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
TOPIC: esa appeal help wanted
esa appeal help wanted 1 year 3 weeks ago #182205
hello all ,and so grateful i found this website, its been a great help and in some ways a great comfort to know that im not alone in my struggle and circumstance ,but honestly i feel that after a year of this hanging over me ,im at the end of my rope ,
and due to the aggravation of my blood pressure and anxiety problems and general well being that this has and continues to cause ,that i feel i cant go on with my appeal ,as the thought of this hanging over me for a further 5 or 6 month and the whole appeals procedure ,is crushing
any help or advice or strategies will be most welcome ,apologies for the length of my post ,and thanks to all or any that can help
in a nutshell
i have burst discs 3 and 5 in my neck and the gel within has leaked and wrapped around my nerves ,detected by mri scan 10 years ago ,this causes pain in my neck shoulders and and at times numbness in my arms ,fingers and legs ,i also have a fluttering sensation and occasional involuntary jumping of my legs, pain when moving ,standing and sitting
then in 2008 i was hospitalised with blood pressure of 229 over 189 and diagnosed with malignant hypertension and unknown to me i had it for approx 6 years prior to my collapse,i had put the pains and numbness down to my neck injury ,it was explained to me that this had in turn damaged my eyesight ,liver ,kidneys lungs and caused my heart not to pump properly ,this causes me when under either a physical or emotional strain to become short of breath ,and cough to almost the point of vomiting
since leaving hospital ive been medicated for this and had 4 esa assessments ,6 in total since my neck injury .all have found i met the esa requirements and put me in the support group
i filled out a esa form last february ,and stated as i had before that i could mobilise no more than 100m with out discomfort and would be short of breath ,coughing to almost the point of vomiting pains in chest arms and legs , and this would take around 20 minutes to return to a normal state i and i would be left exhausted and with a terrible head ache
no word until august ,i then had 2 assessment appointments canceled at short notice
i attended another one at 9 am on 2 october ,2016 and due to the distress and discomfort i was in after walking across the carpark and into the assessment centre 26 meters ,i was advised by the receptionist i was too ill to attend and to cancel and rebook ,
i was sent another appointment for 26 october at 1 o'clock ,at 11.30 the receptionist phoned me and asked if i felt well enough to attend or would i like to cancel ,presumably she remembered my condition and reaction from last time , i explained that this would be my normal reaction when ever i had to attend so would prefer to get it over with
on arriving i had the same reaction from the same distance traveled and the receptionist again advised me to go home ,by this point the assessment had been hanging over me for 8 month and was badly affecting every aspect of my life and i just wanted it over after around 20 minutes my coughing and breathlessness had eased ,
my assessment started approx 40 minutes after i arrived .during my assessment i found the hcp to be dismissive and disinterested in what i had to say about my conditions and how they affect me in day to day living the hcp did not want to know any details really, just seemed to want the answers to her tick box questions. I tried my best to explain how my problems both mental and physical effect me on a day to day basis but she didn't seem interested,
when asked how far i could walk without pain and discomfort ,i told her of my journey from the car to the reception ,i guessed 30 m ,and described my distress and discomfort i detailed earlier in this letter after such a short distance ,she said that was "quite normal " when i asked how that could be considered normal she ignored the question ,the previous client she had before me ,when leaving told me of how disruptive my coughing and retching had been so she was certainly aware of my problems
the actual distance i walked has now been measured as 26 meters
she and the dm refer to the point that i told the hcp that " i could walk 100ms and would be okay after a short rest" ,and that" the hcp saw me walk 100m from the carpark" ,both totally untrue ,as the hcp was assessing another client at the time of my arrival she wouldn't have had any opportunity to observe me arrive ,and the fact parking space my wife used was less than 30m from the entrance to the center
i also notice she misunderstood or misrepresented many of my replies to her questions in her report ,other than the aforementioned mobilization distance and recovery time and the sitting and recovery time
eg she stated i use a mobile phone for calls and texts
but does not mention i use the speech command facility to operate it
says uses the computer to trace family tree
neglects to mention only with my daughters assistance ,surfs internet falls in to the same category
goes upstairs for a bath twice a week
again only with my sons assistance
would answer the door to a stranger
