Crazy forms!

I changed my benefit claim from JSA to ESA because I am still mourning my mum who died in June this year. Got a letter from ATOS with questionnaire to fill in and send back by 23 August. Had to laugh when I read it...what on earth do I answer to questions like - do you upset other people by your behavior? And Is there any reason why you can't leave your home? I just feel like writing under other information, I am in mourning and can't concentrate on job searching for the moment...Think I will do just that and if I have to go for interview would they then say - you have grieved enough and we are going to kick you off ESA? Ridiculous isn't it?

Bev xx

Last edited by

85 Replies

  • Hi Bev, I thought that form was ridiculous, as well as repetitive too

    Sandra x x x

  • Thank you Sandra love. It is isn't it?

    Bev x

  • Hi Bev,just remember you have to give the pen pushers,something to do with there time,poor things!

    Do hope things get a little easier for you,after the hard time you've been through,

    Hugs,Wendells xxx

  • Sure they will many thanks Wendells. Hope you feeling better at moment and breathing easy!

    Bev x

  • I too found the form ridiculous,repetitive and silly.but if you can maybe photocopy it before you post it of,that way you have a record of what you said.good luck Bev :) xxx

  • Thanks Jambo.

    Bev x

  • O lord I don't know how you would answer that maybe a little be of sarcasm would be in order.

  • Just tell them other people are upset to see you grieving, and that is why you cannot leave your home. Idiots.

  • Bereavement is a bit like COPD, and affects people differently. When my hubby died, my GP handed me a sick certificate for 6 months. I never asked for it, but she recognised that I was suffering from depression, and needed to recuperate.

    Sandra x x x

  • Not according to my doctor. Bereavement was cited as the cause of the depression on the sick certificate. The exact wording was 'depression due to death'. I remember it only too well, since my manager remarked I was a healthy looking corpse.

    I can only surmise Bev received a similar cause for her absence on her doctor's sick certificate, to excuse her for not actively seeking employment.

  • Caused by bereavement!

  • Stitch

    That's exactly what I said... The sick note is for depression.

    Recommend 0

    Reply to this Report

    You left out the cause, which was bereavement, something Bev is dealing with at the present. My heart goes out to her because I know the pain that bereavement inflicts.

  • Oh my mistake, then. Since depression caused by bereavement has only been attributed to me, by me, I'd assumed you were indeed responding to me.

  • Bless you. You do don't you?

    Bev xx

  • I'm obviously not talking about your own situation here, but do you not think that GPs handing out sick notes for 6 months at a time has led to some of the financial problems we now have in the benefits and NHS systems? As you say, everybody's different in how they cope and 6 months without checking again on their condition seems a bit irresponsible. Anyway, maybe that's all changed now with the 'fit to work' as opposed to the sick note. At least now you can go back to work on a phased basis as you improve, better for you I would think.

  • Actually, I had appointments every two weeks to see my doctor during that time. It wasn't a case of here's a sick note, now don't bother me. They were actually more frequent than the appointments I get to see a doctor now that I'm physically ill.

  • Just as a matter of interest then (and you don't have to answer) did you manage to go back to work before the 6 months was up?

  • We all react differently to bereavement. I tried to get back to 'normal' in couple of weeks for the sake of my daughter, but that was a wrong move. The doctor, in my case, knew best. I doubt any doctor writes out sick certificates on a whim, but relies on their own knowledge of the illness and their patient.

  • How old was your daughter at the time? iknow how upset i was when my dad died and I was an adult not a child.

  • CarrieMe Is it necessary to be quite so caustic?

  • About?

  • Good luck with it Bev. :-) x

  • Thanks Libby.

    Bev x

  • I am in total agreement with your frustration at what seem like silly questions, when your inability to seek work is due to crisis emotional symptoms from bereavement.The forms however have to cover all things and establish if these things are effecting you in your case.Bereavement is a form of clinical depression so I suggest you may need help from someone who is more knowledgeable in filling in forms concerning this type of cause for not working. How about your GP? Best wishes if you try to do it yourself.

  • Thanks Katie thats very good advice.

    Bev x

  • Apologies for not understanding, but why would you be looking for ESA for a bereavement? It might be debilitating, but surely not a disability?

  • ESA is the new sickness benefit. It is paid to someone not fit enough to sign on as available for work.

  • Hi toci and CarrieMe

    There are 3 levels in ESA two levels you are required to work, if awarded the highest Support Group level you may work if you want to but you are not required to do so.

