Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Assessment

So if everyone has found the assessors have twisted & lied about everything.Why hasn't anyone done anything about it?

Replies

  • wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,300 Disability Gamechanger
    What have you got in mind ?? Legal action you need prove that means recording the accessment and having a copy of your application form and acesscement report for starters. Any body got any ideas, a class act maybe who would fund it ?????
  • debkenzodebkenzo Member Posts: 110 Pioneering
    What we need is a Government that is powered by people who genuinely care!  
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,009 Disability Gamechanger
    Here’s part of a post I write earlier for a different thread.

    HCPs basically have their own professional qualification and then 5 to 7 days training as a HCP which is largely generic disability awareness and learning enough about the HCP process. After that it’s all speculation as to what happens but I suspect we know enough to be able to say that some strive to do an excellent job and some are influenced by others to find shortcuts to survival. Few do the job full time as they are in quasi-medical professions where full time work is hard to come by. Many are therefore either very young and lacking life experience or struggling to get by just as much as claimants. Unless the younger ones have ill family or friends their actual life experience may not have involved impairment at all. It amuses me and makes me sad that the very empathy claimants with disabilities would want for themselves is something they rarely extend to HCPs. It is of course entirely understandable that that’s the case but it doesn’t make it right. Walking a mile in anyone else’s shoes is always an eye opener. HCPs have a difficult job made harder by poor traing which inevitably means poor practice and subjectivity come into play.

    Forum posters love to think they’re in the majority but that’s most unlikely as we know that forums are generally full of negative stuff whether it’s like here, football, money or whatever. No-one will find a forum full of positivity on any subject. If you want that you need a blog. That’s why I despair a little when people call HCPs “liars” without a thought for the other side of the story. Careless, pressured, badly expressed and factually incorrect yes of course but out and out provable lies are rare and in any case impossible to prove without a transcription. I have also observed many times that proving someone else wrong does not make you right and doesn’t make a case for qualifying for benefit. 

    The other side of the coin is that fraud figures from DWP, like their whole accounts, have been qualified (not accepted as accurate) for decades now. I know from professional experience that they are hideously over-stated and most of all that phrase applies to disability benefits where fraud is minimal. 

    Allied to that is the contribution of the news media. Without bad news there is largely no news so again stories of fraud make good stories but they’re generally seen as being at a way higher level than the reality because the rare stories are great stories and are given such prominence. Many welfare rights advisers look at those stories and what we see is a person who has been badly represented and who often has a case there was no fraud at all. 
  • debkenzodebkenzo Member Posts: 110 Pioneering
     I wish i had such knowledge then i would not have been so hard on my assessor after she stated many lies, inaccuracies, discrepancies and contradictions in my medical report.  If only i had the hindsight that they suffer too.  I feel quite terrible now!  If only I could have walked in her shoes then I would have had the understanding that she was struggling as well.  
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,009 Disability Gamechanger
    You cannot prove they lied unless you have a transcription. It’s legally impossible. Calling them liars is foolish, unnecessary and achieves nothing. It’s a losing strategy at appeal too. No doubt there were discrepancies, inaccuracies and contradictions. Good chance they’ll have found some of those in your claim pack too but most claimants don’t recognise the weaknesses in their own case until pointed out. 

    If you find it hard to see the other side of an argument chances are you won’t see the weaknesses in your own. There are good, sane reasons for understanding the issues HCPs face as doing that will help most people present their case far better. 
  • AdamskiAdamski Member Posts: 5 Listener
    What are you on about,the hcp purposely missed information,got my prognosis wrong & said I could do things I obviously couldn't!
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,009 Disability Gamechanger
    What I’m “on about” is explaining how that comes to be. 

