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Thread: ESA50 and the varies box

  1. #1
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    ESA50 and the varies box

    The ESA50 isn't that different than the old IB50 form in giving this option, however I think it gives a whole new scenario to a claim given ATOS and their Lima programme.
    I guess for many of us health problems change not only daily but moreover hourly, e.g. at 9.14am I could pick up a pound coin, at 9.15am I couldn't, at 9.44am I could and continue up to 10.12am when I couldn't uptill 11.32am etc etc you get my point, and this applies to many of the ESA50 questions. As with pain medication may allow me to do certain things but I don't as it creates a false sense of well being that later will turn into 2 days in bed.
    Like the old IB50 there is a box to state your case as to how varies applies to your situation. In the old days it was said to go on your bad moments as being a better reflection of your situation in general, what are folks thoughts on this with the ESA50 especially as we have the ambiguity of descriptors now.

  2. #2
    doberg
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    I explained what I could do and couldn't do depending on drugs taken as well as the nature of the beast.

    I explained that I could walk, with an aid 200/500 metres, yet some days I couldn't move at all.

    I explained that I could function from a mental health point of view quite well sometimes, whilst on others I had no motivation to do anything. I explained that i work from home sometimes, generally in the early hours of the morning for up to 6 hours using my laptop when the house was quiet and when I was reasonably stable with the drugs I had taken.

    At the assessment I had to stop halfway from reception to the assessing room. Yet ATOS reported that I had no problem walking at least 200 metres as I had admitted I could.

    My mental health function was reported by ATOS that I was able to work using a computer for at least 6 hours a day as confirmed by myself!

    Yes I must agree that what ATOS reported was correct, but it was clearly taken out of context and particularly and conveniently didn't include any of the limitations that I have due to early dementia!

    Strange really that before the demtia set in and when I was in a far better place healthwise back in 2009, they allocated me to the Support Group for 3 years!!!!

    Obviously I received 0 points and have now had to claim JSA.

    Variables are exactly what they are - but like with all decisions that the DWP make and how ATOS view things - they try to highlight the positives and ignore the negatives thus giving a false picture which is based on a true statement made by the claimant.
    Last edited by doberg; 22-12-12 at 12:37.

  3. #3
    I think you need to proceed with great caution. In my report it repeatedly states "cannot _________ and I find this consistent". I'm sure if you stated you could sometimes do things yours would end with "and I do not find this consistent". They also observe you in the waiting room, going through doors and even handing over your medications. I only passed the last because I happened to drop them! They judge your eye contact, your appearance, your speech... it really was 1984!

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    One of the problems with any self assessment form like the ESA50 is that people - quite understandably - tend to focus more on what they CAN do. Even when that is very limited. It's human nature, and of course it is good to be positive.
    But for the purpose of the ESA50 I would say people need to emphasise what they CAN'T do. For example -'I can't walk more than x yards most days' Even better try to get an idea of how many days - on average - you can't do x yards - and why not - how long it takes to rest and recover etc. Leave the issue of better days/times for the medical, and when asked stress how much of an effort it is to do anything.

  5. #5
    doberg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carneucopia View Post
    One of the problems with any self assessment form like the ESA50 is that people - quite understandably - tend to focus more on what they CAN do. Even when that is very limited. It's human nature, and of course it is good to be positive.
    But for the purpose of the ESA50 I would say people need to emphasise what they CAN'T do. For example -'I can't walk more than x yards most days' Even better try to get an idea of how many days - on average - you can't do x yards - and why not - how long it takes to rest and recover etc. Leave the issue of better days/times for the medical, and when asked stress how much of an effort it is to do anything.
    But isn't ESA a benefit to assess what you CAN do? That is why they have the 'varies' box, for you to explain the good days as well as the bad ones.

    In my case I did state what I couldn't do, walking, mental health etc, but to temper that with the times when things are a little bit easier.
    If you filled out the ESA on the basis that there is NOTHING that you can do I doubt very much that you would be believed.

    And finally, you have certified by signing the declaration that what you have put on the form is true and complete. To wilfully withold information off the form (because it might not look good for your claim) is in fact illegal!

