My ESA Nightmare may be starting from here on in...

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justinbarrow
justinbarrow Member Posts: 338
edited 7. May 2014, 09:44 in Living with Arthritis archive
Had the letter today to say that the incapacity benefit is changing to a new better benefit called employment support allowance. What shook me is that the letter said they will call within 14 days of the letter date to see if I have any questions then listed the number they will be calling me on and if I have not heard from then within the 14 days I must make contact or my benefit may be affected! Should be up to them anyway.

They then said after this they will send a form to fill in, Not sure what to expect as I have heard loads about this change over.

The problem I have is that they also asked for another medical certificate around 2 weeks ago which they have got for another 12 months up until April 2015 so what happens with this?

I must be one of the last ones to be moved over as the letter says that all people in receipt of incapacity benefit will be transferred to esa by October 2014.

They also said that the new esa benefit does not pay for children :shock: so my partner will now have to apply for child tax credits instead of child benefit, they said they will pass on our details to HM Revenue and Customs who will be in touch to apply for this.

I feel a storm coming my way - Citizens advice told me when I get the form to make an appointment with them (is this what I should do) or just fill the form in, Just taking each day as it comes.

Comments

  • justinbarrow
    justinbarrow Member Posts: 338
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Does anyone know how long they give you to get the form back to them? Just thinking if CAB are quite booked up.

    Another question my wife has just asked is if I have submitted at their request another 12 month medical certificate then will I have to go for a medical as the letter said they will decide this "based on the information that I give" on the form they are to send.

    Cant sleep at night with pain and cant drive at the moment and now this but knew it was going to happen.
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,281
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Oh Justin this is all you need, why do they pick on the wrong people there are many that have never worked...I'm sorry I don't know anything about ESA but hopefully someone will be around that does, I just want to say good luck with it all...its awful to worry people like this on top of there illness, let us know how you get on..
    Love
    Barbara
  • toady
    toady Member Posts: 2,289
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi justin & sorry you've got this to deal with :( off the top of my head you can submit a reason why your form is delayed but you do have to ask and they then have to agree your reason, not sure if waiting for help with your form is due grounds but I would have thought so for people that need help filling their forms (as that could include needing help writing etc).

    I think (again from memory) people generally find they do have to attend the assessments despite submitting medical certificates, as although they say they will decide that based on what you submit there seem to be only certain cases where the information they have from your form is enough for them to decide.

    I will be around tomorrow & will muster a longer post with anything helpful I can round up, toady.
  • trepolpen
    trepolpen Member Posts: 504
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    hi justinbarrow ,

    you should be fine , they will give you a date that it needs to be back by , get all the information you need first , ie any consultant letters to your GP , maybe get someone to support you like a GP , rheumy nurse or OT

    make list of problems you have & check the criteria to qualify for ESA support group & ESA working group
  • justinbarrow
    justinbarrow Member Posts: 338
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    I asked my GP for copies of consultant letters and was told that they will contact the surgery if they need any info. My GP also told me that he will support me when or if they ask for any info.

    He said sometimes they don't request info and can make their decision based on the medical evidence they might already have (if you have already supplied info for a claim for a different benefit.

    He went on to say they only contact them if they really need more info as they are trying not to put to much strain on GP`s with all these changes.

    I wish I never had to be on incapacity as I would much prefer to be independent from the system but if you need help its there but now they are trying so hard to sort out all the ones that shouldn't be on it and causing huge issues for the genuine ones who really need the help, If that makes any sense.

    Will keep you all posted.
  • justinbarrow
    justinbarrow Member Posts: 338
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Forgot to add how did people on here go about getting form filled in, are you better doing it yourself or getting some help with it from say citizens advice.

    The lady at the Citizens advice told me yesterday that so many are faceing problems as they feel that their condition speaks for itself but in fact its a very "psychological" form to fill in. Whatever that means :?

