ESA and PIP assessments; when assessors jump to subjective conclusions dismissing medical evidence

In many reports done by assessors or health professionals, as they are officially called, for PIP and ESA claims, there are often filled with assumptions and speculations that have no medical or rational basis. Sadly, these assumptions are often used as a reason to deny a claimant the support they actually deserve and often desperately need.

A common one is the belief that if one person does not take a lot of strong painkillers is because they are not really in pain. But there are many reasons why someone doesn’t or cannot take lots of strong painkillers and the reasons are often explained in details in the claim form or in the evidence provided by health professionals. Often the assessor seems to choose to believe it is because the pain is bearable or non existent.

Another one is that if a person  gives eye contact, is allegedly well kempt or ‘behaves normally’ (whatever that means) cannot possibly suffer from any mental health issue. Anyone who knows anything about mental health would know things are not as simple as that. No one can make a diagnosis in 30 minutes, often contradicting the medical evidence provided with the claim pack, written by real mental health specialists.

We have asked  on Twitter for some real examples to give an idea of how bad these assessments really are and how are failing people. Here some of the answers. You can tweet yours to @wowhour or add a comment below the article. Keep them coming. 




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4 thoughts on “ESA and PIP assessments; when assessors jump to subjective conclusions dismissing medical evidence

  1. I was told that the permanent nerve damage in my legs had healed and could walk normally with a normal gait even though I was held up by my carer.
    5 years later I’ve won my pip but DWP refuse to backdate it .
    so my permanently damaged nerves regrew because the decision maker said so , then disappeared again 2 weeks before I went to court.

  2. Does not look undernourished therefore can eat and drink unaided.”Actually, I was 12lbs underweight and my partner was reminding me to eat on a daily basis…

  3. My Demeanor was “Normal” – despite my being in tears the whole time! (which says a lot for their idea of Normality!)
    My ability to unwrap a cassette tape to record the interview was evidence that my hand function was normal – despite my being unable to get into one, and having to ask HER to open it for me!
    My ability to turn on the recorder meant that I could handle knives and hot pans safely.
    My ability to order shopping on the internet, then take a supermarket ready-meal from the Freezer and stick it in the microwave was evidence of my ability to plan and cook a meal.
    My gait was observed to be slow, and unsteady, and I use crutches, and it was agreed that I was constantly in pain (as evinced by the doses of Opiates that I am on), but I was able to walk and shop without difficulty, as proven by my occasional trips to the chemists shop when I needed extra medication in an emergency.
    My ability to find the centre alone, and drive there alone, was evidence that I could plan and undertake a journey unassisted – I had told her it was literally ONE TURN from a supermarket I had visited when I was able to shop, and TWO turnings from the Hospital and I still had to use route planner and my satnav to get there safely – and 90 minutes early – after a dry run the day before!
    They reduced my benefits, then on the same day that they received notice that I had decided to go to appeal, they Instantly changed their mind and gave it all back – for 10 years!

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