    I think ESA would not be awarded for bereavement as its not considered to be a medical condition. ESA could be awarded for depression generally but may not be awarded the Support Group level (although I have known of people with Bi Polar / manic depression that are incapable of work because of their illness awarded ESA Support Group level. I think highest awarded support Group level of ESA would be more likely be awarded to someone with a diagnosis of a medically recognised illness that affects ability to work long term (but even that is not an automatic guarantee of being awarded highest level of ESA)

    Some info if anyone wants to look it up:

  • IN work, I was signed off for 3 months by my doctor, who gave bereavement as the only reason. Neither my employer or anyone else questioned this.

  • There actually is no set time scale on compassionate leave in the UK. Paid or unpaid, it’s at the sole discretion of the employer, but must be granted in an emergency for family concerns. Not wishing to belabour a point, but you had been discussing discrimination against workers & what is justifiable for applying for ESA. Surely, if I, as a worker, can get paid time off in sick leave, for bereavement, it would be discriminatory to deny someone claiming benefits to do likewise.

  • Judy1 The post is not about the set time scale for compassionate leave in the UK. Its about about Bev changing her benefit from JSA to ESA because she is still in bereavement for her mother and unable to concentrate on job searching for the moment. Bev has shared just what she has posted, none of us here can know the entire circumstances about her health, her doctor providing sick notes and even if we did, we are not professionals, doctors or ESA assessors and even if we were we wouldn't be discussing the situation publicly here.

    I do not understand why information that doesn't apply here is brought up.

  • That was what Stitch was commenting on, & why I commented as I did.


    Can't you see that that you're talking about something else entirely??? Time off for bereavement is not the same as time off with a sick note!

    Recommend 0

    Reply to this

  • What you say is not making any sense to me regarding the OP, I don't know how or why you think copy pasting Stitch comment out of context is relevant to this discussion.

  • If you read the post in it's entirety I think it becomes crystal clear. A misunderstanding on the status of the OP regarding a medical certificate caused confusion, with someone else raising the topic of discrimination against workers bereavement entitlement, compared to those on JSA. There are no UK laws on bereavement leave & I felt it apt to point that out.

  • I refer back to the OP there is no mention of a medical certificate

    I really don't understand how things have got so far off the OP.

  • I can't quite fathom if you are being deliberately obtuse, or if there is some misunderstanding, but as I said, if you bother to read the entire post with comments, you would have noticed the original poster had made clarifications some 2 hours before your foray into giving your opinion on what can & cannot be claimed under ESA.

  • I can't see anyone saying you get ESA for bereavement, but yes for depression due to bereavement


    Not according to my doctor. Bereavement was cited as the cause of the depression on the sick certificate. The exact wording was 'depression due to death'. I remember it only too well, since my manager remarked I was a healthy looking corpse.

    I can only surmise Bev received a similar cause for her absence on her doctor's sick certificate, to excuse her for not actively seeking employment."


  • Moot point really. Irrespective of your thoughts, a GP has issued a certificate declaring Bev unfit for work, and for a specified time period too.

  • Agreed, not in the OP, but surely you knew you needed a sick note to apply for sickness benefit? Hypercat did clarify this some time before your conversation regarding worker discrimination. It is further down the page. I read the entire blog before I commented.

  • Really? The application I received had that document request printed on it, with the other requested documentation required hand written. Looked, but failing to see a full scale argument.

  • P60, Bank Statements etc. Really? You were never asked for a sick line? Perhaps you were moved from another benefit then, that may explain it. As a new claimant, this demanded of me.

  • Precisely judy1, we cannot know the circumstances of each individual and many of us can tell a different story because of our personal circumstances, details of which we may not chose to share entirely.

  • I thought that was what the support forum was about; speaking from your own experiences, & that has been my experience of the ESA, as a new claimant.

  • I agree speaking from our experiences and sharing these if we wish. But as you know all our experiences are different, so nothing is cut and dried. Certainly isn't as far as ESA applications are concerned.

  • Thus giving reason for discourse on open forum, exchanging views & experiences to assist and support the community.

  • Not speaking for Bev, but the JSA rules dictate that you are only allow two instances of illness of no more than 2 weeks each within a 12 month period. If Bev has had an illness in the previous 6 months, she would not be eligible again under JSA rules, but forced to apply for ESA.

  • Thats true.

