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ESA 50 Form for ESA applications: Update on improvements taking place

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by charles shepherd, Mar 17, 2017.

  1. charles shepherd

    charles shepherd Senior Member

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    Updating and improving the ESA 50 Form for ESA applications

    As people are probably already aware, the MEA belongs to the DWP fluctuating conditions group (FCG), which advises the DWP and medical assessment organisations on benefit issues - Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) assessments in particular

    The DWP has been working with the fluctuating conditions and mental health groups to update and improve the ESA50 form

    The new form is now in circulation and can be downloaded from the DWP website here

    No ESA50 form has had this level of customer insight devoted to it and the new form contains some significant improvements

    Major changes to the form include:

    ·Colour coding the mental health section so it is clearly separate from the physical conditions section. This will help ESA applicants to only complete the sections that are relevant to their conditions.

    ·Emphasising that applicants can include information on fluctuating conditions - such as ME/CFS

    ·Including the Reliably, Repeatedly and Safely disclaimer on every assessment page - something which the FCG has consistently campaigned on

    ·Providing more information on what medical evidence is helpful, including a reference to Hospital Passports

    The FCG recommended that a semi structured interview (SSSI) should be incorporated into the ESA assessment process and this work is now completed

    The Semi Structured Interview training and guide has now been approved by DWP

    This has gone into production and will be on the desk of every CHDA health care professional to try and ensure that fluctuating conditions, including ME/CFS, are properly assessed

    Feedback on both the new ESA50 form and the SSI is welcome

    Dr Charles Shepherd

    Hon Medical Adviser, MEA
    Member of the DWP Fluctuating Conditions Group
     
    TiredSam, Sasha, Valentijn and 3 others like this.
  2. charles shepherd

    charles shepherd Senior Member

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  3. slysaint

    slysaint Senior Member

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    The problem is not just the form, it's the system.
    Although I was assured that both the DWP decision makers and the Health professional who carried out the medical assessment had read the form, if they ignore what you tell them, what's the point?

    Most of my answers were 'it varies' and I repeatedly explained what I could do at best, and at worst.
    At the medical assessment the guy skipped all the physical questions; made no attempt to understand that the illness fluctuated, and clearly thought ME was a psychiatric problem.

    They are supposed to be assessing the person and not the illness, yet how can you understand the problems if you don't properly recognise the illness and how it affects sufferers.

    From reading numerous debates in the HOC, I know we are not the only group affected by this lack of understanding.

    ETA:
    another major problem with it is even when you score enough points on the
    Limited Capability for Work
    the incredibly narrow selection criteria to pass the
    Limited Capability for Work Related Activities
    means that the majority of people will be put into the WRAG (Work Related Activity Group).
    This second stage test gets very little publicity and yet is the most ridiculous.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
    Esther12 likes this.
  4. charles shepherd

    charles shepherd Senior Member

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    As you may already be aware, the DWP Fluctuating Conditions Group spent a great deal of time analysing why the ESA assessment system was failing people with fluctuating medical conditions, including ME/CF, so badlyS

    We concluded that there needed to be a radical reform of the tick box point scoring ESA assessment - so that it incorporated a proper history and meaningful assessments of both severity and fluctuation of symptoms and disability

    This was our report:

    http://www.meassociation.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Fluctuating_conditions_report_FINAL.pdf

    The DWP carried out what they decided was an evidence based review of our recommendations and decided that they would not take our advice

    We have, however, continued to engage with the DWP and medical assessment organisations to try and improve the situation

    And while many people with ME/CFS (and MS etc) are still getting a very unfair deal it's worth noting (from the DWP quarterly stats) that there has been a very significant rise in the number of people being placed in the ESA support group

    CS
     
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  5. charles shepherd

    charles shepherd Senior Member

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  6. Molly98

    Molly98 Senior Member

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    Thank you @charles shepherd for the time, effort and hard work you have put into this to try and help all of us, it is really appreciated.

    But..... the system is deliberately set up to fail us, not just us as ME patients put disabled peoples in general and no amount of tinkering is going to change things when this government is on a relentless campaign to try and force disabled people off benefits and back to work.

    In my opinion, the pretty major problem here is that assessors up and down the country are blatantly lying about assessments in order to achieve the results the DWP wants.

    I am yet to come across and a person who says that their assessor's report was not full of lies, deliberate misinformation, and a complete disregard of evidence. No matter how many times forms etc are changed, our brutal experiences of the DWP assessment are not going to change under this government that is so hostile to the disabled and has a very meditated preset agenda. It won't be happy until we all rot, to them we are not people but a burden to the working tax payer.
     
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  7. charles shepherd

    charles shepherd Senior Member

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    Thanks

    Are you aware of the campaigning work that is being done by the DNS at the moment in relation to inaccurate and falsified medical assessment evidence:

    http://www.disabilitynewsservice.co...ell-mps-of-systemic-malpractice-by-assessors/
     
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  8. slysaint

    slysaint Senior Member

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    The previous quarter the increase was in the WRAG figures.
    ESA figures show ‘very disturbing’ drop in number placed in support group
    "The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) statistics, released this week, show the proportion of disabled people applying for employment and support allowance (ESA) who were placed in the support group – for those with the highest barriers to work – plunged by 42 per cent in just three months."

    http://www.disabledgo.com/blog/2016...-number-placed-in-support-group/#.WMwmMLg8jCN

    Plus it might not make a difference anyway;
    Ministers set to force work-related activity on everyone in ESA support group
    http://www.disabledgo.com/blog/2016...n-everyone-in-esa-support-group/#.WMwfZbg8jCM
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
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  9. Molly98

    Molly98 Senior Member

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    Yes, I have read their findings etc and it corresponds exactly with my own experiences and those of virtually every other disabled person I have come across. It's a very sad state of affairs.

    I also watched I Daniel Blake and it struck me as such a true and accurate portrayal of what it is like for people trying to claim ESA and PIP, the hoops you have to go through, the stress of it all, it really is deliberately designed to put us all in an early grave.
     
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  10. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    UK
    Very pleased to see this - it's crucial, and will make all the difference to many, many PWME.
     
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  11. slysaint

    slysaint Senior Member

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    The form now says on the top of each page:

    "Only answer Yes to the following questions, if you can do the activity safely, to an acceptable standard, as often as you need to and in a reasonable length of time"

    Does this mean that if you cannot do it "safely, to an acceptable standard, as often as you need to and in a reasonable length of time" that you can now answer "No".

    Although you still have to explain, previously I would have said it varies, but the 'as often as you need to' makes it a bit more ambiguous as does the 'reasonable length of time'.
     
  12. Diddles1971

    Diddles1971

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    TheFCG recommended that a semi structured interview (SSSI) should be incorporated into the ESA assessment process and this work is now completed

    The Semi Structured Interview training and guide has now been approved by DWP

    This has gone into production and will be on the desk of every CHDA health care professional to try and ensure that fluctuating conditions, including ME/CFS, are properly assessed

    Hi I'm quite new here. I have my ESA face to face in a week. Im in the support group ATM. My PIP assessment was hell- however I was awarded high rate for both components on M.R.
    Can I ask if the guidelines for the SSI are available? I'm really not sure what to expect. I sleep twenty hours a day and feel ill the rest of the time, but with my PIP they didn't seem to acknowledge the sleeping part. I'm awaiting a brain scan and also have severe depression which has worsened since this assessment began.
    The ESA50 I completed was not the new, revised one, although I sent support letters from my consultants plus lots of evidence and my GP fully supported me. I'm really worried- everything I've explained or provided thus far is not enough.
    Thank you Dr Shepherd, for fighting our corner
     

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