Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Face to face interview

Hi can anyone help me I have been on ESA in the support group and have just sent in a ESA50 questionnaire that was sent me ...do you still have ot have a face to face meeting after your questionnaire even if your in the support group of ESA ???? or do they just evaluate whether your circumstances are the same or worse since your last ESA face to face. 

Replies

  • jaybrodyjaybrody Member Posts: 6 Listener
    I know of some who remain in  the support group and are paper assessed based. This depends with how the assessor interpret the evidence supplied. However some will insist on face to face assessment to determine whether you deserve to be in that group or to be downgraded.
  • BenistmonkBenistmonk Member Posts: 343 Pioneering
    If your illness or disability makes it difficult or impossible for you to travel to an assessment, you can ask for the assessment to be done at home instead. You will need to provide a GP's letter for this to happen, they will not accept a nurses letter or an assessment based on your own opinion.

    Having said that, they might do a paper assessment. It is a case of waiting to see what happens after you send in the ESA50.
  • Zebra88Zebra88 Member Posts: 55 Courageous
    It depends on whether it's clear you meet the support group criteria. My first assessment was paper based as I used a power chair and can barely mobilise at all, and I'm due to have my bladder removed and am constantly at risk of leaks so for both those cases I automatically meet the criteria and no assessment was needed. They still tried to send me to one and I called and asked why based on the guidance. A manager asked for the file back to review it and called me 3 days later to say the assessment was cancelled because they wouldn't gain any more info from the face to face that they haven't already got. I think it depends what evidence you have readily available and how it applies to the criteria.
  • trextrex Member Posts: 7 Listener
    edited February 2019
    Thankyou everyone for your knowledge about this I have included a doctors letter asking for a home visit...but I am hoping it will be paper assessed and they will also go by what my doctor put in his letter. If not then theres not much I can do but hope for a home visit. If anyone has anymore advice or has done the same asking for a home visit with a doctors letter included with the questionnaire,i would be grateful if you could let me know what your outcome was...and how they got back to you e.g telephone call or letter....Just checked at least todays ESA has gone in...thank goodness. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    If you attend other appointments then there's a possibility they will refuse you a home visit because they will say if you can attend other appointments then there should be no reasons why you can't attend the assessment centre.


    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.
  • trextrex Member Posts: 7 Listener
    edited February 2019
    I called up the dwp yesterday to see if they received my ESA50 questionnaire...they said they hadn't but I am still covered because I phoned them Monday and yesterday and also filled in the reason on page 3 of the ESA questionnaire. Out of curiosity I also asked that if you are in the care component of ESA would you still need a face to face assessment. I was told that most would be having one unless your illness is terminal. So my question is have they put a stop to paper assesments and if so and you still have a face to face what is the point of the questionnaire if they are going to make their own face to face evaluations to the DWP anyway. I did mention to the woman I thought some may get paper assesments and the answer I got is as I have written. I hope this helps anyone wondering about paper assesments as I did. 

  • axwy62axwy62 Member Posts: 140 Pioneering
    In my experience, almost everyone gets put in the assessment queue and sent the first available appointment within their general area. Only if you then phone to query it will they even look at any information on your form and if they decide you can't attend an assessment centre, they then miraculously find you don't need to be assessed at all.
    They've been told that insisting on a GP letter is unreasonable and discriminatory and that they should consider all the available evidence, including whether previous assessments for ESA or PIP have been done 'on the papers' or at home before insisting that a claimant attends an assessment centre.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    I had a paper based assessment for ESA 2 years ago and i wasn't even contacted or sent any appointment letters before. Some do have paper based assessments for ESA, infact they seem more common than PIP paper based assessments.

    The whole point of the ESA50 form is so they know as much about how your conditions affect you as possible. This along with the evidence you send determines whether or not you need the face to face assessment. If they don't have the ESA50 form they have nothing to look at when deciding this.

    PIP has nothing to do with ESA because they are different benefits.

    The return of the ESA50 form is very strict  even when filling in page 3. They are less strict with those that are claiming for mental health reasons, if they have it noted on the computer that you're claiming for mental health. If it's not noted on the computer it doesn't apply.
    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.
  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,314 Pioneering
    My son's ESA50 was sent in last July and a well meaning DWP advisor said that nothing else would happen. Then an appointment letter arrived a few weeks ago in January for a Face to face. I am his appointee just for paperwork and couldn't remember doing the ESA50 or what evidence I'd sent because of the time lapse. So I cancelled the appointment till Feb.19th. You are allowed 1 cancellation but have to have the second date given to you. The appointments are sent out by letter. 
  • axwy62axwy62 Member Posts: 140 Pioneering
    Again, this is misinformation by the assessment provider. The '1 cancellation' rule is theirs, not DWPs. If you have a good reason, e.g. conflicting hospital appointment, you can cancel as many appointments as you need to but the assessment provider will return the file to DWP and you will have to provide proof that you had 'good cause' to cancel the appointment.
  • trextrex Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Well poppy I never had a paper based assessment 18 months ago I had to have a face to face assessment on ESA at the dwp medical centre in town. And if you had a paper based assessment 2 years ago whose to say its not a rarity now 2 years a lot can change and I was told this on the phone yesterday by someone at the DWP that most will have a face to face again UNLESS its a terminal illness. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Yes most do have a face to face assessment, the same as PIP but paper based is much more common for ESA than it is for PIP. I've heard of quite a few people on here recently having a paper based assessment. It really depends on the evidence you send, if it's good enough to prove your conditions then you won't need the face to face assessment.
    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.
  • axwy62axwy62 Member Posts: 140 Pioneering
    The evidence I sent was good enough for an 'on the papers' assessment, only it took 5 months and lots of arguing before the provider accepted that. 
  • trextrex Member Posts: 7 Listener
    How long ago was your paper based assessment axwy62..how did you know it was good enough for a paper based assessment did they send you a letter saying you did not need a face to face...and over the 5 months was you still getting your regular rate or did they drop it down until it was finally sorted....that's interesting. I had a doctor for my ESA face to face and a home visit for my PIP ...I initially lost my pip even after I sent in lots of evidence but I wrote to my mp and they got it looked at again after I sent my mp the evidence that I sent the DWP and it went to another assessor and had a phone call to say it had been turned aroundand finally got the award, took a lot of chasing though but not so much once an e-mail was sent from my mp. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Your ESA payments won't decrease because of the length of time it takes to decide whether it's paper based or face to face.
    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.
  • axwy62axwy62 Member Posts: 140 Pioneering
    My assessment is still in progress as DWP haven't officially told me the outcome yet. 
    To save cluttering this thread, the details are here: https://community.scope.org.uk/discussion/48643/do-they-realise-what-this-does-to-people.
    They have yesterday admitted in writing that they had enough information at the start to do a paper-based assessment and I should not have 'mistakenly been put in the assessment queue'. This is almost exactly the same wording as ATOS used over my PIP assessment and over a previous ESA assessment.
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