Monday, 5 October 2009

My Incapacity Benefit Medical

Although at the time I tried for the sake of my own sanity to blank out the experience I'd had in my incapacity benefit medical assessment I now think I should set down in words how disgusted I am/was by the whole thing. I've had a lot of experience with unsympathetic and dismissive doctors in my time but this one beat them all. Even now I am trying hard to write this sensibly and not rant and rave but when you have been treated so badly its hard to keep ones cool. I was literally made to feel like a waste of time and a dosser who just didn't want to, or was too lazy to work. For anyone that knows me this is the exact opposite of what I am like, I have always wanted to work and support myself and it frustrates me on a daily basis that I can't.

I am currently well enough to look for part time work (see posts below for the frustrations of this) but at the time of the assessment there was no way I could, and had been signed off for at least 6 months by my own GP. However in the assessment I was interrogated and asked if I could walk up the stairs of my house, bend my knees, and clench my fists, all of which I could do at the time but how this had any relevance to me being able to work for a day or even for more than a few hours at a time I don't know. My parents came with me for moral support and they agreed with my opinion that as soon as the doctor looked at me he had a hint of almost sarcastic scepticism about him.

The subsequent medical report made by this doctor concluded I was not incapable of work, based on a ticking of boxes style examination that had no consideration of my individual needs and condition. I answered everything honestly and openly and tried to make it clear that I did not see incapacity benefit as a long term option for me I just needed some help financially whilst I got back on my feet after my burn-out. I was completely dismissed and all supporting evidence submitted by my own doctors and GP was also dismissed. A quote from the report made by the incapacity benefit appeals dept stated that "the capability assessment examination is carried out to determine functional ability. In this way it is entirely different from the usual type of clinical examination that a doctor carries out." As far as I could see this served to mean that they could disregard all evidence to the contrary and base their report on whether I could in a short period of time (during the interview/interrogation) move about and answer questions. If this constitutes an ability to work then I would love for them to have found me some work that I could have done! A further comment in the report stated that: "The decision maker [who took away my benefit], when considering the points in the areas of disagreement, preferred the assessment by the examining doctor (...) because it was based on the observations made during the examination and the clinical findings" i.e based on a brief meeting with me that allowed them to ignore all evidence from my own doctors who had seen me regularly.

The whole thing left me shaken and miserable and my parents also felt frustrated with nowhere else to turn. Once again I felt that there was no place for me to fit into the world. Due to my struggle to recover I was deemed not ill enough to qualify for even the most basic support (all I had been getting from incapacity benefits was national insurance credits anyway!) I worry about my future as I have no national insurance, no pension and no social links to the world. I am currently able to work but finding employment suitable for me has so far proved impossible, but I am still looking! surely there must be a place for me somewhere?


  1. Strange thing is when I went for my job centre interview i was told i was exempt from having a medical. i dont understand why when other have to have it

  2. the only thing I can say to that is that you were lucky


  3. i'm so sorry to hear about your experience. i had a very similar one but thankfully i had a letter from a neurologist stating that a patient with fibro and cfs causes a "disadaptive brain response," which i handed in a the end of the interview. prior to that the "dr" who carried out the examination was very dismissive but his face changed once he'd read it. the whole "new" system is disgraceful and based on the theory that almost everyone who is ill is capable of some work. obviously devised by soemone who has been fortunate enough not to fall seriously ill.