Across the country, Citizens Advice and bureaux are campaigning to ensure sick and disabled people are being treated fairly when claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
As part of the application process Claimants undergo a ‘Work Capability Assessment’ which determines the person’ eligibility for ESA but often claimants require additional medical evidence from GP’s and Medical Professionals.
Such evidence costs; a cost claimants have to meet. We are finding that many simply cannot afford to do so. Furthermore, the assessment itself is failing to deliver accurate decisions at a cost to taxpayers.
For many Claimants the additional evidence would make a difference and would help to ensure that the outcome of the assessment was made on accurate information. But there is no funding for this evidence.
As part of the campaign Citizens Advice researched the different policies of GP surgeries and other medical professionals.
We want to find a way to work together to develop methods of providing and funding the evidence needed without disadvantage to the Claimant, Medical Professional or the Taxpayer.
If you are a Claimant, GP or Medical Professional and would like to share your experience you can do so at www.surveymonkey.com/s/VBXRJN7. The more information we have the stronger our campaign will be.
Free, confidential advice and help is available from Cumbria Rural Citizens Advice Bureau on any aspect of benefits, debt, housing, consumer problems, employment and any other problems.
We have various outlets across South Lakeland and can also give advice over the phone - telephone 015394 46464 for an appointment and help.
If you don't need us for advice, how about helping us by becoming a volunteer or making a donation? Not many people realize that we are a charity - see our website for details www.cumbriaruralcab.org.uk.