0 points from ESA medical assessment!!

Hi everyone,

I've been suffering from my symptoms since 2014 (but anxiety for around 8 years), and I recently had my ESA medical on 25th July. I got a phone call from the DWP exactly 2 weeks after, telling me I scored 0 points! I was unbelievably shocked. I honestly was not expecting it.

I suffer from chronic pain in my neck, shoulders, back, chest, wrists, elbows, knees and legs, headaches, nausea, fatigue, insomnia, IBS, bladder symptoms, cognitive issues and anxiety. I experience all these every day, from the second I wake up to the second I (eventually) fall asleep. The medication I take for all of these cause me to become incredibly drowsy and in a zombie-like state, so I'm bedridden most days. My knee and leg pain is so bad that I need to use a walking stick when I do actually go outside, but due to my pain and anxiety that is a very rare occasion.

At the medical, I was not dressed up at all. I wore joggers, my hair wasn't brushed and I had no make-up on. I also stressed that I waited for an hour after my appointment time and that the waiting caused my knee pain to flare up. The woman who assessed me seemed very nice and understanding (obviously not), and listened to everything I said when I was talking. I told her when I go outside and walk, I am in pain instantly and need to walk slowly, and that going up and down stairs causes me immense pain. I cannot cook for myself, I cannot do any housework, and I can't dress myself most days. When I'm sitting at my computer, I have to stand up and walk about after every 30 minutes to ease my chronic pain. I also stressed how bad my anxiety is, how I dislike going outside due to the fact that I hate having to interact with people.

I can't remember what else was said (damn fibro fog), but I obviously am not capable of working yet. But I was scored 0 points. I honestly don't know how they came to that decision. Once I get my letter I will be appealing instantly. If anyone has any advice or help with appealing I would greatly appreciate it!

Thanks everyone!

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34 Replies

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  • Well you are doing the right thing by appealing . I'm extremely wary of these assesers being "nice". To your face. Have you got any professional evidence to support your claim?,even speak to your GP, any evidence is better than none.

    I also scored 0 points.

    On appeal awarded 22 points

    Seek advice from CAB.

    Don't think because she scored you 0, the appeal panel will do the same.

    Not sure of the %,but it seems most people are successful on appeal . Keep calm,keep your reply short & try not to babble, giving a clear idea of a typical day,& the struggles you face.

    Good luck

    Keep us informed

  • Luckily enough, I had a GP appointment a few hours after I got the phone call. She was shocked just like me, and is writing a detailed letter for me to send them. She also printed off evidence from my physio appointments, my urology appointments and my gynaecology appointments, as these were all for the process of diagnosing my fibromyalgia.

    I will definitely see the CAB, I have so much evidence so I'm feeling confident that my appeal will be successful. But I was confident about my medical result, so maybe I should prepare for the worst :(

    Thanks for your advice :)

  • OMG!!! How frustrating. What exactly do these people think? Every time I hear a story like this I just can't believe how some people deliberately ignore what they are hearing and seeing.

    I hope you do appeal and that you're successful my lovie. Lots of hugs xxx

  • Hi I know how you feel exactly the same happened to me I done appeal with the help of citizens Advice which I won and got 21 points I was put into the work programme which I am disappointed with I think I should be in the support group

    Good luck

    Phyllis

  • Yes differently appeal and get help from hopefully a good doctor that knows you at the surgery yes and citizens advice they'll be people more experienced on here than myself as stil learning but we hear to listen and sending hugs good luck my friend keep in touch yasmintina

  • I read this every day about the assessor being nice but I think they do this to take you off your guard and then hit you hard with zero points They are in my opinion (not all) Wolves in sheeps clothing

  • The whole disability benefits system is not fit for purpose! What job do they expect you to do???!!! Do you get PIP? My daughter scored a few points for this but not enough to be eligible. She was in a similar situation to you though not quite so severe. She has since done the Lightning process and is loads better! She is now applying for jobs and going to do open university! See past post below. You may not be able to afford the course but the book is not expensive.

    Lightening Process great success for my daughters fibromyalgia.

