Parliament Inquiry on PIP and ESA Assessments


As part of the House of Commons Select Committee inquiry on PIP and ESA Assessments, the Work and Pensions Committee would like to hear about your experience of claiming PIP or ESA.

  • Inquiry: PIP and ESA Assessments
  • Work and Pensions Committee

Get involved

The Parliament’s web forum closes on Friday 10 November 2017.

If you have had an assessment, or are waiting for an assessment, for PIP or ESA, we’d like to hear from you.

You might want to tell us about:

  • Did you feel that the right decision on your entitlement to ESA/PIP was reached as a result of your initial assessment?
  • If not—what do you feel were the reasons for this?
  • If you have experience of Mandatory Reconsideration, did you find this stage effective and useful? How might it be improved?
  • Overall, how “claimant-friendly” did you find the assessment process?
  • What steps would you recommend taking to improve it?

Comments will be used to inform the Committee’s thinking on this issue. This forum is pre-moderated and comments that breach the online discussion rules will not be posted.

Please read the forum terms and conditions before posting your comment.


Thank you.


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I don’t have time or sufficient brain cells, I’m in the middle of completing a new ESA50 form because in spite of being in the support group, having a lifelong condition, etc, etc; and it being issued after the date that such people won’t be asked to fill in the Work Capability Assessment again, here I am completing a WCA. And it takes a really long time to get it right. Especially when you can only do 30 to 60 minutes at a time before the Fog descends and makes everything you write garbage.


Sorry Sue to hear you are going through the DWP’s Orwellian nightmare so soon after PIP. I am dreading mine, and the brown envelope for Universal Credit - I’m going to take a loan from my parents to cover the 6 weeks.

Anyway, it should be the last round of assessments for both of us. The DWP appears to have clarified who should be in the Support Group - and SPMS is on the list whilst only server RRMS is.

The ESA Support Group criteria might catch some out. Worth checking out.

DWP ESA Severe Conditions Guidance notes:

All the best


I’m pretty sorted with the damned form now. I wrote my answers to each section of the WCA first. Then I sat down today and went through the members only guidance on for each section. To be honest, if they accept my answer to question 1 (together with my evidence of course) then I should be fine, straight into the support group. But if not, I have so many points for all the other sections that I should be OK anyway. It’s a bugger. But given another 10 days, I should be sorted with it. I’m having to keep myself to just a short while each day to do it. Which in a way is no bad thing anyway. Gives me the time to keep reading what I’ve written and edit it little bit by little bit. Slowly, slowly, catchy DWP monkey! Sue

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Ha! “Slowly, slowly, catchy DWP monkey!” Absolutely! I wonder if your ESA assessment will be in person - my last one, about 18 months ago, was paper-based like the PIP. I guess yours will be just a formality - with so much NHS evidence to send. Are you going to add a new GP’s letter for the ESA? Keep us all updated on your progress. Fay

No I’m not submitting a GP letter. For one thing they don’t understand all the different benefits and it’s difficult to educate them (though I keep trying). I have a letter to send to my GP which details the WCA criteria and where I’m trying to score points in particular plus an overview of what I’m saying in the form. This is just in case the DWP write to them (unlikely I know), plus, it helps them to understand the rules for the next person. Should they be bothered to read the whole thing of course.

But I have a great letter from my physiotherapist. And I’ve asked for one from my MS nurse although she’s new to the job and knows exactly bugger all about benefits. (I’ve actually offered to help her out with the rules, plus have given her the same info as my GP and asked for a letter!) I’m not holding onto much confidence that she’ll come up with anything useful.

I also have letters from my neurologist and from my rehab specialist neuro. So I’m fairly covered with evidence.

Thus far I have yet to suffer a personal assessment, for ESA or PIP. So I’m keeping everything crossed that it’ll just slide through easily. A paper based decision is what I’m aiming for.

I’m sticking to my personal beliefs in how to win DWP awards first time around:

  • Treat them like you’re on the same side, the decision makers are people who are doing a job. They have to follow silly rules and my aim is to help them come to the right decision (ie the one that puts me in the support group).
  • Pretend all the questions are sensible and answer them appropriately, with examples of what I’m saying.
  • Joined and used their guide to how to answer each question.
  • Make sure everything I say is backed up by evidence and refer to the evidence through the questions.
  • Send only copies of evidence and ensure I photocopy the whole package that’s sent.
  • Post recorded delivery.

Sorry, I know I’m talking to the converted here Fay, but I’m detailing it all again to help anyone else going through the same process. And of course, I’ll share what happens next. And oh how I’m hoping it’s straight into the support group and no assessment!!



Keep us posted PIP & ESA are becoming a spectator sport. Yes, Sue I agree with your mental model (conceptual framework) for dealing with the ESA form - lead them by the nose. I like to think of it as an ESA ‘self-assessment’ - where I have to write my own report on me, so need to collect enough medical evidence from my NHS Team thereby blocking out the need for a JobCentre/ATOS ESA WCA. Seeing me would be a duplication as I have already been assessed by the NHS. My NHS paper trail is complete and up-to-date. Of course on the PIP and ESA form it says ‘send existing evidence’ rather than recent. I think it’s awful that most folk don’t understand they have a legal right to a GP Care Plan and Care’s Assessment FREE all useful documents to add with the forms. Of course, if everyone did this, the NHS would have even longer waiting lists. Just 3% don’t have face-to-face assessments and only a third bother to contact Citizen’s Advice for help. I guess this is why so many thousands have gone to MR. However, as we can see from this Forum folk are learning how to do the forms - sharing knowledge and experience - which is a help to many. Fay

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Phew, I’ve just received my final bit of evidence needed for my WCA form: a letter from my MS nurse. I’d filled her in on what I’d put on the form and specifically what part of the points system I am hoping will slide me straight into the support group. The letter is spot on. It clearly states that I can’t mobilise even 50 metres. So should be all that’s needed. Although I also have letters from my neuro and physio.

So just a last read through, get Mr Sssue to fill in the handwritten bits (cos I can’t) and post it next week.


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The last assessment. Hopefully. Fay