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Need mental health advocate for ESA application

Need mental health advocate for ESA application

Postby formerly_IKB » Sun Feb 14, 2016 8:09 pm

I am asking on behalf of a very good friend who has been rejected for ESA, but intends to reapply. I've known her for 15 years since university.

She is too ill, too frequently, to be reliably fit for work.

Her primary conditions are chronic spinal pain (neck and hip also), non-epileptic attack disorder, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (joint hypermobility type), scoliosis and clinical depression. Plus several other more minor associated physical conditions.

You can apparently only reapply for ESA if your condition has worsened or you have developed other conditions. She has been diagnosed with two further conditions.

Before applying again, she would like to find an advocate first. She has tried MIND and CAB, but they do not have anyone suitable to help. She is seeking a mental health advocate because her mental health issues are comparatively straightforward -v- her physical health issues, which are complex and are being treated by a number of specialist consultants.

She is based in West London. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Edit: ...suggestions including a paid advocate as I would offer to pay (though not sure she would accept my offer).
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Re: Need mental health advocate for ESA application

Postby Boo » Sun Feb 14, 2016 9:37 pm

This doesn't need to be costly or overly complicated. I've advocated for a large amount of clients. A good friend can do the job just as well.

https://www.rethink.org/living-with-men ... al-illness

I subscribe to this site for work http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/

If you want tips along the way, pm me.
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Re: Need mental health advocate for ESA application

Postby formerly_IKB » Sun Feb 14, 2016 10:19 pm

Thanks, Boo, and I will PM you tomorrow when I've more time, - but, to clarify, my friend is able to speak for herself; she's perfectly articulate, intelligent, etc - She simply lacks the medical or legal authority necessary to underline her case. Indeed, the fact that she was clean and well-presented, not stinking and ragged at her last assessment was actually cited as evidence that she is fit for work. So she can't win by arguing her case coherently herself, - it would be regarded as evidence that she is fit for work - nor could I argue on her behalf as I am not a doctor or lawyer, i.e. a higher authority.
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Re: Need mental health advocate for ESA application

Postby Hairyloon » Sun Feb 14, 2016 10:26 pm

formerly_IKB wrote:nor could I argue on her behalf as I am not a doctor or lawyer, i.e. a higher authority.

You can with the permission of the court I think.
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Re: Need mental health advocate for ESA application

Postby formerly_IKB » Sun Feb 14, 2016 10:40 pm

Where does one find the official criteria for assessment? There must be a set of guidelines/criteria - where are they to be found?
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Re: Need mental health advocate for ESA application

Postby formerly_IKB » Sun Feb 14, 2016 10:44 pm

Hairyloon wrote:
formerly_IKB wrote:nor could I argue on her behalf as I am not a doctor or lawyer, i.e. a higher authority.

You can with the permission of the court I think.


What I mean is that I am no better qualified to argue than my friend is. We're both laypeople. Both intelligent and literate. There is no court involved - just a form-filling and attending a medical assessment. She needs someone who has some 'expert' experience to guide her and if necessary stand up for her at the medical assessment. I don't have any more experience than she does.
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Re: Need mental health advocate for ESA application

Postby Boo » Sun Feb 14, 2016 11:14 pm

Hairyloon wrote:
formerly_IKB wrote:nor could I argue on her behalf as I am not a doctor or lawyer, i.e. a higher authority.

You can with the permission of the court I think.


Hang on Hairy, we've not got to court yet. That's a very long way off.

Was she informed she was 'fit for work' less then 28 days ago? If so she can ask for a mandatory reconsideration.

She won't need to express medical jargon or legal terms (at this stage) She just needs to explain how her illnesses affect her when they're at their most chronic.
The answers don't need to be lengthy or elaborate during the assessment - they just need to match up with the information she has already put on the form/letter. The assessor has access to the notes on their computers - it's wise to photocopy the ESA form before posting it off.
Her GP will be able to fill in the blanks when/if the assessors ask for more detail.

The advocate is a prompt as well as a vital support tool. I find that clients who attend assessments alone are less likely to succeed in their claim as going alone demonstrates they don't need prompting or support.
Support networks are also able to confirm she is experiencing difficulties with day to day tasks. This is what assesssors are awarding points for. And she needs 15
points to qualify for ESA benefit. Check out this site for the ESA descriptors https://www.sense.org.uk/content/esa-de ... ility-work

What is written on her fitness to work note (formerly sick note) by her GP may also back up her claim as to why she unable to work at present.
Is she still getting these notes from her GP?

I've already made some relevant points regarding which areas to concentrate on for (hopefully) maximum points. I'll look out for your pm.

In the meantime, I've posted the ESA1 link form for anyone's perusal. It's important to read the notes section and Part three needs to filled out in full with any
worsening conditions since the last claim. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/s ... -print.pdf
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