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ESA support group

Hooray, I just got my letter from the DWP. I was probably one of the last few who had to fill in a Work Capability Assessment even though I was in the contributions based support group with a lifetime disability.

And today I got my letter saying I’m OK. No physical assessment needed. Still in the support group. So assuming they don’t suddenly change the rules / move the goalposts / replace the benefit with something different, I should be OK for good.

It doesn’t matter how good you are at completing the damned forms, how confident you are, how much physical evidence you have; until the decision letter comes through the door, you worry.

So I am happy, relieved and getting ready for double gin rations tonight!

Sue

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bravo sue!

e x

Cheers Sue!

Fay

Really pleased for you. I was put into the support group about five years ago with what I thought was an indefinite award. Received a reassessment form a few weeks ago and duly completed it and sent it off with doctors’ letters. I have a face to face assessment on Friday week and I am frankly bricking it. People are always telling me how well I look so god knows how the assessor will see me. If they put me into the work group I have already decided not to do it nor to appeal. I’m 59 at the moment and will just have to live off my modest work pension and my savings. Marion

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I’ll keep my fingers Xd for you Marion. I’ve always thought I dodged a bullet, never having had a physical assessment.

Just be honest, but clear about what you can and can’t do. Keep focussed on the ‘can’t’ rather than the ‘can’. And remember the mantra, reliably, repeatedly and safely. So if they ask you if you can manoeuvre yourself 50 metres, think about how often you can do it, do you need to rest after doing it once, are you safe doing it for the 3rd time? Etc. You get the idea?

Sue

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Hi Marion,

The government has a target to get one million sick and disabled into work.

This must be driving these reassessments.

You must be SPMS by now. Did you put that on the form?

I thought folk with SPMS would not be reassessed.

I had my ESA 3 years ago and PIP 18 months ago.

Just wondering if I will get another ESA too. I didn’t have a face to face though - ever.

I feel a bit anxious now. Anyone of us could be targeted.

I would have someone go with you to the ESA assessment - a carer. You have a right.

Good luck!

Fay

It was the end of September that the DWP announced that they wouldn’t be making people in the Support group with lifelong disabilities, and who were unlikely to be capable of work, complete the Work Capability Assessment again. My form arrived at the beginning of October. Which is why I assumed I was one of the last people to be required to complete the damn thing again.

If you were SP when you last completed the WCA (I was a wheelchair user and considerably disabled, but still officially RR on my previous one so I might have had to complete it anyway), then I think it would be highly unlikely now that you’d be required to complete one.

So worry not Fay. You’re like me, perfectly capable of doing it and confident that you’d do a good job of it, but scared to death just the same.

Sue

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There seems to be little communication - joined up thinking - between ESA and PIP assessments.

Okay, they are assessing slightly different things - but still. There is an overlap.

This was mentioned during the HoC hearing.

The DWP has evolved a double jeopardy model with PSYOPs thrown in.

Radical and rather odd.

Fay

When you say ‘little communication’, there is basically none. The two benefits are so utterly separate, I don’t think they’re allowed to use evidence of one, or from one, for the other. Obviously the tests are very different, but if I can use some of the same evidence for both benefits, then some of the descriptors overlap to some degree. But given that they had to ask permission to use evidence from my DLA claim to assess PIP (I said no, because my physical condition, care and mobility needs were so different, it had been about 10 years between the two claims), there is no way they’d be able to use PIP evidence for ESA and vice versa.

I am so utterly relieved that both are sorted now. Last year was the year of two bad things. I had two operations, two head colds, two root canal fillings, and worst of all, two benefit claims (transfer from DLA to PIP plus renewal of ESA). This year I am hoping for two good things each time, making a start with two holidays booked!

Sue

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Excellent news Sue,

Thank you for making me investigate further, it’s the first good news benefit claimants have had for a long time. The original designers of the WCA never intended for it to be used the way it has been, there doesn’t seem to be a list of exactly which conditions will be affected by the changes now brought in? Or maybe I’ve not found one yet.

PIP is a completely separate issue, the WCA assesses a claimants ability to do “work related activities” but the actual activities it assesses don’t seem to relate to work and have always been an issue.

But from the MSers position it’sl great news.

Happy New Year

Going full circle: a medical model of disability rather than a social model.

If those with SPMS are not going to be reassessed for ESA, the government is moving back to ‘conditionality’ then.

So, GPs could do this - write a medical note on our condition, which does not require a costly assessment process lasting

weeks. So back to a medical model of disability rather than a social model.

I also wonder who else will be on the list? Lots of chronic conditions GPs could write a note for as with IB and DLA.

Another point re. Direct Payments - where folk are told to ‘pool budgets’ for services due to economy of scale

issues. This indicates the next step is institutions to pool those personal budgets which

few of us are able to organise because - guess what we are chronically sick and disabled!

Fay

It’s not precisely a medical model, nor does it list conditions. It’s something like ‘a lifelong condition from which the claimant is not likely to recover; and the claimant is not expected to be able to work ever’ (my paraphrasing from an unreliable memory).

Sue

Like others on here I thought that after having my assessment in October 2017 and being told I was still in the support group after four years on ESA that was it regards forms and assessments . Today I got a letter and forms to fill in again. When I rang to query it the DWP told me the announcement made in September is a government guideline and it is their decision maker who says if you need reassessing. If that is the case it’s a whole load of rubbish, politely, and if I don’t fill the forms in my benefits stop. Stressed to death again.

Well, I phoned ESA last week and was told my next review is in November, I asked them to note my SPMS dx

and that I get PIP enhanced ‘on going’ for 10 yrs, they said it would probably be my last review due to recent

government changes. Let’s hope so.

If you suspect you might be SPMS - it is now worth visiting your neurologist to get it diagnosed -

there is a really benefit now in doing so. One less form to fill.

Are you SPMS???