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  • FIRST POST
    • Iwanttobefree
    • By Iwanttobefree 16th Jun 17, 1:23 PM
    • 1,020Posts
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    Iwanttobefree
    Work capability assessment, I scored 0 points.
    • #1
    • 16th Jun 17, 1:23 PM
    Work capability assessment, I scored 0 points. 16th Jun 17 at 1:23 PM
    Had a phone call today from them saying my ESA stops from now as I scored 0 points.

    They asked if anything had changed, I went through the problems I'm having and they said they had that all written down.

    To be honest, I didn't think I would score the needed 15 points after two replacement knees last year, but to score 0? Makes me wonder how others are scored.

    I have arthritis in both my lower and upper back.

    My lower back means I cant walk more than 50 - 100 yrds or stand for more than 3 to 5 mins without being in crippling pain.

    My upper back causes me to have approx 2 - 3 days every week or two where I have severe neck pain/headache, the headache over the entire back of my head.

    When I had my assessment I had a broken elbow due to one of my new knees giving way, as I explained on the phone this morning, my knee surgeon said that was impossible and it must be back related, trapping a nerve.

    My knee replacements were done to elevate pain, not help fix mobility, I've had problems with them since I was 15. The surgeon said that I shouldn't expect to be able to do many things others do after knee replacements.

    I cant bend them more than 90 degrees which makes kneeling/squatting out of the question.

    I suffered from severe CFS/ME for many years and while thankfully that was cured after an operation (that I wanted them to do in the 90s but they refused saying budgets/age etc) a few years ago, but the one thing I haven't recovered from is short term memory problems. it was a lot worse when I had CFS, and it comes and goes at the moment, but when it happens, it's bad.

    It's not the sort of thing that happens to us all as we get older, such as going upstairs and wondering what we came up there for, the example my wife always uses is I had to have a tablet at 7pm. I asked my wife if she could get it for me and she responded "you asked me 5 mins ago, and you've just taken it" and I have zero recollection of that happening.

    That happens fairly regularly. I play an online game, it's become a standing joke that the group of people I play with have to explain something to me 3 days in a row as i cant remember what they said the previous day etc.

    I suffer from severe nausea, have anti sickness tablets every single day and more often than not, they don't work, and when i feel really really sick, it's not very pleasant. Sitting in certain positions really aggravates this, such as sitting with my body twisted to the right (sitting in a chair, talking to someone sitting on my right)

    I also suffer from migraines, get then few hrs at a time (used to get them for days at a time, but since on medication, a lot better)

    With the pain in my back, and my knees (pain in my knees most noticeable lying on my side in bed), I'm constantly waking up every 1 - 2 hrs, hence constantly tired in the day.

    Ever since I had CFS/ME I cant handle the slightest bit of stress. I used to work in a high stress job, but anything that causes me stress now, makes me come over really tired and exhausted.

    And I score zero points with all that?

    So, I've been getting the whopping benefit of £107 a week, and am on a DMP that we are struggling to pay, but managing.

    And now after one phone call, that goes down to £73.10 meaning we are £156 worse off a month until I find a job.

    So. all I have to do is find an employer that's happy to employ me, a 53 year old who due to severe health issues in the past, hasn't worked since 1999.

    I cant stand for more than a couple of mins, I cant do any job requiring me to kneel, squat, climb stairs/ladders. Cant do anything where I'm lifting anything unless its from table height to table height.

    That rules out cleaning jobs, takeaway jobs, 99.99% of shop work, warehouse jobs etc.

    Often I will feel extremely sick and need a break, often I will have such a bad headache that I cant concentrate at all.

    and I often wont remember what they tell me to do

    This should be fun, along with my current complaint about one of my debts thats with the Ombudsman, this isn't going to add any more stress to me or my wife (who is working 6 days a week to keep us above disaster).

    The joys of being ill.

    Now I have an appointment with the job centre next week. This is going to be fun.

    I've been looking every few days since my last knee replacement for any job I could do part time, so far in my area, I have seen zero

    We currently are paying £186 a month to clear our debts on the DMP, not sure those 10 companies would be happy with that reducing to £30 until I manage to find some sort of job I can do.

