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Results: IS Mental Health an escape Goat for reducing Benefits bill?

Yes

36.89% • 38 votes

No

47.57% • 49 votes

I don't Know

15.53% • 16 votes

You may not vote on this poll

103 votes in total.

  • FIRST POST
    • Bulldog-1979
    • By Bulldog-1979 8th Apr 17, 1:28 AM
    • 8Posts
    • 5Thanks
    Bulldog-1979
    failed ESA medical because husband hasnt attempted to commit suicide!
    • #1
    • 8th Apr 17, 1:28 AM
    failed ESA medical because husband hasnt attempted to commit suicide! 8th Apr 17 at 1:28 AM
    I apologise in advance for the long message but this is unbelievable!
    My husband suffers from: Depression, Anxiety & has a myocardial bridge - He was in the Support Group for ESA until 15th last month when the ESA was stopped as he scored "0" in the medical!?.....

    I did a mandatory reconsideration because the person got it wrong and said things my husband could do - that he didn't say!

    In the meantime we went to claim JSA (I went with him as he struggles going out on his own) - We were sent back from the JC saying he isnt well enough to claim- they said it was obvious he wasn't well! shaking sweating white - blue lips allsorts! - got told we need to make a new claim for ESA - so went home and tried - they said we couldnt and i needed to take him in to JC again - made another appt - the same thing happened again! - phoned ESA - same thing! - phoned JC and said i wont do it to my husband and bring him in again - they said that i need to get sick note off Dr saying he is worse and to do a fresh claim for ESA!

    After 2 weeks of messing around with this someone FINALLY took the application but wanted another sick note off the Dr as it only said "Depression" signed off for 3 months - Dr was not happy that they questioned her medical opinion so she wrote another one detailing hwo he has gone worse and the max of her tablets she could prescribe and that he has been referred to mental health team.

    in the meantime - Yep you guessed it - we found out they upheld their decision!!! one of the paragraphs which stated that the health care professional had no reason to lie!!!!?????
    -so the Dr and myself and my husband must have!

    It gets worse............

    ..blah blah... "You are able to engage in conversation with people and have no recent history of dis-inhibited or aggressive behaviour. You have mental health problems and report occasional suicidal thoughts but you have not acted on these and have no fixed plan or intent.
    You have no psychiatric input and have had no hospital admissions for a number of years."
    (he has previously been sectioned for a number of months for trying to commit suicide!)

    .................. I don't know what to say!..... We have just found out that his new claim has been accepted and it was backdated to 15th - HOWEVER - as its a new claim they don't pay the 1st 7 days AND the amount is reduced due to him having to wait for the 13 week assessment before he can be put on support group again (if he passes they said!!!)

    Apart from having a rant (I apologise) is this Normal/Acceptable? - Is there anything i can do?

    I have rent i have to pay which i've not been able to and now we get less by approx £60 a week?
    Last edited by Bulldog-1979; 08-04-2017 at 1:30 AM.
Page 2
    • Tolly_T
    • By Tolly_T 8th Apr 17, 2:57 PM
    • 120 Posts
    • 111 Thanks
    Tolly_T
    too many people are off work with depression who really could work. As has been said (on here quite often,) depression is the new 'bad back.' I mean, pre mid 1990's, no-one was ever off work with depression, (no-one I knew anyway,) and I don't recall there ever being any benefits for it.
    Originally posted by jaylee3
    They probably didn't call it depression back then. I remember as a child (long before mid 1990's sadly) being told that a family friend had had a breakdown. She was locked up and lost her job. She suddenly disappeared from the workplace and was probably whispered about and lots of jokes would have been made at her expense but I doubt there would have been much understanding. I assume she was on benefits when she came out as she didn't go back to work and she lived alone. I expect there were plenty of people who thought she could go back to work when she got a bit better but it's unlikely they had much of an idea about how she was affected. She was diagnosed with depression.

    Just because people weren't open about depression doesn't mean it didn't exist. There is still so little understanding of depression. The effect on concentration, memory, motivation etc. is often ignored. People say they're depressed when they're actually sad. It's incredibly difficult to work when your concentration and memory has been affected so badly. Many people would be unsafe to work in that state because of the nature of their jobs.