    NewtaliNewtali 25 days ago 12 Replies

    A few weeks ago I posted asking if anyone had heard of the lightening process (LP). I had several replies advising caution. I read some links someone posted which were all very negative and calling it a scam, waste of money etc. However a friend of a friend with ME had done it with great success and my osteopath put me in touch with another ME person who had done it and it had transformed her life. However neither had had Fibromyalgia but the lady advised me to join the LP FB group and ask if there was anyone with fibromyalgia who had done this. I got lots of replies from people who were now living full pain free lives! Clearly you are only going to get people in the group who had success with this but even so I was impressed.

    After 3 years of trying to find relief for 19'year old Abby with her having been under pain management for 2 years, spending up to 20 hours a day in bed using heat pads to relieve the pain, my giving her 1.5 to 2 hours massage every night, she was only able to attend school for a couple of hours once or twice a week, had almost no social life and us spending a fortune on food supplements, allergy testing, magnetic mattress, osteopath treatment once a week etc etc we decided to give it a go. There is little we haven't already tried and this was a last resort to find a solution.

    So with some nervousness we enrolled my daughter onto the course. Due to her difficulty travelling which would increase her pain we decided to pay extra for one to one to give maximum chance of success. Abby had to do an online training of 4 hours and then a phone assessment to ensure she was fully on board. You have to fully commit to it for it to work.

    It works on the principle that brain pathways can be changed. It uses techniques similar to NLP, mindfulness, hypnosis ( but you are not at any time actually hypnotised). In essence it is quite simple to learn the technique but the training covers a lot of theory, much of which is similar to what they teach you in pain management.

    The course was 11 hrs in total over 3 consecutive days. I wondered if she would even cope with focusing for 4 hours at a time as after 3 hours of being out of bed she is normally climbing the walls with pain and exhausted.

    After day one there was already significant progress. She walked the dog for 15 minutes with no ill effects. She has not walked the dog for about 2 years and walking more than 5 minutes normally causes increased leg pain which can last days or weeks afterwards. She only had a short nap and did some work on her lap top with no,ill effects.

    The progress continued after days 2 and 3. She is needing less sleep, is reducing her reliance on heat pads, and we have reduced the length of massage I give her. Now 2 weeks on she is still doing really well. We have just come back from a 3 day theatre fest, travelling to London on the train, seeing 3 shows, doing lots of walking, including spending 3 hrs walking round shops with just a couple of breaks! Today she has had some additional pain in one of her legs, but probably no more than you would expect from having not walked for more than 5 minutes for at least a year!

    She is reducing down her medication gradually. She is not pain free yet but we are hopeful that this will happen over time, but even if it doesn't her quality of life is so much better. She can now start to think about her career and is no longer facing a life on benefits.

    I cannot tell you what a relief this is for us as a family. If you are able to afford it, I would strongly recommend trying this. No doubt it does not work for everyone and it will not cure structural damage but I still believe it can help with managing pain caused by arthritis etc. if your life is dominated by pain it has to be worth trying. If you cannot afford the course (it is expensive) there are several books available. The one Abby's trainer recommended was "Get the life you love now" by Phil Parker. It is better to do the course, but the book covers everything in the course and is inexpensive.

    The process can also be used for depression, anxiety etc.

    I would be interested to hear from anyone who does decide to do this and how they get on. Feel free to contact me for more info.

    Congratulations if you have managed to read this entire post!!!!

    Best wishes to you all from a very happy mum!

  • So sorry to read your post. It has been I intimated by some people in "the know" that they actually have a quotation system and get told off for passing too many people. This would make perfect sense when people like yourself get 0 points. My husband who had a complete mental breakdown also got 0 points and we ended up at 2 tribunals but he was given 18 points at the end and an apologetic the judge! From. What I have gleaned it is more likely that you will win if you are given 0 points when you have so much substantial evidence that you are ill rather than getting extremely near the required score.

    If you can't get help from the CAB and do ask them straight away as there can be a wait for an appointment it is worth paying out for a years subscription to the benefit and works site as they have excellent guides. I have e a feeling that Janet the advisor for Fibromyalgia Action UK has access to these as well, anyway worth a try. Do let us know how you get on.x

  • Yeah I heard that too! It's shocking how the government treats people in need. Could you give me some information on the tribunals as I'm unsure as to what would happen? I know that you get a mandatory consideration first, and if they still think 0 points, then it goes to a tribunal. My anxiety is quite severe and I feel I would really struggle having to go to a tribunal :(

    Thank you for your advice, I will definitely speak to someone about it because I clearly can't do this on my own. Hopefully it won't be a long process!

