ESA and Statement of fitness for Work

My son who has had mental health probs for 16 years.He received a letter today stating he will receive a phone call from DWP and then a form to migrate from his income support and severe disability benefits to ESA.

He has been unable to work for the past 16 years due to his illness and the only support he gets is from myself and his father, we have looked after him ourselves and supported him.

He had to go to the drs for a review and I mentioned that maybe he could ask the doctor for a letter of support to back up his claim for ESA. He came home with a statement of fitness for work.

On the form the doctor had put I advise that you are not fit to work and this will be the case for 1 Month.

I asked if I could speak to the doctor who had issued the form on my sons behalf as my son was very agitated and stressed thinking he had to find work within a month (such is his illness).

Thankfully, the doctor agreed to speak to me. I don't know how true this is but, the doctor said that GPs have to submit a statement for fitness for work when people are being changed over to ESA.

My son has not done any work for 16 years and is likely not to in the future. I explained this to the doctor but, he said that this form still had to be submitted to the DWP. I argued that he is not likely to get better in 1 month, he then said he would extend this to 3 months.

I am ill myself and when I had to change over to ESA I never had to submit these fitness for work statements.

Please could someone tell me if this is the case now when claiming ESA. I would be very grateful if someone could help me on this. Thank you.


4 Replies

Hi Caz59

Dealing with the DWP has to be one of the most stressful things we have to do! Can I strongly advise that when you get the ESA form that you and your son take it to your local Citizen's Advice Bureau who will help you fill it in, they know how best to answer the questions. Maybe you used them for your form?

It would have been better if your GP had done a letter of support detailing your son's problems rather than give a medical statement with a time limit for his illness. I had a statement from my GP that stated I could never work . Is your son treated by a Hospital Consultant? If so it might help his claim if he got a letter from him to submit with the form. I hope I've been helpful and good luck.X


When my son was ill also with mental health problems and applied for ESA he had to fill in a form I think it was ESA50 or something like that. He submitted it and got the assessment rate of ESA until his medical arrived at which time he was promptly kicked off. He appealed but this time he sent in a letter from his consultant psychiatrist and won his appeal and got the new rate backdated. If your son can get any professional to write a letter for him other than the GP I am sure that would be helpful. It's bad enough if you are ill with a physical illness and have to go through this performance but a zillion times worse for those with mental health issues. My son eventually went back to work but sadly became ill again and for the last 10 months has not claimed any ESA because he just cannot face it. It makes me so angry because when he is working they are taking plenty in tax yet when he needs it he is "too scared to claim" that was his words not mine. I would try and enlist the help of the Welfare Rights people and the CAB if possible but I understand that with mental health issues sometimes they just want to hide away and not face the DWP. Good luck.


My son comes under the Autistic Spectrum and when he was 17 he started to receive ICA and last year I also go a phone call to say I would be sent another form to fill in for ESA. My son is now 26 and we get direct payment from my local council to pay for a personal assistant to be with him for a number of hours each week to try and find a job (for this he does voluntary work and goes to several job clubs and also the job centreplus).

When the forms arrived I filled them in honestly and send them back and he was given the ESA, so please don't panic caz59 because they send these forms to everyone who is on ICA or similar benefits. My friend who has a son who is in his twenties with cerebral palsy and cannot talk or walk had to fill in the same form also and there is no way he can work.

If your son has a social worker you could ask them to help you fill in the forms or your welfare rights officer.

All the best xx


Hi caz59

Firstly let me say how sorry I am that your son is suffering and that it seems that there is no real support for him. I worked in mental health before I had to retire due to Lupus. So I know just how debilitating it can be. I don't know what the GP is doing surely he should be supporting your son to claim the benefits that he is entitled too. I have never heard of anyone having to produce a fitness for work form when it's clear he is not fit for work. The only advice I can give you is to take all the forms to CAB and see what they say and if you need to have other people involved with your son, please contact an organisation call MIND I am sure they can offer you all support. I wish you and son well and hope that you get this paperwork sorted soon. Best wishes.


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