    It sounds like it was clear the the OP's husband was obviously ill - the JC staff wouldn't allow him to claim JSA because they thought he wasn't well enough to work. There is a lot of discussion about how the assessment needs to be able to pick up fraudulent claimants. Lets turn this around and think about why the system fails to recognise genuine claimants. They don't trust what claimants say because some of them might lying (many aren't), GPs reports are ignored because they aren't with the claimant day to day (neither is the assessor but their opinion is valid for some reason), lack of a psychiatrist and medication is taken as an indication that the claimants problems are minimal even though many people don't take medication because it doesn't work, so they're likely to be more severely affected than a person who is taking medication and getting some benefit from it. What can a person with a severe mental illness, but without a psychiatrist, provide to prove that they are unable to work?

    I think it's terrible that the OP's husband who has suicidal thoughts was turned down because he hadn't recently attempted suicide. I was suicidal during my PIP claim and did act on those feelings but because I wanted to die I didn't go to hospital so there was no evidence and I got no points on PIP for reasons connected to mental illness. This is probably again because people could just claim to be suicidal when they aren't. I'm trying to get away from thinking about the fraudulent claimant though, what does the genuine claimant do to prove that they are severely affected?
    • melbury
    • By melbury 8th Apr 17, 3:10 PM
    • 9,713 Posts
    • 14,581 Thanks
    melbury
    Sorry to be pedantic but its not escape goat its scapegoat
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scapegoat
    Originally posted by Londonsu
    I am so glad you posted that.

    This is the second time in two days I have seen "escape goat" used and on different websites
    Stopped smoking 27/12/2007, but could start again at any time

    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 8th Apr 17, 3:24 PM
    • 15,937 Posts
    • 39,725 Thanks
    FBaby
    The problem with the provision of evidence from GP is that GPS can act both as gateways and treating clinicians. One GP might see a depressed patient on a regular basis over some time and as such got to know how they are living with condition and able to relate this on paper.

    The problem is with the patient who had not seen their GP for years or not for that reason and then suddenly makes an appointment after they receive the letter to be told they are to be reassessed, tell the GP that they haven't been able to cope at all for years and expect them to write a letter after a 10mns consultation describing how poorly the patient is. What more can they write than 'the patient said...' which will then be indeed not worth much.
    • borkid
    • By borkid 8th Apr 17, 3:27 PM
    • 1,528 Posts
    • 2,900 Thanks
    borkid
    .

    They don't trust what claimants say because some of them might lying (many aren't), GPs reports are ignored because they aren't with the claimant day to day (neither is the assessor but their opinion is valid for some reason), lack of a psychiatrist and medication is taken as an indication that the claimants problems are minimal even though many people don't take medication because it doesn't work, so they're likely to be more severely affected than a person who is taking medication and getting some benefit from it. What can a person with a severe mental illness, but without a psychiatrist, provide to prove that they are unable to work?
    Originally posted by Tolly_T
    Not MH but one person I know of was told "you are doing everything you can, there is nothing we can do go home and phone if anything changes. " by the clinic she was attending. So no seeing a specialist because there is no cure and no help. There are probably others in the same situation as well.
    • professor~yaffle
    • By professor~yaffle 8th Apr 17, 3:33 PM
    • 477 Posts
    • 720 Thanks
    professor~yaffle
    As has been said (on here quite often,) depression is the new 'bad back.'
    Originally posted by jaylee3
    Nice..!

    I personally would rather work than have depression or back trouble. There's some pretty judgemental people on this board (not just you, I'm sure).
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 8th Apr 17, 4:10 PM
    • 15,937 Posts
    • 39,725 Thanks
    FBaby
    Saying that depression is the new 'bad back' doesn't mean to say that every case is not disabiliting it means that there seem to be an increase number of people who consider that suffering from depression means that they should not have to work.
    • Bulldog-1979
    • By Bulldog-1979 8th Apr 17, 4:32 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    Bulldog-1979
    Thank you
    Firstly I just want to say Thank you to everyone who has posted a reply!
    Secondly I wanted to apologise for "escape goat" - WOW how embarrassing, sorry the pole was an afterthought and I was a bit emotional !

    I don't know how this forum works so i didnt want to quickly reply to everyone and find that all the messages were after each other - so ill try and post a general reply to everyone bwlow (sorry if i miss anyone):

    The reason we didn't go for the tribunal is on one of the many calls to the ESA we were told that yes we could get ESA payments back once the tribunal had contacted the ESA and said that we were going to tribunal, however that could take 4 weeks! - bear in mind we had been without money for 3 weeks already we didn't want to wait that length of time. So we were advised to go down the new claim route - which has left us short and not properly backdated but apparently we will receive some money on 11th (although we still get texts asking for sick note - and every time we get one we ask ESA and they say they've got the sick note from the Dr so dont need it!?)

    The myocardial bridge is indeed harmless in a lot of cases however he has been suffering with palpitations and breathlessness with strong aches in his chest for the past 8 months - he has been for scans and had 5-day heart monitors which brought the diagnosis - he was passed back to the GP for treatment as they didn't find the need at that time to fit a stent.

    I agree some people are lucky enough to go to work whilst suffering from depression & anxiety, however unfortunately my husband isn't - this he struggles with a lot as he used to have a good job £40k+ which he couldn't continue which in itself stresses him out because he isn't bringing in money and i'm looking after him. I do also agree that there are a lot of people out there who as you said "claim they have depression" like they used to with a bad back - however his history should be seen - we did put his Drs details on the form for them to speak to - yet they didn't. My husbands attempts on his own life were a few years ago but were severe - he has since struggled but never to a point of thinking he could again - however he has recently - which he and his Dr see as a major red flag (as do i!) and we are doing everything we can to support him in this. - This is definitely not the time for us to have a massive extra burden of losing any benefits!

    The Dr has been really good - with appts every 3 weeks and if he cant attend she calls him - so she has been very hands-on. Maybe it was my fault that I didn't include enough evidence or explain it properly as a few have said - evidence is key?
    I don't know whether to go for the appeal - I don't want him to have to explain himself in a room of strangers again - but at the same time we have had a down-cut in benefits?

    Our local CAB has closed so ill try the call centre on Monday to speak to them - I also need to apply for housing aswell so hopefully be a good week next week!
    • professor~yaffle
    • By professor~yaffle 8th Apr 17, 5:29 PM
    • 477 Posts
    • 720 Thanks
    professor~yaffle
    Saying that depression is the new 'bad back' doesn't mean to say that every case is not disabiliting it means that there seem to be an increase number of people who consider that suffering from depression means that they should not have to work.
    Originally posted by FBaby
    and you know this for 100% because...
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 8th Apr 17, 6:03 PM
    • 1,463 Posts
    • 1,562 Thanks
    Alice Holt
    OP - Be aware that Housing Benefit can be backdated one month, so request this when completing the form. (Presumably your previous HB stopped when ESA stopped?).

    Is your husband receiving DLA or PIP?
    If not, here is some info on PIP:
    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/pip/before-claiming/check-you-are-eligible/

    It is a shame your local CAB office has closed - as it's easier to advise with all the paperwork present - and they could also do a benefits check / talk to you and your husband about PIP.
    Perhaps there is another office you could be seen at?

    From what you write, I presume your husband is in the assessment phase and has yet to be assessed for the new claim. He is getting £73.10pw and having to submit fit notes? Have you completed the ESA50 form yet?
    If not then this may be useful:
    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/employment-and-support-allowance/help-with-your-esa-claim/fill-in-form/
    • rockingbilly
    • By rockingbilly 8th Apr 17, 7:27 PM
    • 838 Posts
    • 247 Thanks
    rockingbilly

    Medical evidence is very important evidence, and often determines the success or otherwise at tribunal.
    The How to win a PIP appeal is useful on getting medical evidence from the GP relating to the descriptors.
    All relevant evidence is helpful - carers, family, friends, CPN, other health professionals.
    The key to a successful outcome at tribunal is to produce the evidence, so that on the balance of probabilities given all the evidence in front of them the tribunal panel will allow the appeal.
    The verbal evidence of the appellant is also very important - so preparation, knowing how you score the necessary points, and examples to back that up really help.