  • I'm just due a visit by the acupuncturist but will fill you in later.x

  • Normally you will be sent a copy of all the evidence they are going to use to make a decision, if they don't do ask for a copy. You will be given a date and have to travel to wherever the tribunal is being held. There are normally three people, a judge who sits in the middle who conducts proceedings, some kind of medically qualified person and often a third neutral. You will go into a waiting room where the clerk will tell you exactly what will happen and ask whether you wish to claim expenses and if so give you a form. You will then be called in and you can take someone with you.

    I think it is rather like with the assessments and they do observe you even going into the building so be aware. Normally they ask the person with you not to say anything unless they are asked but they normally give that person and you a chance to say something at the end. They will then ask you questions hopefully pertinent to your illness. Some of them can throw you a bit like have you ever had to cancel something important because of your illness. My husband just sat there and said no and the judge could see I was shaking my eyes and asked whether I wanted to speak and I told them that my husband had to miss his uncles funeral. They asked about employment history and when problems started etc and how he was affected. We had brought up anomalies with the assessment eg that the nurse had for his medication wrong despite being handed the repeat prescription form and that she had concentrated on his physical health when his problem was a mental condition. They then asked if they could have access to all his medical records from the day he first went to the GP and asked us to attend another tribunal when they and the chance to look at these as they felt they had insufficient evidence. We felt the second time there was a psychiatrist on the panel as headed my OH quite searching questions. We were asked to leave the room whilst they discussed their findings and we then called back in and given the verdict and we had an apology from the judge that he she had to got through the ordeal. Quite soon after he had a cheque come through for the benefit that he should have had.

    Hope this helps.x

  • Ah that sounds so intimidating to me :( but it's good to know what to expect. Thanks for your advice and helping me understand what to do!

  • We found them very professional but fair they did seem to listen and not interrupt which we found refreshing. We didn't know anyone at the time who had been to a tribunal so like you it was all new. You never know you might get a favourable decision at Mandatory Reconsideration as a completely different person looks at the evidence and might come to a completely different conclusion.

    I had DLA turned down the first time but I got them by the short and curlies when they said what they had based their decision in which was my application and my GPs report. I wrote to them and said I looked forward to the tribunal and presenting to the panel my GPs letter saying he had never been asked about my condition and had not done a report so their decision has been based on pure fiction. Within three days I had a letter reversing the decision. That's why you need to go over everything with a fine tooth comb as they can sometimes trip themselves up.x

  • Yeah I'm feeling confident with all my new evidence that the decision will be overturned for the mandatory reconsideration. Although I don't want to feel too confident haha.

    Ah that's so cheeky how they think they can get away with that! I'm intrigued to see what the healthcare professional wrote in my assessment, and I'll most probably be enraged and shocked. I did an online test of the descriptors and scored 51 points! Although I know they don't care about what I score myself. But it's honestly ridiculous how they can score me 0 points.

    Thank you for all your advice and help, it's been really nice being given information on what to expect. :)

  • nmartin95, relax! My experience of a t tribuneral, wasn't as bad as the medical assessment was. It is a tribuneral, but remember that you are not lying,you are requesting that you have the opportunity to be heard, mainly about how your health , affects your ability to be FIT for work (or actively seeking work) the panel is independent of DWP, it could be made up of a Dr, social worker & a magistrate , (for example ).

    Having read your reply about your Dr willingness to write you a letter outlining her opinion , no doubt. I carnt see you having a problem.

    Clearly I carnt tell you that you definitely WILL get an award,but it is always better the more professionals you have backing what you are saying about how your health affects your daily life. Also get in touch with CAB,straight away, as someone said they usually are busy. The more help/support for you the better.

    Above ALL else remember that these people are -only human,they are not above you , nor neither beneath you. Hold you head high and face it with all you've got.

    (I honestly wish I was near to give you a big hug)

    Take care & get busy, building you case. Xx

  • Thank you! I literally have like 50+ sheets of evidence of my hospital appointments, my surgeries, my physio and so much more so I have a lot of evidence to back myself up. It's just so frustrating to basically be told that I have nothing wrong with me when I clearly do. They're taking advantage of vulnerable people and it's not right.

    But again, thank you, you've made me feel better :)

  • Good that you have a lot of evidence, if you get the opportunity before the tribuneral date, if it gets that far, you never know the MR might work in your favour. If you could request a letter from any professional that currently treats you.

    Also have you had the opportunity to read what your GP has written? If you need to wait for her letter,might be worth making another appointment, to discuss what she is going to write, take the time to explain what YOU would like her to say. After all its you they are talking about.

    I know how you feel,cause it's so unfair,more stress, on top of everything. Keep that thought in mind. I will follow your thread with interest & all best wishes for you. Your last post in reply to me,read as a lot more positive. Don't hesitate to ask me anything.

  • She hasn't finished it yet I assume, but I spoke to her about what she was going to include and everything she said sounded good to me so I'm hoping it will be good enough evidence.

    Thank you for being so helpful :)

  • That sounds positive! I'm pleased for you.

    You seem like a genuine person,and if you have a good GP who is on your side,as yours seems, that's half of the battle.

    Then, how you present yourself at the tribuneral if it comes to that. Here's hoping that they look at your MR,along with your Dr's letter. And change the decision. Haveyou got a friend who could go with you,although they will (the panel ) only want to hear from you, it's nice to have support . As I said earlier, when I went to my appeal, there was a Dr and a magistrate, the Dr asked lots of questions. I took my time before answering, & a lot of the time he nodded along or even finished my answers, so really everyone experience will be different, but all in all my tribuneral wasn't as bad as I had thought it was going to be. I was nervous (very ) but knew as I left that I had told the truth.

    You can do this. Don't let them grind you down 😊

  • Yeah I'm hoping the fact I have all this evidence now will overturn the decision and I won't have to go to a tribunal! I have a very supportive boyfriend who comes with me to all of my appointments and also came to my assessment.

    That's good you had a positive outcome! It's nice to actually have someone listen to you properly for once. I actually did an online test for the descriptors and scored 51 points, although I know the fact I did it etc means nothing to them.

    But it's just shocking how that happens. I am definitely feeling a lot more positive and I'm feeling confident I will be successful in my MR, although obviously not too confident haha

  • There's a couple of members who have had 0 points 😏

  • Just as a suggestion, write things down, bullet points so you don't miss anything out but you can make it concise and straight to the point xx

    Good luck xx

  • had my medical in june 2017 met what seemed to be a lovely lady who was 7 months pregnant i was waiting for replacement knee surgery on crutches have had quad heart by pass surgery suffer with chronic blocked arteries in legs have been on so much medication over 14 years this so called pregnant lady was nothing more than a two faced bitch never gave me full medical due to suffering with pain and totaly stressed out told me to go home called my daughter from waiting room to collect me got a phone call 2 weeks later NO POINTS absolute joke these people

  • Yeah they act all nice to try and make you feel at ease so you look like you're OK. It's absolutely disgusting what the government do to people in need. Did you manage to get a mandatory reconsideration?

  • hi martin just to let you know still waiting for letter giving me a date for appeal wil let you know how things go. good luck to everyone in the same situation

  • hi martin just to let you know was waiting for appeal date but instead have received a new esa50 medical form to fill in and return to them so now going for new medical.

  • oh really that's the first I've heard of that happening! Did they say why they decided to do that instead of an appeal?

  • no reason, form got to be back by 10th september ive doctors appointment this thursday going to take form with me to ask what the doctors do if they get asked by esa

  • So I've finally got the dreaded letter.. The first activity, the moving around and sitting/standing. She wrote that I cannot stay seated for more than 30 minutes before having to move around to ease pain and that I cannot stay standing for more than 5 minutes. Yet on the points table it says 'You can usually stay in one place (either standing or sitting) for more than an hour without having to move away.' and awarded 0 points. How is that correct?! There's so much in the report that I want to scream about. On the phone to them (but obviously on hold) as I'm typing this. Just hope it goes my way!

  • Mine was the same, they didn't even get a report from my GP

  • Are they supposed to do that??

  • I'm going through the same thing, I'm waiying on a court date for my appeal, hopeyoyrs gets turned over and don't have to go the whole hog like myself!! x

  • It's ridiculous how they'll do anything to not have to pay people! Especially those in need! I hope you get the outcome you want, please keep me updated with what happens with your case x

  • If anyone would like to read the letter I wrote for my mandatory reconsideration please message me so I can get your email address to send it to you :) x

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