Whether you are claiming contribution-based or income-related ESA, the claim process is very likely to involve a face-to-face assessment. It is a good idea to ask for your work capability assessment to be recorded, to help protect you from what you say being misunderstood, but you should still not go alone if you can help it.
You may well be asked how you got there that day and if walking is an issue for you, seriously consider being dropped off near their door rather than have to do explain that you have walked from a car park. Make it clear where you were dropped off – they regularly make mistakes about the walking that you are capable of, based on what they believe you have done that day, this is them making assumptions rather than asking, so spell it out to them.
There are tasks on this page for both you and the person who I hope will be with you. If at all possible, that person should be in the assessment room with you. They will serve little or no purpose by staying in a waiting area.
You will hopefully have kept a copy of the work capability questionnaire, ESA50, and I recommend that the person with you reads through that copy, and this information, before your assessment.
Clients who have dealt with their own claims before coming to me have explained that they rested up for their assessment or it took extra medication to get them through it. Neither of these are a good idea; you want the Healthcare Professional to see you as you usually are. If you have had to take something, because you just would not be able to get there without, then at least make this clear to them – they will not ask you.
If you get a Healthcare Professional who asks what are called leading questions, such as “you can manage that on your own, can't you?” Please do not feel pressured into giving a one-word answer. Your answer to their question might be yes, or it might be yes, but only on a better day, not most of the time. The correct answer for you might be that you can manage it, but not all in one go, because you have to break up the task. Or you might be in a position where you can manage the task but you then need to rest or recover, not being able to go directly onto another task. It is vital that they hear the full answer from you. Although the questions are likely to be about what you do at home, the law says that they are to be considered in a work setting. If that makes a difference for you, make it clear as they will not ask you.
The person with you will not be able to answer questions for you, but they can prompt you, so they can have a vital role to play. You are likely to be anxious and you may forget things or not explain things as you would like to. The person with you might be thinking that if the Healthcare Professional wants to know about this, then surely, they would want to know about that, or you may tell them something that you have done, but have not been able to do for months or years. It is fine for the person with you to say these things to you, rather than directly to the assessor. They might ask you whether you want to tell the Healthcare Professional about something that has happened to you.
The assessor may explain that they have either read your form or that they are going to read it. Never mind, it is important that you say everything that needs to be said. Please do not leave things unsaid because you know that they are in the form and that they have either read them or are going to read them. You will only get one shot at this work capability assessment and I urge you to make sure that you explain things fully. Remember though that it is not just about what they have read of you and what they are told by you, but also what they see of you. Everything will be noted down. Everything from how you respond to your name being called, how you get up and then walk to the assessment room, how you handle bags or ID, as well as how you move around that room, will all be noted down. Be aware of this and simply be yourself. This includes not hiding the pain if it hurts to get out of a chair – if they cannot see or hear signs of that pain, they will not be aware of it. Please do not feel pressured to try and keep up with an assessor who is hurrying from the waiting area back the assessment room. If you need to take your time or stop, then it is vital that you do so. You want them to see you as you usually are. You need them to have clear information, but their ability or willingness to ask enough of the right questions varies from person to person. You may for example be asked if you have a pet. They may assume that you walk the dog, or can happily bend to provide food and water for the cat. If there are aspects of the pet care that you can’t and don’t manage, I recommend that you explain this, or you risk wrong assumptions being made.
Please be familiar with what is in your copy of the questionnaire that you filled in, and be consistent with it, unless things have changed of course. If they have, explain this, or they may draw the wrong conclusions about differences between what they have read and what they are hearing or seeing. They will go through your medical conditions and their symptoms, and then your medication, which you should have with you. They will ask about your home circumstances, including any aids or adaptations you have, so give this some thought before you go. The Healthcare Professional will then talk to you about ‘a typical day’, and what you say here counts for a lot. Please do not simply answer questions put to you, leaving important things unsaid, because the Healthcare Professional did not ask the right questions.
Remember that ESA is a 'most of the time’ benefits so that the issue is how you are affected on the majority of days. It is fine to talk to them about your worst days and even your best days, but make sure that they understand whether there are more of the better or bad days, overall. The issue is what you can do ‘with repeated regularity’, so if doing something has an effect on you, explain this; they will not ask.
There are two sorts of ESA claims, contribution-based and income-related. Entitlement to the first of these depends on you having paid sufficient National Insurance contributions. Income-related is another way of saying means tested. In the following weeks, you will be required to complete a work capability questionnaire or form ESA50. This asks for a description..MORE
Whether you are claiming contribution-based or income-related ESA, the claim process is very likely to involve a face-to-face assessment. It is a good idea to ask for your work capability assessment to be recorded, to help protect you from what you say being misunderstood, but you should still not go alone if you can help it. You may well be asked how you got there..MORE
You would not be reading this if you were happy with your decision letter. OK, so what do you do when a decision that you do not agree with arrives? We recommend that you call ESA to request a copy of the assessment report, because this is very likely to be where things went wrong. We go through the report with you pretty much line by line, to see what went wrong..MORE
The first thing to remember is that I can almost certainly put it right, so do not panic. Challenging the ESA decision is a two-stage process; the first is a paper challenge, called a mandatory reconsideration. ‘Mandatory’ because you cannot go around it; you have to go through this stage before you have the option of appealing..MORE
You must have been through the reconsideration stage before you can appeal to an independent tribunal. It is better to use the standard appeal form (search online for form SSCS1. You and the tribunal have the same appeal papers sent to you. They will contain a copy of your work capability questionnaire ESA50, the assessment..MORE
ESA APPEAL CHALLENGE
A tribunal decision can only be challenged by identifying one or more ‘errors of law’ in their statement of reasons, which the tribunal judge has to put together if any party to the appeal requests it. Up to this point, you were able to challenge a decision simply because you thought it to be wrong. If you are unhappy..MORE
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I knew straight away that I had made the right decision in reaching out to Glenn Brooks for help with my Pip application. He is very professional, supportive and talked me through the whole process. After two stressful applications in the past on my own, both with 0 points, with Glenn's knowledge I have been successful. I have been awarded standard daily living and also standard mobility for fibromyalgia. I would absolutely recommend the help from Disability Claims and I will definitely be contacting again when my renewal is due. Thank you very much.
Joanne Porter - April 2021
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I have to admit when I opened the application form my heart sank. It appeared so long and complicated & I really couldn’t be sure of the context so I referred to the guidance book and blind panic set in! Where to start?
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Paul Lonsdale - January 2021
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AYODELE AWARUNS - December 2020
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I got the award I was entitled to and wouldn’t have had the confidence to do this without Disability Claims. I am very happy and will use the company again when my award is due for renewal.
Suzanne Ellis - September 2020
I have been dealing with Disability Claims for many years for help with claiming the right benefit. They helped me a great deal, particularly when the DWP got it very wrong. They were confident and reassuring that I was in the right and we won no problem on appeal. You can be as genuine as possible, with real issues but often it's how those words are put over - this is where Disability Claims came in. Filled out the same information (mostly) as I did, just worded much better and was successful without any problems. Highly recommend you deal with Disability Claims if you're worried or have issues. In an ideal world this service should not be needed, but the DWP are ruthless and don't care what your circumstances are.
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You obviously have good knowledge on the subject and was to formulate an
accurate statement, and present our case well at the appeal hearing. It is likely that
we will be in touch for help when our renewal form arrives.”
Mr M of Louth
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