As access to healthcare workers gets harder and harder, we’re asking readers to share their experiences and tips for getting supporting medical evidence for a benefits claim.

Our request was prompted by a recent tweet from a follower who told us:

“My top tip is that most GP receptionists will happily print a copy of GP summary care record, which has meds, latest appts, diagnoses and stuff on it for free.”

It made us wonder, following the pandemic and the devastating effect it has had on health provision, how people are managing to get supporting medical evidence for claims for benefits such as PIP, DLA, ESA or UC.

Were you able to get medical evidence that gave useful details about your ability to manage the activities at issue in your claim, such as your ability to prepare food, manage money or cope with social situations?

Did you have to pay for medical evidence?

Or did you expect the DWP to contact your GP or consultant?

Are you lucky enough to have a health professional who is knowledgeable about benefits and who  sees supporting you with your claim as an important part of their role?

And we’d also like to know whether you consider that the medical evidence, or a lack of it, made any material difference to the success of your claim?

Please share you experiences in the comments section below.

There’s more information about summary care records here.


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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Bernard · 1 years ago
    If you see a Consultant or any other health professional at the hospital always ask to be copied in to any letters that go from them to your GP. One problem I have found with getting copies of my medical records from my GP is that quite a few of the entries are not very helpful when submitting a claim i.e. your GP may think you look extremely fit and well that day, which as we know is all relative to your condition but it something the DWP will seize on. 
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    Jeff Page. · 1 years ago
    I had the help of 3 people at my surgery to compile my medical records to present before a Tribunal in 2018 when mandatory reconsideration was refused in my case. I eventually had success at the Tribunal. Last year I went through the process and again was refused benefits. This time, however, I contacted and complained to Atos concerning my treatment as the recorded telephone assessment CD didn't contain all the information on the recording I had made. When I presented this information to Atos, within 5 days my benefits were restored. Another week after that and my benefits had been virtually doubled as the DWP had taken the time to review my claim properly. The paperwork I received from DWP to inform me of the new decision has already been copied and if necessary I shall use their own decision I now have as evidence. So my advice is to keep all paperwork and if at all possible get copies and store them safely away where you can find them next time. But no matter what the Assessors may claim, the report that they present to DWP is very nearly the information that the Assessor supplies. The rubbish that they state that the Assessors have no say, is exactly that, Rubbish!!
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    John · 1 years ago
    One of the best pieces of evidence you can get, free, for either yourself, or those you are helping, is a brief report (report path: local report). It tells you what you need to know and clarifies things for the DWP. Who has had 'We had insufficient medical evidence to for the basis of a correct decision'?
    Make it in writing, with all of your contact details and address it to the practice manager. Short and sweet, please supply me with a brief report.
    Takes a couple of days to get
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Carm · 1 years ago
    I asked our doctors surgery for my daughters medical records when I applied for PIP for her last year. Having applied and failed in getting PIP for her a year or so ago. It was several months before the medical records were available by which time the PIP application had been sent in several months before.... PIP application was initially refused with 0 points however after the mandatory reconsideration full PIP was awarded. I was able to find a couple of things in the record towards further evidence but however it may not of been that alone which helped.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Brian · 1 years ago
    For my wife's renewal last year I obtained paper copies of all her medical notes from her GP £50 charge and sent everything relevant. This eventually ended up with DL staying at enhanced rate and Getting around increasing from standard to enhanced.
    I have recently submitted a claim to PIP myself, moving from DLA. I again obtained paper copies of my medical records, this time no charge and have submitted approximately 70 pages as additional evidence. I completed the PIP claim form online as it is far easier for me to type instead of writing by hand. I will let you know how I get on, it has only been a month so far, so am expecting to wait another couple of months at least
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Paul Jones · 1 years ago
    I requested my medical records from GP. Got everything ever written about me the surgery copied everything and gave it to me free of charge. Apparently they can’t refuse. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    George Savage · 1 years ago
    i have been through many assessments for ESA, DLA and PIP over the last 12 years and have rarely had evidence provided by my GP or other medical specialists other than letters sent following appointments. Interestingly, though, when I challenged my GP, he told me that as long as I had signed permission to access my medical records, the responsibility to obtain this information was with the DWP. If they contacted him or any other specialist, then they would submit a report. Otherwise it would be an additional strain on their time.
    It is always worth asking at an assessment if they have accessed medical records, as according to my GP they very rarely do. In theory they then have to accept what you tell them as a failure to check could be used in appeals.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Andrea · 1 years ago
    My tips are ... to sign into your NHS ,Patient access or Systmonline account and screenshot as much as you can then print it all out. 
    Get a letter from your gp asking for the date to be removed so that it can be photocopied and used over and over instead of keep asking for one. Explain in detail to the doctor what you need putting on the letter. For example..'I respectfully request that my patient be not asked to attend a medical ,using paper based assessment instead to prevent further psychological and physical distress. 
    Ensure you put down percentages. So for example..'95% of the time I cannot walk at all. 5% of the time I can walk no more than 20meters'. 
    Keep copies of everything!!! Post with tracked and signed for post. That way it can't go missing!! 
    Follow this websites advice. It really helps. 

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    Mel Skelton · 1 years ago
    The only evidence I have ever sent has been copies of letters which the rheumatologist sent me after appointments. I have got through all assessments so far. For my last pip review I sent no evidence at all because I hadn't seen my rheumatologist due to covid. I sent a gdpr request to my surgery & have got a PDF copy of my full records since I first went there.
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    Lolas Mum · 1 years ago
    This is a huge issue for me - I have a diagnosis of fibromyalgia (changed by my then RA consultant two years ago from Rheumatoid Arthritis sero negative - I was then discharged from the Rheumatology service as they do not deal with Fibromyalia and I was discharged back to the care of my GP). I also have Hypermobility syndrome (which I suspect is actually Hypermobile Elhers Danlos Syndrome).  I cannot get a confirmed diagnosis of EDS as my local GP surgery now only refer children for diagnosis if EDS is suspected! 
    Regardless of the 'name' of my condition (s) the treatment is the same - very little can be done by doctors - it is a case of self-management and self care so little to no input from medical practitioners except a yearly medication review over the phone.

    I applied for PIP over two years ago and sent supporting evidence from my employer plus friends and family members that know my difficulties well and help me as needed with my condition.  I was initially turned down by scoring just under the amount needed for an award.  Clearly the decision maker did not believe what I had written in my application and did not believe what the supporting evidence from others (employer, friends and family not medical professionals) clearly stated.  I went through the mandatory reconsideration process (still denied PIP) then went to appeal and the decision was finally overturned - I now receive PIP for both mobility and daily living which was backdated.  But my review is due again soon and I now understand that without supporting reports from medical healthcare workers I am likely to have the same problem with claiming.  To my best recollection during my only 10 minute GP appointment over the phone last year (chest infection) we did not discuss my ability to dress and undress, prepare food, making decisions about money etc.  How then could the GP possibly accurately comment on my condition / abilities / disabilities regarding the descriptors used by PIP.  Should I be making appointments with my GP to discuss these descriptors on a regular basis just to satisfy the DWP rather than a genuine medical need to be seen?  Is that the best use of NHS resources during the huge strain the NHS is under at this time ?
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    Harry Mcghee · 1 years ago
    My so who has basic pip since September 2019 was sent a review which had to be completed by 5th june this was posted on 30/5/22.

    He received a letter on 14th June explaining that due to not having the review in for 5th June he had been removed from pip. 

    He hadn’t noticed that a payment should have been in the bank the day before he received this letter the 13th, on phoning DWP he was on the line for hours and input his details and it told him he was due a pip payment on 5th July but never got threw as time ran out. 
    The next day he received a letter explaining that he had been successful with his application to fight the removal and payment would be in the bank but to contact UC as they had also reduced his payments. 

    Do the people that make these decisions understand how it totally rips someone’s life apart receiving a letter like this and trying to get to someone to deal with it no wonder there is so many people taking a overdose or jumping of a bridge, now he just waits for his review to be processed. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Ray · 1 years ago
    I was lucky to get a letter from my GP for the DWP team *PIP *
    After 15 months of emails etc a PIP team manager contacted me to inform me all my medical updates were not looked at and placed in my file pending face to face assessment. How ever this decision was incorrect my information was enough for the PIP team to make an informed decision .I was pleased to find my PIP review had been approved and changed to enhanced mobility  .
    I believe my regular emails to the dwp was the reason my case was resolved .
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Kay · 1 years ago
    Has anyone had any experience dealing with claiming the new Scottish disability payment? I lost my DLA & had no success with PIP due to unhelpful GP surgery who refuse to write reports unless DWP request them, needless to say they didn't!  I was told at PIP assessment that I did not have enough up to date evidence. I'm debating on whether to apply for the new disability payment or not as I don't want to put myself through another year of stress & worsening health problems doing so.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Will · 1 years ago
      @Kay Hi Kay,
      I've heard from some people in the adult disability payment pilot areas. It takes just as long (maybe even longer) to fill out the form but that's partly because Social Security Scotland try hard to explain what they mean & include more pictures & explanations.  They try to avoid assessments as much as possible & instead try to get evidence from your GP so that should be different (ie I think Social Security Scotland would contact your GP). So that's not to say it wouldn't be stressful just I don't think it would be AS stressful as PIP. Having said that you cannot backdate a claim, so the longer you wait to apply for either the more you potentially lose out financially.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Aby · 1 years ago
    If you do go to hospitals for scan, bloods, to see consultants then you can ask outpatient department to gain online access to patient knows best and this has access to full medical record from blood tests, scans to medical letters.  Every patient is allowed to ask for online access for free specially those with on going health conditions will found this very useful.  Another getaway to access record is NHS online app / website this will allow you to gain access to GP records and their if you have hospital access you can either request registration online or login to your hospital records via NHS mobile app.  Patient pain tool kit is a way of recording your pain level you can ask GP to access app for free for those with peripheral neuropathy or nerve damage or arthritis.  GP medication printed medical repeat can be an evident and patient summery.  Specialist CNS nurses are usually very useful to write letter to support applications specially for cancer patients.  For cancer patients remember can research websites and macmillan has some useful resources including at Imperial college hospital Macmillan navigator service can link patients to their allocated CNS nurses each hospital has CNS nowadays for cancer patients.  Social care service and careers can also provide letter to talk about patient difficulties typical bad times and what difficulties or aids they use during daily activities.  Learning difficulties like dyslexia report can also be an evident.  Remember any written form report about your depression from talking therapist team.  Diabetic patients have diabetic nurses that can be accessed via their hospital department very helpful for those who suffers podiatry department can provide report about their peripheral neuropathy issue.   Health-share department can be a self referral route for physiotherapist and they can provide a written form about mobility issues.  Note that with health-share nowadays they only accept patients who does not have hospital access to physiotherapy and/or pain management they can be useful route. All of these can be planned ahead at least 6 month or one year prior to applying to PIP and ESA based on medical and health issues.  I hope my post will help patients to apply.  Print any hospital letters, GP medical summery and number the evidence and refer to them at each element of the form.  For example never say I cannot:  Better to say -  Due to my cancer late side effects I have nerve damage please refer to pain clinic evident on page --to page ---.  I found it extremely difficult to stand and prepare my own meal.  I do need assistant to prepare my meal as from cancer treatment I have dizziness that makes it risky for me to be on my own.  My career helps me to prepare meals as its safer as I am mostly constantly unstable.  Something like this was sufficient for me and I did that for each category writing something sensible and related it to medical evidence and health condition.  Like diabetic can have peripheral neuropathy with it and if you have constant low sugar near meal time then you need supervision while using sharp objects whilst preparing meals.  Be honest and talk about difficulties and bad times they do need to know about aids we use whilst outdoors e.g. stick, maybe pain relieve or someone with us for safety aspect if we have mental health or if we have health condition that makes us dizzy.  Indoors what aids do you use whilst you get dressed up any tools at all special shoes flip flops etc.  Tools at kitchen, tools for taking medicines like medicine organiser do you or someone does it for you and why you need help from friend, family or career or health specialist. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Jimmy · 1 years ago
    On numerous occasions I have had to pay GPs for a letter supporting my PIP/ESA claims/reassessment. Plus I've had to pay for private consultants to provide evidence. This evidence was critical in helping me win appeals against the DWP.  I have also supplied statements by support workers on how my disability affects my daily life. Those letters were free and provided important evidence to support my case.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    DianaW · 1 years ago
    Anyone seeking disability benefits due to long Covid can obtain one evidential document all by themselves: the online self-assessment tool provided by Asthma & Lung UK at Using this tool automatically generates a downloadable report showing all one's current symptoms and their relative severity.
    This self-assessment/reporting tool can't be used too often but it can be reused after an interval, to show progress or deterioration over time.

