I was referred for an OT assessment back in April. I actually saw the OT just over two weeks ago.
One of the great many questions I was asked (the form had approx 17 pages) was about social involvement. I told him about volunteering for Citizens Advice. He asked if I liked it and we somehow got onto the topic of benefits advice. He mentioned that another service user he had been to see had shown him the medical report from their work capability assessment for ESA.
Being that for almost two years now I’ve been doing a lot of supporting clients through either the Mandatory Reconsideration or appeal processes for disability benefits I knew where that story was going. The medical report bore no resemblance to the service user’s actual medical condition/abilities.
The OT was shocked by that. I wasn’t. I told him how I often see things like “Emma can sit for an hour” or “Emma can concentrate for an hour” in reports and when you ask the claimant tells you they weren’t asked. Digging deeper often finds they were asked something innocuous like “did you watch TV last night?” and the assessor has assumed that “yes, I watched bake off.” Means they sat and concentrated for an hour. Never mind that they may have lost track of what was happening part way through and may not have sat to watch it.
The OT said he would tell the other service user that he should think about coming to Citizens Advice for some help. I hope he did, and they do. I’ll never know.
I got a copy of the assessment form in the post today. It contained some inaccurate information. One of the bits is marked as not applicable but I wasn’t asked if it applied to me (and it does).
Rather like the other service user’s work capability assessment.