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Fibromyalgia Action UK
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ESA ASSESSMENT TOMORROW

Absolutely dreading my ESA, assessment tomorrow, any tips for coping anyone! What to expect re questions ? I am so worried!

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Hi try relax tomorrow if you can so you can get point across.is it a home visit or centre

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Hi Ajay, it’s at the centre, with Maximums. Wish I’d sorted it for home cos I am so tired and in pain.

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Never mind .these assessments not nessacerly a lot.just try be calm so you can answer questions and get your points across and tell them about your tiredness and pain.they look at computer and ask you questions going over your forms .if they ask you to do something do not do it if it can cause pain .try let assessor see your in pain tomorrow.im only saying this incase it is a bad assesor should be ok just in case.at centre they do and can comment on your looks how you walk to room and if in pain also on camera .if you are still tired and in pain tomorrow really pace yourself when walking at centre and stop for a rest on way to room .and in room if your in pain stop for rest to move about and take your time getting up from chair etc. if anyone with you they can go in with you and they can help you manage at centre and to get to room .good luck take care .p.s if your in pain for walking tell them this tomorrow .if you cannot walk upto 50 metres cause of pain and need rest do this tomorrow and tell them

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Thank you ajay, good advice. I will pace myself. Wish me luck! Xx

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good luck.hope it goes well for you.

Ajay has said all, given good advice - what i would have said,I had a bad assessor who told blatant lie after lie but that was Atos,

mine claimed everything was not based on just the assessment -tho it was for PIP not ESA.-but on the whole claim form etc it was not because it was on what he "saw" on the day.

dont "dress up" -dress down .as Ajay says Pace yourself.

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Hi, thanks for advice, Did you get your claim sorted in the end? I hope so.

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The advice given to you about walking is correct, Also you need to say you do not sit for any longer than 25 to 30 minutes without having to get up to move due to pain and discomfort ,As in my case i have mobility problems so they said they can provide a wheelchair. You must stress this about sitting as the way they ask this question is Do you watch T V make sure you answer you say you are not able to stay seated for any longer than 25 to 30 minutes like i told you earlier.

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Hi , thanks for your advice, problem with sitting... sometimes I am too tired to even move, let alone get up and move around. But other times I just seize up if I am sitting for too long. My PIP says I can’t walk more than 50 metres. Do you you think, this Would qualify me for ESA anyway?

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Yes with other points as well.if you rest with pain and that tomorrow you should get in support grouo .mind the paceing andcresting at centre

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I said I have to lie down and can't concentrate on the TV, the sound gets on my nerves

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I have mobility problems too so its important you stress what i said earlier about sitting as i never found out about it until it was too late in my case . I won at appeal after but its something i should have said at my assessment and put on my form. They only looking if you can work and stay in one position seated for an hour.

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Thank you Matt, grateful for tips. I know fibromyalgia is always difficult because things change so much. Well they do with me. Who knows what tomorrow will bring!

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Is anyone going with you

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Hi there, twinks, I went with my brother. Thank goodness it’s over. ! I got a really nice chap actually, he seemed sympathetic, and didn’t do a physical examination. He said that he had enough info and it’s just wait and see now. Fingers crossed.

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Also they ask you how you got to assessment be careful with your answers I not telling you to lie but give answers that is in your best interest

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I think they ask u questions like on the form you filled in.

Just answer as best u can, tell them how difficult things are if you can't do something say why, I. E. Too much pain too fatigued can't concentrate etc

All the best

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Get someone to open the doors for you as they are usually heavy fire doors. Explain that when you are tired it’s beyond exhaustion. Even though you may be able to start a task it doesn’t mean you have the energy to finish it. Those tasks you do have to be broken down into smaller pieces over a longer time. It shows that if you were to work you would have issues with getting there, being able to do the work in a timely manner and being able to continue working. Explain about flare ups. Constant fatigue, how much you depend on others. The assessor only has to be a healthcare professional and not necessarily a doctor. I’ve seen 4 over the last 10 years. One who did a home visit was awful and suggested I cut my long hair if I had trouble managing it. I was so upset as it was the one bit of me that showed who I was and how I expressed myself. The other 3 were really nice. They aren’t there to catch you out but they need to accurately record your condition as when they put it on the screen it uses a points algorithm. If you have any paperwork from anyone you have seen for your condition it’s good to take it along. Any photos of you that show you when you’re at your worst can help. I took photos of my hands and feet when I had a flare up. The assessors face dropped when she saw them. Like they say a picture paints a thousand words. Remember they will be on a limited time so make sure you get your point across. If you write bullet point notes you can say you did it to jog your brain fogged memory. Good luck with your assessment.

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Hi Sheila, thank you so much for your support. I was so exhausted after the assessment I’ve just slept since I got back, and only just seen everyone’s advice and support. I saw a man who seemed to be sympathetic towards me, and didn’t give me a physical, just questions mostly about pain and fatigue, and said, we don’t need to talk about my other problems. So not sure if that’s a good thing or not. But when he said, all this must be making you really depressed, he said we are not even going to touch on that... well ... I just burst into tears! Because he genuinely seemed to understand. I am not going to get false hope, but even though the experience was exhausting, it wasn’t as bad as I expected with regards to the way I expected as heard so many horrendous experiences from others. I mean, the way that man told you to cut your hair... that’s just awful. Anyway thanks again and bless you for responding.