    Good luck.
    Originally posted by Alice Holt
    The 2nd PIP report clearly says that the DWP do not hold evidence from friends, family and carers in high regard. It also goes on to say that evidence from a GP should identify which descriptor they are expecting their patient to qualify for. Medical evidence as such is only as good as to confirm an illness/condition. It does not by itself indicate the level of difficulties the claimant has. Many people with the same condition may well have a different level of difficulty simply because they are able to cope better with it or medication is more helpful for one but not another.
    Finally it also goes on to say that if the claimant has difficulties in getting hold of relevant evidence they must tell the assessor/DWP who will then be charged to get the evidence for them if it is appropriate.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/604097/pip-assessment-second-independent-review.pdf

    Those posts of mine have no bearing on the OP's position. They related only to my own dealings with the DWP. Not everyone will have the same problems.
    • rockingbilly
    • By rockingbilly 8th Apr 17, 7:40 PM
    • 838 Posts
    • 247 Thanks
    rockingbilly
    100% agree with this. Particularly the second paragraph.

    A friend of mine has a chronic illness (diagnosed about 10 years ago,) and is on a number of meds. She has blood tests every other month to monitor her blood to ensure the meds are not affecting her blood and internal organs. In addition, she attends a clinic every 4 months where a specialist monitors her condition, and twice a year she goes to hospital for X-rays to see if the condition is deteriorating (which it is slowly.) The doctors and the specialists have seen strong and obvious signs of her condition, and it has been recorded on her medical file many times, most recently only 8-10 weeks ago.

    She was asked to reapply for ESA last year, she filled in the form, and received a letter a few weeks later, asking her to attend an assessment. The lady who saw her, (who was an ex nurse who specialised in my friend's condition,) said 'you have a file 2 inches deep here, and you have clearly been suffering with this for many years; I don't even know why you were called in.'

    Then she asked her a couple of very basic questions, and then said 'OK, that's it, I am sorry you were dragged in when there was no need, there won't be any problems...' And 2 weeks later, she got the letter through saying she was remaining on ESA in the Support Group.

    So yes indeed, the evidence, the continued visits to the specialists and the doctors, and being on so many meds helped her enormously. If there has been nothing for a number of years, it's not surprising that the DWP and assessors etc think there may be very little wrong. Not saying there is nothing wrong with the OP's husband of course, just that it's easy to understand why they think this way if someone has zero evidence (or very little) of an illness.

    And as has been said, getting evidence of a mental illness or depression is very hard. Never, or hardly ever seeing specialists and not having any meds and rarely seeing the doctor is not going to go in anyone's favour.
    Originally posted by jaylee3
    The diagnosis for depression and anxiety is generally made after the patient fills out a self assessment form. I have filled out many myself in a honest way and quite rightly the way I was treated by the GP/psychiatrist was in accord of my self assessment. On one occasion I misread one of the questions and gave a firm positive to suicidal thoughts and already knowing how I was to carry them out. This resulted in an urgent referral back to the psychiatrist. It was then that I realised my mistake.
    So it is entirely possible that someone could 'over state' their mental health issues and be treated on the basis that they were worse than they actually were. This could result in a report going to the DWP overstating their difficulties.
    • grace68
    • By grace68 8th Apr 17, 7:54 PM
    • 29 Posts
    • 198 Thanks
    grace68
    you are not alone.

    my son, for his DLA to PIP change, attended his medical, where the nurse decided he was at a very high suicide risk, so much so that she said it was her duty of care to contact his GP to get him help that afternoon. he was then give 0 points, and under every category on the report was written the line. "there is no current suicide risk!".

    we won at tribunal, but the stress to get to that stage was immense and his mental health has not recovered.

    grace
    • rockingbilly
    • By rockingbilly 8th Apr 17, 8:07 PM
    • 838 Posts
    • 247 Thanks
    rockingbilly
    This is said so often but I don't agree. How can an assessor for ESA or PIP give a report into how patients cope with life if they haven't witnessed them on a daily basis? I'd trust a report from a GP who has known the patient for many years and probably spoken to them many times about the problems that they have over and above an assessor or an OT who is only likely to meet them briefly to conduct an assessment.

    With mental health problems trust has to come into it. My GP does ask about several things that would be relevant to PIP when she's assessing me. There are signs specific to me and how depression affects me and my GP has got to know me over many years and knows these signs. There isn't a blood test to confirm that I am suffering with depression and other mental illnesses, the diagnoses were based on what I told my GP or psychiatrist. My GP, or previously my psychiatrist, could write a very good report supporting me but it would still based on what I told them in the first place. This is true for many physical problems too, particularly where pain causes the difficulty - no-one else can experience that pain so the GP has to believe what they're being told in order to try to treat it.
    Originally posted by Tolly_T
    That is so true. A GP will automatically believe what you tell him/her to be the truth.
    Given that as a starting point, there would be nothing stopping a canny patient exaggerating their problems. Also what if then a patient goes on to obtain a carrier bag of drugs every month based on a repeat prescription which they never take? I know of one individual that obtains Morphine, Gabapentin, anti psychotics, anti depressants and a whole host of other drugs every month and destroys them. He has a 'history' with the GP and a repeat prescription list that could kill a horse. He submitted the prescription list, and got a copy of his medical notes from his GP and ended up with Enhanced Care/Standard Mobility of PIP!
    All based on a deception with his GP.
    • Londonsu
    • By Londonsu 8th Apr 17, 9:38 PM
    • 1,327 Posts
    • 2,832 Thanks
    Londonsu
    One can't apologies for being a sad pathetic troll. Am not sure the OP has time to worry about a space or a joint word!
    Originally posted by paragon909

    Less of the name calling, I only mentioned it as other people who may have wanted to respond would be unsure of the actual question asked, because its not a space or joint word issue its the actual meaning
    Last edited by Londonsu; 08-04-2017 at 9:41 PM.
    • dekaspace
    • By dekaspace 9th Apr 17, 12:36 AM
    • 3,466 Posts
    • 2,811 Thanks
    dekaspace
    My MH assessment is so confusing and bad, Keep getting referred back and forth between occupational therapist and GP whom eventually referred me to councelling, who at first appointment said it was waste of time as I have bad routine and diet and CPN was better, CPN told me there was nothing wrong with me and referred me to OT, who decided after what I told her things like cooking was a good thing to learn, after 2nd session cooking told me I can cook no problem, and when I talked about social anxiety told me I don't have it as I speak to her ok and was friendly to checkout assistant at supermarket so can't be anxious!

    I am on ESA though.

    The problem being is if doc says nothing wrong then theres no point constantly going back to get told same thing as it will cost the NHS time and money that can be spent on another person.

    I have been on antidepressants when younger but I come off them due to side effects, change GP surgery and new GP refuse to prescribe them due to either local cutbacks or saying they don't believe anything wrong with me.

    That means I have gaps of a year or two with nothing so when I get new GP they say I haven't been on them so don't need them.

    Vicious cycle really.
    • Lanzarote1938
    • By Lanzarote1938 9th Apr 17, 9:28 AM
    • 432 Posts
    • 1,066 Thanks
    Lanzarote1938
    My MH assessment is so confusing and bad, Keep getting referred back and forth between occupational therapist and GP whom eventually referred me to councelling, who at first appointment said it was waste of time as I have bad routine and diet and CPN was better, CPN told me there was nothing wrong with me and referred me to OT, who decided after what I told her things like cooking was a good thing to learn, after 2nd session cooking told me I can cook no problem, and when I talked about social anxiety told me I don't have it as I speak to her ok and was friendly to checkout assistant at supermarket so can't be anxious!

    I am on ESA though.

    The problem being is if doc says nothing wrong then theres no point constantly going back to get told same thing as it will cost the NHS time and money that can be spent on another person.

    I have been on antidepressants when younger but I come off them due to side effects, change GP surgery and new GP refuse to prescribe them due to either local cutbacks or saying they don't believe anything wrong with me.

    That means I have gaps of a year or two with nothing so when I get new GP they say I haven't been on them so don't need them.

