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Date: 11.07.2012
From: Lisa

Subject: Failed ESA medical assessment - any advice?

Hi everyone - I have PA (previously diagnosed as RA), on Enbrel and Leflunomide and Hydroxychloroquinine as well as a handful of painkillers daily. I go through peaks and troughs, some days feeling 'ok', other days on the sofa struggling to do anything through sheer exhaustion - I'm sure this all sounds so familiar. I am pleased to say I have no psoriasis at the moment but had a major bout in January with hands and feet covered in pustules, hair loss, unable to walk or do simple tasks with my hands. I am also under the care of a psychiatrist for clinical depression. I have just had an ATOS medical assessment and they have scored me a fat zero. My ESA is now going to be stopped. I know I have the right to appeal - I'm starting to gather the evidence from my various medical reports etc but mentally I am really struggling and I know that you all understand how I feel - unlike even those closest to me - I feel like a fraud, like no-one believes how much pain I am in, how difficult it is to keep going every day, knowing that this won't go away, its not tooth-ache or a bad cold, its here for the duration. I feel ashamed that I have had to give up a really good job that I could no longer cope with but a voice in my head always asks 'did you give up too easily? are you really ill or just putting it on?'. It makes it harder because there is no signs of the pain, no obvious swelling, no pustules, nothing.
I just want to go to bed and not get up again. I can't see any point in doing the simple things in life.
Why can't these people see the affect they have on us when they submit these reports? Surely there is some way they can spot those who are genuinely ill - those like me who would love to go back to being healthy and active, working and earning good money, running 10k races and travelling to far flung places?

Oh boy, I think I've just had a mini rant!!!

Thanks for listening! Any advice on dealing with the ESA appeal would be really appreciated
Lisa M xx
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Date: 11.07.2012
From: kirst87

Subject: Re: Failed ESA medical assessment - any advice?

hi i am currently awaiting the tribunal for esa and DLA. It is very worth appealing as its discusting the amount of people who are entitled to it being told they cant have it just because of the medical report.

I would suggest you get yourself a representative to help you thru the appeal process (CAB offer this help). As soon as you get the appeal sent off they will look at your case again and reconsider, if they stick by the original decision then it will go onto the next stage, which is the tribunal. Thru the whole process you will continue to recive your ESA payments as you are at the moment and it will continue like that untill the tribunal.

Tribunals can take many months and once you send off the appeal forms you dont need to worry about anything as the contact you. another good think about having a representative is that they deal with all corrispondance and will most often attend the tribunal with you to help with the process.

i have doupted myself as you are but you are deserving of this benifit, you are ill.

i hope this helps a bit, you arnt alone in this and loads of us on here have been or are in exactly the same situation. :) x
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Date: 11.07.2012
From: Chris

Subject: Re: Failed ESA medical assessment - any advice?

Hey Lisa,
I feel for you hon, i know where youare, i too have psoriasis, arthritis and depression.
I've been 'failed' on the ATOS medical twice now, and won twice.

First off, i'd get some medication for your depression, don't see yourself as weak, it's a disease. If you had a broken leg you'd get a plaster cast on it, if you have depression, get some citalopram - or whatever your GP suggests.

Make sure you get your appeal sent in, if i remember correctly you can add some evidence later on (best to check this).

Don't worry about ranting! You are not alone.
Best of luck,
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Date: 12.07.2012
From: Paula-R

Subject: Re: Failed ESA medical assessment - any advice?

I saw this on another forum and thought I'd put up here for you and anyone else.

Recently, the Dept of Justice removed a video explaining why it is most beneficial for you to attend an appeal against refusal by the DWP to award you Employment Support Allowance. The video tells claimants that if you appear in person, you are more likely to win the appeal. members have copied the video and I attach the link for your edification. Should the Dept of Justice continue to remove the video, members will continue to re-post it. See the video at:
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Date: 13.07.2012
From: Lisa M

Subject: Re: Failed ESA medical assessment - any advice?

Thanks everyone for all your helpful posts, they are much appreciated. Waiting by the door for the official 'you've been terminated' letter from the ESA people then I will get the appeal in motion. You all got me fired up enough to get the ball rolling by asking for a letter from my rheumy and getting an appointment with my very supportive GP so thanks again for that.

Chris - I was referred to a psychiatrist last year after feelings of self-harming / harming others and have been on various drugs since. Thats one of the many reasons I am so shocked by the zero points score from ATOS (sorry for using a dirty word!)

Paula - thanks for the link, I hadn't heard of this before - its bizarre that they keep taking it down and well done for sticking it back up

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Date: 16.07.2012
From: Dave

Subject: Re: Failed ESA medical assessment - any advice?

