Monday, 23 July 2012

My ESA50

As though the universe just cannot bear to stop toying with me just yet, the very day I got a letter to say I'd been awarded higher rates of DLA, after a 19 month appeal, an ESA50 form drops through my door.

I've been claiming Incapacity Benefit, the old, out of work, sickness benefit since 2000. The last assessment I had for IB involved the same scary letters from Atos, the same assessment (yes, SHOCKER : Sickness benefits were always assessed) and the same worry.

The letter back in 2010 was very scary too "If you do not complete this form, you may lose your benefits/If you do not attend your assessment you may lose your benefits.... etc.

The letter said I had to take any medications or aids I use with me. I called the man at Atos :

Me "Really? I have to bring everything? Only there's rather a lot A repeat prescription form won't do?"

Him "Yes, you have to bring everything."

Me "But I have inject strong painkillers and chemo - do I really have to bring needles, syringes and opiates into the heart of Brighton? I'll get mugged!"

Him "Yes, everything."

Me "But sometimes I use a feeding pump and tube, but I don't have one at home, surely I don't have to bring that?"

Him "Yes, bring everything"

The people at Atos helpfully provided directions to the "testing centre". I could take the bus, then walk for 7 minutes or I could take three trains then walk for 19 minutes. With a feeding pump and two carrier bags of medications, it was clear I'd have to rely on the taxi-of-Mum. Yes my friends, somehow, my Mum would have to drop me outside the door on the Red zone of a jammed one way system, with no disabled parking within hundreds of metres. So we did one of those mafia-style body drops where I'm sprawled on the pavement as she screeches away.

I joked at the time that it was like a 16th century witches ducking trial - if you get to the assessment centre at all, you are clearly well enough to work. If you don't, they stop your benefits anyway for not turning up.

So, last time, when I was finally called in from the urine aroma and barred windows of the waiting room, the lady told me to show her my meds. I tipped half a pharmacy onto the table and she told me I'd "passed" there and then. She looked embarrassed. She told me "You're lucky this is still IB, if you were in the room across the corridor, having an ESA assessment, losing an arm isn't enough. You have to lose an eye and a leg too before you might just qualify. 

So here, at last is the mythical form. The ESA50 that is striking fear into the hearts of sick and disabled people everywhere.

And it is remarkably odd.

Before it even gets to the "real" questions, it asks if you "misuse Drugs alcohol or other substances"

Why? Is alcoholism or substance abuse no longer an illness? I have a sneaking suspicion answering "yes" to that one won't bode well for the rest of the form.

Next, under moving around it asks "Can you go up or down two steps?"

Erm, yes, I have bowel disease? Or are there jobs requiring two steps to be climbed just the once in a day? If there are, I might be able to consider this work lark after all! What if I can climb up but not get down? The question only asks "either" "or"

No 4 asks if I can pick up a pint of milk. Erm,,,,, yes or I'd never have another cup of tea again. I'd never even be able to lift the kettle and frankly, I'd be dead without tea every hour or so. It's often the only thing that keeps me going - they know we're British right?

No 5 asks if I can turn the pages of a book or pick up a £1 coin. Ace! If there are jobs where you sit and read, and people give you a £1 every time you turn the page, I'm in!!! Sign me up!

Question 11 asks if I can learn to set an alarm clock. Important one that one eh, or all us festering layabouts would never get to work in the first place. Perhaps THIS is what has been holding us back? We never learnt to set an alarm clock!!

I really like this one : "Can you manage to plan, start and finish daily tasks?" Is there a Mum on the planet who could answer yes to that one? I often plan a task, occasionally I even start them, but I rarely finish them. Somehow I get the feeling they're not talking about my household management though.

No 17 asks how often I behave in a way which upsets other people - does the DWP count? Only I imagine I upset them most days.

Anyway, the point of all this is to show how utterly bizarre the criteria for ESA are and most importantly how, if you have no advocate, know nothing about the changes and think you can just fill in the form with what comes to mind, things probably won't turn out awfully well. It is a veritable minefield of traps and tricks.

So, if like me, you just got yours, call your GP and find a welfare advocate who can help you TODAY. Don't wait, they only give you four weeks to fill in the form and get all your evidence together.

Now I just have to hope the universe wouldn't be cruel enough to take away with one hand (IB) what it just gave with the other (DLA)



112 comments:

  1. Feels as though honesty could very easily damn you on this one. Not you personally, Sue, just in general! How many hoops are they going to make people jump through? Scratch that, silly question. As many as it takes to make you go away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have only just read this. I have had two ATOS medicals and can only consider the questions and their relevance with sarcasm, both face to face and as they are presented on the forms.

      At my first assessment in October 2009 - my spinal condition has deteriorated greatly since then, and an insiduous, incurable neurological disease has since been diagnosed - the patronising male doctor (I have severe arthritis in my neck) asked me how I do my bra up? I don't know anyone, able bodied or not who attempts to do up their bra at the back. Bending and lifting were still in the descriptors then - I was then asked to demonstrate how - as a passer by I would get down to the floor - and up again to pick up a £5.00 note that someone had dropped. I remarked that I would get him to do it for me.
      On leaving - he escorted me out of the first floor room to the staircase - 2 flights - and chuckled, saying 'please don't fall down the stairs - the paperwork will take me hours to do.'
      I was advised by this Dr that complimentary therapies would cure my back ache - as it did for him. Complimentary therapies of a mechanical nature, as is physio are off limits for me - they are dangerous because I have had spinal surgery.
      I complained to Jobcentre, and Atos - by email about the inappropriate nature of the catch you out questions. I rest my case, everyone who has the audacity to apply for sickness and disability benefits is treated as being dishonest.
      Ironically, bending and lifting have been removed from the descriptors - as these activities are not considered relevant in the workplace! I guess every cloud has a silver lining - in a face to face assessment you won't be failed for bending to pick up the bulky and unmistakable A4 envelope that is your ESA50.

      Delete
    2. Haha! This is the first time I've laughed since getting my ESA form in September. Thank you for putting into words the complete absurdity that is ESA!!

      Delete
  2. How do you get a welfare advocate?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Call your local CAB and they will be able to recommend one. Or, some GPS can put you in touch with one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The CAB are good, but most aren't taking new ESA50 clients, only ESA appeal clients because they are so overloaded.

      Act before the form arrives if you can. Contact your council to see if they have a welfare rights team, most do. Find out if your CAB is still taking new ESA50 clients. Contact any charities associated with your condition to see they have helpsheets on the ESA50.

      Go to your GP and ask if they have advisors or a list of local advice centres. Research it before the form arrives. We have a 3-4 week waiting list. I do rate Benefits and Work and think it's money well spent, maybe see if you can share a subscription or print as much stuff off as you can?

      Start taking notes now. If you can keep a diary of symptoms do. Just note the basics of pain, fatigue, continence (like went back to bed, increased meds etc) so that when the form arrives you can either use it to fill out the form yourself or have a sheet of info you can hand to the advisor so you don't have to directly answer questions about things you find too personal.

      Every medical appointment you go to now you know the form will be coming, ask for letters about the appointment, the diagnosis etc. Keep all the requests for blood tests, scans, assessments and tests. Contact Social Services if you deal with them and get written evidence of that. Get therapists of all kinds to write letters. Ask for multiple copies and you'll only have to do it once.

      I know it's hard and upsetting, but try and do small bits as you go rather than trying to do everything within that measly 4 weeks they give.