    Note, I am more than happy to work, I do look for jobs all the time, but due to my various problems, I am simply incapable of actually doing them
    Last edited by Iwanttobefree; 16-06-2017 at 1:28 PM.
    Formerly Tribulation:

    "It seemed to me that any civilisation that had so far lost its head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions for use in a packet of toothpicks, was no longer a civilisation in which I could live and stay sane." ...Wonko the Sane
Page 1
    • Muttleythefrog
    • By Muttleythefrog 16th Jun 17, 2:02 PM
    • 10,802 Posts
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    Muttleythefrog
    • #2
    • 16th Jun 17, 2:02 PM
    • #2
    • 16th Jun 17, 2:02 PM
    Others will follow probably with advice. But you could look at challenging this decision. I presume they'll be sending their decision in letter format. I would try to acquire copies of the evidence used in your case... for example you say you had an assessment... I would have strongly advised requesting a copy the working day or two after it... so you were armed now... but essential you now get hold of a copy. It is likely the DWP decision mirrors this assessment report which could be badly flawed.

    But you will be able to potentially ask for reconsideration and then appeal if that goes belly up... in the meantime you might be advised to claim JSA. My advice would be to look at the descriptors... the statements of disability for the various activities and figure out exactly what applies to you (or rather applied to you at time of completing your ESA50 form)... then you can determine if you should get awarded the main phase of ESA... look also at the support group descriptors to see if any of those should apply... if one was found to apply then you'd qualify for support group rather than the WRAG (where you need to score 15 points on the WRAG descriptors). It could be that you assess yourself as failing to qualify for either WRAG or support group... and if so then pursuing the claim may not make sense. You might need some support or advice from CAB or the like... but beware time.. you'll have a month from date of decision letter to get reconsideration request in. Consider evidence you may be able to supply or acquire. If your conditions change then there is also the possibility of new claim. But I think you need some tailored advice specific to your case.
    Last edited by Muttleythefrog; 16-06-2017 at 2:08 PM.
    "Do not attribute to conspiracy what can adequately be explained by incompetence" - rogerblack
    • spidermagicat
    • By spidermagicat 16th Jun 17, 2:06 PM
    • 15 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    spidermagicat
    • #3
    • 16th Jun 17, 2:06 PM
    • #3
    • 16th Jun 17, 2:06 PM
    If your income has dropped adjust your DMP immediately to reflect that. Do not squeeze yourself beyond what you can. A DMP is meant to be able to adjust up AND down depending on circumstance.

    ~£150 less a month is a change in circumstance. It's not deliberate and is not in your control. So the DMP isn't likely to make a fuss about changing things temporarily.

    In your position I would also appeal that decision. Last I saw over 60% of appeals were successful and it sounds like you would be one of those 60%+.

    If you are successful you'd then receive the difference in benefit backdated. So you can tell the DMP that to appease them if they try to be tough on you. I doubt they'll find your case unique unfortunately.

    Appeal, appeal, appeal.

    There's more information here.

    https://fullfact.org/health/appealing-fit-for-work-decision/

    As well as here:

    https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/work-capability-assessment

    (You're up to number 5)
    Last edited by spidermagicat; 16-06-2017 at 2:10 PM.
    • IAmWales
    • By IAmWales 16th Jun 17, 2:15 PM
    • 1,688 Posts
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    IAmWales
    • #4
    • 16th Jun 17, 2:15 PM
    • #4
    • 16th Jun 17, 2:15 PM
    To be honest, I didn't think I would score the needed 15 points after two replacement knees last year, but to score 0? Makes me wonder how others are scored.
    Where do you feel you should score points?
    • TELLIT01
    • By TELLIT01 16th Jun 17, 3:02 PM
    • 4,128 Posts
    • 4,261 Thanks
    TELLIT01
    • #5
    • 16th Jun 17, 3:02 PM
    • #5
    • 16th Jun 17, 3:02 PM
    I can't see what you would achieve by challenging the score if you don't think you would achieve 15 points anyway. You need to read through all the descriptors for achieving the WRAG and, if you then believe there is a chance you would qualify, request a Mandatory Reconsideration.
    What you need to remember is that ESA is all about what you CAN do, not what you CAN'T.
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 16th Jun 17, 3:33 PM
    • 1,552 Posts
    • 1,657 Thanks
    Alice Holt
    • #6
    • 16th Jun 17, 3:33 PM
    • #6
    • 16th Jun 17, 3:33 PM
    Would you be able to self-propel a wheelchair for 200m; or would the back pain render the action of self-propelling difficult?
    Could you sit at a work station for 60 mins (or a combination of sitting and standing); or would you need to move away to ease the pain?

    Regulation 29 may apply due to physical problems, the headaches, and poor memory / concentration posing a risk in the workplace. See - http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/making-exception

    On what grounds were you receiving ESA before this reassessment?

