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New ESA rules - mental/physical. ME/CFS/MS 7 years 6 months ago #98130

  • Petunia
Hi. Any idea how this new regulation re separation of physical and mental descriptors will affect those of us with neurological illnesses, eg ME, CFS, MS? I have ME and sent my ESA50 off this month and have not yet had a decision. I now understand that because I haven't had a decision yet the new regulations apply. But my illness, ME, has both physical and mental/cognitive effects. How on earth can they change the goalposts after someone has filled the form, and in such a way that discriminates against those of us with a neurological illlness??? I'm gobsmacked and angry, and very worried that this could affect my claim.

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Last edit: by Gordon.

New ESA rules - mental/physical. ME/CFS/MS 7 years 6 months ago #98134

Petunia wrote: Hi. Any idea how this new regulation re separation of physical and mental descriptors will affect those of us with neurological illnesses, eg ME, CFS, MS? I have ME and sent my ESA50 off this month and have not yet had a decision. I now understand that because I haven't had a decision yet the new regulations apply. But my illness, ME, has both physical and mental/cognitive effects. How on earth can they change the goalposts after someone has filled the form, and in such a way that discriminates against those of us with a neurological illlness??? I'm gobsmacked and angry, and very worried that this could affect my claim.


We are limited in the advice we can give, in part, because the DWP does not categorise many illnesses as being physical, mental, or potentially both. For example ME and CFS are banded together, but there is no definition in regards to ESA as to how they are viewed, however, although there is a clear definition for the purposes of DLA, that defines ME/CFS as a physical illness, which the DWP may choose to use.

It is also relevant to understand that many chronic physical illnesses also result in mental health issues in the patient, for example depression is a common do-diagnosis with ME-CFS, given access to both parts of the form. I am not sure that the reverse can so easily be said.

What is not clear is whether the effects of a physical condition will be allowed to complicate a mental health issue and vice versa, again using ME as an example, many sufferers would state that their depression is made worse by their level of tiredness.

Without additional guidance (there is no new WCA Handbook yet), and perhaps the views of an Upper Tribunal judge, the best that we can recommend is for members to complete the new form in as much detail as possible, what we cannot say with any degreee of certainty is that this will result in an award.

Gordon
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Last edit: by Gordon.

New ESA rules - mental/physical. ME/CFS/MS 7 years 6 months ago #98141

  • Petunia
I understand it is difficult for you to give advice, but I think this issue needs to be flagged as something to campaign about. ME is defined by WHO as a neurological illness, and as such has cognitive elements to it, so this separation of physical and mental descriptors is artificial and wrong. This is going to affect many people with other illnesses too, eg MS, Prkinson's. You cannot separate physical from mental. I filled in my form with both physical and cognitive problems as tht is how I am affected, and now the government is telling me I can only be assessed on one or the other?

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Last edit: by Gordon.

New ESA rules - mental/physical. ME/CFS/MS 7 years 6 months ago #98143

Petunia wrote: I understand it is difficult for you to give advice, but I think this issue needs to be flagged as something to campaign about. ME is defined by WHO as a neurological illness, and as such has cognitive elements to it, so this separation of physical and mental descriptors is artificial and wrong. This is going to affect many people with other illnesses too, eg MS, Prkinson's. You cannot separate physical from mental. I filled in my form with both physical and cognitive problems as tht is how I am affected, and now the government is telling me I can only be assessed on one or the other?


The ME Association are actively opposing these changes, you may wish to visit their site for further information.

As I understand it, the UK does not follow the WHO guidelines for ME.

Gordon
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New ESA rules - mental/physical. ME/CFS/MS 7 years 6 months ago #98146

  • Petunia
They don't follow the WHO guidelines? That is shameful.

It's going to be very hard for people to fill in these forms now, even harder than it's been, with illnesses such as ME, MS etc. And that there is not an adequate transition period with regard to the mental/physical descriptors, ie my form going in early January, but possibly being decided under changed rules from late January.

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