    Are these welfare advisor's ex DWP as they seem very knowledgeable about it all.
  • brandy192
    brandy192 Member Posts: 73
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi I have just been through the esa process. I have a DIAL office in my town who helped me fill in my form and answered any questions I had as I had never applied for benefits before I found them really helpful and not quite as busy as CAB as they only deal with disabled people. The DWP contacted my doctor I think they send them a form asking them to fill in your medical details so I didnt need any more evidence. I had an assessment from which point my medical certificates were not needed and about two weeks after the assessment I got the decision from DWP which in my case I was put in support group for three years. There are quite a lot of horror stories about this process but apart from the big delay in getting an assessment I found it not too bad. I would say just be honest about your condition and how it affects your daily life. If you are unsre of anything DWP are usually quite ok with you ringing them for answers.
  • villier
    villier Member Posts: 4,426
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    When I was going through the process CAB were brilliant they even filled in the forms for me as I had a flare going on at the time. Be honest but tell it as having the worst day. If you have any letters from consultants etc send them with the form, if I was you I would send them recorded delivery the DWP are good at losing stuff, my letters went amiss and I had to send more copies. Good luck let us know how you get on.
    Smile a while and while you smile
    smile another smile and soon there
    will be miles and miles of smiles
    just because you smiled I wish your
    day is full of Smiles
  • toady
    toady Member Posts: 2,289
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi again justin. As others have said CAB or DIAL are a good starting point but it is still worth getting your head around the basics of ESA & the forms as it will give you a head start on things if you have a good grasp of how it works.

    Also as others have said there are a lot of horror stories and it can turn out to be not as bad as you fear but always best to be well prepared.

    ESA does not work in the same way as IB, in that with IB you needed a certain points total from the descriptors to be found eligible. ESA is different in that 15 points across the descriptors will now qualify you for ESA as far as the Work Related Activity Group goes (where there are requirements involved, such as you would be expected to attend appointments to look at what help you might need to get you back into work of some sort etc). BUT you now need to score the MAXIMUM points for any ONE descriptor to go into the Support Group, where you are not required to attend stuff.

    Here is a link to a good explanation of how the points system works. http://pseudo-living.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/esa-descriptors-and-points.html (correct at time of last checking).
    Also this forum is excellent for information about filling in your form though you would need to register (again, you may not want to fill in your own form but it pays to have a look at it). http://thefullfacts.com/esa/forum/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=1626 See some of the links at the bottom of page for a good starting point.
    Likewise this is a very good straightforward guide to form filling and the forum itself helpful if you have queries as they really know their onions http://dwpexamination.org/forum/useful-templates/esa50-guide/

    My main tips would be:

    Consider asking to have your assessment recorded, it's a good policy & sometimes can buy you time while they rustle up the recording equipment

    Take someone with you

    Submit as much supporting information as you can

    Fill in the form as on a bad day, as mentioned. Don't think that because you are physically able to do a certain task you are compelled to tick yes you can do it. You have to be able to complete it 'reliably, repeatedly & safely' - ie more or less as a normal person would. If you can physically walk 500 yards but in practice only do so once a month because you're very fatigued all the time, or it will give you a relapse, that isn't 'being able to walk 500 yds' in any meaningful sense.

    Be aware that there are pitfalls in the way questions might be asked of you. For example asking if you have a pet can lead you to being assessed as able to bend & feed it, walk it, etc.. asking if you have hobbies & interests such as football can be interpreted as 'can sit comfortable to watch a whole match on tv' 'can concentrate for long periods' 'is not depressed' etc - so make sure you qualify your answers, ie that someone has to walk your dog for you.

    It's a lot to think about but doing your homework (much as it's the last thing you feel like at these times!) can save a lot of trouble especially as the appeals system is not something you want to get caught up in if at all possible.

    Hope that helps & good luck with it all.
  • trepolpen
    trepolpen Member Posts: 504
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi justin , I got a care support worker to help us fill in the forms , we had a letter from my consultant to my GP saying I was not well & sent copy of it with the form & sent few other things with it

    about 6 weeks later got reply saying I was in support group of ESA without needing a medical , the FullFacts forum above has the information you need to quality for the support & working group ,
  • justinbarrow
    justinbarrow Member Posts: 338
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Thanks for the help trepolpen :wink: I have some letters from consultant what he has wrote to gp but the very recent one I have misplaced so will have to get a copy of this from Doctors.

    I was about to change doctors aswell (recently moved out of my current GP practice area) will prob wait until I get this out of the way as I don't want to in between GP`s when medical info may be requested.

    Still waiting for the phone call from DWP - Just thinking if they ask you medical questions on this call as I might have to get dates of appointments to hand if this is the case.

    Thanks again - Will keep you updated :roll: