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New ESA Claimant


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Hi everyone,

 

 

I am struggling with depression, and I think part of the cause is Social Anxiety. I think it actually started in childhood, I was extremely shy. Never went to afterschool clubs. Hated working in groups in class. Hated presentations. If I was stuck that didn't matter, I was paralysed with embarassment about ever putting my hand up to ask for help for fear of being deemed thick, or answering questions fear of getting them wrong. Went like this all the way through high school

 

Now up to adulthood and it still affects me in a massive way. Tend to avoid social events such as parties, unless my parents are there too, get comfort from that and can kind of hide behind them. If I go to a party, have to ask others to get buffet food for fear of embarassing myself like dropping the plate, or people judging me by what I eat. Hate ordering food in restaurants, again fear people listening to what I order and judge me based on that. Don't mind going to large supermarkets, but hate small ones as hate people behind me in the queue being able to see what one or two items I have bought. Phone calls, ok if I know the person. Otherwise it's torture, I can't just pick up the phone and ring for a job or ring customer service somewhere if I have a complaint, physically I can but not mentally. I have this phobia of using the phone when others are around as don't like them hearing what I am saying. Lots more, but I will be here for eternity

 

I have to plan ahead what I will say in social situations, fear coming across as boring or silly. Had a phone appt the other day as job centre think ESA would be more suitable at the moment, so was gonna ask for a fit note, but cancelled due to thinking I would come across as daft. Judgement is a massive factor

 

I feel depressed because I can't get a job and lack of friends due to the fact I find it extremely hard with people I haven't met before, always fear they won't like me or will think negatively of me. Starting conversations is a nightmare as I never know what to say, and imagine that whatever I do say will paint me negatively. I know in my head what I want to say, but can never bring my head to say it. That has lead to gambling because I think I might not feel so inadequate if I can help my family out, if I get one big win I might be able to not worry about getting employment or benefits any more, but in reality losing money and friends and drifting away from family over it just adds to depression. Sleeping patterns are all over the place, mind racing with thoughts and worries

 

 

 

Typical day for me is wake up tired, due to lack of sleep. Stay in bed with curtains closed, maybe get up if I absolutetly have to and no other choice, but then its straight back to bed again. Just find it easier as no being up and causing arguments which I do lots due to my lack of sleep which causes me to be iritable, family say I should be more calmer as tend to go off like rocket

 

 

Went to GP the other day and blood pressure was 152/102, which apparently can be up because I am all mithered. But on tablets for high blood pressure anyway, and only having one kidney I have to watch that

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Anyway, I am just worried as this ESA thing all seems so confusing, I phoned up today to make my claim and was told I will be sent claimant statement out in the post. When do I send my fit note from the doctor in - it is for 2 months ?

 

 

Also majorly worrying about the medical, and not even on the assessment rate yet. Heard it's better if you have the mental health team on board, and medical evidence. I have been referred for CBT by my doctor, but there is quite a bit of a waiting list for it, so not sure if I will have seen them before the medical or not. Although I have heard there is also quite long waiting times now for the medical on ESA and that it is generally lots longer than 13 weeks, so if that is the case maybe I can stop worrying about the medical. Although, knowing my luck I will probably live in an area where it is bang on 13 weeks or around then

 

 

I have also heard that sometimes if you send supporting evidence with the ESA50, or have enough on your form, you may not even have to attend a medical. That would be good for me, but wouldn't be so lucky

 

 

I'm just worrying if I have done the right thing in claiming haha

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Some of what I'm writing is my own experience. Others may tell you different:

My first 2 sick notes were dated one month, I think and then 3 months, or something like that.

 

I was not on a waiting for anything; but did send in a lot of medical evidence and the form was filled in with a lot of detail. (they are never going to assume that your diagnosis means you have problems doing something - you have to tell them every single problem you have)

 

Due to the amount of evidence and detail, I never had to have a face to face assessment done. I am led to believe that my situation isn't unusual - the face to face is done if they think they need more information from you.