    Again the nonsense though. Good luck proving they did anything “purposely”. That’s up there with calling them liars. Can’t be proved and isn’t relevant to getting the benefit. 
  • AdamskiAdamski Member Posts: 5 Listener
  • CHAT_chat2usCHAT_chat2us Member Posts: 8 Connected
    Anyone can ask to take recording instruments into their Assessment but must ask for this before the day. If you are lucky the Assessor may agree but not allowed according to the DWP
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,009 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2018
    @Adamski Post reported. Nothing to add.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,009 Disability Gamechanger
    Anyone can ask to take recording instruments into their Assessment but must ask for this before the day. If you are lucky the Assessor may agree but not allowed according to the DWP
    A bit more than “before the day”. The HCP needs long enough to give consent and there need to be two copies of the recording made simultaneously on the day, which is something that most claimants struggle to achieve. As much as anything it’s a protection for claimants against accusations of editing. By and large though recording an assessment changes little when the real issue is the weighting of evidence by decision makers. 
  • jw0957jw0957 Member Posts: 48 Connected
    Now lm worried!!!! I have an assessment tomorrow and reading this gives me even more stress about it. I can’t get around without a walking stick, have immense pain just getting out of bed. My knees creak so loudly climbing stairs it makes my stomach heave. I have included all this on my form and now worry that it’s going to be ignored, twisted or just left out completely. I suffer stress and anxiety to start with and l came into the community for reassuarance, instead my stress and anxiety levels have gone through the roof reading the above posts. I know l can appeal a negative decision, it’s happened before but it’s the fianancial difficulties that will cause my stress and anxiety to roller coast and set me back. I see a black hole of misery opening up before me. I wish ld never come here seeking reassurance!!! Such negativity can be soul destroying. 😖😞
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    When reading anything about assessments on any forum you'll mostly on ever read the bad and negative stories. Think about it, if someone has a decision they're happy with then they have no questions to ask, therefore they don't share their story. Lots of people claim ESA and PIP successfully without any problems at all. Lies are told in assessment reports, but at the same time you'll have the ones that speak the truth and be honest but again we'll rarely hear about them.

    Reading a forum for reassurance isn't always the best idea and you've found this out yourself this morning. Go to that assessment and be yourself, wear what you always wear and use your stick, if you always use it. If you're asked to do anything physical and it causes you pain then tell them you can't do and the reasons why. Answer those questions with as much detail as possible, if you can. Hopefully you sent evidence to support your claim because they very rarely contact anyone. Taking someone with you can often help any anxiety you have. They won't be able to answer any questions for you unless they're your appointee but the reassurance that they're there will help a little.

    Good luck.
    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.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,009 Disability Gamechanger
    When reading anything about assessments on any forum you'll mostly on ever read the bad and negative stories. Think about it, if someone has a decision they're happy with then they have no questions to ask, therefore they don't share their story. Lots of people claim ESA and PIP successfully without any problems 
    Wholly agree.
  • jw0957jw0957 Member Posts: 48 Connected
    I don’t have anyone that can go with me, that in itself causes great anxiety for me. I only got the letter 2 weeks ago so it was hard to find anyone having spare time or a day off.  I didn’t have any evidence on paper regarding my condition that they don’t already have. My dr can do nothing further than pain relief or referral to physio, which in itself causes great pain and needs stronger mass (l have adverse reactions to opiates) so not much on the market will touch the severe pain. My condition has worsened since my last assessment and twice in the past l have been took off ESA and twice appealed with a positive result. This kind of treatment does nothing to ease anxiety and stress and it lead to a break down which lm still not over. My physical condition gets worse as l get older, lm nearing 62 and now suffering more with rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis. It’s just all too much too deal with along with daily routine of taking pain meds to get out of bed. Sorry for the negative post.
  • SmedleySmedley Member Posts: 60 Courageous
    Not negative at all, I fully understand your situation & empathise with you as I am in an extremely similar situation myself.
    Please don't feel alone #weareoneofmany 

    I'm not knowledgeable enough to advise, but just know, I am in your corner 😘💝
  • jw0957jw0957 Member Posts: 48 Connected
    Update:
    l had an assessment on 20th August 2018. Took till 26th Sept to receive the results. I was taken off ESA and now have to apply for Universal credits. Assessor advice opinion was that alp though disabled l should qualify for A NHS Whellchair to make it easier and less painful to get about. Also that lm able to look for work. Most mornings at horrendously painful so l hope l can get a job afternoons for 16 hrs. I’m greatly concerned about my disablement benefit being taken away when l apply for Universal credits. I’m at my wits end, the appointment at local job centre this afternoon will do little to ease my distress and concerns. Being left without money for 5 weeks is a nightmare!! Any advice greatly received. TIA
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi,

    I'm sorry to hear this. Unfortunately, if they think you can self propel in wheelchair this can go against you.

