/2012/07/30/scope-ceo-blog-watching-the-dispatches-undercover-footage/

    Meanwhile, individuals who are affected by these decisions of the DWP have the difficult task of challenging them, where they feel that they are inappropriate - by researching the descriptor points and in the case of ESA, the exceptional conditions (Regulation 29) for being accepted as not well enough or too disabled to look for work.

    Don't give up if you believe that a mistake has been made, in that a very high proportion of individuals eventually win, very often at appeal hearing stage. Good luck with challenging the decision that's been made and do get in touch maybe with the helpline, if there is only limited advice available locally, or if you would like to discuss further.  

    Best wishes

    Gill_Scope
    Finance and Benefits Specialist
    Scope Helpline
    Tel: 0808 800 3333


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