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Need help with first time ESA assessment / ESA 50 / Severe mental health issues

P

Penfold1

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Hi all,
It’s my first time filling in a ESA 50 in the 10 years I’ve been on ESA. Was also on DLA as am disabled but lost my battle trying to get PiP. Having received the form late I only have 9/10 days to fill it in now.

My Conditions: Borderline PD, Social Anxiety Disorder, Chronic Depression, Anxiety, Severe Agoraphobia and Lower Back Injury. Since a number of breakdowns and psychosis I’ve not been able to leave my flat at all the last 2 years and before that barely left at all for quite a few years.

I have 3 major concerns.

1) Not able to attend face to face.

Like with PiP, if they request a face to face assessment it will be impossible to leave my flat and it can only happen at home. How do I request one? Will I get one? What if I don’t get one?

2) Not seen GP / CPN or Psychiatrist since 2017.
Due to my severe agoraphobia I’ve not been able to see my GP or Psychiatrist since 2017. Though I do have a social worker from mental health helping me. I used to have a CPN in 2014-2016 but again due to missed appointments, because of agoraphobia they discharged me back to my GP.

I can call my GP to visit at home if they will do so and can call for a telephone assessment. My social worker is fully aware I’ve not been able to leave my home for 2 years.

3) Lack of documentation due to breakdowns / flat mess / and let-downs.

I’m not on any prescribed meds like anti-anxiety or SSRIs as they never worked though I take natural ones. Due to various breakdowns, psychosis and lack of help my place is in a utter mess and I have absolutely no idea where any medical / supporting documents would be.

I have no care plan as local mental health never ever followed up with one, despite numerous hospital admissions & promises of the Care Team / Community Team / Crisis Team in 2013-2017, and am waiting for DBT therapy since 2014. They never called or visited when promised, and never picked up the phone. Both my GP and social worker knows how useless and bad they are.

I feel that previous to austerity the mental health team would not have let me down so much, would have followed up on promises when in hospital during a crisis or suicide attempt, and CPN would have visited me at home. But none of that helps me now in applying for ESA, I feel like it looks like I am the one not engaging with them when it’s the opposite..I’ve virtually begged them for help.

I will fill the forms in as best I can but I don’t know what to do about any of the above aside from contact my GP and perhaps mention all this on the ESA50 form?
 
daffy

daffy

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If you have a SW you need to ask them to help you fill in the form. That is all part of their job to make sure that you are getting the benefits that you are entitled to. I’m sure there must be a part of the form where you can put down your severe agoraphobia and if they ignore that then get theSW to phone them and tell them its impossible for you to attend
 
P

Penfold1

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If you have a SW you need to ask them to help you fill in the form. That is all part of their job to make sure that you are getting the benefits that you are entitled to. I’m sure there must be a part of the form where you can put down your severe agoraphobia and if they ignore that then get theSW to phone them and tell them its impossible for you to attend
My SW cannot make it till the day after the form needs to be posted. Well at least that is what she text yesterday. She's calling tomorrow so I'll ask her.
 
Tawny

Tawny

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If you are awaiting treatment, then you cannot work until that has begun. Since 2014 waiting? I think you need to focus on those concrete things. Say you see your GP or speak to them. You only need to be seeing a doctor, of any kind.

Not everyone has the mental health team anymore due to cuts. Not many are in hospital often either. This shouldn't go against you.

Not taking medication i don't see as being a problem either as you are waiting for psychological treatment. Is it possible to start an anti depressant? or take some prescribed meds that are weak enough to be similar to herbal types? It would help with your claim. Not ideal but you can always pretend you are taking it but not actually.

Is there a risk right now that means you cannot work while waiting? Self-harm? Agoraphobia and anxiety is a genuine problem and therapy will help.

You must make sure they know you are doing all you can to speed up the wait. Make sure you really are on a list and find out exactly how long the wait might be, how long it will last for, and then you have evidence or info for them. If therapy may start in 6 months and last 6 months, then you may get a 2 year award. Make it easy for them to do their job. Concrete fact, not flimsy maybes, and that should help.

Good luck. I have mine soon too. It is extremely stressful but i have heard awards are getting longer so if we can just get one, we might be left alone for 10 years like my friend has got.
 
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ramboghettouk

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i'd request a home assessment as you said your place is a mess and would have problems travelling to an assessment
 
D

dancerpainter

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Ask GP for copies of old letters when you where under MH services. Biggest problem these days with DWP is lack of support they seem to think that equals you will be perfectly fine.
 
Tawny

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Ask GP for copies of old letters when you where under MH services. Biggest problem these days with DWP is lack of support they seem to think that equals you will be perfectly fine.
I feel really shit now. My review is next February and i have no support. I have no way of getting any either, just from my GP who doesn't write supporting letters for anyone, just fills out the form as brief as possible.
 
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ramboghettouk

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maybe if you pay your gp he might write a supportive letter and in view of the money at stake
 
Tawny

Tawny

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maybe if you pay your gp he might write a supportive letter and in view of the money at stake
Even for money they don't do them there, none of the doctors do. It's really bad isn't it. Unfair.
 
Tawny

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Not for benefits, yes for other things.
 
losingme1989

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Same here (had no supporting letter from GP), what I did do though was write down a list of symptoms id been having and got my GP to stamp it.

Then took the list to the assessment and read it (my assessment was recorded) then i asked the assessor to photocopy it at the end of the assessment, not sure if it made a difference but i did qualify for support group, just sharing my experience, also i went to the assessment alone.
 
Tawny

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That is a good idea. I need to be braver and ask her to do that.
 
losingme1989

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With my GP I gave him a verbal description of various physical/mental symptoms i have been experiencing the past year and a half or so.

I would also suggest writing how your condition(s) limit your ability to function on a daily basis, if you feel able to.

It did stress me out quite a lot doing all of this but the thing is i only have one opportunity each time to explain things like this to people.

In a way I think going to the assessment without anyone else made it easier for me to do so but of course everyone has a different experience in situations like these.
 
C

celticlass

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Ah Penfold in the good old days, in the good old days, some of us took a pride in it. Not so much now alas. Councils do generally have a benefits inclusion team Tawny. Can you phone up the main switchboard and ask? There may be a wait time though. Citizens Advice, if they understand the situation may have a home visiting service. On a help yourself basis, if you are able have a look at Benefits and Work site. They have guides to the whole process. But then there is the actual business of what is going on with your health currently and you need to get an assessment of that brought up to date pronto! So you must get a GP from your surgery on board. Now IF I were the social worker I would be trying to liaise with doctor to bring that assessment about. But maybe we do not have all the facts......?
 
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