 

I don't know of anyone who has waited 13 weeks. I heard at 22 weeks my result.

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Some of what I'm writing is my own experience. Others may tell you different:

My first 2 sick notes were dated one month, I think and then 3 months, or something like that.

 

I was not on a waiting for anything; but did send in a lot of medical evidence and the form was filled in with a lot of detail. (they are never going to assume that your diagnosis means you have problems doing something - you have to tell them every single problem you have)

 

Due to the amount of evidence and detail, I never had to have a face to face assessment done. I am led to believe that my situation isn't unusual - the face to face is done if they think they need more information from you.

 

I don't know of anyone who has waited 13 weeks. I heard at 22 weeks my result.

Thank you. What I mean with the waiting is, heard at the moment that ATOS have a huhe backlog of medicals, and its taking al ot longer than 13 weeks to be called for a medical at the moment ? Is that the case ?

 

What kinds of supporting evidence would you suggest sending, at the moment as I've got to wait for CBT, thinking two things I can send are a copy of my most recent prescription and also a scan of the card my doctor gave me with contact details of CBT place that I phoned today

 

Any other suggestions of medical evidence helpful :)

 

Also, when you say you have to tell them every single problem, even though I have claimed for Social Anxiety and Depression. Would you also mention the high blood pressure which tends to be higher when I'm worrying (on medication for that too)

 

Also whether it would be worth mentioning that I have a single kidney ? no idea or not

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There's criteria you have to meet in order to get into one of the groups. So, it's not just "I have social anxiety". You would have explain why this means you'd struggle to work.

 

Your evidence must explain your difficulties. It's not enough to just state the conditions you have.

 

How does having a single kidney making working difficult? I don't think I mentioned every single medical problem I had. But it's only been recently that one of them has started to make working difficult.

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There's criteria you have to meet in order to get into one of the groups. So, it's not just "I have social anxiety". You would have explain why this means you'd struggle to work.

 

Your evidence must explain your difficulties. It's not enough to just state the conditions you have.

 

How does having a single kidney making working difficult? I don't think I mentioned every single medical problem I had. But it's only been recently that one of them has started to make working difficult.

So you'd explain the problems you have interacting with people, the difficulties it would cause in a working environment

 

What about explaining the physical effects it causes ? For example when I am faced with a social situation either with a stranger or a full group of people, my heartbeat tends to go faster, sweaty palms and usually an upset stomach

 

What about the gambling habit that started as a result of my depression ? Should I mention that ?

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When they assess your ESA claim, they will do so against a specified list of "descriptors", a copy of which you can read at this link.

 

You need to score 15 points to be classed as having "Limited Capability for Work" and thus be entitled to ESA. There is another list in the link above of descriptors for "Limited Capability for Work Related Activity". If the DWP is satisfied that you meet any one of those, you would be placed in the Support Group.

 

So when deciding how to approach this, you need to look at these various descriptors and be guided by them when choosing what evidence to send. As Nystagmite says, merely naming the conditions you have or medications you take is not sufficient - they are interested in how your conditions affect your ability to work. That's not to say you shouldn't name the conditions or mention your medications (indeed, this information can help to build up a picture of your situation and provide useful background information), but that won't be enough in itself.

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When they assess your ESA claim, they will do so against a specified list of "descriptors", a copy of which you can read at this link.

 

You need to score 15 points to be classed as having "Limited Capability for Work" and thus be entitled to ESA. There is another list in the link above of descriptors for "Limited Capability for Work Related Activity". If the DWP is satisfied that you meet any one of those, you would be placed in the Support Group.

 

So when deciding how to approach this, you need to look at these various descriptors and be guided by them when choosing what evidence to send. As Nystagmite says, merely naming the conditions you have or medications you take is not sufficient - they are interested in how your conditions affect your ability to work. That's not to say you shouldn't name the conditions or mention your medications (indeed, this information can help to build up a picture of your situation and provide useful background information), but that won't be enough in itself.

