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ESA Medical Assessment and the Frustration it brings with the results.


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Hi to anyone who reads this and let me apologise if it appears that I am being negative or complaining for complaining sake.

I am neither and have not once in the nine months since my SAH said why me or been depressed abouit the situation.

However like a number of people I have had to attend an ESA Medical review to qualify for benefit. I use the term loosly because to qualify seems to have a variety of meanings. It seems from this mornings correspondence it appears you have to score more than 15 points to win a prize, (benefit).

To summarize I had my SAH in November last year and am still off work. I know that a number of people who contribute to this site returned to work within this time but we are all different and all have had different experiences.

In the last two weeks I have attended two Medical Reviews, one for the ESA and one for Occupational Health, work requested.

How they can both be so diverse in method or results amazes me. The second was completed by a Doctor, who had questions that related to me returning to work, all relevant and justified. The outcome was that his report to which I have received a copy, and to which he told me the contents off as he was compiling it is fair and has a bearing on my return to work. It also informs Personnel that he feels I should be able to resume work in the next three to four months under a supervised program. It mentions my illness, hospital period, surgery, current problems.

The first report is just a letter with a two sided appendix of tick boxes with points scored, from someone who never interviewed me! This is a standard assessment with none of the questions having any direct bearing on what happened to me and what problems I still have. From this wonderful system I scored 6 points thus not qualifying for benefit. There is no mention of my SAH, no mention of the memory problems or fatigue problems I curently suffer from. To have a NO decision is what I expected from hearing all the press. However it is doubly insulting when the original claim for Sick Pay was reduced by the value of my Pension for which I had worked for for 34 years, and was now receiving since my last Redundancy at 50 years of age.This left me with no Sick Pay as such until I qualified for £24.50 per week on Contribution based score.

Let me finish with the point that I actually want to return to work when able but since my SAH do not feel that I will be able to undertake my original duties as they were. I hope that with the report from the Occupational Health a new job may be posible. Lastly the final insult from the ESA was to suggest I contact my Employer about returning to work! Needless to say I will be appealing the decision.

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Hi John,

I can totally understand your frustration .... after a major illness, it's disgusting that somebody has to be put through this type of grief. With the present Government cuts, I can only say that I think that the situation is going to get worse .. Good luck with your appeal and fight for what you're entitled to.

I know myself, that if I was able to work in a permanent capacity, I would be doing so and am sure that would go for the majority of people on here. I haven't claimed a bean since the SAH and luckily enough, even though money was tight at first, it was manageable on Eric's wage, with a lot of juggling! However, if the SAH had happened to Eric, then goodness knows what would have happened ... I really dread to think.

Good luck John and don't let them grind you down... xx

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Hi John

Oh those minefield forms take it that ESA is what I used to call Incopacity benefit, yep none of the questions actually relate to what’s wrong with me.....

You have to fill them in answering on your worst days......

Yes appeal their decision if you can get letters from the hospital/consultant neuro for both work and benefit stating that you are at this time unable to work that may help....

I haven’t been able to return to work either John the desission for this was made for me tho......

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John

I would also feel completely disgusted, frustrated and angry if that had happened to me.

I managed to get back to work 3 months after my SAH, doing a phased return using my holiday to reduce my working week (for many weeks) yet even then I wasn't feeling great. It was a case of necessity that I am back doing full-time. I live alone and doubt I would be able to get any benefits.

I have read many times that in the majority of cases the application for benefit is initially turned down and then re-assessed in more depth at the appeal stage.

Good luck for your appeal and I do hope you are able to get back to work in the next few months.

It is hard not to feel let down by this, but hopefully your appeal will work.

Take care

Kel x

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Hi John

It is disgusting they way people recovering from SAH are treated. Why don't these people get it that we've had a brain injury!!

I returned to work 9 1/2 months post SAH but I wasn't supported by my manager, quite the opposite, and was signed back off again 11 weeks later, for a 4 month period. The first return to work was to be a phased return over 6 months. My second return to work was the end of June (16 months post SAH) and I went straight back into my 35 hours and I'm coping really well.

You will be covered by the Disability Discrimination Act on your SAH's first anniversary. I've copied and pasted this from www.direct.gov.uk

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) defines a disabled person as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

The definition

For the purposes of the Act:

•substantial means neither minor nor trivial

•long term means that the effect of the impairment has lasted or is likely to last for at least 12 months (there are special rules covering recurring or fluctuating conditions)

•normal day-to-day activities include everyday things like eating, washing, walking and going shopping

•a normal day-to-day activity must affect one of the 'capacities' listed in the Act which include mobility, manual dexterity, speech, hearing, seeing and memory.

Why can't they see when someone is very motivated but still not well enough to try a return to work!