while given time i could mobilize to the door ,but would not even think of doing so due to the anxiety and stress of dealing with a unplanned for and unknown person
came to assessment alone
the reason i came alone and if i have to got to appointments go alone is as i explained ,im not comfortable discussing my mental problems and my" intrusive thoughts "dark thoughts of death in front of my wife and family and want to spare them that hurt if or when that happens that im no longer here
in fact there was no mention or consideration given to my "intrusive thoughts " as i said i am jolted by sudden thoughts of my death by many horrible means ,strangling ,hanging ,drowning ,beaten to death,kicked to death ,falling etc ,these are so vivid and disturbing that i feel like its real, i feel the cold of the water ,the impact and i feel the pain and shock of it and that stays with me and im left feeling vulnerable and genuinely fearful of the future , these can and do occur at anytime of the day or night and come on with out warning ,and when they arrive i have no control of them or way of stopping or distracting myself from them
never attempted self harm or suicide or thoughts of self harm or suicide
while ive never attempted these actions ,i tried to explain they are never far from my thoughts , it feels like its inevitable that one day ill be taken from my family and somehow ive been coming round to the thought that it would be for the best if i could have some measure of control over when and how that happens .hard enough to admit to yourself let alone articulate to a stranger .especially one who treats this information with rudeness and indifference
no points were awarded for sitting and standing in spite of me having to deliberately move 3 times in a approx 50 minute assessment due to pain and discomfort ,this having been shown in a mri to have been caused by burst discs 3 and 5 ,the gel contained within the discs has leaked and impairs the nerves predominantly on my left hand side, ,when i tried to explain how i feel
i feel like im going to lock up and be unable to move again if i dont change position and feel the onset of anxiety and panic
and what i do at home when this occurs at home
i lie down and take the weight of my head off my neck
when i was trying to explain about the grinding sound sound i "hear "in my neck when it moves,i was told as i burst disc 3 and 5 ,it was the unprotected vertebrae grinding together ,she said it wasnt that ,so thinking that if someone was qualified to tell me what something wasn't i would have expected them to be able to tell me what it was .she ignored the question . i tried to explain about a more recent pain in my right collar bone when sitting ,and was met by disinterest and indifference . in fact when i was trying to explain about my problems with depression and anxiety that i'm receiving treatment and medication for , that was not mentioned in my assessment report ,she full blown yawned in my face ,she yawned 3 times in total during 50 minute assessment, im not sure if you can imagine how damaging that is and how that feels when you're trying to talk to a stranger about some of your most private personal thing and deepest fears , trying to articulate about suicide and death and intimate relationships with family and the best they can do is ignore it in the report ,in spite of seeing my prescribed medication ,and to just yawn in your face
the decision was made initially that i didn't qualify for esa ,i was awarded 6 point for loss of conciseness
i submitted a mandatory reconsideration and was returned to esa awarded 9 points for mobilising plus my 6, but in the wra
i asked for this to be looked at again in light of my mobilising being less than 50 meters ,and was advised by the citizens advice that should appeal ,which i have done ,i received the documents from dwp 90 odd pages ,having attempted to read them ,the very sight of them makes me feel nervous and ill , it seems they are trying to overturn the mandatory reconsideration ,on mobilisation ,on the grounds i could use a wheelchair
my neck injury and the pain in my neck and shoulders and collarbone mentioned by the hcp in the report ,would preclude the use of a wheelchair
at the assessment my blood pressure was measured by the hcp at 200 over 129 ,
below is a exert from my letter to the dwp on the subject .apologies for crediting the CAB for this info ,but didnt want to blow your cover
i also wondered if you think the assessment receptionists reaction would be pertinent or useful to me in regards this i found with you helpful wca hand book ,i cant pretend to understand its full meaning but thought it interesting
again any help or advice or strategies will be most welcome ,apologies for the length of my post ,and thanks to all or any that can help
esa appeal help wanted 1 year 3 weeks ago #182234
Welcome to the forum, you might want to have a look at the following FAQ which explain where everything is
Welcome to Benefits and Work
In case you are not aware, your real name appears to be showing in the forum, if you want to change this then follow the instructions in the following FAQ
My full name is showing, how can I stop it?
