ESA work capability assessment was awful

I had a work capability assessment for ESA yesterday; it was absolutely awful. 

The assessor was either staggeringly incompetent or dishonest. I suspect both. 

  • The appointment was late
  • The assessor rushed through the assessment
  • did not ask all the questions she is supposed to. She only asked questions about physical health and not about autism
  • I kept asking her to slow down with the questions and saying I didn't understand but she kept jabbing me with questions
  • When I did talk, she constantly interrupted and I became increasingly confused
  • She did some ridiculous 'cognitive tests' ie a few basic short-term memory tests which are pointless when I've submitted a full battery of psych tests for AS, dyslexia, dyspraxia carried out by experts 
  • Every time I tried to talk about autism - she shut me down
  • When I informed her that she was doing an exceptionally poor job and not asking questions for all the descriptors; she lied and said she had asked the questions. She then went on told me to tell her anything else. 

I began to meltdown and told her that her assessment was incomplete, unprofessional and that she was dishonest. 

I found the whole experience very distressing and the distress is still ongoing over 24hrs after the event. It reminded me of being bullied in the workplace when a previous employer refused to put reasonable adjustments in place. I felt like I wasn't believed and the awful doctor was trying to 'trip me up'. 

What I find most frustrating is that I'm expecting to have to face an appeal simply because the assessor is not fit to practice.

Does the Equality Act and Autism Act not apply to DWP assessments? How can they be allowed to discriminate, refuse adjustments (we had requested a home assessment). I wish I had recorded the assessment; I'm very lucky that a support worker came with me - she was wonderful. 

I wonder if it is worth submitting a statement answering the questions the assessor missed? I feel like I want to do something but I don't know what?

  • Sorry to hear about you experience but you are not alone. It would have been to your benefit to have an actual full breakdown there and then.   Many people have to go through to the appeal stage to get ESA.

    As for the assessor, have some sympathy for them.  I believe many of them are sick of the job, seeing all these people with all kinds of anxiety problems and claiming to be autistic.

    I recently spoke with someone who had just successfully appealed to get ESA.  He also said it was awful.  At the appeal he broke down, lost his temper and walked out.

  • Best to submit a further statement - and make a complaint. You should not have to go through that.

  • It may be worth having a look at  https://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/  . My partner subscribed to this site (£20) and found it extremely helpful and comprehensive for her claim (non-autistic disabled). They have guides on the appeals process, and their guide for filling in the ESA50 was very comprehensive.

    In our area we have access to autism social workers who help out with dealing with ESA claims and the like, though such help seems to depend on the area where you live.