need advice - esa

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curlykale011
curlykale011 Posts: 3 Newbie
edited 2 May 2016 at 9:18PM in Benefits & tax credits
I've been put in the Work Related Activity Group. In other words, the group the DWP expects to magically 'heal' within 12 months and go straight out to work.

During my ATOS assessment, they asked me if I was actively seeking help for my current health conditions. I said yes - at that time, I was on the waiting list for a cardiology test with an outpatient clinic in relation to my heart condition, and I told them I was also on a waiting list for a mental health counsellor.

I'm just wondering can the DWP access your medical records and check up with these health services? Will they check to see if I attend these outpatient appointments?

The reason I'm asking is because I am agoraphobic. Therefore I have missed two appointments for the cardiology clinic (because I had no one to come with me those days and I need to be accompanied at all times), and now I've been removed from the NHS cardiology waiting list (understandable - though I did ring them in advance informing them I couldn't make it those days - apparently two strikes, and you're out!) I've tried re-scheduling the appointment for a suitable day where someone is available to take me, but they haven't referred me yet, so as far as I know, I've been booted off the list. Hopefully my GP can refer me again, though I'm not sure if the clinic will allow it. It's up to them.

So now I'm technically not 'in touch' with any outside health services. I'm worried the DWP will find this out and contact the cardiologist/GP as I gave the ATOS Assessor my referral letter, as proof I was going to be seen by a professional other than my GP. The DWP are usually unsympathetic about mental health issues and I'm worried they will stop my benefits as I have failed to hold up my end of the 'bargain'. Is that even part of the bargain?

Of course, for a year prior to this, I have been getting sicklines from my doctor, although he doesn't understand the entirety of my condition. He has plenty of proof I'm sick. It's just that I told them I was going to see a cardiologist to try and manage my condition, and now I'm not. So now I feel like I've lied. Even though I haven't and this was an unforeseen outcome.

Is part of your 'contract' with being in the WRAG that you have to seek help for your conditions? The only person I've told was the ATOS assessor. It's not like I've told anyone else from the DWP since.

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  • paragon909
    paragon909 Posts: 1,498 Forumite
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    I've been put in the Work Related Activity Group. In other words, the group the DWP expects to magically 'heal' within 12 months and go straight out to work.

    During my ATOS assessment, they asked me if I was actively seeking help for my current health conditions. I said yes - at that time, I was on the waiting list for a cardiology test with an outpatient clinic in relation to my heart condition, and I told them I was also on a waiting list for a mental health counsellor.

    I'm just wondering can the DWP access your medical records and check up with these health services?

    The reason I'm asking is because I am agoraphobic. Therefore I have missed two of my appointments for the cardiology clinic (because I had no one to come with me those days and I need to be accompanied at all times), and now I've been removed from the NHS cardiology waiting list (understandable - though I did ring them in advance informing them I couldn't make it those days - apparently two strikes, and you're out!) I've tried re-scheduling the appointment for a suitable day where someone is available to take me, but they haven't referred me yet, so I've been booted off the list.

    So now I'm not technically 'in touch' with any outside health services. I'm worried the DWP will find this out and phone up the cardiologist as I gave them my referral letter as proof I was being seen by a professional. The DWP are usually unsympathetic about mental health issues and I'm worried they will stop my benefits as I have failed to hold up my end of the 'bargain'. Is that even part of the bargain?

    Of course, for a year prior to this, I have been getting sicklines from my doctor, although he doesn't understand the entirety of my condition.

    Is part of being in the WRAG that you have to seek help for your conditions?


    I believe in actual fact that your referral letter and appointment made no impact on your decision to be put in WRAG, I would be more concerned about your heart and getting the tests done.