Some immediate observations from your post. I am taking it as written so forgive me if these are matters that you are already aware of.
ESA is not a walking test, it is a Mobility test! In addition to your walking it considers your ability to self-propel a manual wheelchair over the same distances, you do not need to be using a wheelchair or even to own one for it to be considered. SO even if you can show your walking is restricted, unless you can also show that you cannot self-propel the wheelchair you will still not score points.
It may be obvious to you that your conditions preclude you from using a manual wheelchair but if you have not explained why you cannot in and with your ESA50 it's likely that those assessing you would not have come to the same conclusion, especially the Decision Maker who is not medically trained.
The Standing and Sitting activity tests your ability to remain at a workstation. You can move from a standing to sitting position and vice versa as many times as necessary but the clock will continue to tick until you are forced to move away from the (virtual) workstation. Your behaviour at the assessment does not suggest that this happened.
The Staying conscious when awake activity does not have a Support Group equivalent so based on the points you scored, your only obvious route to the SG is through Mobilising.
The guidance you quote applies only to the WRAG. In the phrase "It should be noted that this NFD only applies to LCW and not LCWRA ", LCW is applicable to the WRAG an LCWRA for the SG, however, you may be able to show that the Substantial Risk Regulation (35) applies, see the ESA Claim for details.
I wouldn't bother with the receptionists comments, they are not medically trained and would not have had access to your form or any other information related to your conditions, the guidance you refer to is for assessors.
The first stage to challenging a Decision is for you to request a Mandatory Reconsideration, this needs to be done in writing to the DWP, within one month of the Decision, to the office that dealt with your claim, have a look at our ESA MR & Appeal guide for details of the process, the ESA area also has template letters that you can use to make the request with.
You should contact the DWP for a copy of the assessment report (ESA85), if you have not already done so, I would phone them but again follow up the request in writing. Once you have the assessment report you will have a better understanding of how the DWP Decision Maker has come to their conclusions and will then be able to argue against them.
Your primary task is to show that you meet the criteria, there are many reasons you may have failed, you need to address each of these but don't get bogged down in criticising the assessment report unless you can clearly show that it is incorrect, it is a lot easier to argue the facts of the situation;
"the assessor recorded that I walked 50m, I did but they have failed to document that I had to stop every 10m for a rest due to breathlessness"
than their opinions
"based on my observations of the claimant walking I believe that they can reliably walk more than 200m.
When you have a better idea of the issues with your claim, come back to the forum and we will do our best to help.
Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems
Last Edit: by Gordon.
esa appeal help wanted 1 year 3 weeks ago #182342
thanks for the repy Gordon ,and points taken
my main issues with the decision are
points awarded after MR for mobilisation of less than 100m ,when on 2 occasions i attended the assessment centre with in 24 days i mobilised less than 50m and was left and seen to be breathless ,coughing almost to the point of vomiting with pains in my neck and shoulders chest and arms and burning in my knees
while my esa50 filled in feb 2016 says i can mobilise no more than 100m ,i consider that in the intervening 8 months due to stress and worry and the attendant problems associated with ,my condition has deteriorated to my present level , i rarely go out ,only to doctors appointments etc and live almost exclusively down stairs so have little opportunity to test my endurance or gauge its decline
the fact that all paperwork refers to me supposedly telling the hcp that i can mobilise 100m before discomfort ,i did no such thing ,when i actually told her of my mobilising from the car park and resulting breathlessness ,neck and shoulders and chest pain that took over 20mins to ease ,that i estimated at 30m but was later measured in the interest of accuracy to be 26m ,on the wheel chair issue i feel my neck injury and the pain in my neck and shoulders and collarbone mentioned by the hcp in the report ,would preclude the use of a wheelchair
i thought the fact that the assessment receptionist although non medical saw the results of my mobilisation and advised me on both occasions that i was too unwell be be assessed and to return home ,and could verify my syptoms of my mobilisation if not the distance could be helpful
