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Benefits and Work member takes on Maximus and wins

A member of benefits and Work has successfully challenged a claim by Maximus staff that she could not submit an updated ESA50 questionnaire prior to attending a face-to-face assessment.

Over recent months Benefits and Work has repeatedly contacted Maximus to gain assurances that claimants have the right to be assessed using up-to-date ESA50s, rather than forms that are two years old – or even entirely non-existent.

The ESA50 form gives claimants an opportunity to explain in detail how their condition affects their everyday activities and is a vital part of the evidence considered at each stage of a claim. Because of the huge backlog in ESA assessments, many people have been called to an assessment years after they completed their ESA50.

Maximus have been clear in their replies to us that anyone who is concerned that the information in their ESA50 is no longer up-to-date is free to download a new form and send it to Maximus or bring it in on the day of their assessment.

However,this was not the experience of our member. She told us:

“I have recently been sent an appointment to attend for an assessment and on ringing the appointment line I informed the operator that I had not had an ESA50. She informed me that the assessment was being held using the one I sent in January 2014!

“I requested a new one as my condition has changed and I now have other health issues but was told I would not get one.”

Our member rang another Maximus office and asked again to be sent an ESA50 form. When she was told she could not have one she replied that she was going to download one from the internet and bring it to her assessment.

The response was clear:

“I was told that it would not be considered! I quoted Maximus reply to Benefit and Works query about this and was told it will not be accepted.“

Our member then told them that she would be contacting Benefits and Work and the DWP to get our responses.

She did so and before the day was out she had received an email from Maximus customer services inviting her to email or post her completed ESA50 and even giving a named person to address it to. They requested that the form be sent as soon as possible so that they could review it in advance of her face-to-face medical.

Our member told us:

“It’s amazing what mentioning Benefits and Work and a phone call to the DWP informing them will do! By the way for once the DWP were very helpful and advised me to send in a ESA50 both to them and Maximus and they told me to document any problems I have with Maximus!”

Here at Benefits and Work we are reasonably confident that, as a matter of policy, Maximus are willing to accept updated evidence from claimants, even though it may mean extra work for them. But it seems that this has yet to be effectively communicated to front line staff, the majority of whom were previously employed by Atos, whose customer service was seldom highly praised by claimants.

Maximus took over the work capability assessment from Atos with more than double the money and a clear commitment to dramatically improving claimants’ experience of being assessed. It seems they may still have some way to go.

Comments  

#9 renegsx 2015-05-20 22:56
doing a swear is english law. but wht is the equivelant under scots law anyone? this is definitely a good idea. and taking someone with you from a support group or support worker
+1 #8 Clelld69 2015-05-20 18:59
I had a similar situation where I was asked to attend an assessment despite the fact it had been over 18 month since I last completed an esa50. Called both atos and dwp and asked if this was valid. They both said well the assesment will give you the opportunity to provide us with current details.

My health had deteriorated over that 18 months and when I finally got assessed, the person doing it, wondered why I had been called along. She took one look at my medication and my illnesses and even refused to see physical evidence of the state my legs are in, which affect my mobility.

She decided I wasn't fit to work and I got moved from work group up to support. For once it restored my believe that not all health professionals are evil.
+1 #7 Anthony Hagger 2015-05-20 12:03
An example of what to write down on one of these sworn statements would be good if B&W could put one together.

So one knows how to do one before going to solicitor.
+4 #6 Blackcat 2015-05-19 17:44
Google 'Pro Forma Sworn Statement' Fill it in,saying in your own words how your condition affects you in your daily life model it on what they ask in the ESA50,find a lawyer who does community law service work and ask to do a swear and he will sign your Sworn Statement cost you £5.00 This makes it look very official.

This MAY be of use if you need to add additional info about your condition if submitted ESA50 is obsolete. It may be that Maximus do not want it so send it anyway to the decision makers. I am NOT a lawyer,and this may be of no use,but it worked a treat when I was suing a firm for injuries. You can get them free at your local court,but mine got sniffy and refused. Good luck anyway
+2 #5 MarkW 2015-05-18 20:47
That's interesting - a sworn statement!
So what do I do?
Write how my condition affects me, and then see my solicitor who signs to witness my signature on the bottom - or is this something from my GP?
+1 #4 Susan Smith 2015-05-18 20:07
Hi, how do we go about getting a sworn statement?
+3 #3 Bill 2015-05-18 18:48
This just proves the importance of this site and shows why we should all stay as Members and encourage anyone we know who is in the same boat as us to join at once.

Well done B&W, brilliant job!

Mrs & Mr Bill
+2 #2 jen 2015-05-18 18:04
@Blackcat - I wish you luck.

The sworn statement idea definitely sounds like a good one to bear in mind. Every little helps.

Asking for the WCA to be recorded I think also helps.
+5 #1 Blackcat 2015-05-18 12:34
This is where the battle will be fought!!!

I am going for the WCA soon. I am taking with me a 'Statement of Truth' outlining EXACTLY the problems I have. I am having somebody go with me. I shall give Maximus a copy and also send one to DWP. If Maximus refuse I shall report this to DWP and ask for reasons.

A sworn statement outlining in EXACT details your medical conditions and your lifestyle closely modelled on the medical form ESA50 will cost £5.00. The fact that the sworn statement has been countersigned by a solicitor,is in my opinion enough to put the wind up the right people.

Good luck to anybody else going through this

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