Have you undertaken a Work Capability Assessment? Would you like to share your views with an independent review?

Hello members,

From previous posts I know that many of you have, or know someone who has, been through the Work Capability Assessment (WCA). This assessment forms a major part of the application process for Employment and Support Allowance, and it is clear that many people have experienced serious problems with it.

The fourth independent review into the assessment has been launched, and this is an opportunity for you to share your experiences and suggestions for change.

To find out more and to complete the simple online form, visit gov.uk/government/consultat...

> Fresh criticism of Atos assessments

Employment minister Mark Hoban announced on Monday 22 July that written reports from Atos following assessments were of unacceptably poor quality.

Atos has been ordered to implement improvements by re-training and re-evaluating all of their staff, after it was found that a large proportion of their assessments lacked the level of detail demanded by the DWP. In addition, a number of new companies may be brought in to perform assessments from next year.

You can read more about this at guardian.co.uk/society/2013...

If you need any information or support with a benefits claim, please don't hesitate to contact our helpline on 0808 800 2244 or helpline@headway.org.uk.

Best wishes,


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14 Replies

  • Yes, I've now been too two. The first time I had been rejected and but on JSA. I had no idea that I could have appealed. While I still have an ongoing claim, my lawyer/solicitor what ever they are, sent me to a private medical hospital where I got assets by him, I had no idea of his report back to my lawyer until he sent me a copy. It was about 15 pages long. While reading it was too complicating for me at the time until my parents explained it. How ever I did see over quite a fue times it said I was not fit too work. I then reapplied for ESA and recently had a WCA about a month or two ago. This time I toke this report, I gave the doctor it she read it, only asked me about two questions and said that was it.. I'm still waiting on the outcome..

  • I went to one and I found the Doctor to be very courteous and I fancied I was ready for work again. I did not display any outward signs of ill health apart from extremely high blood pressure (red zone) and the Doctor was obliged to make a report to my Doctor. Subsequent medical checks revealed he could have found something if he tried harder but still just under 15 points. I thought I would give work search a try. Subsequent experience really indicates that I fail a bit short in the open jobs market. A sort of in-between zone. I was not informed of my options to claim ESA and I decided not to appeal as I thought I was fit enough and wanted to be. Wishful thinking as I am finding it very difficult, almost too much on the JSA Work Programme.

  • PS: I had a very full week of filling forms, job applications seeing the Work Programme, a computer assessment. The upshot was I felt very ill and signed on ESA as I could not handle 40 hours a week. Now, I feel better and wish I hadn't rocked the boat and I am not sure I've done the right thing because I might not have any money for Christmas now. Panic Attack really. A b bit of trying to do too much too quickly as well.

  • I am awaiting my appeal, my last communication from the DWP after I submitted a report from the rehab unit consultant contains the following" It is important to distinguish between the role of the Health Care Professional, and that of the Consultant. The primary role of the Consultant is to diagnose and treat any medical conditions that their patient presents to them. A Consultant does not routinely consider the functional restrictions appropriate to the activities and descriptors of the Limited Capability for Work Assessment". To me that means basically they ignore what your Consultant has to say, in my case I can walk 50 yards get dressed independently, make my own drinks and keep myself clean, so I can work, no matter I would need to rest if I could get myself to work on public transport, rest every half hour if doing anything physical or otherwise, I'm clumsy and unco-ordinated and my balance is shot!! Here's to the appeal, I've only been waiting since last September!! I will fill in the form for the Government though.

  • I've just had another Atos form to fill in. I'm basically the same as you for problems. I do a supervised voluntary job twice a week which I enjoy, but can't see someone in the real world giving me a job and a member of staff to sit with me as long as it takes. I've been told why don't you go shelf stacking, but with balance problems I'd be lethal on a step. If a customer asked which aisle the coconut milk was kept I would have no idea. I order my groceries on line. Like you I drive short distances (attention drops after about 20 minutes) in daylight only and don't drive if I'm having a bad day. They just think I look as if I should be OK. God knows how much this circus costs to administer.

  • I don't feel safe enough to drive that may come or not, but I'm not willing to try 'til I feel safe, I don't feel safe walking and crossing the roads somedays, ah well it'll all come out in the wash I suppose, I can only post on here cos of spell check . Good luck, and let me know how you fare. xx Janet

  • I had some time with a local driving instructor. I'm not the driver I was but the instructor thought that I was up to the standard of many teenagers who get through the test. I used to whiz back into my parking space, now I make a dogs dinner of it. I wouldn't drive if tired or feeling unwell (which happens a lot). I'm not confident with the speed and distance of approaching cars. But a consultant and a driving instructor think I'm OK to drive.

    I have a problem remembering the layout of buildings I didn't know 'before'. I wouldn't be able to remember a fire escape route which wasn't obvious. I get lost when visiting offices of any size, and need to ask to be escorted back to the door.

    I may not get back to you as I have significant memory problems. To be quite honest I wouldn't employ myself. Take care.

  • Thanks for the reply , it shows you care, my husband says he wouldn't employ me so that says it all really, best wishes xx

  • good old spellcheck, i reckon we woulds be illegible without it

    and i like it because i sound normal when i type :)

  • Thanks Biker, it's great having all this technology isn't it, we just have to remember how to use it!!! I've just seen the swim thing, now that's something I may be able to do ?

  • swim thing?

  • Sorry just seen your reply, yes if you put in swim on the home page they're organising a charity open water swim in Rutland, a bit far for me to go but I can't do charity runs or anything, thought I may think about this while I'm away, make me feel more useful and give me something to aim for I can manage 500 mts, swimmings what I can do, we'll see my husbands horrified but I know he wouldn't stop me

  • I'm back in work. I was assessed by the form thing and put in the limited work group thing, I was getting ESA contributions for a year. When I had to reply I did the forms again I missed the medical because I put it on the wrong day for my planner and then you have to phone dwp then they tell you to phone medical people. I find phone calls difficult especially writing information down. So I didn't bother. I got help with part time work, one hour a day to start at he Sam place I volunteered. I gradually did more each day till I was doing 25 hours a week, that took from jan till November. I got a temp contract then till the end of school term which ended in June. I didn't know what to do next but I saw a holiday job and got 16 hours two weeks and 24 hours two weeks. That ends this Friday. What to do next? It was a big impact doing the work, I had a lot of days off for treatments and somedays I was jut to ill to go. I don't get sick or holiday pay so I never knew what I would b paid. I didn't have two months the same. I have to use my slain to pay for someone to come and do my housework because I can't do both. It has cost me in health and family time but I am working. Till Friday anyway.

    The letter I to which said what group you go in said you can appeal, I had nothing to appeal, they didn't tell me points or nothing so I didn't see how I could appeal, what was I appealing against? Not an easy process.

    There is nothing taking not account my lack of time. I have to use a beeper to tell me when to do stuff because I don't know how long I've been doing things, I can read a clock and set an alarm with a reminder, I need to remember to switch it on. I am late for most things because I can't judge how long it takes to go here an get redy.

    Planning and organising is difficult too.

    I found its hard to get people to understand and the system is very hard to manage. I can drive in good health and good weather but if I'm tired or its dark or bad weather I'm not supposed to drive. It makes it hard to be certain you will be ale to get home from work. That is not taken into account.

    If I can get some more work I will need to do low hours first to give me time to learn how/what/when etc then build up hours again, I don't have the support now that was in place before so I will cross my fingers.

    My holiday job was good because there was a bus to and from the place so no worries about getting lost, I was playing with disabled children at a play scheme so no training needed. If that could happen in an job that woul be good!

  • Does there exist an equivalent South Africa communication?

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