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esa 50 front pageMaximus deny refusing to allow up-to-date evidence to be submitted, but members tell us it’s been happening.

Benefits and Work members continue to report problems with ESA50 forms, used as part of the work capability assessment (WCA) process.

Initially we were hearing from claimants who said they had never received an ESA50. The big issue now, members tell us, is Maximus using ESA50s that are over two years old and refusing to allow new ones to be submitted.

Two year old forms
Last month, Maximus told us that everyone being assessed or reassessed for ESA should receive an ESA50 and that it was not their policy to refuse anyone the opportunity to complete one.

Since then, however, we have heard from a number of members who have been asked to a face-to-face assessment even though they have not completed an ESA50 since 2013. When some members have asked to be sent a new ESA50 this has been refused. Instead, they have been told that they can tell the health professional at their assessment about any changes to their condition since the ESA50 was completed.

Last week Gardiner55 posted a comment saying:

“Assessment for my son notified by Maximus but no ESA50 had been completed recently. Rang Maximus and asked for a form to be issued but point blank refused saying they had a form completed in 2013!!!

“Rang DWP and they 'advised' to attend otherwise SANCTIONS asked for a form to be issued but again refused.”

Also last week, Izzy posted:

“Help!! I got called to another medical after 26 mths on esa. What a farce got zero points and used info from Esa50 form completed in January 2013 although my health and its effects on my everyday activities deteriorated.”

Clearly this is not satisfactory. The whole point of an ESA50 is to allow a claimant to provide detailed and up-to-date information about how their condition affects them.

Maximus denial
We approached Maximus about this and a spokesperson told us:

“We would never refuse a customer the opportunity to submit an up-to-date ESA50.

“Any customer who believes that the information on their ESA is out of date is welcome to complete another form and either send it to us, or bring it along to their assessment.”

We specifically asked Maximus: do you have a policy on when and whether to allow claimants to submit an additional ESA50 if the one being used is very dated?

Maximus told us:

“Yes, we encourage customers to provide an up-to-date representation of how their condition affects them and their ability to manage everyday tasks. If they submit another ESA50 we always accept this.”

We also asked Maximus: if claimants download and complete a new ESA50 and take it on the day of the assessment, does the assessor have a duty to read it, add it to their file and take the evidence into account?

Maximus responded:

“Yes, all evidence presented on the day is considered by the assessor including updated ESA50s.”

What you can do
So, according to Maximus management, everyone gets sent an ESA50 before they have an assessment. If you believe yours is out-of-date, or that you haven’t actually received one, you can download an ESA50, complete it and either post it to Maximus or take it with you on the day.

Under no circumstances should you be refused the opportunity to provide an up-to-date ESA50.

Maximus appear to be very keen to avoid criticism of the service they provide. Whilst they aren’t admitting that problems have occurred in the first place, it does seem likely they are working with staff – many of whom were previously employed by Atos - to try to prevent them happening in the future.

So, if you are told you can’t provide an up-to-date ESA50, we suggest you download one and send it in anyway, along with a copy of this article. Take a copy of your ESA50 and this article with you to your assessment, as well, in case it hasn’t been put on your file.

In addition, make a formal complaint to Maximus customer services and let us know too.

The WCA remains deeply unfair, but together, we can at least make sure Maximus always gives claimants the chance to provide detailed, accurate and up-to-date evidence.


0 #6 KMyers 2015-07-20 16:26
Sarah Marshall, my Mum recently had her assessment and was deemed 'fit for work', in spite of winning her appeal overwhelmingly 2 years ago. She scored a grand total of zero. Her experience with Maximus in the recent assessment was VERY similar to yours, quote below.

'Decision Maker's report full of lies, things not said in assessment, separate statements given nonsensical causal links using 'as', word 'evidence' used copiously to give impression of real evidence, 'try to' changed to 'can', assertions that I have no difficulty doing things I have said I have a lot of difficulty with +++. '

We believe that her words were twisted to the point where they were no longer what my mother had said and we believe that the assessor did not tell the truth in the report, particularly the information about the amount of medication which my mother takes on a day to day basis, what the assessor had written was COMPLETELY incorrect, saying that she takes the bare minimum, when in fact, she takes the maximum amount, the maximum amount her doctor is able to prescribe.

We have been in touch with the local MP and the local newspaper is interested in covering the story.
0 #5 apricot 2015-07-01 00:45
No ESA50 before face to face, so downloaded and completed very comprehensively , plus medical evidence, posted it and took on day. I was told this was assessment I didn't have after ESA50 early 2014. I was in the contribution based support group previously, now assessed as 100% zeros, without change in health. ESA stopped on day of DM letter, sent 2nd class. Decision Maker's report full of lies, things not said in assessment, separate statements given nonsensical causal links using 'as', word 'evidence' used copiously to give impression of real evidence, 'try to' changed to 'can', assertions that I have no difficulty doing things I have said I have a lot of difficulty with +++. Overwhelming. Followed Harrington's recommendations re ticking box to say I can't do something if I can't do it repeatedly, safely, etc. Referred to these terms throughout form. Treated as if lying, on the basis of a snapshot on the day. I explained on form why I didn't give phone number, and the DM just says they didn't contact me because I didn't give a number. They could have written or emailed, but didn't. I have asked for HCP report to compare with DM one. I have suffered from depression and anxiety disorder for most of my life. I have explained in detail how the symptoms affect my life, so has the psychologist who knows me best - a very detailed letter, but a couple of years old as help is time-limited. The symptoms vary endlessly, unpredictably, with no symtom free episodes any more, so it is very hard to plan anything in advance. The HCP didn't want to hear about the variation or worst times, only the last few weeks, and kept pushing for figures which have been presented as a regular routine by DM. The psychologist's remarks re risk of relapse have been ignored. I have surgery soon, provided medical evidence. DM says I submitted no medical evidence for time after their report! ESA50 says don't get new letter. It is so shamefully wrong and dishonest to treat us like this.
+2 #4 Elaine Burrows 2015-04-30 18:43
Yes,Mark W, I agree the whole process is a scam - I just thought of making it as difficult as possible for them to avoid considering the evidence which is right under their noses.
Maximus was sounding off in the media not long ago claiming they would do 1 million assessments in a year. No doubt this is why they are trying to short cut the process.They can fit more in if they dispense with the ESA50 and no doubt that means more money for Maximus.They rely on many people not knowing their rights - or not having the energy to challenge as they are struggling with sickness/disabi lity.
+2 #3 MarkW 2015-04-29 19:33
If you take the ESA 50 form with you to a medical, will you sit there in a stony silence whilst the 'medical expert' reads it?
The whole ESA thing is a twisted scam, to trick you, confuse you, and the firm 'reading' it want the cash but otherwise don't care.
I do not trust any of them, am frightened of brown envelopes, and am on (prescription) drugs because of the whole disaster of this lot in power at the moment.
+2 #2 Elaine Burrows 2015-04-29 16:26
I would suggest not only downloading a copy of the ESA50,completin g it and handing it in on day of assessment - but also sending a copy to the DWP with short covering letter asking for it to be taken into account before a decision is made on claim.
We can't be sure that Maximus are fully taking it into account if they are telling claimants to just take it in on the day.
+4 #1 MarkW 2015-04-28 14:30
The DWP have been caught lying - ATos were caught lying - why would we expect anything different now?
IDS lies, the Tory party lies, it seems as if this is the expected way to behave in 2015 - it was not like that when I was brought up!

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