I totaly understand how you feel!I have been off work now for 3 yrs i have OA and 2 slipped discs in my neck,which i am waiting to have an operation on.My medical from ATOS was a total farce.It was plain to see that half of what was written was not either discussed or was just false information.I found out that the so called specialist was only a nurse from the blood bank,not even a qualified nurse!!!It came back on my report that i could pick up a pound coin from the floor so i am therefore fit for work.I appealed with help from the citizens advice bureau,they where brilliant.If you try to get answers from atos themselves it will make you even more frustrated,just more lies and collaboration with their staff so you wont win!!
I also had a meeting with my local MP who harrased them,I went to the local paper here and quite a large story was made of it,the reporter was totaly disgusted and tryed to get information from the dwp and atos but to no avail.
I wrote to the Primeminister too, didnt expect a reply but i got 2 infact,not from him, but from some secretary.But didnt get me anywhere either.
I ended up getting my ESA and backdated too.
Keep hanging in there,its not easy i was so depressed and stressed from it all,the system is a total joke,and a slap in the face when you have worked hard all your life paid your dues to the country and when it comes to making a claim your treated like a piece of crap!!!
It has taken me 2 attempts to claim DLA i only get the lowest amount so i have to appeal for that too.
Surely the government would save s if they was to only look at your medical records and listen to what your Drs and specialists had to say,but they dont even bother accessing medical records before it gets to appeal.
Good luck,i really feel for you and anyone else who is having to go thro this degrading process.
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Date: 19.07.2012
From: Lisa M

Subject: Re: Failed ESA medical assessment - any advice?

Wow! Talk about not giving up! Fantastic fighting spirit Dave! Not that you should have to go to such lengths though - as you say is it absolutely disgusting. When I had my medical I took all my care plan letters from my Rheumy and psychiatrist etc but she didn't want to look at them and when I questioned what she hoped to gain from assessing my physical abilities that wasn't already detailed in the case notes I had with me she said that I didn't need to have the 'bend over, pick up a coin, lift your hands up' rubbish. When I queried whether this would count against me she twice reassured me (and my husband who witnessed the whole thing)that it wouldn't have any negative impact on the outcome of my medical! Ha! How naive am I! Lying bitch. What I don't understand is I had a medical only 6 months ago so what do they think has changed between then and now? I will be asking for copies of both ATOS reports so I can compare the two. Its all so exhausting though isn't it - as if we don't have enough going on. And as you have said, we've paid our dues and feel uncomfortable enough as it is having to admit we can't cope with full time work and having to give up a job that you were good at and paid you well without someone completely dismissing you and your illness as though you are trying to pull a fast one.
Maybe I'm just too honest and need to practice lying through my back teeth then I might get somewhere?
Anyway, the sun is going to be out this weekend so we can all start warming out joints up again and hopefully things will look a bit better.
Thanks very much Dave and good luck with the DLA (I get lower rate for both too...)
Lisa x
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Date: 19.07.2012
From: marlene

Subject: Re: Failed ESA medical assessment - any advice?

I have just read your posts, I can't beleive all this rubbish they are putting you through.
Just keep up the fight guys and make sure you get what you deserve.
How can an unqualified person judge your well being???
How can they go against your Rhumy and Gp reports???
This is all just crazy and I don't get it at all.
I wish you well in getting justice.
Take Care and keep your chin up. x
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Date: 20.07.2012
From: Chris

Subject: Re: Failed ESA medical assessment - any advice?

I recently read somewhere that 60% of ESA appeals result in the original decision being overturned.

Can't find the source now, sorry!
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Date: 09.09.2014
From: Lesley Page

Subject: Re: Failed ESA medical assessment - any advice?

Why do some have assessments and others dont, myself and another woman both claimed at the same time , both leaving the same job because of Arthritis, mine worse than hers,,but they have put her in a support group, when i called them they said i needed a medical and to call Atos to arrange it , now i find they should have sent me a year ago , and i should have filled out assesment form, i am on 53 a week, she is now on 161, how can that be fair, i am about to lose my home because i cant afford the extra rent i have to pay .
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Date: 19.03.2017
From: suzi

Subject: Re: Failed ESA medical assessment - any advice?

Hi all I have osteoarthritis nearly everywhere ie ankles knees hips shoulders hands and wrists I fell down the stairs because my knee gave out fractured my color bone and breast bone also 14 staples un my head even that did not matter even though I now hate stairs its just unreal they say how does it affect you how do they think it affects you its something that won't get better end of .
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