Written evidence submitted by Valerie
My experience of a Work Capability Assessment
and concerns over time limiting ESA
1. I worked for the DWP for almost 25 years until
August 2009 when I was retired on ill health grounds.
2. My employer uses Atos for occupational health
advice and I was advised by a consultant in occupational medicine
to accept that I was unable to continue working despite having
many adjustments made over a number of years, and after reducing
my hours of work.
3. I have a form of Muscular Dystrophy which
was only diagnosed in 2009 after my son was found to have the
condition. This diagnosis came as a huge shock, especially as
my daughter and grandchildren are at risk of developing the same
4. One of my concerns is related to the assessment
process in claiming ESA. I believed that with rare and complicated
conditions that some communication would be made with the medical
specialists that were looking after me, but this did not happen.
The ESA50 stated that no medical evidence could be sent in.
5. The assessment itself was an unpleasant experience.
The assessor was not happy that my husband wanted to come into
the examination room and made him sit at the back and raised her
hand to stop him speaking.
6. I was unable to get up from the chair in the
waiting room without support from my husband but the assessor
in her report claimed that this was a "show" and stated
I had no problem with rising.
7. My medical report incorrectly stated that
I could do things I could not, and some things I have little problem
with were awarded points.
8. There was no empathy or kindness from the
assessor and I was made to feel worthless and guilty of scrounging.
9. I had taken reports from my neurologist which
confirmed I had severe weakness in my legs, arms and neck muscles
and he had witnessed my difficulty in standing from sitting and
also the confirmation of my diagnosis of Myotonic Dystrophy from
the Clinical Geneticist. These were accepted but not read.
10. I was placed in the WRAG with a prognosis
that I would be unlikely to return to work in the longer-term
as my condition is progressive and there is currently no treatment
11. My other concern is that contributory based
ESA will be time limited to one year for people in the WRAG. I
am never going to get better unless a cure or treatment for MD
is found. My life expectancy is probably limited.
12. I have paid NI contributions for more than
35 years in the belief that it was a form of insurance.