Looking at the descriptors, this one definitely applies to me, so what is the bestway to go about this on my application and in terms of evidence:

 

Descriptor:

(a) Engagement in social contact is always precluded due to difficulty relating to others or significant distress experienced by the individual.

15 points

 

Social Anxiety means that descriptor definitely matches me.

 

I have Sertraline, which is suppsed to help with anxiety and depression. So can send prescription for that. Also have a card for a place I've been referred to for CBT

 

Also this descriptor, due to the depression and amount of motivation I have. Most days I don't even get up for a shower, nevermind completing tasks. Saying for weeks about tidying my room which is a tip and attempted to start but gave up as.no energy

 

Activity 13: Initiating and completing personal action (which means planning, organisation, problem solving, prioritising or switching tasks)

 

Descriptor:

(a) Cannot, due to impaired mental function, reliably initiate or complete at least 2 sequential personal actions.

15 Points

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Looking at the descriptors, this one definitely applies to me, so what is the bestway to go about this on my application and in terms of evidence:

 

Descriptor:

(a) Engagement in social contact is always precluded due to difficulty relating to others or significant distress experienced by the individual.

15 points

 

Social Anxiety means that descriptor definitely matches me.

 

I have Sertraline, which is suppsed to help with anxiety and depression. So can send prescription for that. Also have a card for a place I've been referred to for CBT

 

Also this descriptor, due to the depression and amount of motivation I have. Most days I don't even get up for a shower, nevermind completing tasks. Saying for weeks about tidying my room which is a tip and attempted to start but gave up as.no energy

 

Activity 13: Initiating and completing personal action (which means planning, organisation, problem solving, prioritising or switching tasks)

 

Descriptor:

(a) Cannot, due to impaired mental function, reliably initiate or complete at least 2 sequential personal actions.

15 Points

I have read you can also write your own 'a day in the life' as evidence

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An advance on a day in the life

 

Keep a diary on how your condition impacted on you

 

"Monday xx of january"

 

Did not get out of bed till 4pm due to feeling anxious.

Did not have the energy to preare food. Mum came round at 19:00 and prepared dinner

 

 

Just some examples there. Phrase them so they direct to one or more descriptors.

 

Then take a copy of the diary as evidence. Extremely useful tool if your condition fluctuates.

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An advance on a day in the life

 

Keep a diary on how your condition impacted on you

 

"Monday xx of january"

 

Did not get out of bed till 4pm due to feeling anxious.

Did not have the energy to preare food. Mum came round at 19:00 and prepared dinner

 

 

Just some examples there. Phrase them so they direct to one or more descriptors.

 

Then take a copy of the diary as evidence. Extremely useful tool if your condition fluctuates.

 

Thank you, if I started keeping a diary from tomorrow, how many days would you keep a diary for to send them ?

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Right, I am not great at putting things into words. Attemtped my entry for today, so any advice on this appreciated. Is it too long ? Does the phrasing match any of the descriptors ?

 

Wednesday 21st January 2015

Only slept for 2 hours last night, so many worries going round in my head about the ESA process, debt and upcoming CBT for social anxiety and depression

Spent majority of the day in bed (other than for toileting) with lights off and curtains closed, thinking about things. Not even had the energy to plug my TV in

Had couple of cups of tea brought to me by family. First meal of the day was tea cooked by dad at around 8pm

Brother plugged TV in for me to watch National Television Awards, but not able to concentrate on programme due to worrying

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The descriptor regarding food prep is there, concentration, looks good to me. Lack of energy.

 

I would keep the diary running as long as possible. It will also serve another use or two as you go.

 

EG it may come in handy for your cbt

You can use it to show your doctor when you see him, and any other person helping you tackle your depression.

