We all feel suspicious, and rightly so, when our government outsources what we feel they should be responsible for.
Facing a company that can make huge decisions on your behalf, very possibly affecting your whole life, is scary. Many feel it is unfair that people we’ve never met can decide our foreseeable fate.
I have been through Maximus myself, and wrote about my first trip to them on this site. I know how it can make you feel and while everyone’s experiences will be different, I know it can be unsettling for many of us. I’m due back this December to have another assessment, and with this in mind, I wanted to give a few tips to make it easier
• Take someone to help fight your corner.
Think carefully about WHO you take: your partner or best friend might not be the right person. Take someone who knows how your disabilities affect you every day and make sure they can explain that to the accessor. Take someone who can stand up for you (but politely) if need be, someone who you trust. Don’t take someone who gets angry easily.
Don’t ever feel embarrassed or ashamed about taking someone. Remember even superheroes have back-up – even self styled ‘loner’ Batman eventually realises helpers aren’t bad.
• Be polite to assessor.
• Take copies of your ESA claim – photocopy them
• Don’t downplay your symptoms but don’t deliberately over-exaggerate
• Prepare some answers, and questions
• Take snack and drink
You might have to wait a fair amount of time to be seen, so remember to keep your energy levels up (very old fashioned, but solid advice!) Also sorry to sound like your mum, but especially if your assessment is in the morning, have some kind of breakfast, it has been proven by brainy scientists to help
Oh, one extra tip:
Bring your own mini survival ‘tools’
An assessment can be nerve-wracking and stressful. It can leave you mentally and/or physically exhausted, don’t feel bad about this, but also take steps to keep this to a minimum. Your know yourself and what will help, but some ideas could include:
• Favourite outfit & comfortable shoes – it mentally gives you a boost
• Favourite book/magazine/music – try to choose something relaxing
• Anti stress ball/rubber band/squish toy
• Mints/rescue remedy drops
• Cushion/neck pillow
• Painkillers (if get sore/tense while waiting/sitting)
Also if your assessment doesn’t go well, don’t despair, there are always appeals. And as Anjelica Huston once quoted in a kick-ass movie:
“Nothing is final until you are dead, and even then I’m sure God negotiates”