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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 dh awaiting knee surgery as now disabled, had dla stopped and now appealing. And appealing for 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.

piratecat Thu 18-Apr-13 21:38:09

this is the problem.

their own work capability assessment is shit, the people at atos fill in your answers on a computer generated programm. things therefore that are applicable to you get lost in this transference of info from this medical, into the system.

then, it's like chinese whispers, as THAT report then gets condensed, and a Decision maker makes decisions base on some stuff that quite frankly looks made up or not even about you.

We know why. So that people get no points. So that they have to be subjected to such strain that they don't bother appealing.

Then people are going to their gp's, or consultants, and asking for letters. The gp's havent got time. Well some do make time, many don't want to, and some charge, whereas others don't.

Then you have to start looking elsewhere for help, for someone to say yes you are ill. Most ill people, struggle to get through every day. They don't have social workers, or know anything about welfare officers, but they have to strt contacting strangers who are inundated with requests for help.

Then the appeal. Which could take months and months. Thousands of backdated cases. It's costing the public millions more than was spent on Incap in the first place.

Yes to weeding out the spongers who yu see on tv doing the lawn mowing whilst claiming DLA. But not like this. It's not working, and it's pushing ill people to the limit.

You don't get hassled like this on JSA, yes there are sanctions, but you could well be well enough to keep up with the system. Those on ESA or DLA are predominantly ill, and then they have to prove it to the 9th degree.

Oh and this all takes so long that even if they are given the benefit they are entitled too, they are getting a new claim form in the post only weeks later, cos their initial claim is up.

So they go to another atos medical, and they are found fit for work.

then it starts again.

what the fuck.

piratecat Thu 18-Apr-13 21:40:52

crap bag and riffy it makes me so angry

i have been crying for days. online trying to look for help, for advice. not sleeping.

my ESA85 is a joke (the assessment). full of rubbish.

joanofarchitrave Thu 18-Apr-13 21:46:01

Look, I agree with your post, but please, please don't talk about spongers. Don't talk about being able to mow the lawn while claiming DLA. It is perfectly possible to be eligible for DLA while still able to do some things, including work, and even mowing the lawn. Perhaps that person is able to mow the lawn because they are not working. Perhaps that person is working and claiming DLA, as DLA is not related to work status, nor is it about health, but about disability and the extra costs of that.

piratecat Thu 18-Apr-13 21:48:57

i didn't mean to generalise sorry.

i can mow the lawn. i was just picking out a scenario in my head.

piratecat Thu 18-Apr-13 21:50:33

ESA and DLA are different i know. x

just pissed off. single parent no support and worried. bah

piratecat Thu 18-Apr-13 21:52:22

thats the problem. it's about what boxes you tick.

and even if you tick them it doesn't matter. then they ask for letters from gp's and don't take them into account either.

sorry x

joanofarchitrave Thu 18-Apr-13 21:54:59

i'm sorry for snapping as well. a bit fraught with it all. i do agree with your post x

piratecat Thu 18-Apr-13 22:04:56

thing is i knew nothing two weeks ago of what i wrote in my post.

it's shocked me beyond, and i have been so unwell the last two weeks culminating in this breakdown at the weekend. i have never felt so bad.

I am sorry it's taken you down too. You just think, i am not well, i'll pop along to the medical and tell them the truth. Like before.Then this.


SodaStreamy Thu 18-Apr-13 22:23:31

piratecat.........have you spoken to your GP about your breakdown?

If not would it be an idea to make an appointment with them?

Just worried you are trying to cope with this alone

piratecat Thu 18-Apr-13 22:27:10

yes i spoke to her yesterday. has upped my meds. she's a bit wishy washy. i have another pre booked appt with her next wednesday. i made that appt two weeks ago, to discuss my health. she saw two weeks ago i was upset, i broke down in the consulting room.

thankyou for your concern. x

CrapBag Fri 19-Apr-13 10:10:11

So who should I be contacting for supporting evidence? I thought they meant a statement from my doctor, who I don't even see about it really as there is no point, apart from my taking Gabapentin to help me sleep (which also helps with my siatica).

I have no idea who is suppose to help. I don't see any consultants or anyone at the hospital. I saw a neurologist once who told me I had only been referred because my GP was female and a male wouldn't have bothered to refer me, he told me I was just depressed (at the time I wasn't). Then I saw a psychiatrist who told me I wasn't depressed and it was CFS. I was relieved but that was that and this was years ago when I was first getting diagnosed. 6 years ago I had group sessions with an OT but it was about learning about the condition so you can manage it better.

I have had nothing and my GP (different from the one who diagnosed me) had never said anything about referring me to anyone, but she helps me manage the symptoms as there isn't really anything else you can do with ME./CFS.

piratecat Fri 19-Apr-13 10:20:15

crapbag, i don't know the answer. I am in the same situation.

I hope JackieOoh comes back to the thread, she has knowledge.