    Vicious cycle really.
    Originally posted by dekaspace
    If CPN and GP are saying there is nothing wrong with you could they be right perhaps?
    • WillGoodfellow
    • By WillGoodfellow 9th Apr 17, 12:54 PM
    • 18 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    WillGoodfellow
    Apart from having a rant (I apologise) is this Normal/Acceptable? - Is there anything i can do?
    Originally posted by Bulldog-1979
    It is normal treatment that the sick and disabled are expected to tolerate nowadays. Remember this experience at the next general election.
    • hello007007
    • By hello007007 10th Apr 17, 9:32 PM
    • 91 Posts
    • 41 Thanks
    hello007007
    This makes me so angry. Many years ago lack of a psychiatrist might have been a useful indicator of the severity of a claimant's illness but not these days.

    There is not enough funding for mental health services and this means they have changed how they work, at least in my area. Patients are managed far more by their GP with a referral to a psychiatrist for advice as needed but they'll be discharged back to their GP very quickly.

    Inpatient treatment isn't good for patients. As a last resort it may be necessary but services acknowledge that inpatient treatment can affect patients quite badly so they won't be admitted as often as they used to be years ago. This is more likely to be the reason that he hasn't had any hospital admissions for a number of years rather than it being because his mental health has improved. Add to that the lack of funding, reduced numbers of inpatient beds etc. etc.

    Another problem is that after many years of treatment for mental health problems a patient is likely to have tried many of the medications and therapies available and often will know what works and what doesn't, and possibly will have found that nothing works for them. Why would someone keep going back to a psychiatrist when they don't believe they will help?



    Plenty of the assessors lie but lets assume this one didn't. Isn't it possible that they just got it wrong? DWP staff need to understand that it isn't possible to use observations during a short assessment and a few simple indicators (lack of psychiatrist, no recent suicide attempt) to assess the impact that a mental illness has on a claimant. They need to go back to trusting GP reports and to a certain extent trusting what the claimant says. The current system isn't working. I realise trusting what a claimant says is frowned on because of the potential for fraudulent claims but when someone has a long history of mental illness along with being sectioned it's less likely that the claimant will have no problems. Mental health treatment isn't that good for such severe illnesses and problems are likely to remain, varying in severity over time, rather than completely disappear after treatment.

    I'm sorry I don't have any advice. It does seem to be normal but it shouldn't be accepted. Hopefully it will all be sorted out with the current claim. I'd encourage you to let your MP know the problems that you've had. I'm sure they're aware of the problems but it makes it real when they meet people who have been directly affected.
    Originally posted by Tolly_T
    Well said
    • dekaspace
    • By dekaspace 10th Apr 17, 10:04 PM
    • 3,466 Posts
    • 2,811 Thanks
    dekaspace
    If CPN and GP are saying there is nothing wrong with you could they be right perhaps?
    Originally posted by Lanzarote1938
    Both my current ones just asked a few questions like "do you feel like self harm or suicide" I said no (but have woe is me moments and wishing I could stop it) can I get out of bed, can I leave the house, and though I say I can sleep up to 18 hours or not leave house for a week it was "well you can't be depressed then its just bad routine"

    Back 18 years ago I was told I DID have depression by multiple doctors, a few years ago I was told I didn't have depression but severe anxiety by a few doctors, but others say nope based on a few generic questions and when my MH issues first happened I used to stand on bridge and wish I can jump off it, once or twice I tried climing onto it but wasn't strong enough.

    In fact the councillor didn't actually say I wasn't depressed as much as she couldn't help as I needed CBT and a CPN, so she said I needed a CPN so each passes me back and forth.

    Even at my ESA assessment the notes said I was sweating heavily and obviously had severe anxiety and uncomfortable around people.

    One psychologist told me I didn't have autism as I was clean shaven, well spoken, ironed clean clothes, 2 psychologists told me I have autism as based it on my overall life and mannerisms rather than how I looked.

    And mental health problems run in my family, parents met in psychiatric ward, brother was on suicide watch after his girlfriend died, father on bi polar medication.
    • Bulldog-1979
    • By Bulldog-1979 11th Apr 17, 12:33 AM
    • 8 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    Bulldog-1979
    Hi I just wanted to see what everyone's advice would be - should I put in for the tribunal and go against their decision? Is it worth it? will they put my husband back onto the support group or are we going to have the same problems again in 3-6mths?
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