ESA and Travel

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Disability Money Matters
3 replies 1.4K views
MishckaMishcka Forumite
4 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Disability Money Matters
Hello there.

I'm in receipt of the assessment stage of ESA -I think that's the term- in relation to me being Autistic with Anxiety and Depression and I wanted to ask about that in relation to going on a holiday for under 4 weeks.

I'll be going over to America for 3 weeks -technically 22 days as the plane back is a nighttime plane- in just under a month from this post to visit a friend of mine I've known for 4 years now. She's been the person whose helped me keep it together through my university degree and generally is always there for me, so getting to spend time with her is very important to me. This was booked before I ended up on ESA so I admit I hadn't considered at the time the effects it would have, I just saw a chance I wouldn't get again for a long time and took it with the money I had left over from my student finance.

As far as going abroad is concerned, steps have been taken to try and deal with my needs such as traveling to the airport with someone I know as opposed to a taxi or bus, making sure this was planned far in advance to make my stress lower and the fact I'll be staying over there with someone I trust a lot. This will counteract a lot of the issues that could occur in relation to my conditions.

Despite this I know the journey will be difficult for me, I know how I am and I don't travel well even when I'm very accustomed to the route I'm taking unless I have someone to accompany me, much less an unfamiliar journey in which the flying part will be me all by myself! That part will be stressful for me I know for certain.

(I have traveled unfamiliar routes before via train, but this is extremely stressful and draining for me, which is my point of reference for me.)

If I did not think this trip would be beneficial to my mental health due to having time with someone I will very rarely get to see in person, I wouldn't be doing this. It wasn't something I chose to do lightly.

I did not lie on my medical form about how my conditions affect me, I made sure to spend a lot of time discussing with people who knew me to be sure of what applied fully.

So I'm asking, do I 100% have to call the Jobcentre about going, and if so, will they find some way to use it against me? As mentioned I never lied on my form but I'm still scared that if I worded something wrong on my medical form this'll somehow be some 'ha you're not really ill' on me even though I have diagnosis' and a history of how my disorders have affected even my education to prove it.

The government site confuses me, sometimes it feels like they word things deliberately vague on purpose I admit. I'm perfectly willing to tell them about leaving the country, but I'd rather be certain I must first. I even tried e-mailing the DWP for clarifications as I felt they'd be able to confirm it for me but they just linked me to the site I said I didn't understand in the first place.

I admit this has not been helping my stress and anxiety around the situation for me. I just want to enjoy this one trip as I've not had a 'holiday' in nearly 10 years now.

Also, apologies if any of this reads wonky or has any typos/grammar issues, my writing style can go downhill when I'm worried at the best of times. I'm also sorry for how wordy this is I wanted to make sure my reasons for this come across.


  • pmlindyloopmlindyloo Forumite
    13K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Going on holiday is a change of circumstances and you need to inform the DWP.

    The government site tells you how long you can go for and still receive your ESA - in your case, 4 weeks.

    Some people will say that you do not have to bother about this. I would disagree, particularly in your case as you are in the assessment period of ESA. You may receive a letter asking you to attend an interview or you may receive a letter about your ESA form.

    It is not a case of their wanting to prevent you from going on holiday, just a case of being able to get in touch with you.

    As regards your holiday contradicting your statements about applying for ESA it is difficult to comment. Generally speaking, travelling for such a long time on a plane on your own may contradict some of the descriptors that you believe you meet. It is not unknown for this question about going on holiday to be asked at a work capability Assessment.

    Only you know whether the travelling part is contradictory.

    Obviously there are cases where what is being done on holiday is totally contradictory to what a person has said on their form - the usual newspaper headlines of someone claiming benefits re mobility when they are pictured all over social media doing sky dives and the like!

    Reading between the lines you seem unsure of whether the travelling is going to be achievable without suffering some distress or worsening of your symptoms.

    Have you considered paying for your friend to come visit you over here?
  • poppy12345poppy12345 Forumite
    13K Posts
    10,000 Posts Sixth Anniversary Name Dropper
    I will agree in the fact that you do need to inform the DWP you're going because they may try to contact you for an assessment while you're away. If you missed the assessment then you'll be found fit for work.

    When i went to my assessment for ESA almost 5 years ago one of the questions i was asked was "have you been or am i planning on going on holiday?" i hadn't been and neither was i planning on going.

    One of the reasons you're claiming ESA is for anxiety, yet you're going to America for 3 weeks and flying alone. That may indeed contradict the reasons you're claiming ESA but it's not for me to say that.
  • Hey, thank you for your response!

    I had a feeling it would be best to tell them, even with my worries, which I guess was a big part of my nerves around it.

    I did state in my form that I struggle with travel alone due to my anxiety and I have to plan in advance in order to achieve it, which will still be the case in this matter, and that due to this I am not consistently reliable in travel to unknown places. Will they consider the fact I go at all a contradiction even if doing so will cause me some upset? This is the only thing I have that causes travel issues so its the one thing I'm nervous about. I suppose I could keep notes of how I feel during the journey as some kind of 'proof' of that matter? I plan to keep in close communication with my mother at the time and often keep notes of my emotional state on my phone when I'm out the house in general so it would be plausible for me to do so in this case.

    I admit I am very nervous, but it really is something I want to do even if the travel leg of it is going to be a challenge to me. Having it as a goal of sorts has helped me feel a bit less lost after my studies have been finished honestly.

    Unfortunately, as things have been booked there's no way to cancel or change the tickets without losing 80% of what I paid in the process. It's possible that could be an option for her to come here in a year or two though at least.

    (I apologize if I'm asking a lot of questions and bizarre variations on such, a huge part of my anxiety is an underlying paranoia I'll 'get in trouble' for things I do, even if it's nothing bad. So I do worry a lot.)
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