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ESA Activity 14 - Memory and Concentration 10 years 2 months ago #23727

Hi Everyone

I have just sent my ESA50 to the DWP. In the mean time I am still trying to comprehend the incomprehensible ESA mental health test, in particular, Activity 14 (Memory and Concentration).

The law is worded like this: -

14(b) For the MAJORITY of the time...CANNOT be successfully managed WITHOUT receiving verbal prompting...

14(c) FREQUENTLY...CAN ONLY be successfully managed WITH pre-planning...



Supposing that FREQUENTLY you CANNOT manage WITHOUT receiving verbal prompting and CANNOT manage WITH OR WITHOUT pre-planning. You do not score points for 14(b), which refers to the majority of the time. But do you score points for 14(c)? Does 'can only manage with', mean the same as 'cannot manage without’.

Another concern is, for 14(a) and 14(b), do you need to show that you actually have somebody to verbally prompt you or does failing to manage on your own mean that you are failing to manage 'without receiving verbal prompting'? In other words, being able to manage with verbal prompting is disregarded from the test.

I hope the latter is the case. Whilst life can be easier if you have somebody to help or verbally prompt you, the extent of your mental disability is the same regardless of who else is in your presence, so in all fairness, you shouldn't be penalised for living on your own.

The same question applies to Activity 16 (Personal Action), which uses the word ‘requiring’ as opposed to ‘receiving’, but seems to have the same meaning in the context of the paragraph.

I would be grateful to hear from anyone who knows the answer, has a view, or has contested one of these points in an appeal. :unsure:

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Re:ESA Activity 14 - Memory and Concentration 10 years 2 months ago #23945

I'm getting more depressed waiting for an answer to this question.

All I need to know in preparation for my medical and probable appeal is do I need to show that I have somebody to verbally prompt me to score points for 14(b)?

I would be really grateful if this could be answered. :(

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Re:ESA Activity 14 - Memory and Concentration 10 years 2 months ago #23970

You may find an answer to your question in the Employment and Support handbook available in the ESA resources section HERE.

Scroll down to the appropriate publication.

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

Re:ESA Activity 14 - Memory and Concentration 10 years 2 months ago #23971

Hello Derek
I have cut & pasted this from my typed responses to the ESA50 form having used the excellent guides on this site. I hope it may be of some use to you. I passed my medical & am in the WRAG. The ATOS doctor put on my form that he was not expecting me to be fit for work for at least 12 months, so hopefully no medical until March 2011.

Pages 19 & 20, No.14.Memory and concentration
Q. Can you remember to do your usual daily routines? A. *Only if someone reminds me and *only if I plan ahead.
*I have ticked both these boxes only because they are the closest out of the available answers. The most accurate answer for me would be ‘It varies’ but it has not been made available for this question, although it is for the second question and most of the questions in other sections.
Q. Can you concentrate on your daily routines? A. It varies

Because of my CFS, even on my best days I sometimes get very ‘foggy’ and muddled so that I forget to do things and cannot always concentrate for long when I do attempt to do things. I make lists of things to do but unless I remember to cross off each activity when I have completed it I often become muddled. I very often start things and then don’t finish them because of poor concentration and difficulty with my short term memory. Even when I do complete something, it takes me a long time; e.g. writing a short letter, less than one side of A4 allowing for addresses etc, can often take me a day or longer to complete. I do not drive a car because my concentration is too poor for me to be able to do so. My depression has made my memory and concentration even worse. I am often unable to find the words that I need to use so I often either use wrong words or hope someone will give me the word I am struggling to find. On my best days I can make myself understood by other people even if I struggle to sometimes find the words that I need to use. On my less good days although I can make myself understood by other people it is more difficult and tiring to carry on a conversation as I find it more difficult to concentrate and struggle even more to find the words I need to use and I speak more slowly. I often find I cannot recall the names of people who are known to me and cannot always clearly recall events which only happened 2 or 3 weeks previously. When I am at home on my own, on my less good days I frequently find that it is the middle of the afternoon before I remember to eat, dress or shower. If I was left by myself without any one to remind me I would not be able to cope. I am like this on the majority of days although I have some better days and some worse. On my worst days I cannot concentrate on anything and often find it too fatiguing to even think let alone continue with a conversation even if it is very short and as well as not always finding and using the words I need, I often use the wrong words & sometimes muddle up sentences. When I have to attend a consultation with my GP or any kind of interview/meeting related for example to my claim for ESA, on one of my better days I have to write a list of everything I want to say and usually have to include complete sentences, otherwise if it is one of my less good days I frequently forget what the brief notes are about. All my appointments are written down in a diary and on a calendar.Because CFS is a fluctuating illness as is my depression my condition is variable from day to day and from hour to hour. Over the course of a two week period approximately 70% are my less good days, 20% are my best days and10% are my worst days.

Pages 20 & 21, No.16. Initiating and sustaining personal action
Q. Can you organise yourself to start and keep on with routine jobs? A. It varies
Because of my CFS and multi joint and muscle pain and poor concentration and memory which have been made even worse by my depression, even on my best days I often have problems in being able to plan, organise, problem solve, prioritise, and switch tasks without verbal prompting from my husband/son/daughter for most of the time. ‘Brain fog’, forgetfulness and very poor concentration frequently prevents me from starting and completing tasks such as getting up and dressed to leave the house and attend appointments without someone to remind me of what I need to do. I frequently struggle with maintaining my energy level.
On my less good days even if I have someone to remind me, I am still frequently unable to complete the above tasks without some help. On my less good days, I often have no strength in any part of my body and then cannot move any part of my body to get up from a chair until my strength begins to return enough for me to move. This is not until after 1 to 2 hours, sometimes as long as 3 to 4 hours. When my strength returns my muscles and joints are stiff, aching and painful making it difficult to move and I am often dizzy and unbalanced when I do try to move.
On my worst days I frequently have no strength in any part of my body and cannot move any part of my body to get out of bed, until my strength begins to return enough for me to move. This is not until after 1 to 2 hours, sometimes as long as 3 to 4 hours or longer, up to a day or more. When my strength returns my muscles and joints are stiff, aching and painful making it difficult to move and I am often dizzy and unbalanced when I do try to move.
Because CFS is a fluctuating illness as is my depression my condition is variable from day to day and from hour to hour. Over the course of a two week period approximately 70% are my less good days, 20% are my best days and10% are my worst days.

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Re:ESA Activity 14 - Memory and Concentration 10 years 2 months ago #23983

Thanks for replying Crazydiamond. I think the publication you are referring to is the DWP Book of Dirty Tricks and Misguidance to the Law.

I'm well aware that I have no hope of scoring points for this activity using the ATOS interpretation of the law. They effectively say in their handbook that people who live on their own are not allowed to have memory or concentration problems.

I was just wondering if Benefits & Work have a view on how the law should be interpreted, as it is not clear from the B&W ESA Mental Health Guide. There is also very little case law to go on for ESA.

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Re:ESA Activity 14 - Memory and Concentration 10 years 2 months ago #24039

Derek,
I'll put both feet in here, I don't know the form your doing & I'm not qualified ..BUT I do have 30 yrs of fighting the state departments and winning hands down .

Can you not add an additional sheet ( referenced )in typed capitals?
" I struggle to live on my own , I have these problems , had I someone with me I would need .. be able to " .. etc. sort of thing??

All the best
David

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