PMRGCAuk
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ESA assesment

Any last minute advice for someone about to attend one tomorrow (thurs 2:45) 😱. I filled in the form to the best of my ability, completely finished me off and nothing on it that fitted with pmr/GCA, ME and plantar fasciitis. I don't hold out much hope but have no other income if they refuse me (am on income support for sickness at present). Find the whole thing depressing and humiliating. They sent me an appointment (to discuss the form) before they had even received my form so it shows how much they are interested in what i have written. So I may be looking out for the nearest food bank in town soon 🍵. All the best to you all cc 😎

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Knowing that most of the uk will be unlikely to reply to you until tomorrow, I just wanted to respond, though I haven’t got anything much to offer, except that I had to jump through all the hoops for my learning disabled daughter to gel all her allowances.

I was always worried that they might not believe how difficult life was, as she appeared ‘better’ than she actually was with strangers. The doctor who assesssed her was about 90, which amused me, as I don’t think he had any idea how her lack of ability and behavioural issues affected our family life.

BUT she was granted higher level of all the allowances.

I think ESA is the new Invalid Care Allowance? All I can advise is to write down everything you can about how the illness has affected your life, and insist you are allowed time to explain it. Can anyone come with you to advocate for you?

Others will reply in the morning, some of whom I know are retired HR people, so will have a lot more to offer.

Good luck...

Mary

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Hi Carollee,

No practical advice really, but as Mary says make sure you have a note of your symptoms, re-iterate how difficult life is, and if they ask about depression (which seems to factor high on some of the application forms) then don’t be shy in telling them that the conditions you have are well know to cause it.

Good luck.

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All I can add is :- state how you feel on a bad day, all that you can't do without assistance (whether mechanical or by a person(s)) and how all of this affects your own wellbeing.

Forget humiliation; if you need the help......... reach out for it. Pride does'nt pay the bills!

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Hi

ESA their not looking at Health conditions only about your ability to work and then this is not full time .

So focus on their questions which are about things like sitting standing raising your arms and such like.

So if you stand you can only stand for 10min and you have to sit and why .

Lifting due to PMR your muscles are intolerant of exercise so you can only do it a few times or you will be in pain and this may bring on a flare and put your recovery back .

So make certain you state each physical activity and what effect is has on you .

Even side effects of meds

Lights, Heat, cold , your environment anything you may encounter in a working environment

Good Luck

Let us know how you get on

Rose

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Hi Carrollee

Although I have no experience of ESA myself only PIP. Please check out benefitsandwork.co.uk then click on the forum button on the left. Many people have shared their experiences which may be helpful. Good luck, do go with someone if possible. It can be a lot to face on your own.

Best wishes.

Margaret x

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Can only add that this is about your ability to work, not ability to function around the house. For example, because of meds and defunct immune system my consultant advised that I don’t use public transport and that I avoided groups of people (particularly with this flu thing going round) so that would rule out work unless it was from home. Also thinking of brain fog and fatigue (if you have them) that could be dangerous in some workplace environments. Good luck x

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I accompanied a relative to an appeal, it seems a large proportion get turned down and go to appeal. It was obvious that she was being assessed even before she arrived as they knew she had struggled up a slope from a bus stop - “I see you can walk...” Get someone to drive you and accompany you, as I did for the appeal. Don’t try to look your best. If you ever use a walking stick, use it, concentrate on what you are like on your worst day. You spend all your time trying to put on a brave public face, don’t do that - dont be afraid to break down. No lies or exaggeration of course, but what you are like at your worse is what affects your ability to hold a job. They go largely on what they see on the day. Good luck, don’t despair if you have to appeal, get on with it straight away, Citizens Advice are very good. She won her appeal. The person who did her first assessment had no knowledge at all about her sort of condition, a specialist nurse in something entirely different with little relevant knowledge.

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Good luck. As others have said, get someone to take you and to go into the assessment with you. They mainly use a drop-down system on the computer (multiple choice) and are only interested in your ability to work at any job. You need someone with you as a witness, the assessors have been known to input completely wrong information. If you are wrongly assessed it is well worth appealing the decision, whether you have a witness or not as the tribunal are independent with no targets to meet. Please let us know the outcome once you find out.

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Please don't feel humiliated, you have worked, you have paid your taxes, you have already paid for this. All good wishes, please let us know the outcome.

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I really feel for you Carrollee, having had to face the interview in December. I was sent the form in March 2017 in spite of having only just qualified for PIP. Had to send exactly the same information and go through the same process, now still waiting to know if my ESA will be continued and frankly too frightened to ring up in case they say no.

I did all the things people here have suggested but I have failed every medical assessment I have been to so far because the criteria are so difficult. The physical and emotional effort of even attending the interview leaves you in pieces. Make sure they know that!!

