Anxious about ESA form, do we need a GP letter? — Scope | Disability forum
Find out how to let us know if you're concerned about another member's safety.

Anxious about ESA form, do we need a GP letter?

littleowl Member Posts: 6 Listener
hello, i've just been told i have to do a new form for a friend who is on ESA contributions based, and has been signed off work since 2000.  after he had pneumonia in 2000 he never got well again and lost his job,  got CFS, fibromyalgia, sarcoidosis, has had spinal injections for spinal nerve compression and has had a serious and treated episode a few years ago, of hearing voices and psychosis and is on a drug for that too.   he uses a wheelchair, if he goes out, but is not self propelling as he lacks the arm strength and he's too dangerous on an electric scooter because of his fatigue affecting his concentration.   his mobility is less than 10m (and is on a PIP 'light touch' 10 year award, given only last year for care and mobility - high rate, which in itself is some pointer to his health condition).  he's 60 years old, he's incontinent every day due to neurological incontinence, yet still he has to do another form to reach them before 27 december!  which as we know means 23 december as there will be no special delivery after that date due to christmas.  i have to help him because he cannot write legibly at all, and he is too exhausted by his CFS to do it.  i just need to know if i should ask his GP to contribute a letter of support for him.  nothing has changed at all since his previous assessment 3 years ago and i had thought he would be on the 'do not reassess needlessly' list but apparently not.   he's just had his carers all changed because of government cuts and his new social worker is horrible apparently and made a big mess of his care package which had been running fine under another company for many years.  this new SW also got many facts wrong in the care package handover and didnt listen to the actual client involved.  i dont know where to turn to best get some new written support for his condition bearing this in mind and would appreciate any advice anyone can offer.  thank you.  do you think it's a good idea to refer to the PIP award in the ESA form?


  • littleowl
    littleowl Member Posts: 6 Listener
    i'm sorry!!  i meant to say hello!  but i'm so anxious about this form, i forgot!  
  • Pippa_Alumni
    Pippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,798 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @littleowl, and a warm welcome to the community! 

    I'm sorry to hear you're feeling anxious about this. The benefits process can feel overwhelming at times but we have some brilliant experienced and helpful community members who will hopefully be in touch soon and able to advise. In the meantime, you may like to have a look at Scope's online information about ESA too.
  • littleowl
    littleowl Member Posts: 6 Listener
    thank you pippa for welcoming me.  i will have a look through the info re ESA.  
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,620 Disability Gamechanger

    Did he transfer from Incapacity benefit to ESA? Is the form a ESA3 or an ESA50?
  • littleowl
    littleowl Member Posts: 6 Listener
    he's been on ESA from incapacity benefit since 2013 i think.   i think it's an ESA50 but i've not been to collect it from him yet, i only heard this morning.  he's been in the support group for the past 2-3 years - was put straight in there from incapacity benefit.  
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,620 Disability Gamechanger
    You need to check what form it is. As he moved from IB to ESA then they're writing to everyone and sending ESA3 forms. There was a mistake made by DWP and when people transferred to ESA they weren't assessed for any Income related top up. They've now realised this mistake and contacting everyone. Once assessed if money is owed it's backdated to 2011 or when you transferred across.