    I would suggest:
    1) getting help from your local CAB / advice agency,
    2) asking your GP if he would support an appeal (possibly on the basis that a return to work would pose a significant risk to your health).
    3) if you think the decision wrong then submit a mandatory reconsideration request when you get the decision notice - https://www.leicester.gov.uk/media/178163/mandatory-reconsideration-request.pdf

    Useful resources:
    https://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/employment-and-support-allowance/start-the-esa-test
    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/employment-and-support-allowance/while-youre-getting-esa/challenging-an-esa-decision/
    http://www.advicenow.org.uk/guides/how-win-pip-appeal (useful guide to the appeal process - the ESA appeal process is virtually the same as PIP)
    • Iwanttobefree
    • By Iwanttobefree 16th Jun 17, 6:21 PM
    • 1,020 Posts
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    Iwanttobefree
    • #7
    • 16th Jun 17, 6:21 PM
    • #7
    • 16th Jun 17, 6:21 PM
    My situation is as follows, apologies for the length.

    Was happily working in the mid 90s, senior systems analyst/computer operations manager for an oil exploration company, earning what would be deemed a good salary by most today.

    But I lived in Guildford and most went on Mortgage.

    I kept becoming very very tired, kept going to GP and was told "it's a virus".

    I was diagnosed with a hiatus hernia a few years earlier and this cause me constant problems with acid reflux.

    As I was so tired, I became argumentative/snappy at work and would often loose control (not physically), and I went from never having days off sick, to hardly a week going by without me taking one, and eventually I ended up writing my centre managers USA boss a letter telling him what I thought of my centre manager, hence had to resign.

    I took a few months break as I was so tired, but bills mounted so I had to get another job.

    Meanwhile I was under the hospital about my hernia. They gave me a device to wear for 24 hrs, said I had bad reflux, but at my age and with tight budgets, they wont operate, its cheaper to control with medication. I said I wish they would operate, they said no.

    I got another job looking after a well known clothing companies head office computer, but I was physically and mentally exhausted the whole time. In my first year there, I had 37 days off sick.

    One day I was so tired, so stressed out, i simply resigned.

    Saw many different doctors, all said "you have another virus..."

    Over the years I have had about 15 operations on my knees, had problems since I was 15, was told by a specialist that they are really knackered and I will need artificial knees at some point but at that age, they would last me less than 5 years.

    I wasn't getting any better, we took the decision to sell our house in Guildford and move to Great Yarmouth as we could get a much cheaper house.

    There the GP sent me to hospital for tests about my tiredness and they diagnosed me with ME/CFS. I told them that to be honest, I think that's an excuse, as I can find 1000s of illnesses with my symptoms as a side effect, and I felt they simply lumped anyone they couldn't diagnose, with that label (I know 3 others with ME/CFS, all 3 have completely different symptoms to me and each other).

    And I became worse and worse. Ended up, I would wake up, face all puffed up, walk down stairs, collapse on the armchair and my wife would wake ,e up when she got in from work. I often went wees/months without leaving the house. There was probably about 3 weeks in a year where I felt ok.

    I was so inactive, so drained, so achy all over, that while my knees did give way and hurt, it wasn't something I really paid much attention to. This went on for years, my fitness for work assessment (or whatever it was called then) signed me off for 5 years, about 2 years after the 5 years was up, I had to go for another one. They signed me off for a year. That was about 3 - 4 years ago.

    My short term memory was so bad when I had it that my wife banned me from answering the phone as I could never remember who I had spoken too.

    And my hernia got worse, I was waking up unable to breath in the middle of the night, having about an hour long choking fit due to acid reflux, then i would loose my voice for a few hrs etc.

    My GP said the hernia had been diagnosed, no point spending his budget on it.

    Eventually we got a new GP managing the practice, and he agreed with me it should be looked at again.

    I had a camera down te throat initially, then referred to another hospital where they had me lying on a bed swallowing a marshmallow and a camera watching it go down. Then I had to wear a computer for 24 hrs, and they said if i scored over something like 18, I would benefit from an operation.

    I scored 64.

    I was referred to a specialist surgeon and he was fuming that they didn't operate all those years ago.

    I finally had the op, called a Nissen Fundiplication where they turn my diaphragm into a one way valve. I can no longer vomit, drink any fizzy drinks, and certain foods get stuck when I eat them, chicken and bread being the two biggest.

    As soon as I woke up I felt different, all my CFS/ME gone. I felt on top of the world.

    When I recovered, I went back to the hospital, about my ME/CFS, they said that sort of thing often happens, and to give it 6 months to a year to build my body strength back up and I should be fine to go back to work.