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Hiya John

I was on incapacity benefit after my SAH.........until the medical. My own "doctor" was as useless as the benefits "doctor". I was given 0 points. I started to appeal, so they cut my money to a rate that I couldn't live on. At the time, I hadn't changed my doctor or had professional help and didn't know what to do. I couldn't go through with the appeal as I didn't Know what help I would get, if any. Luckily, things have changed for me now and I work, but at the time I felt that I was very let down. A good place to contact, as I am now told is D.I.A.L. Hope you sort things out.

Love Nita xxx

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Hi John,

Isn't it just the most frustrating thing. They make you feel like they think you are a benefit cheat. I had the same thing happen at my last "medical". They awarded 6 points for my blind area and nothing for the rest. I coiuldn't believe it! I immediately launched an appeal. They have now reinstated me on a lower amount, pending this appeal which I'm told will take 6 MONTHS to be heard.They don't make it straightforward though, the info you get is a load of garbled mumbo jumbo that confuses the life out of you. I recently considered cancelling it because I can't be bothered with the stress of it. I was at the job centre plus today and the new lady said I'm to persevere as It's been 3 months wait already and they do make a lot of mistakes. If you call to tell them you wish to appeal they should put you back on some of it till your appeal is heard.

Hope you get it sorted.

Best wishes Sally xx

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Sally, I think that is their aim, to turn people down initially, in hope that they don't appeal and stress is certainly something you don't need after a brain injury ... It's a disgusting state of affairs when you've had such a traumatic illness.

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Thanks very much for all your support and kind words.

I do intend to appeal and include a copy of the report given to me by the Occupational Health Doctor. I know I have been very lucky with my recovery so far and did not have any obvious signs that I have had an SAH unless you got up close and checked out my two lovely Skull Dimples where my drains used to be or the proud contour of the VP Shunt drain that runs under the skin behind my right ear.

Just everyday indications of a "mild headache" not a serious brain injury. I can joke about them now but they still remind me everyday of what must have happened to me during that seven period that I cannot still remember! when I have a shower or wash my hair.

I do not want sympathy or special treatment only what I believe is right. If my GP who has been very supportive throughout has signed me unfit for work that is good enough for me.

I will keep you informed of my progress.:crazy:

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Hi John....wishing you good luck with your appeal....i think it is a disgrace ! As you say ours is unseen. Its about time SAH is recognized. Dont let this get you down, you have done so well. I hope you get what is rightfully yours. Take care Love Tina xx

Edited by Tina
typo grrrr ! lol
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Hi John it's disgusting what you are having to go through:devil:. Do remember that your National Insurance contributions are just that ie; INSURANCE should you ever be unfortunate enough to be in the position you are now in and need to draw from that money you paid in. You should not have to fight for what is rightfully yours but since you are having to don't let it get to you. The bottom line is that what we are left with is a hidden illness you would get more sympathy if you had trapped your finger and needed a plaster!:crazy:

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Get that appeal in quickly and try to get a Welfare Rights Adviser to help you.

It is all wrong, I heard recently that someone with terminal cancer was deemed fit to work, disgusting!!!

The decision maker who looks at these forms has no medical knowledge at all and follows criteria set down by the DWP. In my opinion the DM should have some medical knowledge and the criteria to meet certainly needs looking at to take into account the severity of the condition.

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Oh my gosh, don't get me started on this!!! I know exactly where you are coming from, having got a total of ZERO points in my ESA medical. My GP and the neuro rehab psychologist are spitting feathers. I appealed, and the Stroke Association wrote to my MP on my behalf. They also recommended I write so I did and the MP wrote back with a copy of what he'd written to DWP on my behalf. He said they are also bringing this question up with the powers that be.

I really wished I could have dropped the whole thing (that and DLA which was also refused), but I can't work just yet although I have several jobs I could go into tomorrow at the hospital who are desperate for medical secretaries. The fact that several of you also say you'd like to just abandon the whole thing makes me so angry: it is reported in the media that since bringing in the medical, people have just stopped claiming, therefore confirming in their minds that the lot of us are just scroungers. I think it's more likely to be because you are made to jump through hoops and it's humiliating.

I'd much rather be working than surviving on a pittance, but I just can't right now.

So, APPEAL right now, and get help from CAB or whoever if necessary.

Take care!!!

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Hi John it's disgusting what you are having to go through:devil:. Do remember that your National Insurance contributions are just that ie; INSURANCE should you ever be unfortunate enough to be in the position you are now in and need to draw from that money you paid in. You should not have to fight for what is rightfully yours but since you are having to don't let it get to you. The bottom line is that what we are left with is a hidden illness you would get more sympathy if you had trapped your finger and needed a plaster!:crazy:

Maggie, you say that we should be able to draw on what we have paid in but it's all a con. I will never be entitled to any form of benefit because i have a small navy pension. For every pound of my pension i lose a pound of benefit. It is an absolute disgrace, i have served my country for 23 years to be let down badly. This ESA is just another way of fudging statistics....

