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Totally confused 5 years 5 months ago #138423
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I've been on ESA since approx 2012.
I also was awarded PIP at the enhanced rate for both parts in Aug 2015. Regards my ESA I've always been in the WRAG (even though I strongly feel I should have been placed in a support group due to my physical/mental limitations).
Apart from my initial assessment in 2012 with Atos, I've not been called to any further assessments from them even though my ESA entitlement was increased following my PIP assessment.
I have attended work focused interviews approx every six months at my local job centre, although there's never been an action plan drawn up or any additional help offered to get me back into work. I guess this could be because I not only suffer from physical mobility issues but also quite severe depression.
Anyway my question relates to a letter I received from the Health Assessment Advisory Service asking me to attend an "appointment for an assessment with a Healthcare Professional" this letter doesn't say what type of assessment it is neither were any forms included for me to complete so I'm wondering if this a reassessment of my physical/mental abilities in order for my ESA to continue.
I would have thought that as my PIP assessment was only completed 11 months ago and awarded for 3 years that it would have been quite obvious that my health would not have improved sufficiently for me to require reassessment for my ESA so soon,
so I would appreciate your thoughts as to what this assessment will be about and if Atos (who are still doing these assessments in my area) believe I can return to work am I going to have to go through the stress and anxiety of having my PIP reassessed as well.
In addition I've got to travel to central London for this appointment as i called the appointments number to ask to reschedule as nobody was available to accompany me, and that I couldn't use public transport due to both physical and mental issues, and that as I can't climb stairs I hoped the centre had a lift,
I was told that I couldn't then be seen at my local centre because although it had a lift it would be a health & safety issue in the event of a fire, so now I'm being forced into being a passenger for at least 40 minutes by car to an area I'm unfamiliar with.
This will cause me both physical pain and mental distress, yet if I don't go my benefit will be stopped and if I do go it will be deemed that I can travel without issue by car and that I'm ok with busy unfamiliar areas which I most certainly am not and avoid such situations at all times, I'm just so stressed about it all, so your thoughts would be very much appreciated. Thanks
Last edit: by bro58.
Totally confused 5 years 5 months ago #138427
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Welcome to Benefits and Work
Can you please break any future posts up into paragraphs, solid blocks of text are near impossible to read.
I have therefore edited your post into paragraphs.
Forget about PIP, it is not that, you will receive your review forms for PIP a year before the end date of your current PIP Award.
This appointment for an assessment/"medical" will be with :
The Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (CHDA) (Maximus) who took over the ESA WCA Contract from ATOS on 02/03/15. to reassess your current ESA Award.
Have a read through this FAQ : Invited to an ESA Face to Face Assessment (ESA "medical") but no ESA50 sent.
Then come back to us if you have any further queries.
If you wish to request a Home Assessment or re-arrange this appointment, which you are allowed to do once, you should contact Maximus.
Any request by you for a Home Assessment will most probably need your G.P. to Fax a letter supporting this to Maximus.
If you are to contact Maximus, you may want to request that if a face to face does take place that you would like it audio recording.
Just to add, if the trip to/from The ESA Assessment Centre will take more than 90 minutes either way using public transport (NOT BY CAR) taking into account all/any legs of the journey by train/bus, whilst also taking into account any roadworks, traffic at that time of day and any other predictable hold ups, etc, they cannot compel to you travel that far, and they should be well aware of this rule and either arrange a Taxi door to door, if you can manage that, offer a Home Assessment, or rearrange to a nearer suitable venue.
You may be able to check travel times by Public Transport : Here or some other Similar Website
They must also take into account any limitations or restrictions that you may suffer in Moving Around or Going Out due to your medical conditions, and make "Reasonable Adjustments".
Have a look at some previous posts regarding challenging having to attend a face to face : Here and Here.
The same principle applies regarding "Reasonable Adjustment" whether the face to face is for ESA or PIP, and whether it be with Maximus for ESA or ATOS or Capita for PIP.
If it does turn out that you need to attend, you should also have a look at this FAQ in anticipation of the face to face :
ESA Medical – What to expect
You should be aware that how you manage the return trip to/from the Assessment Centre will be taken into account as part of the actual assessment.
You may be observed on approaching, leaving and whilst inside the centre.
Assumptions may be made by the assessor with regards to the above.
These assumptions could result in the assessor writing comments/recommendations within the ESA85 medical report which they compile and send to The DWP.
You might want to Bookmark/Favourite this page in your Internet Browser, so that you can find it again easily for your future reference.
Please keep us updated.
Last edit: by bro58.