      Delete
    2. sue ,it is in the dwp own guidelines if you are taking morphine you do not have to go, you are in your rights to ask for a home visit. i hope that helps steve

      Delete
  4. My friend is an assessor for ATOS but although she carries out all the assessments the decision is made by someone else. This "someone else" is not a nurse or even a doctor, in fact they have no medical training whatsoever. My friend says that she can often "swing it" for people to ensure their benefit continues. How shocking though that the decision rests upon some non-medical random decision maker.
    My friend says that if someone can lift a small object and move it to another place they are deemed able to work but that of course does not take into account other issues. Thankfully my friend is aware of these "other issues", too bad the decision makers are not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is such an important point, thanks for making it.

      Atos do not decide who gets ESA and who doesn't. A "decision maker" at the DWP does. Until recently the decision maker was not checking evidence from Doctors or other medical professionals either - in fact in only 2% of cases.

      Delete
    2. Proof of the 2%
      In section 5.7 of the Appeal response, they state that I had provided a vast amount of medical evidence from a consultant.
      “The Decision Maker has considered the Healthcare Professionals report and the other available evidence and has decided that the claimant has achieved nil points from the appropriate descriptors therefore has not passed the medical assessment. This is because although the claimant has indicated problems with a significant amount of activities they have not provided any evidence either from a specialist or a consultant to corroborate this and therefore it is inherently improbable and unlikely that his conditions cause HER the significant functional impairment as indicated by HER on the ESA50 and at the assessment.”

      And I am definitely a HE!

      Delete
    3. David, you quote the Decision Maker (DM) as saying,
      "This is because although the claimant has indicated problems with a significant amount of activities they have not provided any evidence either from a specialist or a consultant to corroborate this ..."

      You point out that you had in fact included evidence from your specialist. The get-out clause for ATOS, however, is that the evidence might have been the wrong sort of evidence.

      This is, in theory, because your specialist may have provided lots of information about your medical condition - diagnosis, prognosis etc. They may have said that you are totally unfit for work. And ATOS are allowed (encouraged perhaps?) to disregard almost all of this - because it is not "relevant"!

      What you need from your specialist (they are inclined to ignore GPs for these bits) is firstly confirmation of the diagnosis. ATOS pretend that this is irrelevant, but at the DWP they have a handbook which describes what problems you can expect to have with specific conditions. You will also need confirmation of when they last saw you, and whether there are any signs of permanent improvement or decline.

      What you need from them and also everyone else is a description of a particular set of problems, and whether you have them. These are the "descriptors" and the ATOS computer program gets told exactly how you fit these descriptors and then tots up the number "points scored" for each one.

      This means that you have to ask all your medical, social and physical support people (GP, CPS, physio, consultant and anyone else) to address themselves specifically to these points. You can get a copy of the Disability Rights factsheet at

      http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/f31.htm

      Find Appendix 1 (it's a long document) and it has a list of these descriptors. For example, there's the matter of how far you can "mobilise" - ATOS will only take any notice of information saying that you cannot walk for more than 50m without significant trouble with your breathing, and that you can't resume walking for at least 30 minutes. That's the sort of thing that has to go into medical reports.

      Ditto with sitting, washing and the whole dreary paraphernalia. They demand specifics and only on the exact topics listed. "He really has trouble getting around," will simply be disregarded.

      I've put this stuff in at length in case anyone else (Hello Sue!) is getting stuff from a consultant or GP who is trying to be helpful, but doing the wrong thing.

      Oh yes, and there's another trap. If you tell the doctors what you want them to say, then ATOS/DWP will disregard it because they are just "repeating what the client [I HATE that word] has told them."

      So, you have to tell them what sort of issues they have to address, but not tell them what to say on that topic. And most medics hate being told what to say anyway. So whilst you're worried out of your mind about the wretched form, you have to make maximally tactful approaches to specialists who don't want to listen to you before your next scheduled appointment.

      One bright spot is that you can submit extra medical reports after the form has gone in. It's VITAL that the form gets in on time, but you can submit extra evidence later - preferably not too much later.

      Delete
  5. I hope it all goes well - the idea of taking all my meds somewhere fills me with horror. How long to get them replaced if I get mugged or they get lost? Could I manage when they are due every 4 hours? The whole idea is madness.
    On a slightly different topic I found that DWP are running a so called consultation on the future of the ILF and whether it should be ended. It might not do much good but if anyone wants to respond the quite well hidden link is below.

    https://interactive.dwp.gov.uk/the-future-of-the-independent-living-fund/5-consultation-questions

    ReplyDelete
  6. This website is helpful and worth the subscription:

    http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/forum?func=view&catid=10&id=88489&utm_source=iContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Benefits%20and%20Work&utm_content=10+July+2012+newsletter

    Hope it helps :o)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Actually, this is the link I should have given (blush!)

    http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is an excellent site, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. Although there is a small annual subscription (£20 I believe) it's worth every penny.

      If you can't get a welfare advocate to physically help you with an ESA or DLA claim, this site gives step by step instructions on completing the form tailored to individual conditions.

      Delete
    2. I have the Benefits & Work guide for completing the ESA50 if you want me to email it to you? I also have Crohn's Disease and have been on TPN for many years now.
      I successfully migrated from IB to the ESA support group!

      Delete
    3. I was going to mention this if it wasn't already. I'd recommend B&W in combination with an advocate - I've seen cases of advocates not knowing when the questions are not what they seem where B&W do and it's useful to have both helps available.

      Delete
    4. Hi Corriedog46 my mum has suffered from Crohn's disease for 30 years a horrendous disease... she is in a terrible way and has just the received the letter from ESA that she has been placed in the WRAG group? any advise would be greatly appreciated on how to possibly have this overturned, today i have wrote to them asking how they reached there decision and to send me any information that they have on my mum from her medical team because i dont believe they have even contacted them otherwise she would abs not be placed into that category.. please if you could help i'd appreciate it or even point me in the right direction, the paperwork and red tape is so overwhelming!

      Delete
  8. Is benefitsandwork really worth joining? I mean is it really a scam or do people really get genuine help?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. B & W, Worth every penny. I have used their guides for IB and now ESA. I recently was put in the support group without an 'assessment'. I sent copies of every medical report i had to hand, about 120 pages.
      the guides are long and very detailed and point out all the hidden 'traps', like knowing that the 'can you mobilise 50 mt' actually means can you walk, or use a manual wheelchair, (even if you have not got one or one isn't medically advisable)to do the distance.
      Tls.

      Delete
    2. I'm concerned it won't be of help to someone with severe depression and anxiety who was recently sectioned after trying to commit suicide.

      Delete
    3. They are quite good on mental health issues, but their main advice will be to use the Exceptional Circumstances Regulation (usually called Regulation 29(2)b).

      The exact wording is this in the booklet:
      (b) you suffer from some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement and, by reasons of such disease or disablement, there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if you were found not to have limited capability for work.

      This basically means that if there is a substantial risk of being sectioned, attempting suicide (or feeling suicidal) or becoming drastically more ill by being found for work, you should be found to have limited capability without the WCA and put in the Support Group.

      B&W have great info on this, but some of the forums are on Google so have a poke about before you commit. But they are good, especially if you can't get out to an advisor.