    If you do apply for UC then you won't be able to go back onto ESA. Any disability premiums you were claiming on ESA will not be paid on UC.

    For your ESA you have 28 days to request the Mandatory Reconsideration. You should put this in writing stating what you disagree with and which group you think you should be placed into and your reasons why. Only 17% of MR decisions change so you may have to take it to Tribunal. If your MR decision stays the same and you haven't applied for UC once the Tribunal have accepted your appeal you'll be able to go back onto assessment rate for ESA, with a sick/fit note.

    Did you send evidence to support your claim? They rarely contact anyone and the onus is on you to make sure it's sent. Hope this helps.
    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.
  • jw0957jw0957 Member Posts: 48 Connected
    The self propel would cause serious fatigue to my wrist and shoulders as l have had a repair surgery on left wrist and shoulder.  Continuously propelling myself would undo the repair. I was NOT asked about my surgery and how it affects me now and only assume(rightly or wrongly) that the assessor believed my wrist and shoulders to be ok now seeing as l could lift my left arm above my head. She did not ask if l could keep it there!  Self propelled wheel chair would not make moving around less painful in this case. I will speak to advisor this afternoon about this as the advisor on the phone could not tell me a great deal about the decision. My concern about MR would be that l would get only half my benefit which will cause extreme problems paying my bills and having food. What is the likelyhood of only getting half benefit?? 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 2018
    This is where filling out the form correctly helps. If you don't mention all of your difficulties in the form then chances are you won't be asked all of them during the assessment.

    I'm not sure what you mean by half of your benefit. Where you previously in a group, if so which group? Do you claim PIP daily living or DLA mid/high rate care? If so does anyone claim Carers allowance for looking after you?

    Assessment rate of ESA is £73.10 per week, the premiums on top are payable on assessment rate but it depends on your circumstances. You won't be paid more on UC because if you were being paid any premiums on ESA they aren't paid on UC.
    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.
  • jw0957jw0957 Member Posts: 48 Connected
    I have PIP at Daily living mid rate, though my daughter looks after me she does not claim any care allowance. On ESA I was in the work related group. 

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Seems like you were claiming the severe disability premium on top of your ESA, as your ESA has now stopped because you've been found fit for work then the SDP had also stopped. It is payable on assessment rate yes but you'll lose it completely if you apply for UC.
    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.
  • jw0957jw0957 Member Posts: 48 Connected
    My disability hasn't changed though, I cannot understand how assessment has found me fitter than I was previously on just one day.  having a number of things that cause my disability i.e.  osteo-arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, my daily pain level hasn't changed and as I cannot take stronger opiate pain relief I manage my pain with just co-codamol and the occasional codeine. Keeping my joints mobile is very painful but I do it so that I don't end up in a motorise or self propelled wheelchair. All this was in my statement and GP confirms my diagnosis. Im not unwilling to work BUT have found that potential employers are no really disability aware or friendly for that matter. 100's of job applications in the past, numerous courses undertaken, all goes towards us disabled feeling worthless and disheartened by the system. I have suffered depression in the past and try VERY HARD not to let this set back pull me down that dark road again. I will update when I return home after my appointment at the jobcentre this afternoon. Thank you for your input and replies. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 2018
    It happens to a lot of people. ESA isn't about a diagnosis, it's how those conditions affect you daily that determines your fitness to do any type of work and not the work you can't do.

    Have you applied for UC? Is this the reason for your appointment at he job centre today? Applying for UC isn't always the best decision here, as you have to wait 6 weeks before you receive any money including any housing benefit you claim, as this will be transferred to UC too.

