The role of incapacity benefit reassessment in helping claimants into employment - Work and Pensions Committee Contents

Written evidence submitted by Steve Turner


Circumstances and events to date into the loss of my employment through mental illness, my claim for ESA and subsequent WCA medical and outcome.


1.  I have been in full employment for 35 years until March of last year (2010) when I was forced to leave my job due to severe depression. I claimed ESA towards the end of that year and filled in an ESA50 claim form in quite some detail and at considerable expense to the current state of my health, the form taking me six weeks to complete, sometimes at just one sentence a day. In December I was requested to attend a Work Capability Assessment which I did

2.  The medical examination was undertaken by a registered nurse. She asked me no more than 12 questions, including "do you have a dog?" and "do you watch television?" No questions were asked pertaining to my condition and how it affects me daily.

3.  The interview lasted just over 20 minutes during which time the nurse was mostly typing on the computer and entering the details of my medication into the computer.

4.  I left the medical quite ill, taking two days to recover some semblance of health, and feeling inconsequential and dismissed.

5.  Some weeks later I received notification from Jobcentre Plus that my application for ESA had been turned down and that I must now apply for Jobseekers Allowance. The shock of this decision intensified my illness and, suicidal, I was referred by my GP to a psychiatric team. I was advised to request a copy of my ESA85 medical report which I did.

6.  The trauma of the above decision was nothing compared to the despair I felt on reading my medical report and my first impression of it (which I have come to understand is a common response) was that I had received someone else's medical report in error.

7.  I have struggled with words such as mistaken and misleading to describe the contents of the report, not wishing to ascribe serious accusations to a government department or private company in its service (Atos) however I am reluctantly forced to describe the contents of the report as deliberately fraudulent.

8.  It is littered with inaccuracies, statements ascribed to me which I did not make and incorrect observations.

9.  I am now appealing this decision, with representation, and cannot help but feel bewildered, disappointed and utterly dismayed that a person (I am 51 years of age) in the UK in 2011 should be failed so totally by the welfare state in which he believes, and has contributed to, for over 30 years.

10.  My illness has now intensified and my required treatment increased. My return to work has been delayed by many months and my faith in the system is totally shattered.

April 2011

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Prepared 26 July 2011