Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Fit Note Requests Making Me Ill

Hello Everyone,

Thanks to these forums, I qualified for New Style ESA (cont-based) from Jan 2020 to Jan 2021. My GP is providing fortnightly fit notes that I have to request each time (since January). 

Having to request these fit notes every fortnight, with all the anxiety and worry this creates, is making me worse (I am unfit for work due to mental health issues).  If I don't get ESA, I can't pay my rent, and this is terrifying.

The DWP have written to me and if I don't get a fit note to them by 17/09, they state that I will have to undergo a medical assessment with them.  My current fit note ran out 14/09 and my GP hasn't responded to my online fit note request (I have to ring every time for them to send it to me).

Is there any way around this?  Does anyone have any knowledge about requesting a longer term fit note?  I just can't face doing this for another 5 months, it's really wearing me down.

All advice/information will be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,



  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Administrator Posts: 1,358 Pioneering
    Hi @MoochingMinnie and thanks for telling us about your situation.

    If your GP surgery is anything like mine I imagine they will be really busy and that's probably contributing to the delay you are experiencing.  

    Is your GP aware that you experience heightened anxiety around requesting your fit-note?  If not, would you be comfortable requesting a telephone appointment to explain the situation so they could work to better accommodate your need.  

    I appreciate it isn't easy when you have anxiety but your GP is there to support you through this.  

    Please keep us updated with how you get on.
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  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 4,515 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome you really need to speak to your GP, they can supply fit notes for a longer period of time

    It also may not b e a bad thing to have the medical assessment as this could result in your being assessed by DWP as not fit for work and then you dont have to send in fit notes anymore

    The assessment process will involve completing a form then an assessment (currently phone assessment) then a decisionmaker will make a decision

    If you have any further questions just ask
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 20,510 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome,

    You will need to continue to send those fit notes until you're assessed for the work capability assessment and a decision's been made on your claim. If you don't continue to send them then your ESA will stop.

    Can you ask your GP to write you a fit note for a long period of time? This will save having to contact them every 2 weeks because that's really not long at all. I'm sure most people would become very stressed if they had to continue to do this.

    You also said that you need your ESA payments to pay your rent. May i ask if you're living with a working partner? Have you put all of your details into a benefits calculator to check entitlement to Universal Credit? The housing element can be paid to help with your rent but whether you're entitled to anything will depend on your circumstances.

    Your ESA will be deducted £1 for £1 from any UC entitlement. If you have savings/capital of more than £16,000 then you're excluded from claiming. Savings of more than £6,000 will see a reduction of £4.35 per month for every £250 over that amount.

    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 758 Pioneering
    It's not quite the same but I had a similar issue a few years ago.  The GP that had been sorting my ESA forms left the surgery and the new one I was given had absolutely no understanding of my issues, despite them presumably all being on the system. 

    They basically said they wouldn't complete their side of the ESA form without me visiting the surgery.  I suffer from agoraphobia, social anxiety, contamination OCD and major fears around anything medical...so a surgery visit was impossible for me at that time.  I'd sent emails and letters trying to explain this but they were either ignored or purposely dismissed.

    In the end I was forced into another DWP assessment which I obviously had no choice in, but a jobcentre visit was slightly easier than a surgery visit so it was the lesser of two evils.  That was over 2.5 years ago, the assessor couldn't understand why my GP was being so awkward as the problems I had were obvious.  I haven't had to go through another assessment since!  If at all possible, I'd suggest getting the work capability assessment done asap so you can stop having to request the fit notes.  :)
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