the fact there is also only a passing reference to the fact that in spite of being diagnosed ,and treated and medicated for over 8 years, and yet at the time of my assessment that my blood pressure which was taken approx 1 hour and 15 minutes after arriving , was recorded by the assessor as being 200 over 129 which is as you will be aware dangerously high and puts me at significant risk from a stroke or heart attack ,plus i suffer and am affected by the attendant symptoms associated with Hypertension Stage 3 / Hypertensive crisis,at times almost constant headaches ,dizziness ,blurred vision,flashing lights loss of consciousness ,chest pains numbness in my left arm, confusion and nose bleeds
,this was my 4th assessment since being diagnosed with malignant hypertension in 2008 i was admitted to coronary care with bp of 229 over 189 ,,the previous assessments have upheld my entitlement to esa and placed me in the support group , at the last assessment ,approx 2 years ago my blood presure on medication was recorded at 189 over 120 the assessment before that in 2010 it was 180 over 120,which indicates that my condition is in fact ,in spite of my treatment ,getting progressively worse
and could be considered potentially life threatening, my assessment in 2013 placed me in the support group with this said by the hcp
i also noted inaccuracies in the evidence ,such as ,it say i was telephoned on 18 nov to discuss the decision to not award esa and that i had nothing to say or additional information to add ,
i did not speak to anyone and have the decision letter that says they tried phoning but got no reply ,which changes the complexion of this supposed exchange significantly i feel
i also filled out my esa markin most conditions as it varies ,no mention of this was brought up or mentioned by the hcp during the assessment or report
i get muddled ,but thought i saw that was grounds for the report being unreliable
sorry to go on
esa appeal help wanted 1 year 3 weeks ago #182380
Showing that the report is inaccurate will not result in a higher award, unless you also show that you meet the requirements for one.
Forgive me but I really think you are wasting your time involving the receptionist, they are not medically trained , are unlikely to have any knowledge of the ESA assessment criteria and the information is effectively hearsay.
You can certainly use the statements from a previous ESA assessment to support this one, but you must show why it is still relevant to your conditions as they are now, this may be as simple as your conditions not being ones likely to improve even with treatment.
I've just noticed that you have already had an MR for your claim. So your next option is to appeal the Decision.
The ESA Appeal guide has links to the SSCS1 form that you will need to complete and instructions on how to complete it, you do not need to provide detailed reasons at this stage for your request.
Once your appeal is accepted the DWP will prepare their submission to the hearing and send you a copy, whilst you should wait until you receive this to finish and submit your own, you should start to prepare your own case, an increased award will only be made by your showing that you score the extra points for one, so I would start by going back through your PIP2, the assessment report and the PIP Claim guide to see how you might show this is the case.
If you have further questions then please reply to this post and we will do our best to help.
Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems
esa appeal help wanted 1 year 3 weeks ago #182398
cheers for the reply and the information ,sorry it wasn't clear in my first post ,but yeah im at the stage where ive received the dwp submission and am trying to work out how best to reply to it and the best strategy to approach this from ,
with regard to previous esa assessments ,would the fact that in spite of being medicated for 8 years my blood pressure is still extremely high and has risen on each assessment it has been recorded at from 180 over 120 to the most recent 200 over 129 , be a strong factor as it shows that previous esa assessment was still relevant and this impacts on my ability to mobilise due to pain ,breathlessness and fatigue as stated in my report from 2013 which placed me in the support group ,which i quoted in my last post
esa appeal help wanted 1 year 3 weeks ago #182411
Yes you can use this information, but if you can explain the effects that walking would have on your blood pressure. My GP surgery has a blood pressure machine in reception, if yours has one or indeed if you have your own tester, make sure you are calm and rested and then test your blood pressure, walk 50m or as far as you can without significant discomfort or breathlessness and re-test.
Sorry if I keep mentioning this nut if you haven't included any reasons why you cannot self-propel a wheelchair then you must do this.
Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems