Login FormClose

Free ESA, PIP and DLA Updates

With over 140,000 subscribers our fortnightly updates bulletin is the UK's leading source of benefits news. Get the facts about what's changing, how it affects you and how to prepare.   Get your free benefits updates now.

Professional Members

We support both claimants and professionals.  These are just some of the organisations who have subscribed to Benefits and Work:

  • Royal College of Nursing
  • Spinal Injuries Association
  • Chesterfield Law Centre
  • Coventry Mind
  • Birmingham Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Colchester Borough Council Welfare Rights

Read more

Missing forms, missing medicals, missing qualifications

Benefits and Work is continuing to receive reports of medical assessments for ESA and PIP not being carried out correctly.

Missing ESA50 forms
Following a recent article on the issue, we have now heard from over a dozen people who have been asked to attend a work capability assessment without first completing an ESA50 form.

People who challenge Maximus about the lack of an ESA50 claim they have been given explanations such as:

“Not everyone will get a form.”

“One isn’t needed in your case.”

“You don’t need to fill one in.”

In most cases, however, people have not queried the lack of a form, even if worried and puzzled by it.

One member rang Maximus and insisted that they wanted to complete an ESA50 and would download one, complete it and forward it. They did exactly that and the health professional had it there when they had their assessment.

In another case a member who had an assessment without being sent an ESA50 was afterwards contacted by a decision maker who was unhappy about the lack of a form. The decision maker insisted on sending out a new form and beginning the assessment process all over again.

We’re now taking this issue up with Maximus and we’ll let you know what response we get.

Meanwhile, we wouldn’t advise anyone to attend a WCA without completing an ESA50, even if you have to download it yourself and take it in on the day.

If you complete it using our guides it really does help ensure that you give accurate evidence both in the form and at your medical.

Missing qualifications
In addition, we have also heard from three members whose PIP report carried out by Capita doesn’t give the type of qualification held by the health professional. Instead, in the box for ‘Type of professional’ it simply states ‘Health professional’.

We’re not sure if this is now standard practice, but we don’t think it is in any way acceptable and we’ll be talking to Capita about it. We’ll let you know what they say.

Distant medicals
We haven’t heard from anyone else whose medical was cancelled because all the venues were too far away, but we have heard from several people who had to travel upwards of forty miles for their assessment. We’d be interested to hear from more readers on this issue.

Comments  

#16 Bakerman 2015-11-14 11:28
Well I've just had my ESA stopped because I 'failed' to attend a face to face medical examination without first being given the opportunity to complete an ESA50.I wrote to both the DWP and Maximus to query this and to ask if the proper re-assessment procedure was being followed. I remarked that I felt I was being treated unfairly and wouldn't be attending any medicals until I received a satisfactory written reply.Even so, I was still sent form BF223 to explain my absence and despite giving what I consider to be 'good reason', DWP have simply pulled the plug as if I had refused to co-operate or correspond in any way !
I need to lodge a Mandatory Reconsideration before 23 November - any tips or advice on this, my local CAB was dead loss !
+1 #15 Jess 2015-04-07 16:50
I filled in my ESA 50 in Nov 2013 just after winning my appeal which was back dated 12 months, since then I have had 5 medicals cancelled. I am due to attend a medical tomorrow 8/4/2015 after 16 months of submitting my form this is worrying as I have had one operation which has only given me slight relief and my condition has moved to the bottom of my spine which is not declared on the form, I tried explaining this over the phone but was told I could not fill in a new one and that it would be fine, I now am taking notes so I can hopefully explain the whole problem to the Assessor, however I might turn up tomorrow and be sent home again what a farce.
+1 #14 David Jones 2015-03-29 22:23
Quoting Acorn Antiques:

This is the reason that 's been fed down to me. However, I have never been sent a ESA50 for a review. The last form I filled in was several years ago. I don't even think it was during the current government. It was so long ago, it was still policy that being on certain medications gave you enough points in itself to 'pass'. Not sure when this was thrown out- I 'passed' on the strength (literally!) of my anti-psychotics.