    I felt great. Yes I felt very sick all the time, but I wasn't tired. I could go put, take dogs for a walk. I would soon be able to get some sort of job.

    My memory is a LOT better, but sometimes my mind just goes completely blank and I cant remember what was just said (again not talking about like we all do as we get older)

    But my knees after years of being inactive, they just went to pot. giving way, unable to put weight on them, swelling up to the size of footballs.

    My GP referred me to a specialist, and when he saw me (I was 49-50 at the time) he said "oh they did have your date of birth right when I saw your xray, I thought you must be in your 80s".

    And to cut an even longer post down, I had to have two total knee replacements, but he warned me that due to the state of them and the surrounding muscles, and my history, he's doing it more for pain relief than anything else, and anything else is a bonus.

    Over the past few years I started to get pain/headaches in the back of my head/neck. I saw a physio, they gave me some exercises. It didn't help, my GP got it x-rayed and said its got arthritis in it, thats whats causing it.

    Occasionally I started getting back ache, I first noticed it before my knees were replaced, when I first recovered from CFS/ME, after I walked about 1/2 mile, or when I did the washing up, standing at the sink.

    I didn't really think anything of it. But it got steadily worse. After my first knee was replaced last year, I found that I had to sit down after walking about 50 - 100 yards, just for a couple of mins then it would be fine again.

    Then I had my other knee done last November.

    i recovered from this knee much better as the other one was the worst before the op. But my back started to get worse. My knee physio referred me to one specialising in backs.

    She said I was bending from 3 vertebra up from where I should be. She said it was most likely caused by me being so inactive when I had CFS/ME. She manipulated my back and gave me exercises, She increased my movement but not the pain and after a few weeks, said there was nothing more she can do and to go to my GP.

    My GP had it x-rayed, and low and behold, I have arthritis in my lower back too. It started to cause me real problems, and she put me on strong painkillers. While these helped a little, I was out of my face or asleep on them.

    January this year I got the letter asking me to feel in the capability for work form, and I put all the above on it (included a letter), I said that providing there's no huge problem with my back, I fully expect to be able to get some sort of part time job around April/May (I stressed I was still under the GP with it).

    Then a couple of months ago, I decided to try and walk to the bank with my son for some exercise, got half way there, leg gave way, I fell flat on the ground and broke my elbow.

    Then I got a request to go in for a face to face assessment. She was very polite, but I could tell by the way she was speaking and the way she was trying to put words into m,y mouth that as far as she was concerned, I was fit for work. Even my broken arm, she said "you don't need it in the sling all the time though do you"

    She asked me almost the exact questions that are on the form, and I gave her the same answers. I pointed out a few other things like when I hold a pen or screwdriver for more than a few mins, my fingers lock, and I get problems with my toes clicking over one another in a really painful cramp way etc.

    A few days later I had a follow up appointment for my broken arm, I happened to see the same surgeon who did my knees, and he said it was impossible for my knee to give way as I described. He then asked me if I ever suffer from back problems, I explained them to him and said the GP had said there's little they can do except pain killers.

    He said thats not good enough as thats whats causing my knees to give way, probably trapping a nerve, and I need it investigated further else I'm going to either break more bones or damage the knees.

    So I went back to my GP, told her I didn't like the tablets as I felt like a zombie, she said to stop taking them then. I told her what the surgeon said and I also pointed out that often I wake up and my hand is completely numb, and it isn't the hand I'm laying on. She said that was due to my upper neck, and as I've had problems with both, she would book me in for a mri of my entire spine.

    Which I had a couple of Sundays ago.

    Today I received the phone call from works and pensions, I explained all this to her, said I was seeing my GP Monday week about it.

    She then said that the assessment is not a medical, and I have to score over 15 points, I scored 0, would I like to appeal.

    At that point I simply thought if I score 0 with all that, whats the point.

    I thought I probably wouldn't get the 15 points as I no longer had CFS/ME and after reading about other peoples experiences.

    To be perfectly honest, find me a part time job working about 16 hrs a week, where I'm sitting down, I could probably do it fine.

    But the limitation s of what I can do, it just boggles the mind that I scored 0.

    Even something relatively simple (no offence meant to those hardworking people that do this) such as working on a checkout. Due to my hernia/op/feeling sick, reaching for the goods etc would cause me both pain and to want to vomit (which I cant physically do)

    And in the past 3 weeks, I've started to get the back pain while seated, and getting up (the initial push) is very hard.

    But I might as well sit somewhere and work than sit here and type etc.

