Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Getting a doctors letter and photocopying it

Afternoon. I several questions please regarding ESA. In a April I'm due an ESA assessment and will be getting the dreaded form. How I can get help filling it in if the CAB is closed to the public? I have nobody to help me and find it extremely overwhelming due to depression,anxiety and OCD,and a learning difficulty. As for medical evidence,how do you obtain a letter of evidence from the doctor to go with it if you can't go to see them due to the pandemic restrictions and how do you get your form and the letter photocopied if the copier place is shut? As far as the evidence goes,does the evidence need to be as up to date as possible? Thank you. I appreciate your time. 

Replies

  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Posts: 3,161

    Scope community team

    Hello @MobileGames

    You might be able to get help over the phone from CAB, have you tried contacting them?

    You could also call your GP to request the letter, then simply drop by your local doctors to pick it up once it is ready.
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  • Girl_No1Girl_No1 Member Posts: 58 Courageous
    @MobileGames as above, you can request the letter from your GP.  My GP's office is now sending FitNotes etc. via email to prevent people having to go into their office.  Perhaps your GP can do the same?

    I know it's not ideal, but if CAB can't help, perhaps you could photograph the form (page by page) and the letter? 

    You could then send your originals to DWP and, once things are better, it's quite simple to print out the photographs of the form and letter for your files. 
  • woodbinewoodbine Member Posts: 3,749 Disability Gamechanger
    A lot of people have printers at home that can also photo copy, if you don't do you know a friend or neighbour who might have?
    my advice is given freely and is correct to the best of my knowledge.
  • MobileGamesMobileGames Member Posts: 88 Courageous
    @Ross_Scope. Thank you. I'll ring the surgery to see if I can get a telephone appointment. On their website it says that you can email them,although I'm not sure if they would receive it or do anything about it. 
  • MobileGamesMobileGames Member Posts: 88 Courageous
    @Woodbine. No I don't. I was thinking of going to a copier place with a mask and gloves on. 
  • MobileGamesMobileGames Member Posts: 88 Courageous
    @Girl_No1. It would be a GP letter explaining my conditions and why I wouldn't be able to work because of them,why I can't do certain descriptors in a reasonable time frame,reliably and safely,and what happens if I try to do them. I have depression,anxiety,OCD and a learning difficulty. Computers,printers,photo copiers,etc,I need help to use them because I can't understand them and the more I try to,the more frustrated I get,which causes anxiety and agitation,which manifests in a funny feeling in my chest,heart  pounding and not knowing whether to scream,shout or cry. I become overwhelmed. If they could email me a letter,would one get sent to me,then the DWP? I'd also need help filling in the form because it's hard for me to understand and I find it very stressful. The volume of it, thinking about the questions,understanding the questions,the time frame in which it has to be done by causes the anxiety and agitation to become increasingly hard to deal with with. I become overwhelmed. I've bookmarked the esa descriptors that apply to me  from the CAB website on my phone. It breaks the questions down bit by bit. I've also put each descriptor that applies to me on my phone so I can look at them for reference and send it via email on my phone when  requesting the doctors letter ,or if that can't be done,over the phone instead. Could I ring Scope or CAB to help me with the form? They'll be very busy. 
  • MobileGamesMobileGames Member Posts: 88 Courageous

    This is what I'm going to send via email or through a telephone consultation,with my NI,name and address on it. 

    Hello Rother House Surgery. I've had a form come through to complete for my review of employment and support allowance. I need to gather evidence within a month to send to the DWP. Please could I have a GP letter from Dr Khan stating my conditions and how they'd significantly affect my ability to do any kind of work,why I can't carry out the following descriptors in a reasonable time frame,safely and reliably. There are several descriptors which need to be mentioned. 1. Communicating-: Reading and hearing. I can't read complex written information such as manuals,timetables,leaflets,maps,e.t.c because I find it burdensome and oner some and  I can't process and retain the information. I was put down 2 years at primary school due to educational needs. My reading is below average. An occupational psychologist assessed me. I also went on a reading program at secondary school. The more I try to understand the information,the more frustrated,anxious and agitated I become,to the point of a funny feeling in my chest and tears.