Totally confused 5 years 5 months ago #138548
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Thanks for the advice, unfortunately they won't budge on choice of assessment centre as they say my not being able to manage stairs is a H&S risk at the original centre closest to me, so despite the fact there is no possible way I can manage public transport into central London and as the journey would take approx 1hr 22 mins, including several changes from train to bus and walking which I can't manage, that's the only centre they can offer me and their clearly not bothered how traumatic this journey is going to be for me.
Looks like I've no choice but to get a taxi both ways which will not only cost a fortune but will be extremely painful for me as normally I have to get up and move about every 20 mins or so and the journey by car will take at least 40 mins not taking into account any traffic or other possible disruptions.
I will call and ask for a form to complete as you suggested and will also request my assessment is taped as I don't trust them not to twist my words or make assumptions, I'll let you know the outcome once I've been put through the ringer on the 19th Aug and I've received their decision.
Last edit: by bro58.
Totally confused 5 years 5 months ago #138560
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They are Not allowed to require you to attend an Assessment Centre that takes 90 minutes or more in travelling time either way by Public Transport.
I know you state that it would take 82 minutes, and that is 8 minutes less than the maximum 90 minutes allowed but have you taken into account any delays, roadworks etc, etc ?
I think 82 minutes is close enough to 90 minutes to challenge them.
Further, they are legally compelled to make Reasonable Adjustments under EA2010, it is not down to them to choose whether they should or not.
If they can't provide a nearer venue that is suitable for your needs, they should offer a Home Assessment.
Further, it is deemed that you need a Taxi, door to door, they should pay for it, although you need their prior agreement to this.
You cannot simply book a Taxi your self then expect them to pay for it, they won't.
Maximus are being paid double what ATOS their predecessor's where.
Several of our members have successfully challenged Maximus under similar scenarios, but only seemed to have got anywhere when they have escalated to a complaint with Maximus.
You have probably only spoken to a bog standard Customer Service Adviser thus far.
I would also make your complaint in writing by e-mail, to create a paper trail.
The threat of a complaint to your M.P. and mentioning Maximus's possible contravention of section 20-21 of EA 2010 by not making Reasonable Adjustments for you may also help.
Contacting your MP
Of course, whether you choose to challenge this issue any further is your decision.
Last edit: by bro58.
Totally confused 5 years 4 months ago #139919
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Just thought I would give you an update on my ESA reassessment. I did challenge the distance I would have to travel to the assessment centre, but they wouldn't consider moving it even though the travel time was only 8 minutes short of the 90 mins, I was a told due to my mobility issues the only centre equipped to deal with this was central London where I'd be seen on the ground floor.
On arrival at the centre I was kept waiting over an hour to be seen, even though the staff could clearly see I was distressed and in pain, and very uncomfortable due to their low chairs, and I was getting more distressed by the minute as I'd already endured a long car journey as a passenger, thankfully a family member was able to come with me, and they kept pestering the reception staff, but the joke is I was told that I was meant to be seen on the 2nd floor, but their lift wasn't working so I was being "squeezed in" on the ground floor.
This makes a total farce of their original reasons for moving my assessment to that particular centre, as I was always meant to be seen on the ground floor level as there is no way I'd have managed stairs and they knew this due to my several phone calls prior to my appointment.
Regardless I was apparently seen by a "doctor" who seemed pretty knowledgable about my various conditions, but by the time I was seen I was I was obviously very distressed and made it clear I was unhappy to have been kept waiting for so long in such discomfort. It's clear they do employ dirty tricks to collect "evidence" to support their recommendations to get people off ESA and onto JSA, from cameras everywhere, to an exceptionally heavy door on their disabled toilet to being asked the same questions in different ways to see if your answers are the same.
Fortunately for me, it was obvious my mobility was very poor, as it took several painstaking minutes to crawl my way to the assessment room, and I was extremely upset throughout the q&a session that followed to the point where the doctor went and got my family member from Reception to comfort me, she proceeded to tell the "doctor" what she thought about the process and what I'd endured stress wise leading up to my appointment.
Anyway the upshot is that having followed the advise in your fantastic guides prior to and during my assessment,, I've been informed that I'm now being moved from the WRAG to the support group which is where I should have been in the first place 3 yrs ago, had I been armed with your very useful information back then I might not have had to endure the pressure and stress from the job centre regards finding work these last 3yrs when I knew I wasn't physically/mentally capable. Now I can focus on getting my health to a manageable situation and then hopefully return to work when I know I'm actually ready.
I can't thank you guys enough for all your help and advice.
Last edit: by bro58.