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So how many people are actually aware of the details of the new ESA?

(132 Posts)
CrapBag Mon 15-Apr-13 20:47:33

I have been on Incapacity benefit for a number of years now, for having M.E./CFS and not being able to work. I have just been assessed for the new ESA and have received a letter telling me that I have been placed in the work related activity group and I am expected to attend interviews etc with them looking at getting me back to work. I wrote to tell them I disagree with the decison, they haven't changed it so I need to formally appeal.

I phoned the DWP today to ask them why they have put me in the WRAG as I am not fit for work. She then told me that they have found me unfit for work based on my form and they agreed that I could not work. confused The letter doesn't actually state this.

The bit that really got me was when she said that they could come up with a cure in 2 years time so you can only get ESA in the WRAG for 365 days. Only people with terminal illness go into the support group (according to her). Yes there could be a cure, it could be 10 years away but you can only claim this benefit for 1 year, even though they agree that I am unfit for work. In 1 year my money will stop. She said I may be able to get the income related ESA but I said we don't qualify as my DH has a full time job. She said the government say that you don't need any more money after this. I actually laughed and said that my DHs wages don't cover our outgoings as its not a great paid job (not minimum wage, but by no means a good income). She didn't care obviously.

She said they have passed a new law that means you can only claim ESA for 1 year. But they do agree I am unfit for work, but I still have to attend interviews with a view to looking at returning to work!!!

So for everyone who thinks the government are doing the right thing. No they are bloody not!! A blind person isn't terminally ill, so do they not qualify? People with things like Parkinsons, MS are not terminally ill. Do they only qualify for 1 year as well?

I am so angry right now. angry angry

CrapBag Mon 15-Apr-13 21:14:16

No one?

SarahStratton Mon 15-Apr-13 21:32:38

Everyone only qualifies for one year. Unless we're actually dying, we're all going to miraculously be cured within the year.

Or, you do what I had to do, and reapply with a slightly different problem. So my claim, which was originally for clinical depression, is now for panic attacks.

It sucks. Big time. Next election I will be voting for whomever pledges to remove ATOS, and this ridiculous bollocks.

CrapBag Wed 17-Apr-13 14:50:50

It is shocking that they can do this to us who are ill. Its not like we asked for it!!

Come next year I would quite easily be able to claim just for stress alone, then it will bring back my depression (I've had it 4 times already and I am already on the verge again and have been referred for some therapy).

My cousin has a condition that has made him blind, it is hereditry and it isn't going to be suddenly cured, but from what he has said, he isn't hopeful either!!

JackieOHHH Wed 17-Apr-13 15:37:48

I get ESA & I was put straight into support group and I'm not terminally ill. Sounds like she doesn't know what she's talking about... How can they agree you're not fit for work but put you in the work related group???
Appeal, and ask thm to send copies of everything they used to make their decision.

If you want more help, try joining benefits&work, it's a fab website that I've used for my inc Ben, DLA, and ESA, and they've helped me every time. It's about £20 for a years membership but well worth it.

CrapBag Thu 18-Apr-13 19:59:07

That website is worth it is it? I have seen it but with money already being tight at the moment I wasn't sure whether to get the membership or not.

I didn't think she was making any sense tbh, and I know people have been moved into the support group without being terminally ill. I asked her about what supporting evidence I need and she told me she can't say so I think they are told to say stuff that will put people off.

Basically I am unfit for work and they agree with that but because there could be a time in the future that I could work, or they could find a cure then I don't qualify for the support group but just the WRAG. I said what about the interviews and stuff that I have to go to and she said its just to see about what you could do one day. Said if they thought I was fit for work they would have just stopped my benefit and told me to claim job seekers.

MunchMunch Thu 18-Apr-13 20:20:49

My dm has just gone through this process.

She had her medical and was sent a letter to say that her money isnt changing then got a letter from the jobcentre for an interview. She went and was told she had been given a "2 year prognosis" where they didnt expect her disablities to change in that 2 years but that she would have to attend interviews at the jobcentre, thankfully the guy could see what a struggle and hassle it was for her to attend that he would just keep in touch over the phone.