Good Luck, My thoughts will be with you this afternoon, Chrissie

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If you are still reading these comments, Carrollee, make sure you tell your interviewer about the OVERWEHELMING EMOTIONAL DISTRESS caused by The process, the forms, the interview, the waiting, not to mention the PMR itself.

I found the courage to phone just now and they still can't tell me the outcome of my interview on 6th December nor can they tell me how long it is likely to be before I do hear. So I am in pieces!

We are victims of a system that just doesn't work and is getting worse. I am 60 so had expected to be retired, I already attend a free food project and worry every moment of every day how I will cope when my ancient car gives up or I have any expenses on my home.

No wonder there are days now when I don't get out of bed, good luck.

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Hi zebedee

So sorry your going thru all this as well and thanks for your concern. I hope you hear soon. I have sickness benefit but they have to decide whether to transfer me to ESA or send me out to work. My biggest concern is the impact on the GCA, it was under control but a few niggling symptoms are returning. Your right it is very distressing. Its quicker here, my form came thru in Nov and due back Dec 14th but I didn't get it back til beginning of Jan, fortunately they havnt stopped my money yet. But they sent me an interview date before they got the form. I did have a small amount of pip granted for three years but reviewed after two and then stopped even tho the only change was the addition of pmr and GCA. Probably why they are now challenging my other income. If you have been grated pip then that's a positive for you in their ESA decision. Am really grateful for everyone's input it will help this afternoon. Let me know your decision when it eventually arrives please. All the best cc 🤗

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You are very much in my thoughts right now as coincidentally I have just had a call from the ESA team and my benefit will be stopped. I did not reach the 15 points criteria, despite long term mental health problems and PMR.

They scored me 6 points for not being able to get to new places without emotional distress and yet are referring me back to the Jobcentre. It's MAD!

I'm terrified now, how Im going to cope in an isolated rural village with one bus a week and have to attend at the Jobcentre and go back into the workplace.

So make sure you get your message across and meet the descriptors. Hope you know what they are. It's a minefied!!!

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Hi zebedee

I am so sorry to hear that but you must fight it with a support agency. We have one in Oxford (15 miles away). Talk to citizens advice about who can help. You will continue to be paid while you are awaiting your appeal and with the right support there is a good chance you could win. Especially with the type of points you have and with the reasoning you give.

I have just walked back thru the door. My appointment was supposed to have been at 2:45 and I was still sat there at 3:45 (in a freezing cold waiting area) when I was told there might be a problem. I then saw a lovely nurse who asked if the GCA was a brain problem as she is not qualified to deal with such conditions, it has to be dealt with by a doctor and she would get in big trouble if she tried. I was a bit taken aback really and explained the condition as best I could and that I don't see a neurologist but a rheumatogist. She phoned her headquarters and they said to re book with a doctor. At least I get to carry on being paid but have to go thru the whole stress again.

If you look up the website that is mentioned in the above post from Mgt1234 they are very good. So first thing is citizens advice for them to write out an appeal for you, actually they belong to the above organization and get help from them so it maybe enough to just go to them. So take a deep breath and one step at a time eh. Big hugs cc 🙆 🤗

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Thanks for your message. What a frustrating afternoon for you!!

I have been subscribing to the Benefits and Work forum for a year and found it useful, but the assessor clearly did not take on board what I was saying. Dosed up on opiates and steroids I presented as physically quite able bodied at my interview.she chose to ignore the fatigue and mental health issues. I must research the status of PMR in terms of benefit entitlement, I'm sure PMRPRO posted a link somewhere.

Look after yourself and be well prepared for your next interview. CHrissie xx

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I suspect they try it on - being stupid they assume that if you are bad enough you will challenge the decision - whereas in fact if you are bad enough you will just curl up and die in a corner. Which saves them money. It is disgusting - but some incredible percentage of appeals succeed.

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I think that is exactly what goes on. I can't actually fully remember how I got from work group to support group of Esa which is scary because I have wiped the process from memory. I suspect it was at 12month review or something. All I remember if gp telling me I didn't know how to play the game. The people who are more successful are always at the drs door. Once I had exhausted referrals etc I basically self managed with advice gained- pain diabetes anxiety depression and fibro etc. At that time. I do try and ensure medical records updated more frequently if I can get appointment!!

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My daughter was refused PIP. I decided to write a substantial covering letter describing her life in full: they upped the points on appeal and she now receives that benefit. I suggest, like others here, when appealing describe your worst days in minute detail. Good luck

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That is what everything is meant to be - your WORST state, not your average or best state,

It includes not having your hair done too soon before, not using makeup and being a bit scruffy in choice of clothes.

Because if you look "well groomed" - obviously you are fit to get up and go to work...

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