OK but he's not having a review, he's never been on ESA before so this will be his first assessment for that. So I think they should have an ESA50 when they do it, even if it's one he filled in two years ago and they've only just got round to doing the WCA to move him from income support.
+1 #13 David Jones 2015-03-29 17:48
Quoting David Jones:

Hmm, I'll have to ask him whether he recalls filling one in a year ago or more then, as I guess there's no point him worrying and rushing to fill in another one if they've already got one he filled in before.


Well he says it was at least 2, maybe 3 years ago he was asked to fill in the form but also they apparently were writing to him at the wrong address last August, even though he told the DWP when he moved and he'd been receiving other letters about his income support, etc, so his assessment might have happened 7-8 months ago if they had got his address right. Still a long time since he filled in the form though. He's going to check they've got it when he has his assessment and if not, insist he be given a chance to complete one before a decision is made.
+1 #12 Acorn Antiques 2015-03-29 17:47
Quoting David Jones:
Quoting Nina:
My Atos WCA was carried out a couple of months ago, and I hadn't been sent an ESA50 *recently*, but apparently they were running so far behind that the form I'd been sent more than a year ago was part of the same (re-)assessment process as this examination...


Hmm, I'll have to ask him whether he recalls filling one in a year ago or more then, as I guess there's no point him worrying and rushing to fill in another one if they've already got one he filled in before.


This is the reason that 's been fed down to me. However, I have never been sent a ESA50 for a review. The last form I filled in was several years ago. I don't even think it was during the current government. It was so long ago, it was still policy that being on certain medications gave you enough points in itself to 'pass'. Not sure when this was thrown out- I 'passed' on the strength (literally!) of my anti-psychotics .
+1 #11 David Jones 2015-03-29 16:27
Quoting Nina:
My Atos WCA was carried out a couple of months ago, and I hadn't been sent an ESA50 *recently*, but apparently they were running so far behind that the form I'd been sent more than a year ago was part of the same (re-)assessment process as this examination...


Hmm, I'll have to ask him whether he recalls filling one in a year ago or more then, as I guess there's no point him worrying and rushing to fill in another one if they've already got one he filled in before.
+1 #10 Nina 2015-03-29 14:17
My Atos WCA was carried out a couple of months ago, and I hadn't been sent an ESA50 *recently*, but apparently they were running so far behind that the form I'd been sent more than a year ago was part of the same (re-)assessment process as this examination...
+1 #9 David Jones 2015-03-29 06:42
I have a friend in Liverpool who's got his assessment next week and he hasn't been sent a ESA50. He's been receiving enhanced income support I think and so is being assessed as part of the process to move people to ESA.

Apparently ATOS are still running the assessments in Liverpool at the moment and he'll be one of the last people to be assessed by them, so it seems it's not just Maximus that aren't sending out forms.
+2 #8 Acorn Antiques 2015-03-27 16:48
RE CONTACT WITH SUE MARSH

Further to my previous posts, I've had an answer from Sue MArsh that I am disappointed by and not a little shocked by, given that she is meant to be working for us now. Here it is-

"I have been still looking into this. In your case, you'd already completed an ESA50, it was just a long time ago and as you explained, you wanted to complete a more recent one. If all cases are similar, then the advice that you don't need to complete another form is correct.

However, I haven't been able find out if anyone else didn't receive a form at all or if, like you, they'd just been delayed in the backlog for a long time.

I've raised it with our CS team and our operations director, so we will get to the bottom of it as soon as we can. I'm really grateful to you for raising it and I'll let you know as soon as I can what the problem is."

What really made me jolt was the comment that she can't find others, when I told her that there are many affected by this.

I have copied and pasted what I found (see previous posts) and also what 'micksville' found in the Employment Assessment Advisory Service has on their website, namely-

"During a claim period, it is normal for you to be asked to attend a Work Capability Assessment more than once and each time you will be sent a new questionnaire to ensure you have the opportunity to provide the latest information on how your condition currently affects you."

All I can say is OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD
+1 #7 Acorn Antiques 2015-03-27 16:14
I think I may have found proof that what they are doing is not proper procedure.

