Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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ESA work capability assessment

zacthezebrazacthezebra Member Posts: 31 Connected
sorry having a bad day posted twice.Please remove

Replies

  • zacthezebrazacthezebra Member Posts: 31 Connected
    I was delighted to receive a letter earlier this year awarding me enhanced PIP mobility 16 points and care 15 points for 10 years. This award was given without an assessment I was not due a review until DEC. Last time I had a PIP assessment 3 months later I recieved an ESA 50 the same thing happened this time, Last time they placed me in the support group using the PIP assessment and submitted medical evidence.

    I filled in the ESA 50 and sent lots of medical evidence feeling quite confident, after all you don't get a 10 year PIP award for being in the best of health. A month later a ESA letter arrives asking me to attend an assessment 20 miles away in a town, just the thought freaks me out. I am Agoraphobic with lots of other conditions and disabled there is no way I could attend. I do attend my doctors but it is always the last appointment of the day and it is only a mile away, I have to cancel as many appointments as I attend because I often don't make it out the door.

    All my assessments for all benefits have been at home they have always accepted I cannot travel. The assessment centre has 43 steps?  I am sure I read they won't let people use the lifts in case of fire. The steps and lift are irrellevant though as I cannot attend but does that mean they have ignored my conditions or just not read the medical evidence?

    I cannot express how worried I am this is not a choice to not attend it is a serious health problem, one that has ruined my life. I pointed out just because I can travel a short distance in a village I have lived in all my life does not mean I am not Agoraphobic. There are different levels to Agoraphobia and mine change depending on circumstance,time of day other health conditions being better or worse, It is complex.

    I have requested a GP supporting letter but I don't know what I will do if the assessment people still refuse a home visit.  

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi,

    Hopefully the letter from your GP will be fine but attending other appointments can go against you, even though you've had home assessments in the past. If they do refuse you the home assessment then you can ask for reasonable adjustments, (RA) part of the equity act 2010 https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/discrimination-in-the-provision-of-goods-and-services/discrimination-in-the-provision-of-goods-and-services1/discrimination-in-services-provided-by-a-public-authority/common-situations/disability-discrimination-and-welfare-benefits/

    Do be aware that you can only cancel an appointment once. If you fail to attend then your ESA may stop.

    Even though your PIP assessment was used for your last ESA review they are different benefits, with different criteria.

    If the worst does happen and they do refuse a home assessment are you able to get someone to go with you? Maybe a family member or friend?

    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.
  • zacthezebrazacthezebra Member Posts: 31 Connected
    edited October 2019
    Thanks for the reply.
    The only appointments I attend are doctors appointments which are 1 mile away, a bit different to 20 miles to a town I don't know.

    If they refuse a home visit that could be the end of my ESA claim, I cannot overcome my condition because they say I can travel to the centre. Maybe I should question why they think I am now capable of travel when my conditions and circumstances have not changed in 10 years.

    My problem is not just Agoraphobia and the symptoms it causes the stress triggers my Crohns . I have scarring from Crohns and as a result I have very little time to get to the toilet and don't always make it.

    I should add my last assessment lasted 4 and a half hours and the shortest was 3 hours 15 minutes, what do they allow at a centre 30 mins?










  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @zacthezebra, I am sorry to hear about not getting the home assessment. I really hope they are able to put this in place for you. I appreciate that a GP appointment is very different to an assessment. 

    Like Poppy has said, do you have anyone you'd be able to take with you if it came to it?

    Please do let us know how you get on. :)
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  • zacthezebrazacthezebra Member Posts: 31 Connected
    edited October 2019
    Thanks for the reply.

    My wife can go with me but that will not stop the Agoraphobia, attempting to go out causes a flare and then I need frequent trips to the toilet. I have triggers motorways, traffic jams, crowded rooms, unable to have instant access to the toilet, going to a place I am not familier with, I avoid all of these situations as they set off my Agoraphobia.

    I found the descriptor below for the support group which I am in. I cannot walk 20m let alone 50m hence why I was awarded enhanced mobility. I have a wheelchair but cannot self propel due to osteoarthritis in my hands,wrist,elbows, right shoulder and nearly every major joint in my body, I also have rheumatoid arthritis in my spine.

    They know all this and have known since I was migrated from IB to ESA support group. I will never improve hence the 10 year PIP award. Since I already qualify for the support group this all seems a huge waste of time and is making me incredible stressed.


    Support group descriptor


    Mobilising unaided by another person with or without a walking stick, manual wheelchair or other aid if such aid can reasonably be used.

     Cannot either

     (i) mobilise more than 50 metres on level ground without stopping in order to avoid significant discomfort or exhaustion

    or

    (ii) repeatedly mobilise 50 metres within a reasonable timescale because of significant discomfort or exhaustion.





  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @zacthezebra, I'm sorry it has such a big impact and I appreciate how difficult it must be for yourself to leave the house. Unfortunately I am unsure what else I can suggest, but please do let us know how you get on. :)
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  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Unfortunately, you are not the only person that has to go through these grilling reviews for ESA regularly. There's no average time to any face to face assessment whether it's at home or in the assessment centre.

    If you're refused a home assessment this time, is there one that's closer to home? Maybe that's an option?
    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.
  • zacthezebrazacthezebra Member Posts: 31 Connected
    edited October 2019
    Thanks for all the replies I really do appreciate the help. I will keep you all posted as to the outcome.
    I did asked if there was another assessment centre but it is also around the same distance and again in a town.