      Delete
    4. Thanks for the advice gherkingirl

      Delete
    5. I second everything gherkingirl has said, and add that if the ESA50 has any sections related to treatment you expect to be receiving in the next few months (I haven't had mine yet, only the IB form), you/they can write in there that you/they may be detained under the mental health act for your/their/others safety, if told that you are fit for work. The point is not to threaten, as some people like to claim, but to make sure that Atos and the DWP are aware of all potential circumstances well in advance; remember it's a practical issue as no-one should be expected to handle their appeal while DUTMHA but that won't stop Atos expecting them to. Also photocopy the form and send it recorded delivery, so that you or anyone else has evidence that they were told about these potential consequences, should the worst happen. Good luck.

      Delete
    6. Definitely worth it, I'd recommend looking over their stuff even if you have an advisor involved as they are sometimes more clued up and means you can look over things at leisure!

      Delete
  9. Dani appears to have been lucky - she did not have to go through all of this, she died before it was her turn to be hounded by ATOS and the like. She had been given Full DLA for life, I knew that this would not last and was preparing to find ways of getting myself educated in order to help. I feel for you all it is such a uncivilized system. Medieval torture springs to mind.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Do check instead of taking my amnesic word for this, but I believe that if a problem renders you unemployable 50% of the time, unpredictably (or as I saw it put, if all the times you have it add up to 6 months in the year or over), that counts as having it all the time, so you don't have to piss about saying "sometimes it's alright", which they will take to mean "this problem doesn't actually exist, I'm just a malingering twat".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, and best of luck Sue, and everyone else going through this right now!

      Delete
    2. That's definitely true for DLA, not sure about ESA but I do know you are supposed to complete the forms as though it is you WORST DAY.

      This is very important and indeed, I know it's something lots of us feel uncomfortable about. For example, I have to say that I can't walk 50m, though on good days I can. I don't like that the system works this way, but it does and you are NOT being a fraud if you fill it in as though every day is your worst.

      Delete
    3. NO! don't fill forms out based on worst day for either ESA or DLA. You need to show the average or they can discount it as only being one day out of 365 and just turn you down.

      For DLA you need to show that the condition(s) affect you at least 3 days out of seven if fluctuating (explaining how some conditions flare up) and for ESA you need to show that it the majority of the working week. Worst day scenario is dangerous ground as it shows exception rather than rule. It is better to show that you cannot safely and comfortably repeat the action or task without pain, fatigue or mental health distress, so that will you might mobilise 50m one day, it makes you ill for the subsequent two. This gives them a better picture of your individual condition and prevents that feeling of fraud when you don't mention 'good days'.

      Delete
    4. Sue

      Gherkingirl's point is really important. Sue, if you can manage do join Benefits and Work and get their guide to claiming ESA on Physical Grounds. This will help you tackle matters such as the "reliably, repeatedly and safely" issue.

      I noticed one thing as well - they said that when you have something which is covered several times, mention it every time. For example, if getting over-tired makes you vomit then on every occasion you have to write - "if I do this for more than 5 minutes then I get so tired that I am liable to vomit uncontrollably without even time to get to the toilet." And you write that in every ***ing time - mobilising, standing, moving things etc.

      There's a lot more - the guides run to 70 pages or so. It's large print, but still quite a chore.

      I think that there is also a separate guide for people making any claims under the "Mental Health" section of the form, but I haven't got that far myself.

      Delete
  11. To the person with the Atos friend.

    No. The Harrington report found that the DWP "decision makers" relied solely on the WCA reports, rather than using their own judgement, because the Atos person was "The Health professional".

    It gives each side deniability to themselves. "I am not a bad person, the other actually made the decision. I was only following orders"

    I have been through two WCAs. In the first the nurse (not doctor) was two faced and recorded untruths in the LIMA report. The second one, who was a doctor, was a coward and a liar

    One piece of advice from the excellent "Benefits to Work". If you can do something only once, or it causes you pain or need to recuperate THEN YOU CANNOT DO IT. Repeatability is key to this, according to IDS and others when pushed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Reliably, repeatedly and safely":

      "The internal review consulted a range of experts and groups and, as I described just now, tried to reach consensus. Significant concerns were expressed by the groups around the descriptors. I will not go into those because I am short of time, but I can respond to the noble Countess, Lady Mar, on fluctuating conditions. It must be possible for all the descriptors to be completed reliably, repeatedly and safely, otherwise the individual is considered unable to complete the activity."

      Lord Fraud to Lady Mar, a campaigner for people with ME.

      http://www.meassociation.org.uk/?p=5567

      Worth looking at this ref. even if you don't have ME; it has helpful points.

      Delete
  12. I do still get shocked by the ridiculous pointless and demeaning questions that bear aboslutly no relevance to any paid work that i can think of. I must have had one of thesse to fill in but i dont remember it.
    My Cesa stops in a couple of weeks and i thought well at a least there will be no more brown envelopes and forms and medicals to put up with, i was looking for a positive point to soften the blow of losing so much money and my dignity and my independance. Guess what? I was wrong! It seems i still have to go thru the stress and bother to get my insurance stamp paid for my pension.
    I would just like to be healthy and working and able to get some things because theyre nice not just because its a dire need.More than that i really wish that i didnt have to be dragged thru the mire to prove something that Doctors have diagnosed me with. Why dont they cross examine the doctors instead of us, after all its their proffessionalism thats being questioned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brilliantly put, my appeal papers, prepared by the DWP include the medico legal report I sent them and two pages later they said I didn't supply any corroborated evidence from a consultant or specialist.

      Delete
    2. David - and anyone else concerned with the issue of having their consultants' reports ignored - please read my earlier reply to David.

      It tries to explain how to get medical reports which stand a chance of getting noticed by ATOS.

      If you've read the Benefits&Work guide it's pretty much a duplication of what's there, but plus a bit that has come out on their forums.

      Delete
  13. Good luck Sue

    I got the form earlier this year and filled it in, and included written support from my GP and counsellor. Although it took 16 weeks to reply, I was astonished to find I was put in the ESA Group without need for a medical or appeal.

    I did wonder if it was because of adverse publicity and they were pushing a few more people through.

    My only suggestion (and I know it's blindingly obvious) but just be honest and don't over-exaggerate (I know you won't) and to include as much supporting evidence as you can.

    ReplyDelete
  14. According to Chris Grayling, you only count as being able to do something if you can do it reliably, repeatedly and safely. So either say 'No, I can't do that,' or 'No, I can't do it repeatedly/reliably/safely/any of those.'

    ReplyDelete
  15. Can you turn the pages?
    NO!

    Can you write?
    NO!

    Because of this, someone else is here looking at a very personal intimate details of my disability and illness.

    Shouldn't these have been questions 1 and 2?
    Shouldn't you then have informed me that I could get this form in accessible format so I could type in my answers?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Professor Harrington's 3rd report into the WCA does the same thing - asks for input from claimants and then only provides a way to download a form which you can fill in by hand and then post.

      B&W have provided additional ways to fill in Harrington's feedback forms. I'm checking if these are more generally available.

      Delete
  16. Finally got the report on my OH's WCA, as part of the appeal papers. The nurse ignored repetition, and one of her diagnosed conditions (depression). Absurd.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I can t make a cup of tea, ie hold a milk or kettle and do need 2 people to help me down two steps, I do rely on carers assessment and that got me supported cEsa but top rate care DLA would have none of it. Never had a medical for each benefit and way too ill and overloaded to appeal and told DLA tribunal so.
    I know many conflicting stories, hopefully you won t get call ed for an interview but when you recieve your letter it does not state clearly what group you in or how long...very deceiving. If you are put in WRAG group and have had to undergo an interview request the assessment it is an demoralising read ie. looks older than years, unshaven and thin.
    Keep going, cos we all know how hard it is.