    My real concern is the job centre and my efforts for looking for work. I have looked every week and for 5 hours today. Living in Great Yarmouth there's not a lot of work around.

    I couldn't see one advertised job that I could do without being in severe pain. Most of the jobs around here are care home, shop work, warehouse work etc.

    And being out of the computer game for 18 years, and not being able to take stress any more, going back into that career is really a no go.

    I can just see the job centre person not understanding my limitations as to look at I look reasonably OK.

    I will offer my 10 creditors £30 between them instead of the £186 I was paying, but everything (apart from Creation Finance) was going smoothly, debts had gone from 32K to 27K.

    Sorry for my rant, feeling a little down.
    Last edited by Iwanttobefree; 16-06-2017 at 6:27 PM.
    Formerly Tribulation:

    "It seemed to me that any civilisation that had so far lost its head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions for use in a packet of toothpicks, was no longer a civilisation in which I could live and stay sane." ...Wonko the Sane
    • GotToChange
    • By GotToChange 16th Jun 17, 8:08 PM
    • 1,251 Posts
    • 1,313 Thanks
    GotToChange
    • #8
    • 16th Jun 17, 8:08 PM
    • #8
    • 16th Jun 17, 8:08 PM
    I just wanted to post quickly and say that I am so sorry. Sending a Hug your way.

    I am sure you will be advised to appeal - and of course to get a copy of the Assessment that they completed. (There may also have been a form sent to your GP Practice, which they should return; if so, a copy of that will be useful.)
    Have you thought of doing some kind of self-employment in the IT field....?
    Again, best wishes - you have a lot on your plate /

    • Muttleythefrog
    • By Muttleythefrog 17th Jun 17, 11:41 AM
    • 10,802 Posts
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    Muttleythefrog
    • #9
    • 17th Jun 17, 11:41 AM
    • #9
    • 17th Jun 17, 11:41 AM
    Yes you've received some good advice.... I've read your story... it is fairly complex for an outsider...and you obviously have my sympathies... but the sands have been shifting in terms of your illnesses/disablements which makes it harder to definitively advise. If your circumstances change then obviously you have a duty to inform them... but regarding assessing entitlement they should be looking at around the time of your form completion. I do think, as above, you need to take a step back.. look at all the Work Capability Assessment descriptors (including support group and special circumstances) and figure out if you feel you should qualify for ESA. You may well be best placed to determine the truth of this... and as a result determine the 'validity' of challenging the decision. As others have said... you don't really risk anything by pursuing this matter... to reconsideration and later appeal if necessary... but then with changing conditions and disablements you may also find a new claim in future of relevance otherwise.

    The assessments themselves are notorious for error and flaw.. and what you describe is a common experience of them trying to control the content of the assessment for their own efficiencies. When you have a copy in hand (plus as advised you should also ask for any other evidence they acquired such as a report from your GP) you'll know more... but scoring zero points as such is far from uncommon.. and far from uncommon for people who go on to successfully challenge the decision (especially in appeal tribunal). But you must focus on the descriptors... which ones do you feel apply to you. Reading between lines here you may need to control your focus in relation to describing your relevant difficulties for them... I cannot do x... I can't do it because of y... when I try to do x then z is what happens... my supporting evidence a and b describe my difficulties and offer diagnosis in this regard... more that kind of thinking if you need direction... and you may not.

    "January this year I got the letter asking me to feel in the capability for work form, and I put all the above on it (included a letter), I said that providing there's no huge problem with my back, I fully expect to be able to get some sort of part time job around April/May (I stressed I was still under the GP with it)." - I do not think that was a wise concession as it implies you feel there is minimal disability preventing you working and you expect it to soon be resolved.
    Last edited by Muttleythefrog; 17-06-2017 at 11:55 AM.
    "Do not attribute to conspiracy what can adequately be explained by incompetence" - rogerblack
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 17th Jun 17, 12:37 PM
    • 1,552 Posts
    • 1,657 Thanks
    Alice Holt
    OP - please carefully read Muttley's post.

    To reinforce the important point:
    You need to carefully go through the ESA descriptors - Can you do the activities reliably, repeatedly, and in a reasonable time scale on the majority of days?
    If you don't understand the descriptors - read through the links I supplied in post 6.

    Go back to the questions I put to you in post 6 re mobilising, and sitting and standing, and regulation 29.
    Did these apply at the date of the DWP decision to end your ESA claim?
    • teddysmum
    • By teddysmum 17th Jun 17, 4:15 PM
    • 8,522 Posts
    • 5,052 Thanks
    teddysmum
    Can you not find IT work to do from home, as that would not mean relying on local availability ?