    We are back at the age old argument of do we or don't we just describe our worst days only?
    Last edited by doberg; 23-12-12 at 11:06.

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    This has always been a tricky one for all the reasons stated. It seems more of an issue these days though when you are confronted by the attitude and bizarre criteria of the present system.
    My No1 wish for Christmas, as it has been for years, is to not be ill anymore, to be able to work, to be productive, to do the things others just take for granted, not to be looked down on, not to be a burden, not to live on charity.
    Having to try and justify this in an ESA50 knowing the truthfull statement you sign for may well be made to appear like lies is just another blow to your self worth.
    It seems to me as people are saying tell it the way it is when it's not good, which is more often than not as it's no good saying what you can do once in a blue moon if that's going to be seen as somehow indicative of daily life.
    What a sad nonsense.

  7. #7
    doberg
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    Quote Originally Posted by wobble1 View Post
    This has always been a tricky one for all the reasons stated. It seems more of an issue these days though when you are confronted by the attitude and bizarre criteria of the present system.
    My No1 wish for Christmas, as it has been for years, is to not be ill anymore, to be able to work, to be productive, to do the things others just take for granted, not to be looked down on, not to be a burden, not to live on charity.
    Having to try and justify this in an ESA50 knowing the truthfull statement you sign for may well be made to appear like lies is just another blow to your self worth.
    It seems to me as people are saying tell it the way it is when it's not good, which is more often than not as it's no good saying what you can do once in a blue moon if that's going to be seen as somehow indicative of daily life.
    What a sad nonsense.
    Sad yes, but it is something that people have to work with.

    Ironically, we have ESA that looks for things that you can do - having a positive view on everything, yet DLA looks to see what you can't do and need help with.
    Using that, it would seem that if you are sick you must have a positive attitude to identify the positive aspects of your life, yet being disabled is all about how bad the world treats you!

    In that, ESA and DLA are poles apart, yet DLA reviews are now regularly used as evidence that DLA should no longer be available!!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by doberg View Post
    But isn't ESA a benefit to assess what you CAN do? That is why they have the 'varies' box, for you to explain the good days as well as the bad ones.

    In my case I did state what I couldn't do, walking, mental health etc, but to temper that with the times when things are a little bit easier.
    If you filled out the ESA on the basis that there is NOTHING that you can do I doubt very much that you would be believed.

    And finally, you have certified by signing the declaration that what you have put on the form is true and complete. To wilfully withold information off the form (because it might not look good for your claim) is in fact illegal!

    We are back at the age old argument of do we or don't we just describe our worst days only?
    Yes they are looking at what you can do of course. And I'm not suggesting that anyone should say there is nothing at all they can do (unless that is true.) But just that the 'varies' box needs to be treated very cautiously. It asks for an explanation of variation, and that's where any explanation needs to be very carefully worded and quantified if possible. For example - to say things like there are times when things are a little bit easier, or, as many people do, to say they have better days, simply gives ATOS leverage.
    As wobble rightly says it affects your self worth. He's certainly not alone feeling that. But the sad fact is that for many people with long term illnesses and disabilites there is never a day when they are fully fit - and certainly not well enough to sustain a regular job. But give ATOS that inch and they will take a mile, as we have seen many times. So yes - I would stick to the bad times. If that leaves a couple of days a week unaccounted for which people feel they really must explain just be careful to use the right words.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Indespair View Post
    ... They also observe you in the waiting room, going through doors and even handing over your medications. I only passed the last because I happened to drop them! They judge your eye contact, your appearance, your speech... it really was 1984!
    I think it's fair to say there has always been a degree of unobtrusive observation which is fair enough. But, my goodness, haven't ATOSH got it down to a fine art? My local ATOSH centre is deliberately over large. You could easily hold an old fashioned Ball in the reception area. The small seating area is in one end and the reception window at the other. A packed lunch is advisable for the journey between them. Then the examination room is down a long long corridor. If you can get from the seated area, to the reception room, onto the examination room, then prepare to accept 0 points before the charade has even started.

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