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Hi Gary, this is something else that angered me. I spent over thirty years with the same company before Redundancy meant I had to change jobs at 50. I luckily received a pension from this job on reaching 50, however every penny of that pension was deducted from my ESA entitlement. They talk about the millions of unclaimed benefits but when you try to complete the comprehensive documents you end up with zilch.

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Gary and John,

I am absolutely livid to discover that they deduct any pension money from any benefit someone might receive. I find it hard to understand how, in this day and age something like this is in any way considered acceptable. This must affect thousands of people and I so wish they could all had the passion to find ways to campaign and cause disruption to the people who make these rules. I feel this way about so many issues in todays system that I now idolise people like Arthur Scargill and Emily Pankhurst. I wish we could all take a leaf out of their books. WHY does the world not agree with me?

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Gary and John,

I am absolutely livid to discover that they deduct any pension money from any benefit someone might receive.

That is not strictly true, see below.

This happened to me whilst I was on IB but the first £85 (a couple of years ago and the amount will have gone up now) of your pension was disregarded. The exception is:- if you get the HRC element of DLA you get the whole amount of benefit. Your pension is not taken into consideration at all.

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Just going through the process of Appealing against my ESA refusal. When you look down the list of points that they use to review your ability and how they award points it just does not include problems from a Brain Injury apart from a mention on Concentration and Memory. I am also having to inform them that I did not just have a Stroke as they have listed it, their assumption that an SAH is just a Stroke, so they are generallising our condition and its effects.

I am just putting down the truth, thats the way it is.:wink:

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Nope, you still can't do e-petitions - I tried when I had my medical :( This is what they say:

With a new Government in place a review is taking place of online services, including e-petitions. We are committed to improving the e-petitions process and are looking at ways of ensuring that it functions as part of a cohesive approach to public debate and transparent government. A full announcement on how we plan to use these and other services across Government will be made as soon as this important work is completed.

Existing e-petitions, submitted to the previous administration, will not be carried forward to the new administration as part of this process. E-petitions that were live at the time of the election announcement on 6 April, when the e-petitions system was suspended, will therefore not be reopened for signatures. We are issuing responses to petitions that had exceeded the 500 signatures threshold as of 6 April 2010 and these can be viewed on the HMG e-petitions responses page.

We will welcome resubmission on issues of concern to the improved e-petitions system when it is launched later in 2010.

Edited by JayKay
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John, my husband Ronnie fills in all the written boxes with explanations about me and what I can & cant do.....if you can keep a copy of it for furture reference.....

As I've said it is a nightmare a friend of mine gets the welfare rights team to help her fill out the forms should get intouch with them.....just a thought....

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I have found this, long reading but worth it. Could be a way to state your views.

28 July 2010: Evidence sought for independent review of work capability assessment

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has asked Professor Malcolm Harrington to undertake an independent review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and make recommendations on the future development and efficacy of the WCA. The WCA determines which claimants are capable of undertaking work, or work-related activity. Professor Harrington has launched a call for evidence to gather information that is relevant to how the WCA is operating. This includes evaluating how the WCA assesses limited capability for work and limited capability for work-related activity. Responses should be sent to wca.evidence@dwp.gsi.gov.uk and the closing date for the call for evidence is 10 September 2010

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/work-cap-ass-call-for-evidence.pdf

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/pr.../july-2010/dwp095-10-270710.shtml

The Department for Work and Pensions has commissioned Professor Malcolm Harrington to undertake an independent review of the Work Capability Assessment, as required by section 10 of the Welfare Reform Act 2007. This call for evidence will be one of several methods used to gather information. Evidence submitted will be used to create a final independent report, which will be laid before Parliament.

This call for evidence is aimed at organisations and individuals who have information that is relevant to how the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is operating. This includes evaluating how the WCA assesses limited capability for work and limited capability for work-related activity.

Purpose of the consultation

How to respond to this consultation

Please send your responses or queries to:

Post: WCA Independent Review Team, Floor 6, Section B, Caxton House, Tothill Street, London, SW1H 9NA.

Email: wca.evidence@dwp.gsi.gov.uk

Please ensure your response reaches us by 10 September 2010.

When responding, please state whether you are doing so as an individual or representing the views of an organisation. If you are responding on behalf of an organisation, please make it clear who the organisation represents and, where applicable, how the views of members were assembled. We will acknowledge your response.

The closing date for the call for evidence is 10 September 2010. A final report will be laid before Parliament and published in late 2010.

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