    If it is the work capability assessment form then yes, it will need to be filled in and returned with all evidence. They can re-assess you at anytime for ESA.
  • Dyppi8
    Dyppi8 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi littleowl, & welcome. I'm no expert, but I've been completing these forms, for myself, & my partner, for quite a few years.
    Firstly, I would never, ever, believe that the DWP will be reasonable, & fair! Unfortunately, they'll continually make people with extreme long term health problems, even those on PIP, fill in forms, repeatedly!
    Secondally, never expect the DWP to get in touch with the medical proffessionals, that you'll list on the ESA form, that deal with your friends' diagonse's & treatment - the burden is entirely on you to provide these details yourself. But do include any letters, that you already have, from consultants/specialists/pychiatrists etc referring to your friends' health problems.
    Also, definately include the most recent letter, stating the details of his PIP award.
    I would definately get a new supporting letter from his GP - make sure that it has some detail - i.e don't have GP just listing his health problems alone, make sure some examples of HOW the health problems detrimentally affect his ability to complete some of the things asked about on the form, & therefore make it impossible for him to work, in their opinion.
    If you can, I would also ask the GP to state that his health makes it impossible for him to attend an assessment centre, & that, if a physical medical assessment is required, could he please have a Home assessment.
    GP letter doesn't have to cover all the activities on the ESA form ( you can expand on these,when you complete the form) This will be a briefer version, of how you answer each of the assessment questions, on the "Work Capability Form", & is just the kind of info you've already used on this query ( such as mobility details, you've referred to in this: his lack of strength & concentration, which are leading to his inability to use his wheelchair & mobility scooter ) If you complete the form, with that kind of detail, & the medical supporting evidence, then that should be enough, & hopefully, he won't need an Assessment. s
    Also, don't worry about putting too much information on the form - your friend has a lot of very severe health problems ( Mental & Physical) including several auto immune dieases which have very complex, & frequently variable symptoms - so you should have an awful lot of relevant information regarding your friends' inability to complete, partially, or fully, the activities questioned, on the form.
    Remember to give reasons, linked to the health problems, as to how he's unable/ or struggles to complete each Descriptor - Citizens Advice has an excellent guide, that goes through the form, step by step, so definately check that, for more detailed professional help.
    Remember to photocopy everything you send, including the completed form. The local library should have a photocopying service, for a small fee, if you've not got access to a printer.
    Also,check wether they want "Original copies", or "Photocopies" of the supporting evidence, & make sure that you put your friends' name, & National Insurance  Number, on the top of every piece of paperwork that you send, with the form.
    Also, I would maybe staple, or paperclip, the extra sheets of medical evidence, to the completed form - unless the form says not to (sorry can't remember)
    My last suggestion, which I think you already know, is to post all DWP forms by Royal Mail Next Day Special Delivery By 1pm Signed For - in my experience, the DWP love to claim that forms, posted in their pre paid envelopes, have gone missing!
    Posting, via Royal Mail Special Del, is a bit pricey at approx £6.50 (or roughly £11.50 on a Friday, or at a Bank Holiday) but when you take into account the amount of time, & the anxiety, that completing this form has cost you, & the prospect of your benefit possibly being stopped, incorrectly - then paying for a delivery, where you can physically see the date, time, & signature, on Royal Mails' website, & therfore prove that your form was received, makes it worth the extra piece of mind.
    I hope I've been of some help, but do check Citizens Advice for more professional help.
    Good luck, littleowl, & I hope that everything goes as well as possible, & that your friend continues to receive his much needed, & entitled to benefit, take care.
  • littleowl
    littleowl Member Posts: 6 Listener
    thank you very much Dyppi8 for all this information and the time you've taken to respond.  we know we've done one of these ESA50 forms for him before, only about 3 years ago, but despite looking everywhere for the photocopy which i know i made, i could not find it today, and i think he has thrown it out in his confusion.  (it wasnt the ESA3 form, he was assessed correctly according to them).  i will get to a citizens advice bureau but they are horribly busy in london especially at this time of year.  my main problem is his health problems go back so far, it's really hard to sort through piles and piles of his haphazard filing to find letters where his diagnosis is stated explicitly.  back as far as 2003 even people were not told in writing necessarily what their condition was, it was only written to the GP and we dont have all the letters.  i've phoned the GP surgery today and they claim not to write in advance of ESA, but only when asked by the DWP.  (reception said but i've asked them to email the gp and ask particularly and get back to me).  they only want photocopies of diagnoses but i need to get these from the GP in the main.  like you say his conditions are complex and not well understood or researched (hence no 'cures' or even attempts at finding a cure for many years in the case of CFS, fibromyalgia, sarcoidosis has no cure and doesnt go away).  i felt certain there would be a copy of the previous ESA50.  but i cannot find it only his last PIP form, which i will have to use as a basis around which to answer many of the ESA questions.  also there is the evidence sent with that.  god i'm so scared and worried for him.  
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,620 Disability Gamechanger
    Also remember that ESA is not about a diagnosis and this alone won't place him into a group. ESA is about the work you can do, not the work you can't do and this is what they will assess him on.

    The evidence he needs should state how his conditions affect his ability to do any type of job.

    Support Group descriptors here.

    Reg 35 here.

  • littleowl
    littleowl Member Posts: 6 Listener
    thank you very much poppy 123456 for these links!!  i appreciate it a lot.


Complete our feedback form and tell us how we can make the community better.

Do you need advice on your energy costs?

Scope’s Disability Energy Support service is open to any disabled household in England or Wales in which one or more disabled people live. You can get free advice from an expert adviser on managing energy debt, switching tariffs, contacting your supplier and more. Find out more information by visiting our
Disability Energy Support webpage.