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ESA50 Evidence Checklist? Suspected Bipolar 7 years 10 months ago #117694


I would never have been able to make detailed replies to the descriptors by myself, so I want to thank B+W for their fantastic guides. I've had my answers double-checked and they were fantastically detailed with no real problems.

Now to the meat of the pie. I have switched from JSA to ESA; my GP signed me unfit for work so it was necessary. My mental health deteriorated within the last 5-6 months, badly enough that one of two GPs I see at my surgery referred me to the local PCT where I will be accessing intensive therapy, counseling and psychiatric services.

I have been referred to Rethink too, and they recently performed my safety assessment. Due to cognitive/health issues I left out tons of important information and e-mailed it over. When I attended a coffee and support meeting, the lady running it turned out to be one of the two handling my case. She informed me her partner said they'll need to redo the assessment. Then she asked if I'd considered bipolar disorder; that I should discuss it with my doctor as I show a lot of the symptoms. She finished by saying I could put her/Rethink's details on the ESA50 as a contact and that they'd back me up.

Long and short, I've filled in the ESA50 regarding how my suspected illness affects my life. I want to know if ATOS can find fault with the following:

1) I mention I'm awaiting medication because my doctor is reluctant to prescribe medication that would have effects adverse to my condition. Anti-depressants can induce mania and anti-anxiety medication is a stop-gap solution to a life-long problem that's highly addictive and builds tolerance. I have stated what I might take and how it would affect me, in every descriptor. I am due to discuss medication with my doctor tomorrow, where I will discuss a supportive statement.

2) I state I'm at the end of a waiting list to receive psychiatric support and diagnosis. To prove this, I am providing copies of my appointment/notice letters and contact details for the PCT and those at Rethink handling my case. I state I'm awaiting my psychiatrist's details, which will be given as soon as they're available.

I will be seeking the following evidence. Please highlight anything unnecessary, or any changes I can make in how the evidence is presented or filled.

1) Supportive statements. I have seen both GPs at my surgery for an ongoing chronic mental health condition. Is it worth asking for statements from both, or only the one treating my current deterioration?
2) Blood Test appointments and results. This is to show a co-morbid issue with IBS, but may prove a willingness to accept medical/doctor intervention?
3) Medical record. It shows my past history with Citalopram, which I took for around 1-2 years.
4) Photocopies. Appointments of PCT, Rethink, Blood Test referrals, etc.
5) Contact list. My second GP, the PCT [awaiting psychiatrist as described], Rethink contacts, a family friend aware and supportive of my history and condition. Should I mention I sought guidance on a separate page that I sought advice and guidance in filling the ESA50? It seems that I should - because I did. Like I say at the start I wouldn't have done better alone.
6) A letter explaining what is suspected, bipolar, is a fluctuating condition - something I know the WCA tries to ignore.
7) Documents with explanations of bipolar/bipolar cognition [a problem I have]/fatigue with highlights pertinent to my condition.
8) A letter requesting the interview is recorded.

Is there anything I've forgotten? Anything I should add? The thought of doing all this then them rejecting it anyway is hard, as I'm sure many know. Sorry about the pile of information, but it's somewhat relevent to the questions I feel. :)
Last edit: by . Reason: Tick.

ESA50 Evidence Checklist? Suspected Bipolar 7 years 10 months ago #117698

  • Gordon
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We really cannot give detailed, personal advice on the forum and can never say whether a claimants approach is right or wrong, do so would require us to have access to all of the documents involved in the claim.

That said I will try and provide some assistance.

There will be an assumption that a claimant is receiving treatment for their conditions, either through medication or therapeutic treatment, so if this is not the case then it is important to point this out and why this is the case.

The Decision Maker is not medically trained, although they have direct access to medical resources, so providing information about your conditions and variance from the norm is a good idea, although you should be careful not to overwhelm them with it as doing so is likely to dilute its effectiveness and the more it can be written in what I will call normal English, the better.

In a similar vein, whilst the ATOS assessor will be qualified in Disability Assessment it is more than likely that they do not have a background in mental health and even less likely that they will have a detailed knowledge of your specific conditions, although they may think that they do :(

So by including content that defines your conditions and how their affects, you are putting a stake in the ground that should require the assessor to justify any divergence from.

Best of luck

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

ESA50 Evidence Checklist? Suspected Bipolar 7 years 10 months ago #117854

Don't forget to consider whether the "exceptional circumstances" apply to you ie whether being found fit for work or for work related activity would have a bad effect on your mental health.
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