    I have similar back problems (knees and toes just the usual twinges of old age),as a large number of my discs (neck downwards ) are producing a number of symptoms, which do vary. However,as we've discussed before, unless you have a really bad day , distraction does help (I often fell quite good, when with grandchildren).


    Have you asked for a different painkiller ? I have tried several,some multipurpose and the current one ,Tramadol, doesn't make me sleepy, but does, combined with another drug, help with night time sleep.
    • KxMx
    • By KxMx 17th Jun 17, 6:07 PM
    • 7,190 Posts
    • 10,087 Thanks
    KxMx
    I realise the suggestion was well meant, unfortunately it is not that simple.

    Genuine work from home, including IT, is very hard to find.

    Lack a professional qualification, previous established experience etc and it's near impossible.

    Even experienced employees of big companies asking to work from home have a hard time.

    You would think on 2017 with all our technology, that working from home would be easy and readily available... It is not.
    Last edited by KxMx; 17-06-2017 at 6:11 PM.
    • Iwanttobefree
    • By Iwanttobefree 17th Jun 17, 11:19 PM
    • 1,020 Posts
    • 2,549 Thanks
    Iwanttobefree
    t.

    "January this year I got the letter asking me to feel in the capability for work form, and I put all the above on it (included a letter), I said that providing there's no huge problem with my back, I fully expect to be able to get some sort of part time job around April/May (I stressed I was still under the GP with it)." - I do not think that was a wise concession as it implies you feel there is minimal disability preventing you working and you expect it to soon be resolved.
    Originally posted by Muttleythefrog
    True, but that was true at the time. I did fully expect to be able to get some sort of part time job once my knees were done, and I presumed my back was a temporary problem, that a bit of exercise/physio would fix.

    Unfortunately this hasn't been the case.

    This is the main cause of me being unable to take any job I can find, the others are an inconvenience but not a barrier to my working.

    I've had a look at the links Alice posted above, unfortunately the one with the "take the esa test" wants money to do so, so that ones out.

    When I look at various descriptions of ESA, I see things like, those ESA receive a higher rate than those on JSA because they face additional barriers as a result of their illness or disability, and typically take longer to move into work.

    When I cant stand for more than 3 - 5 mins, cant kneel, cant squat etc, I don't see how I don't fall into that category. Every job I've looked at, I physically cant do at the moment (mainly due to my back)

    I want to work, and the second I find a job I can do (only want to work part time at first), I will happily take it. But when every job that comes up on every job page I look at, I simply cant do, then I dont see how logically I dont fall into the category of needing extra help to find work.

    I'm seeing my GP Monday (if I can get an appointment) and will discuss with her before doing anything.
    Formerly Tribulation:

    "It seemed to me that any civilisation that had so far lost its head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions for use in a packet of toothpicks, was no longer a civilisation in which I could live and stay sane." ...Wonko the Sane
    • IAmWales
    • By IAmWales 18th Jun 17, 10:58 AM
    • 1,688 Posts
    • 3,479 Thanks
    IAmWales
    OP, you have been asked several times, which descriptors do you feel that you fulfil?

    It's understandable that you are frustrated, but at present you're going round in circles.
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 18th Jun 17, 11:25 AM
    • 1,552 Posts
    • 1,657 Thanks
    Alice Holt
    I've had a look at the links Alice posted above, unfortunately the one with the "take the esa test" wants money to do so.
    No, you can access this without joining Benefits & Work. If you join as a member (c.£19pa) you have access to B & W's membership guides.

    I get the sense that you haven't understood the importance of the ESA activities and descriptors in determining whether should receive ESA or JSA.
    Just because you, or your GP think you are unable to work, does not mean ESA is payable.
    This is determined by the WCA which looks solely at the ESA descriptors and regulations, which are precise and unfortunately rather prescriptive.
    The test is not whether "they face additional barriers as a result of their illness or disability, and typically take longer to move into work.". The test is whether you achieve 15 points from the ESA descriptors.