    Asking for the MR then waiting for the decision on this maybe a better route. Even if the MR decision remains the same and most do, once the Tribunal accept your appeal then you'll be back on assessment rate for ESA. Applying for UC means you'll be losing the SDP which is £64.30 per week.
    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.
  • jw0957jw0957 Member Posts: 48 Connected
    Thanks Poppy, l was advised by the dss advisor who phoned me with result, to apply for UC. I didn’t want to wait and delay any payment and as of 16 sept l was not entitled to ESA. Im worried sick now as l thought the calculation of £146 was per week but that looks like it was benefit and rent, with nothing more. My god!!! I have more out going per week than that amount and that’s just for rent and council tax, house insurance and fuel bills. I’m in a state of shock 😳😢

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    UC standard allowance is £317.82 per month, single person. Then you have the different elements on top. If you claim housing benefit then to claim the housing element on top you'll need your tenancy agreement, without this you won't be paid this element. Then there's elements for any dependent children, if they live with you.

    You will need to look for work as part of the UC agreement. Sending in a fit/sick note from your GP may reduce the hours you'll need to look for work but this will depend on your job coach. Some will reduce them and some won't. If you don't show you're looking for work for a certain number of hours per week then you'll be sanctioned and this means less money.

    Council tax reduction isn't part of UC and needs to be claimed separately from your local council.

    DWP will always tell you to claim UC but that's not always the correct option here.


    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.
  • jw0957jw0957 Member Posts: 48 Connected
    Hi Poppy 
    advised by agent at Jobcentre that l should request a MR as l feel that the assessor based my results on just one day. Doesnt that just fill you full of confidence...... NOT. The ESA50 form should be clearer and  be more specific of information required and then folk wouldn’t get into trouble by not advising of key factors of their illness/disabilities. Think it should also advised the client that they can go back to the GP for a fit more during the 28 days of which they can request a MR. I have to write a statement (that should be included on the form, I can’t for the life of me think what questions were on mine)and send it all with my details, in a pre-paid envelope so that the MR can be done. I still have the letter from the last time but it needs to be updated with my disability now. Still a lot of undue stress. The form is just not clearer enough on what information is needed, either that or lm just thick 🤨🤨🤔 my stress level has dropped a tad, but l still need to get sorted with a fit note. That won’t be a problem. I have to say at this point Poppy, l still have allege portion of my hair by coming into Scope and asking questions. Thanks so much for your advice
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi,

    A fit note won't help you when you request the MR unfortunately. As you're area is a full UC area then you have 2 options... claim UC and wait 6 weeks for your first payment and you won't be able to go back onto ESA if you do this. Or, don't claim UC, request the MR and wait for the decision of which most MR decisions remain the same, only 17% of them are successful. If the MR decision does change and you are placed back into a group then your ESA will start again, if it remains the same then you request the Tribunal once they have accepted your request you'll be able to go back onto assessment rate of ESA.

    The most important question is, have you started a claim for UC?


    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.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,009 Disability Gamechanger
    The wheelchair stuff has been challenged successfully in caselaw. 