    What would have happened if you were in hospital and recieved this on top of everything else.

    ReplyDelete
  18. In the end I got top rate care by applying again and directing the report to be written by my neurologist and informed her secretary about my case and the importance of it, all caring and supportive. The secretary said oh we get forms like these all the time. Mmmmm we know why?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Re: Gherkin girls post - just to clarify..... the exceptional circumstances reg. that applies to being placed in the "support group" is 35-2a) and 2b) This applies to having limited capability for "work-related activity" reg 29-2b simply means you are found to have" limited capability for work" which means you may be granted ESA but whether "contributory" or "income related " it will be time limited for 1 year (in the case of contributory ESA) - and you will be required to attend "work focused interviews" and engage with the DWP and its providers to"prepare" for work. The reality of this position is you can be mandated to undertake placements/work of unspecified duration and as determined by DWP/its Providers. You need to be able to demonstrate that in essence being required to engage in "work related activity" would seriously impact on your condition/s, such that it would be likely to cause a serious deterioration in your health. We all know the system is a rotten one the problem is is it's here to stay ! The latest debacle over the recording of WCA's and a reply by Chris Grayling to a parliamentary question by Frank Field - that well known champion of the chronically sick and disabled -( I recall when wheelchair users chained themselves to the railings at Westminster daubing themselves in red paint in opposition to the "Benefits Integrity Project" he was forced to retreat on the programme and subsequently remarked a few years back on R4 in relation to the agenda for welfare reform under New labour that if those "silly people" could chain themselves to railings they could get a job....not verbatim but pretty much Frank's message.... and he certainly called us "silly people"... I remember how incensed I was by his remarks!). Anyway to return to his question to Chris Grayling re: recording of medicals.. the minister for employments reply was far from encouraging...there were the usual weasel words and an indication that the government might withdraw the option and cite flimsy excuses such as lack of demand, cost or any number of bogus justifications for denying people accurately recorded information that might fly in the face of statements made by ATOS staff using LIMA software. My MP is writing to the minister on the matter of the recording WCA's amidst reports of claimants being denied the option on specious grounds and I'm expecting the usual emollient flannel in reply that deliberately fails to address the substance of the argument.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon: I think your "clarification" requires a little clarifying!

      There are three outcomes to an application for ESA. (1) You can be found Fit For Work (FFW) - you can't get ESA and must apply for other benefits such as Job Seeker's Allowance. (2) You can get placed in the "Work-Related Activity Group" (WRAG) or (3) You can placed in the Support Group (SG).

      Some people get fast-tracked into the SG - mostly people who are terminally ill or on some forms of chemotherapy or kidney dialysis.

      Otherwise you fill in the ESA application form (E50) and they use that plus, usually, a medical assessment by ATOS to see if you qualify for the WRAG. If you qualify for WRAG they will also consider if you also qualify for SG, which is a sort of "sub-group" of WRAG - and much harder to get into. The people in WRAG are supposed to have "support" to get back into work and involves things like Work-Focussed Interviews. They can, I think, require you to do certain activities, but I'm not sure whether compulsory work placements are amongst them.

      If you are placed in the Support Group, then the DWP have accepted that you are not able to return to work in the medium to long term. That will not stop them assessing and re-assessing you every 6 months!

      There is another important difference. Most people get placed in the WRAG on a "contributions basis" - that means that they have got enough National Insurance contributions to qualify for this benefit. On that basis you can stay in the WRAG for 365 days, starting with the day your benefit was first paid (including any backdating!). After that you will get no benefit payments based on your NI record. You can get payments if you can prove that you have a low income. The first sort of WRAG is known as WRAG(CB) - contribution-based - and the second as WRAG(IR) - income-related.

      Whilst you are in the SG, you are not subject to the 365-day limit. They will keep on paying out your ESA, though not without re-assessing you every 6 months or so to see if you've been cured of your Crohn's or learned to manage perfectly well with no legs.

      However, I believe that you do have to have enough contributions to qualify for ESA in the first place, and that applies to SG as well.

      ESA, like so many other benefits, is supposed to be absorbed into Universal Credit when that arrives (2014?), but how it's actually going to work has not yet been revealed. It's probably not yet been worked out - that particular transition, involving the tax people as well as the DWP is, I predict, going to be the biggest IT shambles yet presided over by government department.

      Delete
  20. Sue, flood them with info, and remember that you are supposed to fill in the form from the stand point of what you can do without any support. I did a covering note for my son's ESA 50 pointing out that he has always needed support so could not answer their questions from that stand point. DWP understood ATOS didn't. Also if you can afford it send your completed form special delivery, so that you get proof of delivery and it can only be opened by the addressee not by the contract with Post Office staff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, and also important to allow several days (at least 5!) for the bloody form to get there. So you actually have a rubbishly meagre amount of time to fill the stupid worthless piece of crap in, and gather evidence. Totally set up to fail people; they are cruel bastards to be carrying on with this farce of a system.

      Delete
  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  22. DWP and ATOSsers get rather upset with me when they ask my date of birth and I reply "don't you mean my date of death?"... There are six answers to that question...x

    ReplyDelete
  23. http://socialwelfareunion.org/archives/827

    "We at Disabled People against Cuts (DPAC), Black Triangle and Social Welfare Union (SWU) want to make sure that we gather the REAL facts on what people are experiencing. We suspect that the government will try to pull the option for recordings of WCA completely due to what they will say is a lack of demand, so we have put together a short survey to gather information on the demand for recordings and on other issues on the WCA."

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'd definitely recommend sending the form back recorded delivery too. I had a very nasty experience earlier in the year where I actually had to cancel an operation because they said they hadn't received my form back in time and stopped my benefits leaving me totally penniless and having to sort it all out when I should have been in hospital. It was only because I could prove I'd sent the form recorded delivery that I could finally sort it out. (they realised they had it but hadn't opened it!)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Ooh I don't know if anyone has already said this - as someone said CABs are fully booked but there are other local groups which fewer people know about like 'welfare rights' drop-ins. I had spent the last 6 months having ESA and Atos troubles only to discover there was a much easier way for us. As my husband can't work due to being my full-time carer we were told by Merseyside Welfare Rights that we should be on income support (I already was) but that he should make the claim. After months of talking to the DWP at least 5 times a week. Wouldn't it be easier if the DWP knew which benefit is best for each case and told you?! I mean, I know they're trying to save money by putting you through all sorts so you think you're not entitled to anything and give up but for people who have no household income giving up is not an option! So it has cost them an absolute bundle in work-hours with all those phone calls, hundreds of letters etc and they've had to pay it all back anyway. Such a false economy. Anyway, yes, people should look for local support groups outside the CAB if possible. Never, ever fill in a form yourself!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe that the DWP are moving staff from one place to another and then expecting them to give sensible advice about benefits they hardly know about to the confused the misinformed and the vulnerable.

      It's not always the fault of the under-trained clerk on the other end of the phone.

      Delete
  26. Will you even get ESA under the new rules as your other half works?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See my reply to Anon above. If you have sufficient NI contributions then you should qualify for ESA(CB) - contributions-based. That lasts for 365 days from the first day your benefit gets paid.