    Busy GPs find this report invaluable, as it saves them writing notes of all this for themselves, while patients can use it to avoid spending a long time recounting their symptoms or struggling to remember them all, so it saves much valuable medical appointment time.
    But the report can also (if the patient/claimant agrees) be used to support a claim for disability in long Covid cases. As the recent Scottish employment tribunal judgment* shows, long Covid CAN indeed be a legal disability (in particular cases) but accumulating medical evidence, especially during lockdown, can make this harder to prove.

    *Terence Burke v Turning Point Scotland, 2022; the full judgment has been published at

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    Rob Woof · 1 years ago
    Hi I’ve tried over 15 year with variable success and that’s non nada zilch zero niche nicksie and of course nowt with replies as I’m unable to , sorry we’ve been advised we can’t ,we have a charge of £55 we have a charge of £70-£85and £125 and the best I’ve been able to get was the screenshot from gps app 
    now my last was to lose enhanced mobility 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Michael. · 3 months ago
      @Rob Woof Well pay the fee. Its more than worth it. You're cutting off your nose to spite your face, if you don't.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Stan · 1 years ago
    I have never had any problems obtaining medical reports from GP or Consultants.
    The only problem is when you go for an assessment the person who is conducting the assessment has little or no experience of the illnesses or conditions that a person surfers from.
    I attended a tribunal and the chairman asked me why I was there as it was extremely clear from my medical records that my health conditions had been proved beyond any doubt.
    I explained that no matter how much evidence you provide to support your claim the DWP would always find ways to question what was true and in writing.
    I have only ever been seen by one assessor who knew anything about my health issues and that was because she knew one of my consultants as she had worked with him.
    The DWP will always do anything to wriggle out of paying a claimant.

    I would advise that you always ask your health advisor to provide you with your health details by giving you a full record of your aliments along with a supporting letter and scan them into your computer so that you will always have a permanent record to present as and when you require such proof.
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    Chloe. · 1 years ago
    I needed a medical report from my GP for family court. They refused as it would take too long and I didn’t have money to pay a solicitor. I lost half of my home. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Jenny · 1 years ago
    Hi, I was refused pip, and the mandatory part, I was given only 2 points by the man from capita. My case went to a court session, they requested my medical records for the previous 2 years. My doctors and their staff issued me with access via a computer service, which although too complicated for me, my son was able to access it, and it was emailed to the courts, there were 117 pages, the courts made judgement in my favour with 29 points. It really is worth gaining access to your medical records.
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