    It is 5 weeks for the 1st UC payment as the waiting days were abolished. However, many areas report delays of 10 weeks and remarkably few UC calculations are accurate for many reasons.
  • jw0957jw0957 Member Posts: 48 Connected
    Hi Poppy
    advice from jobcentre was that l did right to make a claim for UC but it was also ok to request MR as it takes so long for UC to get sorted and that l have time  to appeal the decision. I received 9 day benefit that l was owed due to ESA stopping from 16 Sept. On my form for assessment l also stated that my days vary but l have more days when l can’t cope with pain. I don’t know how the assessor (who was a trained nurse) could base her findings on one meeting. Trained or not, she doesn’t personally know me or any other client so, how can a 0 points be based on that one assessment!!! Beats me, l understand that so many are passed with full points and so many with either 0 or part points. My reasoning as with any potential employer is lm not going to get employed if l don’t know if lm going to be able to go work every day. I’ve gone to work in the past feeling absolutely dreadful, worked a full 8 hour day popping pain meds and still feeling like I’ve been in a mangle. My work suffers and l had to leave my employment after years because l had a mental and physical break down. I’m not exactly the type of employee that employers want am I. It’s depressing to say the least and soul destroying. I’m determined not to go down that dark miserable road again and will reach out for help wherever l can. Thanks to this group l am coping with the current situation a bit better than l have previously and l can’t thank everyone who has replied enough. ☺️
  • jw0957jw0957 Member Posts: 48 Connected
    Hi Poppy
    advice from jobcentre was that l did right to make a claim for UC but it was also ok to request MR as it takes so long for UC to get sorted and that l have time  to appeal the decision. I received 9 day benefit that l was owed due to ESA stopping from 16 Sept. On my form for assessment l also stated that my days vary but it seems that was disregarded. I need to write a statement as to why l am requesting MR. Would someone be able to help me with this if l can upload a draft?? TIA
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    HI,

    I disagree with the job centre about doing the right thing with starting a claim for UC as previously stated the premiums aren't paid on UC like they were with ESA. Also you won't be able to go back onto ESA even if the MR/Tribunal decision goes in your favour. Once you claim UC there's no way back sadly.
    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.
  • jw0957jw0957 Member Posts: 48 Connected
    Hi, so what you are saying is that l can’t make a claim if l intend to request a MR? I already did that but have not had any money from them until 1 Nov according to jobcentre 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    No that's not what i said. You can make a claim for UC because you already have. What you can't do is go back onto ESA if either the MR or Tribunal make a decision in your favour.
    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.
  • jw0957jw0957 Member Posts: 48 Connected
    Why oh why didn’t the advisor that phoned not tell me this when she phoned to let me know that my ESA has stopped! She did mention a MR but not that it l wouldn’t be able to change from one back to other. In fact she told me squat about it. Just advised me to contact UC to make a claim and that l would have to wait a month or more for a payment!  What was the reason for changing the system that worked and didn’t bring about all this stress and anxiety.😱😱😢☹️😩
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    The will always tell you what you should do, rather than the options you have. This is why you should always get advice before doing anything. I did advise you a couple of days ago that if you claimed UC then you couldn't go back onto ESA.

    With UC handing in the fit/sick note doesn't always guarantee that you'll not have to do any job searches. How many hours they expect you to do will depend on your job coach. If you don't do the required amount of hours per week then they can likely sanction you for not doing it.
    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.
  • jw0957jw0957 Member Posts: 48 Connected
    Poppy lm sorry to say that the application was done the same day. I have already been vicrimt I being left without money in the past and didn’t want to have to go through the embarrassment of food banks. I was mortified the last time it happend and had an emotional melt down which affected my anxiety and sent me spiralling into depression. I swore ld never go there again so did as l was advised. Hells teeth lve done the wrong thing again!!! Now it’s a waiting game to see if l get any money at all. Life sure does like to throw curve balls at the less fortunate of us 😩😱
  • jw0957jw0957 Member Posts: 48 Connected
    BTW, when l was going to the jobcentre previously, l was asked to look for and apply for at least 5 jobs every week. 
  • jw0957jw0957 Member Posts: 48 Connected
    Hi
    l know you have said that once applied for UC l can’t go back to ESA. My gp has gone through my medical records and is preparing a report regarding “significant Osteo-arthritis in multiple joints and back” as well as other evidence to back up that lm not fit for work. I have written an statement as to why l think the assessment was unfair and hope that it will be taken into consideration. A fit note that covers me from 16th Sept to 1st Nov will give me enough time to get a copy of hospital medical records regarding my other problems. I will keep updating with why happens so that other who may have the same issues between ESA and UC.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 2018
    Yes, that's correct but it doesn't mean you can't request the MR then Tribunal for the ESA decision. A fit note won't help the ESA MR but you can use it for the UC caim.
    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.
  • jw0957jw0957 Member Posts: 48 Connected
    Thanks Poppy ☺️
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