    Bev x

  • well good luck with that form Bev, I used to work with people with an acquired brain injury, this does not get better, (like COPD) a lot of them were refused ESA even the ones with a physical disability, which makes working so much harder. One of our clients had lost both of his legs, he still had to go for a medical, then they put him on JSA because he can still work. Don't agree with any of this and really hope it changes, but I think ESA is here to stay.

    Take care


  • Hi Peta, I'm not sure exactly when it was, but wasn't there a judicial review on mental health assessments? Perhaps those poor souls you worked with are now benefiting from that review.

    Sandra x x x

  • mmm, no they don't come under mental health, under mental health you can be cured, you can't cure a brain injury, so it doesn't come under mental health. some times you just go round and round in circles, I spent so much time talking to councils, health workers, OT's ESA, JSA, panels for this , panels for that, drove me mad, everyone just tries to get out of giving money to people who really need it, very frustrating, I'm dreading if the day comes when I have to claim.

    Peta. xx

  • Peta, I am shocked and staggered by that!

    Sandra x x x

  • one of the main problems with people who have an acquired brain injury is their short term memory, so put them on JSA, they simply don't remember to go and sign on, then their money stops, here we go again, I worked at Headway for 9 years, felt like shooting a lot of official people. Peta. xx

  • Many thanks for your reply Peta.

    Bev x

  • Bereavement affects us all in different ways. Years ago I worked with a woman who was off for months after her dog died. When you are already suffering from a number of health conditions, like Bev, I can well imagine the death of your mum can take a very long time to come to terms with.

  • Hypercat, sorry, I got side tracked and forgot to respond directly to your post.

    You must still be feeling pretty raw so soon after your mum died and I hope you feel better soon. They say it can take at least a year to grieve properly because of all the birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, New Year etc.

    I hope that if, as seems to being suggested by others who know you better, you are suffering from depression you are in touch with your GP for help and support in dealing it and not leaving it to get worse.


  • I do suffer with depression and anxiety Carrieme as well as COPD. My friends here know that which is one of the reasons why they have been so supportive. I am trying to stop these getting worse by taking the pressure off myself from relentlessy seeking work.

  • Hi all many thanks for responding to my post. I am sorry if it has stirred up a bit of controversy as well. It wasn't mean to. To make it clear I don't have a job at the moment so was claiming JSA. Benefit payments on ESA until the assessment anyway are exactly the same as JSA so I haven't cost anyone any more. Apart from that I have worked full time all my life so it's my money I'm getting back and not taxpayers money Even if I never worked again I have paid far more into the system than I could ever get out! And I don't resent that because the system is there for those who need it - including me at the moment.

    I don't know if many of you have had recent experience of being on JSA but the conditions now are quite stringent. I have to apply for so many jobs a week and have to satisfy all the criteria or my benefits could be sanctioned. The Jobcentre do check. Because of the death of my mum and the way I am feeling I don't feel I can meet the criteria at the moment and am not taking the risk of my benefits stopping. The doctor didn't give me a sick note for depression - she just put on family bereavement. She only gave me a month but said she will renew it if necessary. If I still don't feel right I will ask her to put on depression as well. But I anticipate (and hope) that by the time of the Assessment I will be feeling a bit better and be able to cope with signing on again..

    Its not just the bereavement its all the accumulated stress over the past couple of years with my mum specially since she broke her hip in March this year. It's all caught up with me and my mind is all over the place. That's why I am seeking ESA at the moment. Hope that's clearer now.

    Thank you very much for the good wishes expressed in your posts. It really helps that most of you here are such good friends. I don't know what I would do without you.

    God bless you.

    Bev xxx

  • Bev lovely, you owe nobody an explanation as to why or why not you are applying for any benefit - I hope all goes well for you on that score - somehow it will all work out I am sure. Til then a big hug and a pile of my special chocolate reserves for those that truly need it - Scrobbs :) xx

  • After reading some of the posts I do need it scrobs. Thanks very much :)

    Bev x

  • You don't need to justify yourself, Bev. Grief can be terribly debilitating. I wish you peace. x

  • Thank you Toci. That's very much appreciated.

    Bev x

  • Oh, Bev, such a pity on a support forum you've felt it necessary to substantiate your claim. ((((((Bev))))))

    Sandra x x x

  • Support doesn't always mean agreeing with everything that is said, Nowheeze. Have you heard of the American phrase 'tough love'?