This is from the latest update to

'Decision makers’ guide: Vols 8 and 9: Employment and Support Allowance: staff guide'

'42129:
Medical services are responsible for gathering any information required to support the WCA process. This includes
1. sending the questionnaire (ESA50)
2. sending a reminder if the claimant does not reply within 3 weeks
3. deciding if further medical evidence is required from the claimant’s GP or HCP. '

The only exceptions in the guide, ie. people who don't need a form, are as follows-

'42126
The questionnaire is not required if the claimant
1.satisfies certain conditions (see DMG 42019)
or
2.is a hospital patient (see DMG 42040)
or
3.receives certain regular treatment (see DMG 42049)
or
4.the DM is satisfied that there is sufficient information to decide whether a claimant has LCW without it

None of the first three applies to me, and I can't see how I can be under (4) as I haven't filled in a form since at least 2012 and they do not have up to date info on me.

NOTE!-
*****this list of reasons why a claimant might not need a form is dated "Vol 8 Amendment 14 February 2014"
However, this guide is described as "last updated 13/03/15"

-this means that there has been no new change to this procedure since Maximus took over******

The relevant chapters of the guide (94 pages) are online at
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/388570/dmgch42.pdf
+3 #6 FunShaz 2015-03-25 16:06
I attended the Luton Medical Examination Centre, which is located on the 6th floor of the building, on the 8th February, 2013. I was in a wheelchair and assisted. The lady behind the counter asked me if I could walk down 126 steps in case of emergency. I said 'no' and that this had been stated in my ESA50 form. She replied, in front of a room full of people, "we don't see those." So, she turned me away and refused the assessment for 'safety' reasons (the DWP then sent me a failure to attend form, with the wrong date on it). Atos tried to make me go to Milton Keynes and Aylesbury, in spite of my objections. I asked for a copy of the form my GP filled out, to no avail. My surgery tried to get a copy, having failed to keep one, and they were told it was 'lost'. I recently received a form I've not seen before, telling me a doctor would be attending my home for the assessment on the 24/3/15. I replied by Recorded Delivery, to 2 locations (just in case), and included diagnosis letters from 1993, 2002 and 2007 and current prescriptions. I mentioned, again, the case of David Johnson and quoted the article that appeared in The Independent about the Leonard Cheshire survey results on the WCA. I shared a case study from the article which was very similar to my own situation and that that decision was overturned on appeal. I have constantly referred to their own medical module on my illness. I concluded that if they still forced me to take the WCA, they would be doing so knowing they would be causing me harm and pain. And I said if I were forced to take a Home Assessment, it would need to be in the afternoon, I've been promised a tape-recorded assessment, and that I would need to check the availability of the disabled lady who would attend as support and a witness. I have not heard back yet. I am a woman. I wonder if Lord Freud noticed that many of the long term illnesses, like mine, are primarily suffered by women. Wonder what will happen next. Thank you. Sharon T.
+2 #5 Paul Richards 2015-03-25 14:53
@Jayne Linney,
Hi Jayne - with the IDS online petition now having at last reached the total number of 6000 signatures, do you have any idea at all why 38 degrees has now put the total required up to 7000.
I thought that having reached 6000, he could at last be brought to answer for his wrongdoings! Many thanks.
+2 #4 micksville 2015-03-25 13:46
Interesting. However, this still doesnt clarify if these were re assesments already in the pipeline just before the 20/01/2014 cut off date for deferrals to begin. Though that still raises concerns as the esa50's sent in back then would be out of date, out of context, it would go some way to explaining matters. Or were these dozdn or so cases of reassesments coming up recently, as per their expdctec review dates? If so, the lack of an esa50 would be even more worrying
+3 #3 naheegan 2015-03-25 13:22
Many thanks B&W for the heads up about the lack of ESA50 forms and following this to the juncture of taking this issue up with Maximus. I take seriously having my opportunity to do the self-assessment by filling in and submitting the ESA form, and recommending to claimants that they do so is really sound advice.
Time and again I'm finding B&W a reliable and prompt source of accurate information and news about the entire bewildering claims process.
+3 #2 Chrissy 2015-03-25 12:50
Thank you B&W for your work on lack of ESA50 and letting us know decision maker wanted one assessment started all over again, due to lack of ESA50
+3 #1 JayneL Linney 2015-03-25 12:31
I was with a PIP claimant on Monday who was 'assessed' without the Physio having had sight of the claim form; the claimant suffers from seriously ill mental health?!

This experience resulted in the assessor having NO prior knowledge and the claimant being forced to try explaining complex psychiatric issues

You need to be logged in to comment