We were told by him that anyone with a 6 month prognosis (get better/cure found etc in the 6 months) were to attend the support group that is mentioned in the op as they were likely to be looking to get back into work within that time.

Tbh, I still think that jobcentre workers are still trying to work out the actual details so everyone interprets them differently which isnt helpful to anyone.

CrapBag Thu 18-Apr-13 20:26:26

I think that is what they are telling me. I got a letter saying my money wasn't changing but to expect a letter calling me to the job centre. On the phone I have been told that they aren't expecting me to be better in the next year but then after that, tough shit basically!

I'll be appealing anyway so I'll see what comes out of that. Given that I haven't made a miraculous recovery in the last 11 years, I am not expecting to suddenly now.

mademred Thu 18-Apr-13 20:40:58

Disgusting! !, but you can claim jsa for years because your a lazy drop out.my dh awaiting knee surgery as now disabled, had dla stopped and now appealing. And appealing for esa.watch the crime rate rise because people cant live not to mention the suicide rate in the vulnerable.

SodaStreamy Thu 18-Apr-13 20:46:49

You get a medical every year so payment is only guaranteed for 1 year then reviewed however it does not mean you get it for one year only if that makes sense

It's a horrible system.

Have you looked into whether you qualify for DLA?

piratecat Thu 18-Apr-13 20:51:44

i don't even know where to start answering your post op.

all i know is that their decision with me, has sent me downwards, and i have been trying to make sense of the blatant lies after my medical. If you start to look into it, it's shocking.

I have spent two weeks in hell, very low and had some sort of breakdown at the weekend.

my thread about it also including ESA info

piratecat Thu 18-Apr-13 20:53:20

i've been on incap for some yrs, whole host of physical and mental health problems.

Not one point given. Many many people are going thru this. Currently put in an appeal, but just about surviving the stress here.

gallifrey Thu 18-Apr-13 20:54:47

I'm in the support group for ESA and have been since 2010 when I first applied.
I filled in the form last year and mentioned that I was slightly better but they still kept me in the support group. Ironically I wouldn't have minded being in the WRAG and having help getting a job that I could actually do and have support doing.

JackieOHHH Thu 18-Apr-13 20:56:58

Op that website is definatley worth it, worth every penny for me as I got everything I'm entitled to.
Completely understand the reluctance to pay for it, but it's so good, takes AGES to fill in forms because they take you through EVERY question 1 step at a time.
I rang them today actually ( the dwp) as when I got incapacity I was paid on a Thursday but my money hasn't been in for last 2 times, anyway, without bothering to tell me I now get paid Fridays.
And my reassessment is January 2015.
Any more help I can give I will, been doing this a LONG time smile

piratecat Thu 18-Apr-13 20:57:02

CAB website has lots of info.

google ESA and wade thru the mire, but it helps to read other's experience too. Tho it's hard reading at times.

just sickening.

piratecat Thu 18-Apr-13 21:02:06

i have been on that site, just can't afford it atm.

My gp knows nothing about ESA, she is giving me a sick/fit note atm but said she doesn't write letters, only if the DWP write to her. Which they don't because they don't want supporting evidence, because they don't want you to have your money.

catch 22.

I need to write something to support my appeal. I tried to write out all the descriptors that apply to me but have been given no points for, but tbh i am so exhausted, not sleeping that i can't face it.

Not sure they will take any notice of them anyhow.

Iwas sent to sign on, and the woman there said, you are obviously in no state to work or be signing a job seekers agreement. Why don't you appeal, we can't help you. So i went home and cried. awful

CrapBag Thu 18-Apr-13 21:08:20

mademred, according to what I read online, you can only claim job seekers for 6 months. I take it thats probably not the case. No one would actually employ me even if I did try and go for a job, I am unemployable.

soda so is what she told me crap then or is that in the support group that that happens? I have heard other people say that they have come to the end of their year and the money has just stopped then. It was reviewed every couple of years on incapacity anyway so that wouldn't be the end of the world.