    2. Learning new tasks. I can't learn new tasks without being shown several times. When the new washing machine came my sister needed to simplify the instructions for me and use circles and diagrams,then show me as well. I can't set an alarm clock without being shown. I tried setting it myself and it kept flashing. The buttons confused me. If I try to learn a new task by myself I find it frustrating and I get anxious and agitated to the point of tears. When I was in the work related activity group,(been moved to the support group as of May 2015),the job centre wanted me to go on a computer and do a cv and print it off. I needed to ask them for help because I can't understand computers,all the buttons,not knowing how to lay it out,how to save it. It's too many things to process and retain and I can't type with two hands. My typing is very slow. If I had tried to do it myself without them sitting by me and showing me step by step I would have got frustrated,then anxious and agitated to the point of tears and a funny feeling in my chest.

    3. Starting and finishing tasks. My washing days are Saturday and Sunday. When I'm in the kitchen I tend to get distracted with making lunch,then washing up. The washing has been known to still be in the machine on Monday when it's my mums day so I've had to take it out in order for her to put hers in. I need cleaners to come once a fortnight in order to help keep the house clean because I find it burdensome,onersome,anxiety inducing and tiring. When it was the first lockdown I needed my dad to help me. We split the house into sections and did a bit each day. I found mopping the kitchen floor and hallway floor particularly tiring. My acid reflux started to play up and I felt sick afterwards and needed to lie down so my dad did the floors the next time,including the living room and bathroom. I swept upstairs with a long handled dustpan and brush so I didn't need to bend. I was tired afterwards and needed to sit down. My dad cleaned the toilets and I did the sinks and bath,again I needed to sit down afterwards due to acid reflux. I have Lansoprasole and metoclopramide on prescription to help ease it. The cleaners came back in June. My anxiety levels significantly dropped then.

    4. Coping with change. If a change is made to my routine that I don't know about it causes me a great deal of distress,anxiety and agitation,a funny feeling in my chest,sweaty palms,heart racing,feeling teary. My mum and dad forced me to go on holiday when I was 14. I can't be away from home. I need to be near my local area otherwise I get anxious and agitated to the point of tears,shaking and have outbursts of verbal aggression. We were supposed to go from Thursday to Sunday. I lasted a day. I was forced to eat out in busy places,in which caused me significant distress which manifested itself in anxiety and agitation. A funny feeling in my chest,heart racing,sweaty palms and verbal aggression. My dad said that I was like a jekyll and Hyde. I begged them to go home. I had my breakfast in the hotel room because I couldn't face going downstairs due to all the people and feeling hemmed in. During the first lock down the supermarket slots were taken up and I started to panic. My mum kept asking me to try again. I became increasingly anxious and agitated that I started crying and shouting at her. I needed the stratford town trust to step in and get if for me. My mum then rang up Tesco and Sainsburys and got priority slots(she's vulnerable with Diabetes and over 70,had a doctors letter) . I don't know what I would've done without the stratford town trust and priority slots. 

    5. Going out. I can't get to unfamiliar places without someone going with me or showing me the way. All the lanes and roundabouts,different roads and streets confuse me,which results in me becoming anxious and agitated to the point of tears and a funny feeling in my chest. When I had my CBT,certificate of basic training in August 2019,Long Marston had moved to Redditch,so the nearest was Honey-Bourne. I didn't know how to get there so my dad drove in front of me and I followed him on my moped. I then rang him when I'd finished and we did the same. It was reassuring to have him there. Once,I tried to go to Leamington on my own,I got lost there and back. There,I had to suddenly switch lanes,and back,I ended up on the motorway. It took me 2 hours in total. I felt tired and agitated when I got home. The last time I had an ESA assessment I needed a home visit because the time before my dad came with me. We got lost going there and I needed to ring the job centre plus for directions. I couldn't understand them. My dad was panicking,I was panicking. We only found it by a chance sighting otherwise I would've missed the assessment and got sanctioned or my benefits stopped. I can't go on a bus or train because I wouldn't know which one to get,wouldn't be able to understand the timetable,the amount of people on it and not knowing if it would turn up on time. All of this would cause a great deal of distress. Now my dad can't drive because he has stage 4 melanoma and could have a seizure or blackout behind the wheel. I'd have no way of getting there if telephone calls weren't being done to the pandemic, and I can't get there due to learning difficulties and mental health conditions.

    6. Coping with social situations. I can't eat out in town and in the past i have needed to turn down friends invites everytime,explaining why until they understand. I find it anxiety inducing and very distressing to the point of shaking,heart racing,sweaty palms,funny feeling in chest and tears. I tried it on the way to my uncles funeral and I needed to be outside. My mum was taking a long time choosing her food and I shouted "Just hurry up and pick one" My mum said "I think you better go outside" I was outside,looking around seeing people enjoying themselves,taking their time eating,meanwhile,I was bolting down my food to get it over and done with. Later on I got indigestion and felt sick and needed to take an indigestion tablet. The anxiety didn't ease until the afternoon the next day. On the way back I ate my tea in the car. I'd brought it along with me in tupperware.

    I can't go into a supermarket because of all the people,close proximity to me,the queues,the tannoy system,needing to choose the food,kids running around screaming and crying. The last time I tried was in October 2013. I'd only been in there 5 minutes and I went quiet. My mum asked if I was okay so I said I wasn't and shouted at her. I said "Why does that woman have to keep walking up and down and why is that kid running around?" " Its annoying me" My mum said "I think you'd better go back to the car" I went back to the car,all anxious and agitated,funny feeling in my chest and crying. I can't repeatedly,reliably or safely do these descriptors because of increasing levels of distress. It comes to a point of frustration, anxiety,agitation,tiredness,verbal aggression,and I get images of hurting the person/people,that's when I know I need help or to abandon it altogether. 

    This would be of use to me and I'd appreciate your input very much. Thank you. 

  • MobileGamesMobileGames Member Posts: 88 Courageous
    edited February 19
    I also have a letter from Springfield Mind,a past psychiatrist letter,an occupational physchologist report,a reading program certificate,my medical records and a Certificate of basic training certificate. I thought I'd send a few in,then another few if I need to do a mandatory consideration,then leave the medical records if I needed to appeal. 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,980 Disability Gamechanger
    Basically you’ve just written down all the evidence that would be needed. Your doctor isn’t really going to add much to that beyond confirming or not that it’s accurate.
  • Girl_No1Girl_No1 Member Posts: 58 Courageous
    @MobileGames I agree with Mike, the details you have compiled are what you should use on your form.  A doctor's letter won't be able to confirm your day-to-day life and your medication list will confirm the conditions you are being treated for. 

    Personally, and it is only my personal opinion, I submitted my own form without any evidence from anyone.  How I see it is DWP/HCA have the facts in the form:
    •  who my medical practitioners are, 
    • the diagnosed conditions I have,
    • the medications I'm prescribed,
    • my descriptions of where I struggle,
    • my descriptions of why I struggle; and 
    • the impact of those struggles on myself (and others) in the workplace. 
    It's then up to them to consider that information, ask whatever questions they have (either from medical personnel or me) and make a decision.

    I know it's not easy completing the forms, and the mental toil doing so takes on us, but you appear to have done a good job of explaining your situation. 

    As I said, I'd complete and send the form with the information you have.  Remember to take photographs of your form - at least you'll be able to read them again before the assessment (if you have an assessment) - and if things improve regarding Covid restrictions, I'm sure someone with the necessary skills will be able to get you prints of your photographs - there's always some tech-guru wanting to show off their skills!!  :)  
  • MobileGamesMobileGames Member Posts: 88 Courageous
    @Girl_No1. Thank you. I'm going to photocopy the form and any other evidence that I send in with it. I know PIP isn't the same,but I won my appeal for it by having a doctors letter added to it. That was one of the pieces of evidence that they relied upon,that and the letter from the Nuneaton and Bedworth CAB and the extra written evidence on pieces of paper. I didn't think that the doctors would do any good,but it did. 
  • Girl_No1Girl_No1 Member Posts: 58 Courageous
    @MobileGames It just goes to show all of our experiences are different!  Good luck with your application.  :) 

  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,257 Disability Gamechanger
    I'm sure your Doctor's surgery would be able to print 2 letters to save you needing to photocopy it.  You can keep one and send the other.

    The forms can be photographed for your own records assuming you have a smartphone.
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