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Old 21-06-11, 05:55
teamspikey's Avatar
teamspikey teamspikey is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 17
Thumbs down ESA Update - the sneaky sods.

I've posted about this on this section before, but again, if it's in an inappropriate forum, feel free to move it x

So, around January this year I had my (traumatic) ESA medical, and found out after weeks of hanging on tenterhooks that I'd passed. Yippee. Big relief, takes some weight off my shoulders, can stop worrying about how I'm going to live one day to the next and can sort myself out.

Got onto the work group, went to one appointment at the Job Centre, who referred me to Reed. The first Reed appointment I was told they didn't think I was fit for work at the moment, and whilst they'd put my name down on their forms as attending, I didn't need to bother coming back because the program was closing. Also, they said, if and when I felt better, I could give them a bell and they'd help me out.

All good, then.

Or not so. Two or three weeks ago, I received an unwelcome brown envelope through my door that enclosed another ESA 50 application form with a kind letter from ATOS.
Filled it in, sent it back, now am waiting for a Summons to another medical.

I figured out that since it'd been six months since my first assessment - on the letter, it said to send it back by 8th July - that the doctor that assessed me had ticked the return-to-work review as Six Months on her sheet.

Without sounding too negative, I'm more worried about this potential second medical than I was about the first to be honest. I don't know how they expect me to make all kinds of miracle recoveries in six months when I've been ill for over a bloody decade. I'm still waiting for another psych and to be honest, I'm worse now than I was when the original Summons rolled around.

If they boot me off, I'll literally have not a pot to piss in and I don't know how I'd cope in employment at the moment; I certainly wouldn't be able to hold down a job - I can barely hold down part time college. In fact my attendance there is about 20%.

For something that's supposed to help sick people when they're unable to work so they can focus on getting better, it's one stress after another and pretty much not worth it with the shit they put you through.
Just when you've one weight off your shoulders, they decide to put you through it all again, thus rendering you back at square bloody one.

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Old 21-06-11, 06:02
macc noodle macc noodle is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 1,176
Re: ESA Update - the sneaky sods.

It is unrealistic for anyone receiving financial support from the Government to be left long term without review.

If the doctor has ticked the 6 month box - then that is what it is !

Don't worry too much - if you are still ill and still in the same situation then it should be ok.

If, by any chance, they say you are fit to return to work and you beg to differ get some help from CAB to put an appeal in. Once the appeal is in, they continue to pay you until the appeal is heard.

It is all just a process and if you want the financial help from the system, then unfortunately you have to succumb to the requirements they place on you to be assessed at intervals they deem necessary.

Good luck - sure it will be ok and try not to get too worried
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Old 21-06-11, 09:31
blueangel's Avatar
blueangel blueangel is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,275
Re: ESA Update - the sneaky sods.

I'm afraid I agree with maccnoodle - the government sets up the system and people who need to use it have to comply with the rules. Unfortunately the rules on benefits are going to get gradually worse if the current government stay in power as they believe that it's a good way of saving money.

Also, the view they take is that most mental illnesses are treatable - which I think is the right attitude to take, as the last thing I would want for this country is for the state to just throw the mentally ill on the scrapheap. What a waste of lives that would be.
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Old 21-06-11, 19:59
CE3K CE3K is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 50
Re: ESA Update - the sneaky sods.

The thing that confuses me is that even though someone may have a doctors certificate stating Unfit for Work, ATOS, I've heard it said many times, can totally disagree. The individual is then faced with having to make an appeal. From what I've read on a Benefits Forum, approx 75% of ESA 1st interviews declare the person fit! However, on appeal, 80% of claimants win their case . As someone said on the Benefits Forum, it seems to be all about targets and making people jump through hoops!
My daughter has one this thursday . . . not for mental illness, but a back injury which she sustained a couple of years ago after being thrown from a horse. After numerous consultations and a failed physio programme last year, the latest consultant (with MRI evidence) has discovered the problem and said she will need 12 months of functional rehabilitation. GP has signed her off as unfit for work for the last three months, but I'm fully expecting ATOS to reject her ESA claim on the basis that she can:
a) walk 100 metres without discomfort
b) raise her arms above her head
c) sit or stand without discomfort for 30 minutes
(problem is that her back goes into spasm after 30 minutes to an hour of either sitting or standing and she's in excruciating pain; and has to lie down or take yet another pain killer).
The main criticism of ATOS appears to be the nature of the questions (many are meaningless or not relevant to context of the individual), and the fact that they don't take sufficient account of consultant/GP reports.

I do sympathise with you Teamspikey. I really hope that your assessor is fair and understanding. I would advise that you ask plenty of questions and clarify your answers if need be. Most of all, make sure that you formally request a copy of their report so you can compare what they've written down in relation to the answer you actually gave . . . it is a legal entitlement, so don't be afraid to ask for a copy.
Bets of luck and hope it all goes well.
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