      At the end of that time, you cease to get ESA(CB) and if you are NOT in the Support Group, you can only get ESA(IR) - income-related. And the amount of income coming into your household has to be seriously low before you get ESA on income grounds.

      This is because the country can't afford to have as many disabled people now as it could 10 years ago, and anyway most of us could work if we were really forced into it by lack of enough money to feed ourselves or keep warn.

      Now call me a cynic.

      Delete
  27. sue that is what happened to me. i am still waiting for the reply from april, they also sent me another form a dla80, i have filled that in and was assessed at home. once again what i think will happen is i will get my results from my esa50 one way or the other tho i have another form to fill out again in october, and so it will start again. the criteria on what classes some one as disable is so far removed from what it should be its cruel. take the assessment centre for instance, it is so far from where you can park, tho if you manage to get there you fail the distance test by actually getting there .i have heard that in fact they have moved some assessment centres for that reason. i know how you feel sue, i thought it was all over and done with only to be cruelly tormented like you. all the best steve.

    ReplyDelete
  28. ESA forms are the stupidest thing someone ever created.
    i remember getting help filling out mine as it looked so stupid i needed a second opinion to see if some of the questions were serious.


    its a shame we have people out there that are not as experienced as some of us on the form filling and question asking.

    ReplyDelete
  29. My Appeal is on the 11th of August, and ATOS and the DWP found me fit for work despite having spinal surgery which didn't go well. In addition I sent them 2 Medico Legal reports stating that it is highly doubtful I will ever return to work. So here I sit praying for a sensible appeal panel as I fight to get less money in a week than I earned in a day before my accident. I how I wish I could go back to work, but that isn't my new reality. Fighting for the right to be disabled and respected is.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I haven't had chance to read all comments above so perhaps this had been mentioned already... I'm shocked you had to go along to the assessment at all. You can request ATOS send a form (I can't remember what it's called just now) to your GP or consultant for signed evidence that attending the medicalwould cause you too uch distress/exacerbate your condition.
    I just had my 4th reasessment in only a little over 2 years since my initial claims - yes 5 in total now giving me no time inbetween to breathe, relax and focus on recovery. I recently returneed the ESA% having drawn an angry black line with a marker pen throughout each page then wrote a 9 side rant telling them exactly what i thought of them plus a detailed description of what it was like to live with my condition and made it quite clear I was massively affronted by their patronising questions and moronic criteria. A few weeks later I received their decision - 2 years in the support group and didn't have to attend any medical.
    Just a few tips.
    Also, I work voluntary as a mental health advocate and i do not know of advocates who do benefits advice (it's a separate role entirely), so peeps need to contact an advice worker, preferrably one experienced in welfare advice for assistance. We have a lot of phone calls from distressed clients thinking that advocates can assist with ESA, which sadly we can't.
    All the best and fingers crossed for your decision.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have you sent in your experiences to Prof Harrington? I understand that he particularly wants to hear from people with multiple applications. The "Call for Evidence" can be found at:

      http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wca-year-3-call-for-evidence.pdf

      If you can't face filling out the form by hand, Benefits and Work have produced a version which you can type on, print out/email to the Harrington team. You probably have access to it, but I'm enquiring how they would feel about me posting the url of their version of the form more generally.

      Delete
  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  32. p.s - also included 2 copies of recent consultant reports and a similarly irate leter from my partner who has to look after me some of the time.
    Include as much evidence as you can along with the form.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Every time I go through the process of filling in ESA or DLA forms, I get so depressed. You have to be so introspective into parts of your illness, the parts you have almost hidden from yourself and are glad to forget. The stress is awful.

    It's like a game of chess, every question you answer is always related to another question, that when answered can look like a blatant lie.

    Good luck Sue, a shame it had to arrive after you got some good news. I hope you get put into the Support Group, as your condition obviously determines you are unable to work.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Maybe it would be a good idea to write to Margaret Hodge MP in her role as the Chair of the public accounts commitee. If you win on appeal and then get recalled this is a waste of public money and her role is designed to monitor this. She spoke out at length about A4E.

    A few thousand letters pointing out that Atos get paid for doing "medicals" whose results are overturned on appeal should bring some much needed scrutiny on the use of taxpayers money.
    If you feel brave enough this could bring the issue to the mainstream news. Ok, chance would be a fine thing but it's the best my spoonie brain can come up with to fight this awful policy of judgement against disabled and unwell people.

    Sue, have you considered doing this? Good luck whatever you do next. If anyone should be exempt from endless re-asessment it's you.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Important heads up

    Some very good news, (perhaps, we know the BBC's record) Panorama next week will be about ATOS and ESA assessments on the 30th of this month, while While Dispatches/C4 is broadcasting 'Britain on the sick' which is an undercover exposure of Atos and its methods, again next monday

    the Panorama one has its usual tabloid title, 'Disabled or faking it?'

    etc, it seems the usual BBC division of 'deserving/undeserving poor,' they just can't seem to have a programme about the undoubted brutalities and absurdities of ATOS and welfare reform...

    and there is a danger they will be overwhelmed in the news cycle by the olympics..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I heard Channel 4's title with dismay last night ("on the sick" doesn't sound too promising) and was wondering if it was going to be another program about "fakers and scroungers". Hopefully, given that Channel 4 are highlighting mental health issues all this week, it will not be.

      Delete
    2. Its the BBC one we need to worry about more imo, they have a history of misrepresenting the issues and in many way blaming claimants for their predicament...

      Delete
    3. That's a good point that these programmes are up against the Olympics so viewing figures will be lower and it's a bit like that exercise some years ago when some Government minister or civil servant released some news at a time when other things were happening that was getting more attention.

      I'm just getting used to life alone and worrying what the future holds financially with a drop in income now and the changes due. And I have already had a brown envelope drop on my mat asking for information to see if I am entitled to Income Support...I am ill and am not working and my only income is DLA so I hope that proves that I am entitled.

      A while back(it was an error)within weeks of losing Mum a letter arrived telling me all benefits were suspended and I owed £500 in rent. Oh and a week or two ago I had to pay a week's pension that the DWP said had been overpaid to Mum who had passed away.

      I am trying to get used to the new situation I am in and not having anyone close in my life and I have all this going on...

      I keep trying to make it clear that having to take State money is no fun and not as the media would have the population believe.

      Truth is when you talk to people at street level, the so called Silent Majority must feel the same, the media often tells the public what it should think. But lets be honest the media likes controversy.

      Delete
  36. The ESA criteria are utterly crap. I recently supported a relative at an ESA tribunal and they won because the judge and doctor applied rule 29(2)(b) mentioned by @gherkingirl
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2008/794/regulation/29/made

    Given how crap the ESA criteria are, I've been wondering how often tribunals are forced to rely on rule 29 to find people as having limited capability for work. I've put in an FOIA request to DWP:
    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/use_of_exceptional_circumstances/new

    If it's a high proportion of cases, I'd say that's a strong sign (if any were needed!!!) to show how rubbish the ESA criteria are. I've also asked how often ESA assessors apply rule 29, because my guess is that they aren't applying it often enough.