    DWP can call your GP surgery and I believe information can be provided.
  • curlykale011
    curlykale011 Posts: 3 Newbie
    edited 2 May 2016 at 9:28PM
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    Hmm, I wonder...the stupid thing is, the referral letter wasn't specific or evidential in the first place, it just told them I needed to be seen by a cardiologist about my heart because I've been suffering for years and I need some solid answers. I don't even know why I gave the DWP it, it didn't really prove anything, it just showed I'm actively trying to get answers and more specific treatment. Even if I hadn't given them that letter, my claim would still have the same outcome - I'd still have been placed in the WRAG, referral letter or none, due to my GP's sicklines. But I told them I would go to a cardiologist, so now I feel like I've got to live up to that.

    It's just that I feel like they might think I'm trying some funny stuff since I missed not only one, but two appointments. I'm worried that, to a very suspicious DWP person (and most of them are), it might look like I made that appointment just for show, only to cancel it on purpose. I don't know. All I know is that once that appointment comes, I'll be able to prove how sick I really am. I have no reason to avoid it. It's clear as day how sick I am, I'm not worried about a cardiology appointment at all. It's just that I've had bad experiences where the DWP sanctioned me for things my agoraphobia causes. I'm terrified of getting sanctioned or my benefits stopped. I feel like they don't understand mental health at all.
  • paragon909
    paragon909 Posts: 1,498 Forumite
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    Hmm, I wonder...the referral letter wasn't specific or evidential in the first place, it just told them I needed to be seen by a cardiologist about my heart because I've been suffering for years and I need some solid answers. I don't even know why I gave the DWP it, it didn't really prove anything, it just showed I'm trying to get answers and more specific treatment. Even if I hadn't given them that letter, my claim would still have the same outcome - I'd still have been placed in the WRAG, referral letter or none.

    It's just that I feel like they might think I'm trying some funny stuff since I missed not only one, but two appointments. It kind of looks like I made that appointment just for show, when I really didn't. I don't know. I've had bad experiences where the DWP sanctioned me for things my agoraphobia causes. I feel like they don't understand mental health at all.

    No, All it will be is your anxiety playing up... I have anxiety and the more you think about something that might be negative the more you believe and you don't stop until someone or something put's it right.

    DWP won't review your claim for about a year. Referral letters can't be used as evidence anyway, It doesn't diagnose you with anything.
  • curlykale011
    curlykale011 Posts: 3 Newbie
    edited 2 May 2016 at 9:42PM
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    That's true, I suppose the referral letter doesn't diagnose or prove anything, so it's not exactly vital. It's just that the appointment and my ATOS appointment were in close proximity, so I feel like they were monitoring that to see if I attended. Referral letter or not, they still would have placed me in the WRAG thanks to my GP's sicklines.

    I just don't know, the DWP are so tricky sometimes.

    Plus I always feel like people from the DWP are spying on me since I've read stories of them waiting in cars outside claimant's houses and recording them, watching their house etc. For someone who already suffers with paranoid thoughts and anxiety it's highly unnerving. But the stupid thing is, I haven't got anything to hide. So I don't know why I feel this way. It's clear as day how ill I am. I know. My family knows. My GP knows. The test at the clinic would only serve to confirm that. Now I feel like I NEED that test, or they're going to think I'm faking.

    I'm sure a lot of people go to these ATOS assessments with no other medical evidence, just a sickline from their GP. So I feel stupid for giving them that letter now, it's just another source of anxiety. It's clear I need a lot of help with my anxiety and mental illness.

    Thanks for your advice.
  • Diary
    Diary Posts: 591 Forumite
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    It was my understanding ATOS no longer did ESA assessments but I might be out of touch. Was this quite a while ago?
    Master Apothecary Faranell replied, “I assure you, overseer, the Royal Apothecary Society dearly wishes to make up for the tragic misguidance which ended so many lives. We will cause you no trouble. We seek only to continue our research in peace".
  • Torry_Quine
    Torry_Quine Posts: 18,840 Forumite
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    Just because someone is in the WRAG doesn't mean that they are automatically expected to be better and able to work by the next assessment. Many will be on ESA for many years and some will not work again. It just means that theybdont fit the very strict criteria for the support group.
    Lost my soulmate so life is empty.

    I can bear pain myself, he said softly, but I couldna bear yours. That would take more strength than I have -
    Diana Gabaldon, Outlander
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