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TOPIC: F2F Assessment

F2F Assessment 4 weeks 1 day ago #219567

The dreaded letter for a F2F assessment arrived this morning.
When I was put on ESA (in Support group) I did not have to attend an assessment as I had very current MRI reports etc.
Currently I am finding it too difficult to attend my GP as the hoops you have to jump through are just so off putting I find it too stressful to even attempt an appointment.
After my last MRI about 10 months ago now the 'senior physiotherapist' I saw was a different one than I have been seeing for the past eight years. Although there were significant changes to my scan, particularly in my neck, he is of the school of thought that these findings bare no relation to pain, even though it was extreme pain in my shoulder and neck which instigated the referral for the MRI.

I realize that I have certainly been more fortunate than others as this will be the first time I have been summoned to an assessment but am really fearful of the outcome as e.g. last week we managed a bus trip to the Isle of Wight (our first holiday for three years as I have been too unwell to go and have had to cancel two that were booked) It was a five day trip and not very demanding but still, this week I haven't left the house as I'm so exhausted! I can't even imagine having to go to work every day again, or even a few days a week.

It was only June last year that I had to change from DLA to PIP and was awarded both full. It seems to make no sense that after going through all that, they now want to put us through this terrible time of stress again!
I would be very grateful for any assistance available to get through this really frightening time. My appointment has been made for 5th November at a centre that is about 15 miles from our home so the whole thing is really distressing me.

My husband is my main carer and is typing this out for me but obviously this puts a tremendous strain on him as well as he is the one that has to look after me.
Any advice or help would be really appreciated.

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Joalan ?

F2F Assessment 4 weeks 1 day ago #219579

J

You can ask for a home assessment but you will need the support of your GP to write to the Assessment Provider explaining in unambiguous terms why you cannot attend at their offices.

Our ESA Claim guides have sections on the assessment and the questions you are likely to be asked.

www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/help-for-claimants/esa1

Gordon

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Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems

F2F Assessment 1 week 2 days ago #220771

Thank you Gordon, I think I mentioned that visiting my GP is an absolute nightmare. In fact they have taken the stance that they will not write letters of support to the DWP, saying it's against practice policy. :(
We did get in touch with the centre I was given the appointment for as the second page stated that it was on the 4th Floor so in the case of an emergency there would be 82 steps to negotiate! We were told I could be offered an appointment at an alternate centre which was further away but the ground floor.
We had also emailed our MP to ask for assistance with perhaps a home visit. We got a call the next day from the office of our MP and were informed that they had made a call but were told that they 'couldn't' intervene as this was against the rules?
However, they did find out that a mistake had been made and that we had already been sent another appointment at the same centre as the first. The secretary advised us that she had told them of the mistake & that they had cancelled that appointment so we could ignore that letter. We explained that it would not be in our best interests to ignore any letters and that we would phone them. She then told us that they had said they would be sending a letter out to us immediately to confirm that we could ignore that second appointment. No such letter has arrived though we did phone & had it confirmed that the appointment had been cancelled and that another hadn't been made yet as the diary hadn't opened up far enough along but that a new appointment would be sent out. We did note all details of that call.
We are both so on edge now that it seems impossible to get any sleep and seem to have no place to turn for any assistance as all avenues have been blocked.
Also, part of the information received with the appointment was in regard to the audio recording:
Can I have my assessment audio recorded
Claimants can ask to have their F2F assessment audio recorded and all requests will be accommodated where possible.
However, there is no legal right to an audio recorded assessment. The Department of Work and Pensions and the Health Assessment Advisory Service have no legal obligation to provide an audio recording service or equipment.
If you would like either to ask the Health Assessment Advisory Service to audio record the assessment or to audio record the assessment yourself, you must contact the HAAS in advance to arrange it. Requests must be made in advance and cannot be accommodated if made on the day.
(Then gives details of how to request)
Given this rather blunt warning we are now not feeling very hopeful that we will be provided with any equipment at the centre? We also don't know what type of equipment can be used/accepted by the centre if we do it ourselves?
Do you know what would be an acceptable type of recording equipment?

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Joalan ?

F2F Assessment 1 week 2 days ago #220786

Joalan

You don't need to worry about the recording equipment, it is down to HAAS to provide it. There is a template letter in the ESA section to request that the interview is recorded.

Gordon

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F2F Assessment 3 days 17 hours ago #221108

Hello again Gordon,
Part of what was in my last reply was taken from a booklet that I received with my appointment letter. In which, it states, quite clearly,

Can I have my assessment audio recorded
Claimants can ask to have their F2F assessment audio recorded and all requests will be accommodated where possible.
However, there is no legal right to an audio recorded assessment. The Department of Work and Pensions and the Health Assessment Advisory Service have no legal obligation to provide an audio recording service or equipment.
If you would like either to ask the Health Assessment Advisory Service to audio record the assessment or to audio record the assessment yourself, you must contact the HAAS in advance to arrange it. Requests must be made in advance and cannot be accommodated if made on the day.

It also makes very clear that should no such equipment be available then you would need to provide your own so I'm a bit puzzled by your reply.

Although I haven't received a revised date (first appointment made was on 4th floor with 82 steps to descend in case of emergency) for a ground floor appointment. GP surgery 'policy' is not to provide 'any' supporting letters for DWP. :( not even a private, paid for letter.

My daughter (who is typing this) found the letter which she amended and printed off so this has already been requested. As it was only done last Thursday, there has been no answer to our request.
She also found a form on the DWP website for giving permission to record which she has also sent along with the last lot of paperwork last week.

I do feel that this is now being deal with within the extra information booklet that accompanied the appointment letter but it certainly does not say they have any responsibility to provide equipment, it fact it states very clearly that they do not.

Thanks J

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Joalan ?

F2F Assessment 3 days 16 hours ago #221114

Joalan

The information in the booklet is correct you have no legal right to have your assessment recorded and they are under no legal obligation to provide the equipment, however, that does not mean that you cannot have your assessment recorded or that they will not provide the equipment, the DWP have agreed that they will do this.

Just because you have no legal right to require the recording does not mean that it cannot be offered.

Gordon

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