    You seem to be saying that difficulties with your back and knees are your main problem. This is why I asked you those questions at post 6, since these are the descriptors that may apply in your case. Here are those descriptors:

    1. Mobilising unaided by another person with or without a walking stick, manual wheelchair or other aid if such aid is normally, or could reasonably be, worn or used.
    1 (a) Cannot either (i) mobilise more than 50 meters on level ground without stopping in order to avoid significant discomfort or exhaustion or (ii) repeatedly mobilise 50 meters within a reasonable timescale because of significant discomfort or exhaustion. 15 points.
    1 (b) Cannot mount or descend two steps unaided by another person even with the support of a handrail. 9 points.
    1 (c) Cannot either (i) mobilise more than 100 meters on level ground without stopping in order to avoid significant discomfort or exhaustion or (ii) repeatedly mobilise 100 meters within a reasonable timescale because of significant discomfort or exhaustion. 9 points.
    1 (d) Cannot either (i) mobilise more than 200 metres on level ground without stopping in order to avoid significant discomfort or exhaustion or (ii) repeatedly mobilise 200 meters within a reasonable timescale because of significant discomfort or exhaustion. 6 points.
    1 (e) None of the above apply. 0 points.

    2. Standing and sitting.
    2 (a) Cannot move between one seated position and another seated position located next to one another without receiving physical assistance from another person. 15 points.
    2 (b) Cannot, for the majority of the time, remain at a work station, either: (i) standing unassisted by another person (even if free to move around) or; (ii) sitting (even in an adjustable chair); or
    (iii) a combination of (i) and (ii), for more than 30 minutes, before needing to move away in order to avoid significant discomfort or exhaustion. 9 points.
    2 (c) Cannot, for the majority of the time, remain at a work station, either: (i) standing unassisted by another person (even if free to move around) or; (ii) sitting (even in an adjustable chair); or
    (iii) a combination of (i) and (ii), for more than an hour, before needing to move away in order to avoid significant discomfort or exhaustion. 6 points.
    2 (d) None of the above apply. 0 points

    Note that activity 1 is called mobilising (not walking) as it includes the use of a manual wheelchair (therefore my question at post 6). This makes it more difficult for claimants with solely lower leg problems (foot, ankles, knees) to get to the required 15 points.
    Also note that activity 2 can be satisfied by a "combination of sitting and standing", it does not just look solely at standing. The question as I have said before is whether you would need to move away from a work station within 60 minutes due to severe discomfort.

    I'm afraid that the fact you " cant stand for more than 3 - 5 mins, cant kneel, cant squat etc, " is won't get you ESA. There is not an ESA descriptor for kneeling, squatting, or solely for being unable to stand more than 5 mins.
    You are expected to do any type of work (such as a desk job), not just the work you may have done in the past.
    Last edited by Alice Holt; 18-06-2017 at 11:28 AM.
    • Iwanttobefree
    • By Iwanttobefree 18th Jun 17, 11:59 AM
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    Iwanttobefree
    I'm afraid that the fact you " cant stand for more than 3 - 5 mins, cant kneel, cant squat etc, " is won't get you ESA. There is not an ESA descriptor for kneeling, squatting, or solely for being unable to stand more than 5 mins.
    You are expected to do any type of work (such as a desk job), not just the work you may have done in the past.
    Originally posted by Alice Holt
    And I'm more than happy to do so.

    But, looking at the jobs, I physically cant do the ones I've seen so far are all along the lines of

    Warehouse Assistant
    General Shop Assistant P/T -- F/T
    Warehouse Picker and Packer
    Kitchen Porter
    Store Colleague
    Staff Member / Catering Assistant (Full Time)
    Waitress/Kitchen Assistant
    Double Glazing Fitter
    Production Operative
    General Labourer
    Trainee Butcher
    Shop Floor Assistant

    And all are impossible for me to do. I cant do something simple like shelf filling as I cant kneel etc or climb onto those elephant feet things to reach higher shelves.

    I've also been told by my surgeon I mustn't do anything that requires lifting as my knees will wear out in no time

    It's all very well saying I must take any job, but I can only take any job that I am physically capable of doing.

    And I will trawl through the job pages again this afternoon and tomorrow etc. I'm going to try my hardest to find one before my JSA interview on Thursday.

    All I'm saying, is that it really isn't as simple as taking the first job I see.
    Formerly Tribulation:

    "It seemed to me that any civilisation that had so far lost its head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions for use in a packet of toothpicks, was no longer a civilisation in which I could live and stay sane." ...Wonko the Sane
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 18th Jun 17, 12:26 PM
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    Alice Holt
    It seems that this has now moved away from advice on appealing an ESA decision.

    When you see your JSA DWP adviser, you need to make clear your health conditions and ensure these are recognised in your claimant commitment, see:
    http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/labour-market-conditions-and-jobseeker%E2%80%99s-allowance
    and the paragraph headed "Claimants with health problems".