 

When you get better, you will be able to look back and see how far you have come :)

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PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 

 

 

 

The SabreSheep, All information is offered on good faith and based on mine and others experiences. I am not a qualified legal professional and you should always seek legal advice if you are unsure of your position.

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The descriptor regarding food prep is there, concentration, looks good to me. Lack of energy.

 

I would keep the diary running as long as possible. It will also serve another use or two as you go.

 

EG it may come in handy for your cbt

You can use it to show your doctor when you see him, and any other person helping you tackle your depression.

 

When you get better, you will be able to look back and see how far you have come :)

Thank you :)

 

Would you include anything in the diary entries about when I gamble as that impacts on my depression huge amounts.

 

Sure I will have something to do with eating infront of people on Saturday, going out for a meal for my godfathers birthday and can't say no, but when I get out for meals I always end up getting this fear that I'm going to choke on food or stuff, daft I know but its always in my head when eating infront of anyone other than family

 

When I send my ESA50 off, would you print off 2 weeks worth to send with it

 

Also, as a GP letter is good evidence with ESA, would you print some entries off to show him how it affects me day to day when Iask him for a support letter ? :)

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Include everything in your diary.

Thank you :)

 

With regards to getting copies of any appointments I've attended and outcome, and confirmation of my illness, would that just be a case of asking at my GP as until I start CBT, all appts have been GP related

 

Also have an email conversation from when I spoke to the practice manager after I daftly stopped taking my anti-depressants and really needed to get back on them, where she sent me a reply saying a doctor had sorted a prescription out for me. Should I include that as evidence ?

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Having never kept a diary before, due to lack of motivation. Are things such as listening to music as that normally cheers me up, but getting bored after 30 seconds important in a diary ? Music always used to help me, but at the moment just can't listen for that long without feeling I should be doing something else, or just bored of it

 

What about any days where I don't write anything due to lack of motovation, or just not feeling up to it ?

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Yes, write down days where you have no motivation to do anything. Whilst I don't remember anything specific about motivation in the descriptors, there's possibly stuff relating to action in the mental health section.

Thank you, so if I go through the descriptors and basically anything in my day that would come under them, write it down, no matter what ?

 

Would this have been relevant ? Was out with my dad last night, just a quiet drink and he was showing me something on his phone a video which came on abit loudish. I instantly told him to turn it down , was embarassed of anyone hearing. Also speaking in conversation to him, I mumbled as again worried about anyone else in the pub listening to what I was saying

 

Also, would gambling, losing money and that making me further depressed come under any descriptors ?

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Although its embarassing, is this kind of thing useful as diary entry

 

Thursday 22nd January 2015

Getting to the point where I know I need a wash, but cannot find the motivation to do so. Had samw pyjamas on for 4 days now. Didn't get out of bed until 4pm, when I had to visit the post office to post my fit note. Very anxious as I worry about people recognising me when out. Sat in car whilst brother went in PO for me. Made sure I was completely covered with hat and hoody to avoid anyone outside who I may know recognising me.

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Hi,

 

I have spoke to my GP practice and they said they do provide support letters. Manager said if I write my request to the people who deal with it, it will then be passed on to my GP

 

However, I am unsure how to let my GP know what I want, or what to ask for. We haven't discussed in detail how it affects me in day to day life

 

Where I am at is I seen him about social anxiety on Monday, and was given a 2 month fit note which he said he will renew. I am waiting for an appointment for CBT

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You have to discuss in detail how your life is affected. When I've had letters written, I've discussed with the doctor how my life is affected and they've written a letter from there.

Thank you, so as the surgery are saying I have to write to what I think is the office staff first about my request for a support letter, would you say in the request that Iwould like to attend an appointment to discuss how it actually affects me ?

 

I could maybe also drop a letter in to the surgery for my GP, as my anxiety means I get anxious about asking for stuff like this haha

 

Would you give GP as list of descriptors ?

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