I currently get DLA at the lowest care, so not enough to make a difference but it helps. Currently under review though so not holding my breath for that either.

pirate I know what you mean. I am seriously stressing and come next year if it does go like they say and it stops I really don't know what I am going to be like. It will have a massive impact on my health and my mental health, which is precarious at the best of times, its going to spiral I feel.

I will catch up on your thread when I have time. Thanks for the link. smile

chocolatebee Thu 18-Apr-13 21:12:30

Im on ESA WRAG amd have been for 2years. One year was under assesment until I appealed and won at tribunal.
Ive got another form tto fill out and aware I most likely get abother medical with ATOS.

They wont send me the form in large print so I can see it.

mademred Thu 18-Apr-13 21:15:36

Exactly crapbag, who will employ my dh with his operation looming?
The people in flats nr us are just dole dossers and have no intention of ever working.

CrapBag Thu 18-Apr-13 21:15:47

pirate my GP said she wouldn't write a letter unless ATOS asked her for it as they would pay. Now the DWP are telling me I need to provide supporting evidence, I phoned the surgery and they said I had to put my request in writing and they could do it but I have to pay for it!!!! angry Oh and they can't tell me what it will cost me yet.

RiffyWammal Thu 18-Apr-13 21:19:02

It is a horrible system to fight. I have secondary progressive MS. For several years after diagnosis I was able to work, then my MS started to worsen and I was medically retired (ironically I worked for the DWP, the very people who would later argue I was fit to work); I was put in the WRAG and stayed there until the 1 year limit came in and then my money was stopped. Meanwhile my MS had continued to gradually worsen. You would not believe the struggle I had trying to convince the benefits agency that I had a progressive condition and therefore needed to be reassessed due to it worsening (it had been two years since my ATOS medical) - and often the people I spoke to were patronising and nasty. It was a vile, stressful time.

Eventually my doctor and neuro's reports were believed, and I was placed in the support group and received arrears of payments for the time my money was stopped. The relief was immense.

So I completely sympathise, OP. I advise you to not communicate with the ESA people by phone - they lied to me, gave me conflicting advice and I had no proof of what they had said, and speaking to them caused me enormous stress. Put everything in writing and insist they do too and refuse to speak to them by phone. Familiarise yourself with the descriptors for the support group and identify how they apply to your condition, and put this in writing. Good luck!

yellowhousewithareddoor Thu 18-Apr-13 21:19:33

I have ME. I appealed when I went over to esa and found not to need it suddenly after assesment. I won the appeal but only allowed to stay onesa for a year. After that. If fact my husband worked made all the difference. I couldn't believe it. I was hoping to use the money to fund support in the home.

When it was incapacity it was independent of husbands work status them suddenly, although agreed not fit to work, I was expected to be completely supported by him :-(

joanofarchitrave Thu 18-Apr-13 21:19:48

DH does not claim ESA any more as I said he should not have to go through it again. But we've only been able to do this as I am now working full time. He's not really well enough to look after ds or the house so life is fairly crap a lot of the time and ds's progress at school has stalled. All makes good economic sense.

mademred Thu 18-Apr-13 21:22:23

Successful tribunals are usually done with other supporting evidence , not doctors unfortunately, but maybe a social worker etc, I have a close relative that is a clerk in this field of work.

RiffyWammal Thu 18-Apr-13 21:33:43

Oh and I was stuck in the same catch 22 with the doctor's letter - doctor wouldn't write to DWP unless they requested her to, DWP wouldn't write to request info from doctor because the onus was on me to prove I had got worse for which I needed a letter from the doctor. Then, after breaking down in tears in the consulting room - great heaving sobs, I was so embarrassed - my doctor wrote a letter in support which was then rejected by the DWP because she had written 'RiffyWammal has TOLD me her symptoms are worse', 'she REPORTS that her mobility has worsened' etc - apparently it should have been worded differently as the doctor was saying only what I had told her, even though many of the symptoms of MS (and ME) are not visible or measurable and doctors can only go on what the patient reports.

Eventually, I saw my neurologist who wrote me a report stating my mobility was worse than the last time he saw me and I was at last believed.

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