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I’m so glad things went well for you. My last assessment was cut short because the nurse could see how much pain I was in. She told me it wasn’t a bad thing that she wasn’t continuing with the assessment and that she didn’t need any further information from me. I got my award notification about 6 weeks later. They have such a backlog that they send to be using the information on the forms and fill in details from the face to face assessment. It sounds like it went well for you. I’d say fingers crossed but mine won’t do that comfortably now 😄 x

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Mine was for PIP but the best advise I can give is take dome one with you -definitely , definitely !!. They try to bamboozle you and if as I had you have a bad assessor they tell lies , someone else can prompt you after as to certain points that were said. Also they have cameras watching you walk from the waiting area to the interview room, on mine she told me that she had been told the distance was 30metres , this turned out to be untrue, but stop and rest whilst moving this distance. Good luck .

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Don't panic.dont smile.be as gloom as possible.beleive it or not if you smile they write down that you are well/ happy/ and in control.they are very sly.

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Good luck. Great idea about photos, but there's nothing to see with me. Rules are there that they watch you in and out of building because people have been known to come in with walking sticks and hobble, yet on the way out run for the bus! Unbelievable. At mine, there was a receptionist and a security guard walking around. He was like the 'spy' overhearding things you said. When we came out after nearly 2 hours (I'd asked for a Dr as I have mega allergy issues too) so sat away from people and closed window as not many people there, as i would normally do , we were told to wait (took partner) the security guard hovered around us. this was so obvious as there were only two other couples in the big room. Then after I said I wanted to go home to bed to rest, he bumbled off back to 'report'. We were then dismissed. I can't see that they were writing up notes all that time (about another 20 mins), I guess they were googling me to see if I had done any bungee jumping etc. Fat chance! I have to get people to open heavy doors for me too, so you really need to take someone with you. IF you can't hop up on the couch, don't. Wear easy shoes and elasticated clothes if you would normally, most fibro patients do as these are most comfortable. I had, actually, prepared a letter and sent it to them weeks before with a request for no one to wear perfumes etc or have window open etc. and had no reply as usual, so i insisted when we got into the room on asking if these conditions had been met. They had, but they didn't tell me beforehand which isn't nice. I had to ask whether he was a Dr or not etc. They don't like it but you don't want a physio or nurse examining you if they haven't a clue. I did wonder if he would penalise me for not using a stick, but I said no, anyway. I don't feel dizzy or fall down, just use the walls as support if I need to. I took a snack, banana, with me as I need this at mid morning/afternoon and I interupted him to request this, although he was typing everything very much all the time in that hour and a half. If you can afford a taxi, get a taxi. Good luck, just answer carefully and take your time. If you are having a foggy day, tell them, as you may jeopardise yourself with wrong dates. Fidget if you need to. This is your life, they need to see it. x

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Just relax they will ask you some questions which you sent about you so don't worry all the best

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Try not to worry. I have been through this and I would say to make sure you have someone with you. Remember to describe your worst days or you will be assessed on the better ones and it may reduce you claim. Try not to worry. If your worried that you won’t remember everything that you want to say, then make notes to take with you. Lastly good luck and remember your there through circumstance not choice and so you do have a right to be making the claim. X

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Good luck for tomorrow hope all goes well for you. After going to several esa assessments with friend step daughter and oh over years best advice i could give is to be brutally honest no matter how embarrassing it is for you or how hard it is to admit to yourself things have got so bad. My oh only got lower rate and has to attend back to work appointments because he wasn't honest about how bad his personal hygiene can be and how often he has accidents cause he can't get 5m from sofa to toilet. I also find over doing things day before so your looking and feeling at your worst tomorrow helps them see how bad u are but only do that if u can cope with the aftermath of the flare up. I get how much tougher a flare up makes things I'm currently paying for not pacing myself last week.

If you've got a copy of your esa form read over what u wrote because thats what they refer to when asking u questions. I personally find writing down main things i want to point out to them helps incase fibro fog kicks in.

Sorry for such a long message took me well over a hour lol x

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I agree with Darkfairy write everything up in a word document, dont leave anything out incl, personal hygeine difficulties, take it with you and a chaperone, if the question your need for this tell them you have bad fibro fog and need to refer to notes as many things dont come to mind as quickly as they should.. good luck, dont say "sometimes" in explaining diffculties the word is "Always"

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Hi dark 🧚‍♀️ hope you’ve recovered from all the writing..! I am so grateful for your support and advice, everyone has been so amazing and helpful. I am so relieved it’s over, was so exhausting and been zombiefied since getting back. I had a man, he said he was a physiotherapist, but seemed to understand about fibromyalgia and seemed to be empathetic towards me. I say ‘seemed’ because I am not going to have false hope, we’ll see what happens. Thanks again for your advice.

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Give the worst possible scenario,do not even think of better days,they don't count.

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if you are like me this illness causes anxiety so I avoid going out ECT. lost a lot of friends and hobbies and interests which is depressing. i wont go anyway unfamiliar on my own due to anxiety and defo not on public transport.if so tell them this. if they ask to do an examination and you feel it will cause you pain or future pain refuse the examination or to do the exercises. this is acceptable.

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Hi Julie, thanks for advice. He didn’t ask me to do anything physical, just questions about pain, fatigue.. he did ask me about a good day, how long it takes me to get places etc. I was honest, but talked about bad days also. I felt he was on my side but maybe that was a mask. Will just have to wait and see, and appeal if needs be.

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be sure to mention you have to pace yourself or it will make you suffer more. the more you di on not so bad dayz the more bad days

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It’s worrying I know had mine in December I was getting esa work group I was so worried because of all the things that happen and the out come but I was so surprised to be put in the support group and given a rise in my money so there are some good outcomes....I wish you all the best for a good outcome...x

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I never had to see anyone, didn't even know anything about it until I had a phone call from them telling me something else. They said something like I'm in the something group which I get the highest payment group. Still don't understand what group it is and what for. Pip must of spoken to them I suppose.

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That’s good, that you didn’t have to go through it. The assessment was stressful and has bought on a flare, been in bed since I got back on Tuesday!

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