    Anyway, now that Hypercat is no longer "relentlessly" seeking work, I'm sure she'll be able to devote her energies to coming to terms with the events of the last couple of years.

    No doubt, like everyone else, I look forward to hearing how her claim goes.

  • Tough Love - used in a support forum, on a topic regarding recent, personal bereavement? Hardly a natural coupling, I'd have thought. Had I been recently bereaved and seen that, I would have been shocked and horrified.

    Compassion, on the other hand, I find, is more relevant on such a sad occasion, as this aids the bereaved to feel comforted. Compassionate support allows the individual the time to mend and heal.

  • Yeah but I felt the need to clarify what I originally said. I could have put the post a bit better but I didn't anticipate for a moment some of the comments made. Lots of Sandra hugs (((((Sandra)))))

    Bev xx

  • Oh Bevibobblesbombom, isn't it great how the antagonisers show their true colours eventually! I have turkish delight and more turkish delight and some bakewell tart, take your pick. Libby x

  • Oh, Libby, I am so glad you have noticed it too. I was beginning to think I was misreading some of the posts. Thank you.

  • I think you misunderstand.

  • Do you mean the antagonisers aren't showing their true colours?

    Anyway not sure I'll respond on this post anymore, poor Hypercat's been completely forgotten about. As she said earlier, she's sorry if she caused any controversy.

  • Carrieme I don't think the words 'tough love' are appropriate in my situation. I am horrified too. If you have been on JSA recently you would understand what I have been saying. Please don't respond to any more of my posts and I will not respond to any of yours.

    'Poor hypercat' is not helped by comments such as these.

  • Turkish delight it is then :) Ta very much

    Bev xx

  • Good luck with your application Bev, hope you find things improving for you soon.

    Let us know how you get on.

  • Very sorry you’re agitated with the form filling. It cannot be easy at a time like this. I lost Mother 2 years ago & the gp put bereavement down on my sick line too. Sad to see people are making an issue on what can & cannot be claimed on sickness benefit. My employer never quibbled, & on my return to work three months later, offered to pay for bereavement counseling. Wishing only the best outcome for you at this trying time. Judy x

  • Hiya Bev.

    Just thought I would tell you that if you need kisses, hugs and cuddles and other sloppy girly stuff like that I am usually about. Just give me a shout.

    Lots and lots of love from

    Bobby xxxxxx


    Bev xx

  • he he. You waited till I got in me jarmies didn't you. Can you survive till morning? I've just had me Horlicks.

    Love from Bobby xxxx

  • Can't trust these men Bev, all talk and no

  • You been talking to my wife Peta? lol

    Bobby xxx

  • Sorry missed this one Bobby, yea, your wife is a lovely lady, had a very good

  • Lol You're right Peta! Ha ha

    Bev x

  • Hi Bev I do hope your problems are brought to a conclusion soon.

    Having observed all of the posts thus far I must say what interesting and revealing reading it makes. However inadvertent thank you for that also.

    Good luck, Chris

  • They didn't have this pension when my mother died years ago. I nursed her on the ward where she died. A week later, I was back on the same ward that she died. It took me a couple of years before I felt better.

  • Hi Bev, I'm sorry you're having to go through a lot of form filling right now. I studied psychology for a short while now for long, but long enough to say there is no time limit on grief. There are different stages we go through as we grieve however we don't all follow them in the same order. You take as long as it takes you, there is no norm for you to follow. Recovery depends on a lot of things your relationship with the person, the support you receive at the time of the bereavement, your own life situation, your physical and mental health. Recovery happens when it happens and all stages of bereavement have been passed.

  • So sorry you are having to go through this ATOS stress Bev. And ongoing sympathy for your awful loss which is still so new. Like others have said, mourning is different for everyone. Would you feel able to get a friend to help you with the form? No wonder its so hard to contemplate when you are full of grief. Take good care of yourself, jean

  • The forms are designed to ask the same questions in a different way so that they can say that you have answered it another way for a similar question. I went to the ATOS meeting and was asked to squat but I said that I cannot do that but they insisted that I try. The fact that I tried and could not go down as far as they wanted and it hurt was good enough to them that I could do it.

    I had a so called doctor do a back to work examination said I had fluid on my lower right lung even though I told him I have a Paralysed Diaphragm and my lung is now pushed up so he will not hear a thing where he was listening. My Consultant showed me my x-rays and explained I have 76% lung capacity and Pulmonary Fibrosis, this was never put on his form

You may also like...