ESA – Extremely Stupid Assessment

This week I had to attend a face-to-face meeting to review my eligibility for Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

Basically they just wanted to check I’m still too disabled to work- despite the fact I’ve has ESA for the past 7-9 years.

Although I would like to be in full-time work, securing employment with my level of needs is just far too difficult.

Back in June, I had to fill out a 24-page Capability for Work questionnaire.

In this form, I had to provide my personal details, my conditions, the names of my doctors and consultants, my medication and detail my physical, sensory and mental impairments. In total, it took me almost two weeks to complete.

At the end of July, I received a letter saying I need to attend a face-to-face meeting in order to assess further as to whether I’m still eligible for ESA.

At the location of the meeting, it was in an industrial estate with no signage to the building.

Inside the building, the doorways and corridors were very narrow for my wheelchair – no surprises there!

In a nutshell, the meeting was a waste of time. I was called in 30 minutes late, despite being early.

In the meeting, I was asked a series of questions about my cerebral palsy; “Can you walk? Have you ever been able to stand or walk? Are your limbs tight? Are you in pain? Are you always in your wheelchair? ”

Then I was asked about my daily routines and activities. I explained I have full-time care and need help with washing, dressing, preparing meals, housework and going out.

I then had to do a physical assessment to see what my body can & can’t do. I had to move my head up, down, left & right, move my left arm up, down & sideways, attempt to wiggle my right arm and briefly move my feet off the footplates.

I expected the next stage would be assessing my eye sight and mental health but the assessor said she had seen enough and doesn’t think I will lose my benefit.

Yes this was good news but it was such a pointless trip.

As soon as the receptionist saw my wheelchair, she asked; “Have you been assessed before?” I think this was code for ‘you already look disabled enough to claim ESA! Why are you even here?’

I also photocopied several letters and documents from my doctors, only to be told they didn’t need them – what a waste of paper!

All I can say is if you’re going to assess me, either assess me in full or not at all!

Have you had to have a re-assessment of your ESA? What was your experience like? Share in the comments box or on social media.

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