    ReplyDelete
  37. As i have said before the only person that should be filling in these forms are those that know you well like your health/mental care worker if you have one
    if you have been ill for a long time you will already have a care worker and it is their duty to fill in all forms in a professional manor so it reads clearly and to the point
    they will also do all the form filling for appeals if it's needed
    the bottom line is your ill and that all ATOS need to know

    CAB are ok for everyone else subject to their workload
    you should not try to do the forms yourself as the words on the forms and their implications are not easily understood and getting it wrong will cost you dearly

    If you have spare money then a good lawyer may be of help but your best bet is your care worker as he or she is only person a tribunal will listen to at crunch time

    The process overall is extremely tiring and should NEVER be undertaken by a person with a mental health problem an their own
    All people with a mental health illness should have a CMT carer and should be guided by that person alone

    ReplyDelete
  38. How would I even know if I can lift a pint of milk? I assume I could, but as a vegan, why would I want to? Would a pint of another liquid do? Thank you for warning me. I think I may need advice as to what on Earth they are trying to ask.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suppose they want to know if you could work on a till at Tesco's, where you might very well have to push a 2-litre container of milk over a scanner, or lift something as heavy as a pint of milk off one pile of stuff and onto another one (perhaps at place less sophisticated than Tesco's!).

      They're also using it as a general measure of how you could lift something of about that weight. As well as all the items at the Tesco till, there's also the matter of whether could lift (perhaps) a pile of envelopes from a stationery cupboard in an office. Or a container of bleach in your cleaning job. Or a bottle of medicine in a pharmacy.

      That is reasonable. What's thoroughly unreasonable is their assumption that if you can slide a packet of tissues across a desk, once, in a medical test then you can move things 3 times that weight for 16 hours a week, every week. And without major discomfort, worsening your medical condition or risking dropping something in a way that compromises your own or someone else's safety.

      Delete
    2. So you can write, paint and do burlesque but you cannot work. WHY NOT!!!!!!

      Delete
    3. The above post was for Vanilla Rose!

      Delete
  39. I thought that the most ridiculous question was 'can you press a button'?

    I'm being migrated from IB to ESA. I filled my ESA50 out carefully but I've still been called for a WCA. If you are called for an WCA please request a recording. It will raise the chances of what you say actually being written down properly by the HCP.

    I was refused a recording (a long story) but managed to get my WCA postponed (for now). This Guardian article explains the problem:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/jul/20/fitness-for-work-tests-technical-chaos?INTCMP=SRCH

    PLEASE share! People need to know that they are entitled to a recording. It's a small but important right. It's helpful if you have a bad memory or if you'll find the assessment so stressful that you won't be able to recall it (i.e. most people). It's useful to have the recording if your case goes to appeal but *hopefully* it means that the HCP will take more care to get it right the first time.

    Best of luck to anyone going through this. It's horrible :-(

    ReplyDelete
  40. Sue, it may be worth checking if being in receipt of high rate care and high rate mobility DLA qualifies you to be put into the ESA support or WRAG groups?

    Definitely get a welfare advisor involved,they will come to your home. Also CAB if you can (but check if they can actually come with you to any appeals that will happen.I thought my advisor was coming with me to the DLA appeal, then found out one week before that she wasn't! Consequently when my brain fog hit during the appeal I was incapable of articulating anything coherent about my mobility needs, so ended up with only low rate care.)

    For my ESA appeal, my counsellor referred me to Porchlight for a representative to accompany me next time.


    Also Benefitsandwork site have excellent detailed guides on filling in ESA50s etc.
    http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/images/image/samples/esa/physical_wca_june_12_sample.pdf

    (Can send you full version privately if you are not a full member)

    Get as many statements as you can from anyone involved in your care.

    And get your MP involved, they have direct access to DWP and can sometimes accelerate the process.

    Sure you have heard all this before,I am just a newie at all this--albeit a very determined one-- but hope it helps in some way.

    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. cathyt, you say, "it may be worth checking if being in receipt of high rate care and high rate mobility DLA qualifies you to be put into the ESA support or WRAG groups?"

      I think it did, once, but it certainly doesn't any more. That might make it too easy - people wouldn't be put off by the sheer horribleness of the forms. Or it might cut down the work for ATOS.

      Also - and this is a serious point - making ESA something that anyone was "entitled to" is a part of the benefits system that they are trying to remove.

      The government (both big parties and the DWP bigwigs) want to remove the notion that anyone is entitled to any money from the state at all. "An end to the culture of entitlement" is a specific goal of our current masters. We must all be made to realise that any benefit is contingent - on our circumstances, the state of the economy, the mood of the politicians.

      Having benefit recipients in permanent fear of loss of income is part of the point. We should have a permanent reminder that it's luck and the generosity of others that keeps the money coming in - combined with a reminder that luck and generosity can run out.

      Humiliating forms and useless medicals are a part of this process.

      Sorry, Sue, rant over. You don't need being any more depressed than you already are. Just take it that you have my sympathy - not least because I'm waiting for my own E50 to turn up.

      Delete
    2. Hi cathy t you say that you will send full version of the benefits and work guides if not a member.I would be most grateful if you could send me the full guide,my email is wayneclarke1973@gmail.com
      Thanks very much indeed.

      Delete
    3. cathy could you also send me a copy I have just attended an athos assessment i have hypermobility so when they ask if i can bend and touch my toes i say the reason i have a problem is because i can touch my toes and stick my head between my legs but not without pain and deterioration. so i feel i will have to appeal i am not sure how i would use regs 29 and 35 but i will definately give it a try

      Delete
    4. sorry email JoolsDowner@gmail.com

      Delete
  41. If you are still getting it, we might have to tighten the requirements...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. what do you mean ? If you are still getting it, we might have to tighten the requirements...

      people like sue and i are classed as very ill i can only speak for myself and when your at my low Weight with illness you can die at any time so it would be wise to think before you post and be very mindful of the thousands of premature deaths that take place in the uk each year because of care systems across all areas of caring that are not up to scratch including jumping through hoops to get what is rightfully yours which is your sickness benefits

      Delete
    2. fourbanks, I assume that Anon was being facetious. It does sometimes seem that the politicians take a look at who is getting benefits and decide that certain sorts of people should not be getting them. So they re-write the rules.

      If they want to please a certain type of newspaper reader (naming no names), they decide that they will try to take away benefit from anyone who doesn't look ill.

      You must have come across people who say, "You look OK to me," as though that settles the question of whether you qualify for benefit or not.

      Pretend that they are writing the rules, and you'll see the mindset that was being lampooned - probably by someone in a desperate situation trying to deal with it by using black humour.

      Delete
  42. The gender mix up aside, that's terrible.
    I barely see doctors (too traumatised by the lot of them!) and in any case if I ever do I get told off because I should be managing my condition at home. My doctors wouldn't have the first clue about which activities I can and can't do (in fact a genuinely lovely caring gp once told me I should get a nice part time job to give me something to do when I couldn't get out of bed for more than one hour a day and couldn't sit up for much of that time anyway). How is someone like me supposed to provide evidence to corroborate what I'm saying. No doctor is going to come and live with me for a week and observe me and it's part of my condition (M.E that when I do get to the doctor and am sat upright, I look completely and utterly healthy).

    Terrifying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i agree...my doctor/consultant has no idea about my daily life behind closed doors.

      Delete
    2. I agree with your lovely G.P

      Delete
  43. The above was in response to David Finch by the way.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I don't want anyone to take this the wrong way. I know and fully agree that the bar they are setting for ESA is far too high. I have made myself ill fighting welfare reforms tooth and nail. For those who don't know, I was fully involved with the original Spartacus report and further more recent wearespartacus campaigns.

    However. When you do rant at the questions being asked, please could you bear in mind that there are those among us who really can't do them. We have to answer "no". It is absolutely soul destroying.

    I have found this thread quite hard going due to the sheer number of people who *appear* to imply that of course you can do them and have to answer "yes". I understand that isn't what you mean. I understand that what you mean is that just because you can do these very simple things doesn't mean that you can work.

    All I ask is that you remember those of us that can't do them, have had to fill in that dratted form and "admit" to it, already feel pretty bad about it, completely useless and a waste of space, and take that into consideration when you talk about this issue.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  45. my injections need to be kept in the fridge...would i have to take them in a cooler box lol...visions of me carrying it into the assessment room like i've bought a picnic...Sue .

    ReplyDelete
  46. Sue the mythical job you are being assessed for is one where you sit in an adjustable chair with a headset on and press the buttons on a keyboard. OR sit in your wheelchair & stack shelves. OK thats a bit cynical but dis you read the descriptors for visual impairment
    Navigation and maintaining safety, using a guide dog or other aid if normally used.
    a) Unable to navigate around familiar surroundings, without being accompanied by another person, due to sensory impairment. 15
    b) Cannot safely complete a potentially hazardous task such as crossing the road, without being accompanied by another person, due to sensory impairment. 15
    c) Unable to navigate around unfamiliar surroundings, without being accompanied by another person, due to sensory impairment. 9
    d) None of the above apply 0

    So if your guide dog knows where you are going then you can't get 15 points -
    Remember and put varies if you cannot always do a task,
    I think you probably qualify under this one though - you'll know best
    9. Absence or loss of control leading to extensive evacuation of the bowel and/ or bladder, despite the presence of any aids or adaptations normally used.
    a) At least once a month experiences
    1. loss of control leading to extensive evacuation of the bowel and/or voiding of the bladder; or
    2. substantial leakage of the contents of a collecting device sufficient to require the individual to clean themselves and change clothing 15
    b) At risk of loss of control leading to extensive evacuation of the bowel and/or voiding of the bladder, sufficient to require cleaning and a change in clothing, if not able to reach a toilet quickly. 6

    ReplyDelete
  47. After watching this, I just have one thing to say to DaeSung…”GET SOMEEE!“

    Also, if you missed SBS Big Show, you can rewatch the Tonight, What Is Right, and Cafe performances on Big Bang’s official Youtube channel.

    ——

    JT’s 4th Mini-album Big Bang VN
    big bang
    thoughts
    I’m really impressed with this mini-album. It shows how much BB has grown in 2 years they’ve been away. I have to say, this whole mini-album was very J-Pop influenced, well considering “Hands Up” and “Somebody to Love” were originally Japanese songs.

    Yes, Cafe deserves it’s own paragraph. Cafe is really an amazing song. It’s like there’s a bunch of upbeat J-Pop-ish K-pop then there’s this one chill song at the end. Just like on the “Stand Up” mini-album, all K-pop songs, then there’s “Oh My Friend.” It’s one song that completely stands out. Just like DaeSung said during SBS The Big Bang Show…

    ReplyDelete
  48. Could somebody please send me the Benefits and Work full guide to claiming ESA on Physical Grounds ESA50 questionaire.I would be most grateful if somebody that has it could send it on to me.I'm having many sleepless nights thinking how to fill it in and I think this might help me in some way.My email address is wayneclarke1973@gmail.com.Thanks very much in advance for anyone who can help me in anyway

    ReplyDelete
  49. I would also be very grateful for the esa form guide due to mental health grounds as i cant afford the £20 to join or the £10 charge . My email is sweetlilac@hotmail.co.uk.
    Thankyou..

    ReplyDelete
  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Could I have a copy please mental illness is destroying me sean_cunningham@hotmail.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  52. dont pay any website money to join, the people taking money off sick people are a disgrace. there is plenty of free information on this thread alone on how to fill in forms and appeal. i won my appeal today, and the best advice , free of course, is tell them everything about how your disability affects you, from something that might seem so trivial to you,get them told. honestly, bombard them with everything you can think of,let them know of doctors appts send them copies of hospital appts,results of hospital appts,when you are having a really bad day with your illness,write to them, tell them, phone them,dont give up,it took me 8 months,but i won. i,d rather be working and earning a living, as i did for 31years, but circumstances change and i now need help from the government. i pray i will return to work someday,and dont have to rely on anyone,i know in my heart it,s a pipedream,but who knows. dont give up ever, fight your corner,and do not pay anyone to join any site.best wishes and good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  53. I agree with Glasgow rob, you shouldn't need to pay for advice!.. I had a heart attack 3 years ago then went to work in a DWP BDC. (I always tried to help honest). it was so stressful I left and had a more serious MI and found myself on the other side of the track again for long enough to suffer through 2 WCA's and 2 subsequent tribunals, both of which overturned ATOS.. It took 6 months to get back benefits they withheld and disputed.. I was told to go on to supported permitted work (for which I had to pay for the honour);; and they withheld 10 weeks as they said I shouldn't have been on SPW.. so I guess another tribunal is looming despite the emails I have proving I was only doing what I was told.. What a waste of public money. As for anyone who argues about entitlement.. I PAID for my benefits through N.I. and taxes. I fear for the future of benefits in this country. Sure some will try and milk the system, but there are ways of weeding these people out without harming those entitled. ...rant over.

    ReplyDelete
  54. There is a serious anomaly with the ESA50, causing confusion for claimants, and potentially leading to unfair WCA assessments:


    Most of the questions on the ESA50 form have a tick-box for "It varies".

    However Lord Fraud recently confirmed that if an individual's ability to perform a task is not RELIABLE OR REPEATABLE (or if they can not do it safely or in an acceptable or timely manner), they are regarded as being UNABLE to do it.

    The new ESA50 forms actually include a rubric referring to the same.

    So WHY does the updated test retain the 'it varies' category?

    When someone ticks the box to say that their ability varies, they are stating that they CAN NOT carry out the task reliably, repeatably, etc.

    As such - according to Freud's definition, they should be awarded the FULL points for that question, exactly as if they had simply answered "NO".

    It would seem that the 'it varies' option has no relevance to the way that the rules stipulate the WCA must be scored. So why is it still there - if not to confuse claimants and assessors alike?

    Shouldn't there just be a choice between a 'YES' box which reads: "Yes I can do this reliably, repeatably...etc."? And a 'NO' box stating: "No I can not do this reliably...etc."?


    This raises several questions:

    1. Are people ever awarded 'half marks' for ticking 'it varies', even though Freud has confirmed that the only reason a person should lose points is for answering: "YES I CAN DO THIS RELIABLY".

    2. ARE THOSE WHO TICK 'IT VARIES' BEING CONSISTENTLY AND RELIABLY ASSESSED AS "NOT BEING ABLE TO PERFORM THE TASK RELIABLY"?

    3. Do people ever get 'marked down' for ticking 'It varies' to try to express the fact that they CAN NOT RELIABLY perform a task?

    4. How many respondents have been wrongly placed in WRAG or removed from ESA altogether due to the confusion caused by this seemingly entirely redundant and misleading 'it varies' box?

    I have a nasty feeling that Atos and the DWP's answer to all of the above would be 'it varies'.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Hi Sue and anyone who can help. Skint as hell and need a copy of Benefits & Work guide for completing the ESA50 you can EMAIL ME AT xiomara.selle@gmail.com thanks very much Mara

    ReplyDelete
  56. Its a disgrace what there doing to people
    Here is my story I would like to share.

    http://benefitsbenefits.blogspot.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
  57. medical negligence helpThis is very essential blog; it helped me a lot whatever you have provided.

    ReplyDelete
  58. My name is Kay and I am 51years of age.. This is a blog for benefit help/advice and information so why the hell are these 'fake' people writing a load of crap about so called spells.. It is taking the p*** ..fake spell people get a grip and get a life...The people on the blog are serious unlike you morons!

    ReplyDelete
  59. did you get esa sue...never saw any updates ...i cannot cope with it fighting bedroom tax now esa .

    ReplyDelete

  60. I have be married for nine years my husband and i where living happily and just two months ago my husband ment his ex girl friend whom he had in school days and all of a sudden he started dating her again and he never cared about his family again all he does is to stay late at night and when he come's back he will just lie to me that he hard some fault with his car,there was this faithful day i caught the both of them in a shop,i walked to them and told the girl to stay of my husband girlfriend again,i have suffered too much in the hand of a cheating husband but and when he came home that evening he beat me up even despite the fact that i was pregnant he was just kicking and warning me to never point a finger on his affairs. thank to ancientokija whom i got from a blog site after a long search for a real spell caster i was so happy that he fufilled all what he said in just less than three days after the spell was casted they quareled and he broke up with the girl and his senses are fully back and he now care and love me like he have never done before and if you are their suffering from a broken marriage or your husband or ex cheats? you can email (LAVENDERLOVESPELL@YAHOO.COM) his spells are pure and very powerful without any doubt. or call him +2347053977842. he is the best caster that can help you with your problems.

    ReplyDelete
  61. great spell caster My name is alice Mark, I
    never thought I will smile again, My husband
    left me with two kids for one year, All effort
    to bring him back failed I thought I'm not
    going to see him again not until I met a lady
    called Jesse who told me about a spell caster
    called Dr.sambola, She gave me his email
    address I contacted him and he assured me
    that within 48hours my husband will come
    back to me, In less than 48hours my husband
    came back and started begging for
    forgiveness saying it is the devils work, so
    I'm still surprise till now about this
    miracle,indeed the most powerful spell caster
    have ever experienced in life. Am Posting this
    to the Forum in case there is anyone who
    has similar problem and still looking for a
    way out. To cure HIV/AID or related illness (1)
    If you want your ex back.(2) you need a
    divorce in your relationship(3) You want to
    be promoted in your office.(4) You want
    women & amp; men to run after you.(5) If
    you want a child.(6) You want to be rich.(7)
    You want to tie your husband & wife to be
    yours forever.(8) If you need financial
    assistance.(9) Herbal care(10) if any want
    Interested popular in music (11) if any
    want Interested popular in football club12
    Get you marriage to the lover of your choice
    if you need any assistance from him you can
    contact him via:email
    michaelibhalugholor@gmail.com or +2348073960324

    ReplyDelete
  62. My name is williams ronnie, and I base in USA...My life is back!!!
    After 2 years of Broken marriage, my husband left me with two kids . I felt
    like my life was about to end i almost committed suicide, i was emotionally
    down for a very long time. Thanks to a spell caster called Dr DADA , which
    i met online. On one faithful day, as I was browsing through the internet,I
    came across allot of testimonies about this particular spell caster. Some
    people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that
    he restores womb,cure cancer,and other sickness, some testified that he can
    cast a spell to stop divorce and so on. i also come across one particular
    testimony,it was about a woman called Sonia,she testified about how he
    brought back her Ex lover in less than 2 days, and at the end of her
    testimony she dropped Dr DADA e-mail address. After reading all these,I
    decided to give it a try. I contacted him via email and explained my
    problem to him. In just 48hours, my husband came back to me. We solved our
    issues, and we are even happier than before Dr DADA, is really a gifted man
    and i will not stop publishing him because he is a wonderful man... If you
    have a problem and you are looking for a real and genuine spell caster to
    solve all your problems for you. Try High hinduspiritualtemple@gmail.com
    anytime, he might be the answer to your problems. Here's his contact:
    hinduspiritualtemple@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  63. My name is williams ronnie, and I base in USA...My life is back!!!
    After 2 years of Broken marriage, my husband left me with two kids . I felt
    like my life was about to end i almost committed suicide, i was emotionally
    down for a very long time. Thanks to a spell caster called Dr DADA , which
    i met online. On one faithful day, as I was browsing through the internet,I
    came across allot of testimonies about this particular spell caster. Some
    people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that
    he restores womb,cure cancer,and other sickness, some testified that he can
    cast a spell to stop divorce and so on. i also come across one particular
    testimony,it was about a woman called Sonia,she testified about how he
    brought back her Ex lover in less than 2 days, and at the end of her
    testimony she dropped Dr DADA e-mail address. After reading all these,I
    decided to give it a try. I contacted him via email and explained my
    problem to him. In just 48hours, my husband came back to me. We solved our
    issues, and we are even happier than before Dr DADA, is really a gifted man
    and i will not stop publishing him because he is a wonderful man... If you
    have a problem and you are looking for a real and genuine spell caster to
    solve all your problems for you. Try High hinduspiritualtemple@gmail.com
    anytime, he might be the answer to your problems. Here's his contact:
    hinduspiritualtemple@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  64. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  65. OH FOR GOD'S SAKE I HOPE NO ONE IS FALLING FOR ALL THIS CRAP

    I THOUGHT THIS WAS A SITE TO HELP PEOPLE WITH ESA FORM.

    WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH THESE PEOPLE ARE SPOUTING. THEY ARE PREYING ON THE WEAK AND VULNERABLE.

    ONLY YOU CAN MAKE YOU HAPPY, NOT SENDING YOUR PRIVATE DETAILS AND WORSE PHOTOS SO THEY CAN GET FAKE ID'S.

    COME ON HAVE A BIT OF COMMON SENSE!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  66. OH FOR GOD'S SAKE I HOPE NO ONE IS FALLING FOR ALL THIS CRAP

    I THOUGHT THIS WAS A SITE TO HELP PEOPLE WITH ESA FORM.

    WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH THESE PEOPLE ARE SPOUTING. THEY ARE PREYING ON THE WEAK AND VULNERABLE.

    ONLY YOU CAN MAKE YOU HAPPY, NOT SENDING YOUR PRIVATE DETAILS AND WORSE PHOTOS SO THEY CAN GET FAKE ID'S.

    COME ON HAVE A BIT OF COMMON SENSE!!!!!







































































































































































    ReplyDelete
  67. OH FOR GOD'S SAKE I HOPE NO ONE IS FALLING FOR ALL THIS CRAP

    I THOUGHT THIS WAS A SITE TO HELP PEOPLE WITH ESA FORM.

    WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH THESE PEOPLE ARE SPOUTING. THEY ARE PREYING ON THE WEAK AND VULNERABLE.

    ONLY YOU CAN MAKE YOU HAPPY, NOT SENDING YOUR PRIVATE DETAILS AND WORSE PHOTOS SO THEY CAN GET FAKE ID'S.







































































































































































































    COME ON HAVE A BIT OF COMMON SENSE!!!!!

    ReplyDelete