About Me

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I have been working to support disabled people to live as independently as possible and realising their individual potentials for over 20 years. I am qualified in Health and Social Care Management and Ethics and Social Welfare. All blog entries are my responses to issues I see affecting those I support and indeed myself as I joined the disabled community after surviving a stroke.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

ESA Assessment: Who Are The Real Benefit Cheats

Greetings dear reader. And this week I'm about as happy as a Commonwealth Games commissioner, this may not be too surprising because I am rarely in the best of moods, but today I have a particular bee in my bonnet and that bee-ing (sorry) Employment Support Allowance.

Now my regular readers (both of them) will be aware I have long been suspicious that the cutbacks in benefit spending would hit genuine cases of ESA and DLA claimants as well as, and worst case scenario, instead of the alleged benefit cheats we hear so much about. Well this week my suspicious mind kicked into overdrive when my own dear wife Mrs Disability Expert, got her papers through regarding her appeal against ESA being refused, and the ensuing phone call to the Department of Works & Pensions. This is following on from her medical examination where her original claim was turned down.

Don't get me wrong, when you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (as she does) you do spend most of your time justifying your condition and you are not just a lazy git, so this is not the bit that concerns me most. The half a tree worth of paperwork that arrived for her to go through in preparation of her appeal hearing, was my first concern, having read the paperwork I barely recognised the description of her condition and her abilities and her difficulties that was declared in the assessors report and to compound all of this she was informed in this report that she only had 6 points of the 15 required to qualify for ESA.

Now I have worked in this arena for over 20 years and my wife is also a qualified social worker, so have both done our fair share of assessments over the years, but of all the paperwork she did have, she wasn't sent a copy of the assessment criteria that points are awarded for, so she phoned up and asked for a copy only to be told it was available on the internet but they didn't have copies of it. Now I have found this at:


I will leave you to make your own judgements on how useful that is but I once I had navigated my way to the required bit of the website and compared it to the assessors report I couldn't believe that 6 points was her result. I will add that I'm not sure how accessible the website is for people with disabilities.

Having moaned about this on twitter I have been contacted by people who have similar issues with trying to claim ESA, many of whom have hidden disabilities, as in many cases Chronic Fatigue can be. Another worrying trait I found in the report is one particular line of text and I quote 'enclosed was a letter from her Doctor stating that he believed she was not fit for work at present, this is irrelevant'. WHAAAAAAT?!?!? Sorry Doc all those years of study and your PhD is irrelevant. The supporting report from her physiotherapist has been conveniently cast to one side too.

So we have an assessor who has shall we say 'recorded inaccurate information' on the assessment report, has disregarded completely a letter from a doctor who has seen her and treated her condition, not just seen her once and has been given a raft of paperwork to sort out while the assessor has an entire department to assist with his report. This smells and it smells big time and the more I start digging the greater the stench. I'm beginning to wonder who are the real benefit cheats?

Feel free to contact me on twitter @disabilityxpert or on my Disability Expert page on Facebook if you are having similar issues.


  1. Who are the real benefit theives?

    The same people who are now becoming the real loan sharks 49.9% APR

    The people who pay Witchfinder General x2 Prime Minister and bonus rated pay

    The people who spend £1m a year on chairs in short

    DWP or Department of witchhunts and pickpockets:


  2. I'm just testing to see if this works as some people have said they are unable to leave a comment

  3. Your wife has my deepest sympathies.

    Last year, my entitlement to DLA & ICB (now ESA) for PTSD was rejected after a 20 minute meeting with a doctor. A doctor whom I'd never seen before in my life.

    All of my GP's, Psychiatrist's and CPN's supporting evidence was simply ignored.

    Luckily, I managed to find an amazing volunteer advocate who guided me through the appeals process.

    The appeal panel took just 4 minutes to overturn the decision and re-instate my benefits.

    What a monumental waste of time, energy and resources.

    On top of every thing else, I'm now physically disabled. DLA was awarded with no problems but, with the present climate, who knows what battles we all face to preserve our entitlements?

    Target the real spongers and cheats by all means, but the government needs to make sure that they don't cause extra stress and anxiety to genuine claimants - we've suffered enough already.

  4. It took me several years to get my DLA, in spite of having been diagnosed by a rheumatologist and an orthopaedic surgeon. In spite of a lifetime award, and my GPs full support (whch seems to count for nothing) I am terrified that I will lose my money under the new rules. It means so much to me. Without it I will be in dire poverty as I am on Pension Credit. The stress and worry alone is making me even more ill.

  5. MY hope for ESA assessment would for it to fair and Honest, but ATOS AND THIS GOVERNMENT would sell there granny for 5p, why do they think workers pay national insurance, At this rate only for benefits you will never be entitled to even if your at deaths door or any other disabillity !GOD HELP US! be cause these won"t

  6. Why are they doing this to people on sickness benefits when there are people out there having kids for benefits. Have a baby every 3-4 yrs so you can stay on income support and claim maintenance of the fathers who did not intend on becoming a father in the 1st place.

    People out there claiming to be living alone and not and claiming not to be working and they are.

    I know a women like this, does all of the above and takes home in benefits alone £25000 a year.

    As soon as her children hit 4 and start school she has another to stay on income support. She now has 5 Children 4 different fathers all paying maintenance yet she don't let them see their dads, claiming to be a single mum all those times she has had these 5 children? how does that work?? her now partner works and lives with her on and off just enough to get away with. Why does she and many others get away with doing this?? yet sick people are being hit and made to look like spongers.

    ill people who struggle to live a decent life due to illness are being hit harder and harder.

    Life is hard enough being ill all the time without the stress of this.

    Just have another baby. its appalling