    I gather I am now dealing with Maximus a company that in 2016 only granted 1% of it's claimants a home visit .Capita carried out 56% of its assessments at claimants homes in 2016 Atos 14.5% .

    No wonder I am having problems given the statistics which I doubt have changed much.


  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Work capability assessments are done by The Health Assessment advisory Service. Information in this link. https://www.chdauk.co.uk/employment-and-support-allowance-esa

    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.
  • zacthezebrazacthezebra Member Posts: 31 Connected
    Yes thats the company I am dealing with operated by Maximus
  • zacthezebrazacthezebra Member Posts: 31 Connected
    edited October 2019
    Thank you for all the help and advice. I will keep the Equality Act 2010 in mind and use it if needed.

    Managed to attend doctors this morning a huge achievement for me GP calmed me down he could see I was shaking. He kindly wrote a support letter while I was there. I explained Maximus state if you can travel to your GP you can travel to a WCA centre,the GP said "travelling a short distance to the surgery doesn't mean I can travel 20 miles and is unreasonable to expect I can".

    He is not my GP this was a cancellation appointment I could not get an appointment for my GP for 4 weeks.

    Earlier in the week I wrote a letter to my GP but had not recieved a response hence why I went to the doctors this morning. I get home and recieve a call from the surgery my GP is now writing a support letter as well although this will cost £30. Now I will have two supporting letters so fingers crossed well not mine I cannot cross them.

    I don't know wether the letters will be accepted but hope they will I cannot stand the stress this is making me more ill.
    I will keep you posted on events and the outcome of the WCA. I still think this is all a waste of time as I qualify for the support group on not be able to walk 50m, I get enhanced PIP I cannot walk 20m.

    I checked my blood pressure before going to doctors as I have hypertension it's higher than normal. Doctor now wants a diary kept of BP and submitted to the surgery next week. He also put my meds up and said this is a direct result of the stress I am under.


  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Before you pay for that supporting letter, does it actually state the reasons why you can't attend the assessment centre because this is what it needs to state.

    Unfortunately, the PIP mobility criteria is different to the Support Group criteria. For PIP they don't take into consideration your ability to use a self propel wheelchair, ESA WCA does.
    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.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you for updating us @zacthezebra. I'm glad your GP was reassuring.
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  • zacthezebrazacthezebra Member Posts: 31 Connected
    edited October 2019
    Thanks for the replies. Visiting the GP did help I still feel nervous I don't trust this lot they may ignore the GP letters. I don't know what the letter will contain I explained what the letter needs to say, The other letter given to me this morning states specifically why I cannot attend so I have that as back up.

    Yes forgot about the good old WCA invisible wheelchair.


  • zacthezebrazacthezebra Member Posts: 31 Connected
    Opened post this morning another letter from The Health Assessment advisory Service a new appointment at the same center.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Did you send the letter from your GP, if so when did you send it? and i assume you canceled the first appointment?
    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.
  • zacthezebrazacthezebra Member Posts: 31 Connected
    Thanks for the reply yes I cancelled the first appoinment. Maximus sent the letter last Thursday the same day they called and told me the GP letter has to be sent to a different fax number to the ones they had already given me. The appointment letter was sent before I could even get to see a GP to request a support letter.

    I have not sent the GP letter I got Friday because my own GP was faxing a letter next week. I am going to cancel the letter for next week and use the one I already have because at least I know what this one says.

    The woman who called last Thursday did not mention a new appointment had been arranged, she did say not to send further evidence by post as it is too slow and not to email them, How do I correspond ? I don't have a fax machine. I was also told they would only accept evidence of no more than one year old ? surely this cannot be correct .







  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    You will need to ring them on Monday morning and tell them that the last time you canceled the appointment you told them that you would send a supporting letter from your GP for a home assessment  BUT in the meantime you've been sent yet another appointment letter for the same assessment centre. Tell them that you have the letter needed.

    Ask for a postal address because sending by first class, it will arrive the following day because you won't be sending it to DWP.

    As for the evidence that can't be older than 1 year, that's not correct and never has been. They do advice for it not be older than 2 years but they do accept older evidence if it still applies to you. So many people haven't got up to date evidence.
    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.
  • zacthezebrazacthezebra Member Posts: 31 Connected
    Thanks for the reply . The new appointment is apparently to keep my ESA claim open I have told them I have the support letter . My wife has posted the support letter today for next day delivery and it will need to be signed for. The letter has been sent to their office in London the same one they asked my ESA 50 to be sent to.


  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @zacthezebra, I hope this gets sorted quickly. :)
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  • zacthezebrazacthezebra Member Posts: 31 Connected
    Update I called HAAS the support letter has apparently not arrived. The envelope was delivered and signed for but HAAS said they have not got it.
    The letters were sent to the same address as my ESA 50 form and both deliveries were signed for by the same person. I am not going to comment on what I think is happening.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @zacthezebra, I can imagine this is very stressful! Did you get a copy of the letter before you sent it?
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  • zacthezebrazacthezebra Member Posts: 31 Connected
    edited October 2019
    Thanks for the reply. It is really stressful the attitude is if you can attend an appointment,shop put out bin bags you can attend an assessment centre which shows they don't have a clue about Agoraphobia.
    I have a document feeder on my printer and scan all documents into my pc. I am really worrying over the amount of time this is taking to decide if I can have a home visit.

    I should add I now have the ability to record the assessment. I have purchased two identical tape recorders and two identical mics I will of course gain permission from Maximus and the HCP before recording.

  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    I'm sorry to hear it is still stressful. 

    I hope you aren't waiting much longer and please remember to get permission to record the assessment beforehand. :)
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