Getting ready for the ESA medical evaluation
After you've returned your capability for work questionnaire, you'll usually be required to have a medical examination.
After you've returned your questionnaire, you'll receive a letter informing you of the date and time of your assessment, as well as where to go.
The assessment will assist the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in determining:
- how your health, disability, or illness impairs your ability to work
- if you are able to engage in activity that increases your chances of finding work, such as skill training or experimenting with new ways to manage your condition or disability
At the moment, the DWP will attempt to conduct the assessment by reviewing your medical records and speaking with you over the phone or via video call. It is critical that you send your medical evidence as soon as possible.
If the DWP is unable to assess you over the phone or via video call, you will be invited to a face-to-face medical assessment.
According to your assessment
A healthcare professional from the Health Assessment Advisory Service will conduct the assessment. They are employed by the DWP.
They'll go over your medical history and the activities you can do in a single day with you. They will ask you questions to determine how your health condition, disability, or illness affects your ability to perform a variety of daily activities.
They'll also question you about what you said on your questionnaire; bring a copy with you so you can refer back to the answers you provided. If you haven't kept your own copy, ask the DWP to send you one before the assessment - use the contact information on any of your ESA letters.
The health professional may inquire as to how you arrived at the assessment center. If you say you took the bus, they'll make a note that you're allowed to travel alone on public transportation.
They might inquire if you go grocery shopping. Make it clear if you are unable or require assistance with this; otherwise, they may assume you can walk around the supermarket on your own.
They may inquire as to how long you have been sitting in the waiting room prior to the assessment. If you say 'Half an hour,' they'll note that you can sit in a regular chair for at least 30 minutes. Tell them if it was uncomfortable or if you needed to get up and walk around because you couldn't sit for that long.
You may also be subjected to a physical examination, but they will request your permission first. It is not the same as a GP or consultant examination, and you will not be required to remove any intimate clothing. You should participate in as much of the examination as you are comfortable with.
Do not feel obligated to perform tasks in the assessment that you would not normally be able to perform. If you do them on the day of the assessment, the health professional may believe you can always do them. Say something if you're not comfortable with it.
Consider how you feel on a bad and a good day, and how frequently you have bad days. This will assist the doctor in understanding how your health condition, disability, or illness affects your life.
Tell them about the things you find difficult or impossible to do, such as walking up stairs without assistance or remembering to attend appointments.
You can make a list of everything and bring it with you to the assessment. Bring a copy of your capability for work questionnaire to the assessment as well. If you're worried about remembering what you want to say, it's fine to check these during the assessment.
You should also bring any additional medical information that the DWP may not have seen. For example, letters from your GP or a specialist that you received after returning your capability for work questionnaire. If you need to keep the originals, you can bring copies.
If you require changes to your assessment, please let us know.
Check with the Health Assessment Advisory Service to ensure that the facility you're visiting has everything you need. If it hasn't, you can call or email them to request what you require.
Calls from mobile phones and landlines are free.
You should request any physical modifications that you may require. For example, a specific chair to sit on during the assessment or while waiting.
If you get nervous in small spaces, inquire about the assessment center's size. If the rooms or corridors are small, inform them that this may cause you anxiety and ask if the assessment can be done in a larger room.
If you require a spoken language or British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter, you must request one at least two days before your assessment. If you don't, there might not be one available on the day.
If your illness or disability makes traveling to an assessment difficult or impossible, you can request that it be done at your home instead.
The Health Assessment Advisory Service will request evidence to explain why you are unable to travel. For instance, a letter from your doctor or another medical professional.
Requesting that your evaluation be documented
You are not required to do so, but if you want the assessment to be recorded, you should request it as soon as possible before the assessment. If they are successful, the Health Assessment Advisory Service will only record the assessment's sound.
If you require assistance from a friend or family member,
If you want, you can incorporate them into the evaluation.
If you have difficulty communicating with a health professional, they can do so for you. For instance, if you have a mental health condition that makes it difficult for you to communicate.
They can also take notes so that you have a record of what happened during the evaluation. Any notes they take will be for your personal use only and will not be an official record of the assessment.
Plan your route to your assessment.
Consider how you will get there before your assessment date. You might want to:
- Allow extra time if getting around is difficult.
- Plan your route ahead of time so you know what to expect if you find being in public places stressful.
- If you are unable to plan the journey yourself, ask a friend or family member to assist you.
- Book your travel in advance, such as train tickets.
Request reimbursement for your travel expenses.
You can get your travel expenses reimbursed and deposited into your bank account. Bring your bank account information and travel tickets to the assessment center. The receptionist will assist you in completing a claim form.
You can also claim reimbursement for anyone who needs to accompany you. If you want to claim expenses on behalf of someone else, notify the Health Assessment Advisory Service before booking any travel.
You should save:
- bus passes
- tickets for trains
- tram passes
- any other public transportation tickets or receipts
You can get reimbursed for your gas and parking expenses. The fuel rate is 25p per mile. The amount you receive will be determined by the distance between your home and the assessment center.
Keep your parking tickets and receipts.
If you need a taxi to the assessment, you must contact the Health Assessment Advisory Service.
A healthcare professional will review your request and determine whether you have a medical reason to take a taxi. If they agree, you can get your taxi fare reimbursed.
If your request is denied before your assessment, the Health Assessment Advisory Service will only reimburse you for the cost of the equivalent public transportation journey.
Bring your identification and any medications you require.
You will need to bring identification to your assessment. A passport is usually the best option. If you do not have a passport, you must bring three different forms of identification. You can do the following:
- a copy of your birth certificate
- your driver's license
- a recent bank statement with your name and address on it
- a bill for gas or electricity
You should also bring the following items:
- any medication you require
- any assistive devices you use, such as glasses, hearing aids, or a walking stick
If you are unable to attend your assessment,
If you are unable to attend your assessment, you should contact the Health Assessment Advisory Service and request a reschedule. You must have a valid reason for not attending, such as being ill or having a family emergency.
If you do not attend your assessment without a valid reason and do not notify the Health Assessment Advisory Service, the DWP will assume you are fit for work and your ESA will be terminated. If you believe the decision is incorrect, you should request a mandatory reconsideration.
Calls from mobile phones and landlines are free.
Following your evaluation
The health professional does not make the decision about your ESA; instead, after your assessment, they will make a recommendation to the DWP. Discover how you will receive your ESA decision following an assessment.
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