    Without formal acknowledgement of your health conditions, you will be more exposed to the possibility of JSA sanctions.
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 18th Jun 17, 1:33 PM
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    • 1,187 Thanks
    NeilCr
    As ever great advice from Alice

    OP. I think you need to look at this as two different issues. One is (if you want to) to get a Mandatory Reconsideration in on the ESA. Look at the descriptors and see how you fit them. Get help from CAB if you can. Follow Alice's advice

    The second is - as Alice says - to talk to your JSA adviser about the claimant commitment and what you can - and cannot do.

    In my experience, anyway, if you don't concentrate on the MR/appeal and get distracted by other things such as the claimant commitment, a sense of injustice, the whole history etc then you don't get the form completed in the best possible way
    • TELLIT01
    • By TELLIT01 18th Jun 17, 2:15 PM
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    TELLIT01
    And I'm more than happy to do so.

    But, looking at the jobs, I physically cant do the ones I've seen so far

    All I'm saying, is that it really isn't as simple as taking the first job I see.
    Originally posted by Iwanttobefree
    Therein lies the great 'weakness' of ESA. ESA looks to see what abilities you have rather than what disabilities, which is fine as far as it goes. The problem, as the OP has determined, is finding a job which is not precluded by the disabilities.
    The extreme claim by the anti-ESA faction in the early days was that somebody who could only use one finger would be expected to take a job as a one fingered button pusher. A false statement of course, but does highlight the difference between being found fit for work, and being able to find work you are fit to do!
    • Iwanttobefree
    • By Iwanttobefree 19th Jun 17, 6:50 PM
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    • 2,549 Thanks
    Iwanttobefree
    Many thanks for all your advice, especially to Alice and Mutley. I really appreciate your time.

    I might have given the wrong impression at some point, I wasn't thinking of appealing, as I said earlier, my CFS has cleared up (well tiredness aspect) and I've had my knees replaced.

    The thread was really me just being astonished (as is everyone that knows me) that with all my problems, I scored zero points. I hadn't looked at the sites Alice linked to when I posted, I just felt that if I scored zero with all my problems, it was more an observation of shock, wondering how bad someone has to be to score points as to why I wrote my original post.

    When I've told real life friends (all with jobs or retired after working all their lives) that I'm hoping to try and find some sort of part time work when my knees are better, without exception they have all said that I am mad, there's no way I can cope with my various ailments (my point being, these are people that see what I'm like over ling periods of time rather than a quick interview/gp appointment etc).

    But I really really want to work, living off £5k a year in 2016 - 2017 when I was earning around 40K in 1997, well I'd have to be pretty insane to chose to do this. Since my CFS has been cured, my whole aim is to start work, starting part time and seeing how it goes.

    But the back was an unexpected thing.

    Today I saw my GP for the results of my total spine MRI. She said there were abnormalities, especially in the top (where I get the back of head headaches lasting for 2 or 3 days) and she is referring me to a neurologist for further tests as she said something is not right, my knees should not be giving way like they are etc.

    I told her I had been taken off ESA and had an interview with the job centre on Thursday, and that I am happy to work, however, spending the weekend poring over jobs, I didn't find one I could comfortably do.

    She replied words along the lines of: I'm in a tough situation as due to my CFS being cured, technically I am fit enough to work, but the problem I'm going to have is that while I am fit enough on paper to get a job, with my health problems, joint problems, back problems etc, the amount of jobs I'm going to be actually capable of doing are going to be extremely small. Not only that, when people start having problems like I am with my back, they tend to get worse over time not better.

    She said she can write a letter to the job centre if I want, but try talking to them first, as it has to be done privately and costs something like £20.

    Shes also trying different painkillers, but if these don't work or I react to them etc, she's going to work out the best way of change my anti depressants to ones that also act as a really good pain killer.

    So that is where I am at.

    If I looked tomorrow morning and saw a job I could do, I would phone them up straight away (and I hope that happens)

    Of course, they all ask for a CV, mine hasn't been updated for 20 years. I've also got to be honest and say I cant stand for long periods, cant handle walking down stairs and cant do any lifting etc.

    And I suspect if 20 people go for a job, one is 53, hasn't worked for 20 years and still has problems with various things, chances of them getting that job are pretty low.

    Anyway CV advice and DMP advice I will ask for elsewhere on here.

    Teddysmum, I appreciate the suggestion, but one of the things from my CFS that is still with me, is any stress physically exhausts me. IT is vert stressful
    Formerly Tribulation:

    "It seemed to me that any civilisation that had so far lost its head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions for use in a packet of toothpicks, was no longer a civilisation in which I could live and stay sane." ...Wonko the Sane
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