Mental Health Support
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Advice about ESA assesments (England)


I have been suffering with depression for many years but struggled on as best and I could trying to hide it from everybody. But last year it got so bad I finally picked up the courage to seek medical help. I am now on anti-depressents which help up to a point. I was out of work and on Jobseekers Allowance but after a while I decided the pressure of seeking work was making me worse so I am now on ESA (emplyment support allowance)

Today I received a call from somebody connectred with the JCP who said I need to have ‘an assesment’, she offered to come to my house or I could go to the Jobcentre. The call threw me and I didn't know which would be best. You see as part of my illness I haven't been doing any housework/cleaning at all for years, my house is flithy and unkept, I do not have visitors at all -I am too embarrased.

Anyway, I am worried about this assesment because I keep reading how they decide that you are fit for work (the government wants to get as many off benefits as possible) and will stop my money. I am already getting into debt because my benefits do not cover my out goings (it is a choice of heat or eat on many occasions)

I don't look after myself either, I only wash and dress if I have to leave the house, which is normally for a visit to GP or hospital (recently had hand surgery too)

Sorry I am rambling on –again a symtom of my depression, I find it hard to concentrate or remember things! So I guess I am asking you kind people “What is the best way to handle this assesment? Are there things I should or shouldn’t say or do?” “What can I expect to happen?” I have said I will go to the local Jobcentre but part of me thinks they should see how I live because no fully functioning person would live like this!!

Any advice will be appreciated, thanks.


10 Replies

Hello yes, I can recommend the following link. It is not a link to a government department; it is operated from a welfare rights point of view and just to give you an idea of where it is coming from the blurb on the site starts " At a time when most politicians seem proud to treat sick and disabled claimants with harshness and suspicion, independent and accurate information about how to claim and keep your benefits is vitally important."

So basically they are on your side and not the side of the government.

Here's the link

Also yes if they are willing to come out and visit you and you are able to deal with this then it could be an idea as like you say they would see how you are living and therefore how your illness is affecting you. If you do go to the job centre make sure that you take someone with you and even if you are home if there is anyone such as a friend who could support you that would be a good idea.

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Thank you Stilltrying, I have bookmarked that link. I am sure it will help. Logic says to have them here in my filthy hovel (although only one seat, mine, is clear of rubbish!!) but emotion and pride is stopping me from picking up the phone! Thanks again. I will post on here how I get on.


Thank you very much Bev. Very useful advice (from your good self and, as you say, Stilltrying) I don't have children and live alone in my own home -with a mortgage. The council have just written to me to say due to government cut backs they can no longer give me 100% council tax rebate, I have to find another £2.50 per week. I know that doesn't sound like much but when you don't have it it might as well be £100!! Anyhow; thanks again. I will post on here how I get on.


Council Tax benefit used to be a national benefit subsidised by government. A year or two ago they changed the rules so that each Council has to have its own CTax benefit system, and we get a funding contribution from the govt, which (quelle surprise) is much less than the subsidy we used to get. Basically a complicated way to cut Council tax benefit.

Says it all about the current govt that two separate courts have ruled the ATOS test discriminates against people with mental health conditions...and the govt has just ignored both rulings.



I'm from Sweden, and have been struggling with almost the same thing you describing..

I have been reading lately about the balance in the body " adrino fatigue" it has to do with the adrenal glands..that could be in a bad shape. .i started to take some herbs..ashwaganda for example combined with som minerals and if you get your adrino state checked also ad some bio identical hormones like pregnenolone.and DHEA.

This has helped me quite a lot ..and i have been very sick for 20 years now.

Best r/Joakim


Thank you Joakim, "adrino fatigue" is news to me, I shall check it out and maybe try some of those herbs.


I have just had an assessment recently I understand how you feel.

Yes I would let them come out to see you. Sounds like it's difficult for you to go out. I did attend their offices but took someone with me. Some of the questions are around how you cope. Do you have a social life and how you can interact with people. I guess this is to see if you would cope with a workplace situation and be able to interact in the workplace.ensure you tell them about any help you get from people with shopping cooking etc if that is the case.

The posts already here are very helpful.

Bev gives some good advice in her post and is correct about extra money and it gets backdated to you from a certain date when you started on the lower rate ESA,

Let us know how it goes.



Thank you, it is so nice to know I am not the only one. This has really set me back, I am getting myself into a silly state! I just don't seem to be able to handle any sort of stress/pressure.



I was the same as you, it set me back when I heard. I suffer greatly with anxiety and with this sort of thing especially. You are not being silly at all. What I will say is from what I've heard and through experiences of hearing from others the person who comes will be understanding.

It would be good if you can have someone with you, although if it's in your own home perhaps not as essential as if you go to them.

Please try not to get too anxious about it, easier said than done I know. It doesn't take long and seems to be all over quite quickly.

Do ask if you want to know anymore.

Sue x


Thanks Sue, I don't have anybody I can ask to be with me but somebody on here has suggested that I ask for it to be recorded, I think I might do that because o won't be able to remember much of it!!


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