From what i have read, a letter of support can come from someone who knows you as well as professionals. Which in itself is odd really, as we have seen here that a letter from Riffy's gp was discounted because of wording.

where are you in your claim again, sorry i am knackered. x

piratecat Fri 19-Apr-13 10:25:16

to get into the support group you don't have to get points, but you must satisfy one of a list of separate descriptors. will try to find.

On Incap, you were treated as separate income from the spouse, but on the ESA contirbution based they have changed it which is very unfair.

CrapBag Fri 19-Apr-13 23:15:02

I am at the stage where I have been put in the WRAG, I wrote asking them to review their decision and they said they hadn't changed their minds, now I am gathering stuff together to appeal. I have kept a diary of my days, although its only about 5 days long as not DS is back at school, my days are very typical so I will just do a day about that. I have written to my doctor asking for a supporting letter, I have contacted some thing for people with long term illnesses (don't know if its a group/charity or whatever) in my area and someone said they can come to my house next week and help with my appeal, maybe they can do a supporting statement but then they don't actually know me.

Where are you in this piratecat? It really does suck that they are doing this to us. I certainly would never vote for this government and they are alienating such a part of society in their crusade.

piratecat Sat 20-Apr-13 09:30:22

crapbag have you actually sent off an appeal form. it has to be done within 28 days of their decision.

you can put the basics on the form, its the GL24.

I have done that, and I had to request on that form to be put on assessment rate. (the same as amoutn as JSA)Now trying to gather further support, but am unsure if I can send it in to them to go with my appeal form. or whether to just take it along on hearing day.

Are you sending extra stuff in?

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Sat 20-Apr-13 09:45:51

I am going through this too. Really feel for all the others in this position; I went to see my GP yesterday and tried to hold it together but the thing is, all the stress of being able to keep a roof over ds' and my head is stopping me from sleeping and eating now.

piratecat Sat 20-Apr-13 10:01:57

I totally understand where you are right now. hugs to you.

we can all help each other here. i started a thread about my breakdown last week, but i should have ESA in the title, and now luckily Crapbag, did one about her terrible situation which has opened up this topic.

I have to go offline today, but will be back later. Feel free to pm me. x

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Sat 20-Apr-13 10:07:13

I lost my appeal to be placed back into the support group, where I was until ATOS decided differently which just happened to be after the government brought in new rules.

I live in fear of someone saying I have to find a job as, as much as I would love to go back to work, I cannot. It is something that I have had to learn to accept (I feel such a useless person in society) and this has now made me worse.

Just because you have a mental illness, it doesn't mean you are not ill.

ItsYoniYappy Sat 20-Apr-13 10:38:15

Yeah I'm going through this too (as pirate cat knows)

I have PTSD, just now I am in a state of hyper-vigilance (awake every 2 hours checking the room, jumping at the slightest noise and my mind racing so fast I cannot even read a bloody book, or even a large post on here with no paragraphs tbh) and the only way for it to go is to relax. I also have PTSD related tinnitus, so sleeping is only done by popping a pill every night to switch my head off from thinking. I have done so much googling I dream of PTSD and appeals and men with wigs on.

My appeal is on the 2nd, my GP advised me to go see CAB, they forwarded my papers to Welfare Rights, I had an appointment for appeal but it was a Saturday and couldn't face it alone so asked for more time.

Welfare rights are coming out to me again next week, I still have no idea how I will even get to the appeal as welfare rights meet me at the building of appeal. hmm

You need your Doctor or anyone else you see regularly to help you with letters or evidence you are unwell (why the sick line isn't enough angry I don't know) I don't even know if I have one of mine as I haven't got round to going out to the centre to get it hmm I have one from my Therapist.

I made the mistake of dressing nice, doing my hair and makeup whilst waiting on a taxi paid for DWP/ATOS to my medical, this lost me my claim. I also couldn't take anyone as my mum was watching my DC, and tbh I don't talk to her about PTSD as to her it doesn't exist, this lost me points.

You have to show them you on a bad day. Your absolute worst day. For piratecat that may have been the last few days, how humiliating is it sitting crying in front of people? No-one wants to do that but if you want your benefits you have to.

Tbh I didn't have this, at my medical I was anxious but not like this. The only person I would wish this on is my X.

On the consumer websites you are advised to appeal the decision for this group and try get to the support group but I cannot see me appealing and appealing, it would make me unwell all the time.

JackieOHHH Sun 21-Apr-13 16:00:46

Hi, OP I understand about affording to join benefits and work, it seems a lot, but I PROMISE you it's worth it. It really is.
If you follow their guides and go through forms step by step then it helps, immensely.
Any report from your GP would be dismissed anyway, so don't stress about that, it seems atos think your GP will write anything to support you and it's all lies ( to them),
Have you got a consultant? Even if you don't see them? Who diagnosed you? Who sorts your meds?
When my consultant retired ( git!!) I panicked, as the other consultant there lost me my DLA years ago, by writing a load of crap and refusing to alter it, even though he'd not even MET ME!!!
So, I asked my GP for a referral to a bloody fab consultant in Leeds, and I saw him for a while, until a new one came at my home hospital, and now i see him.

You can ask your GP for a referral, to any consultant you like, perhaps ask around? Or google local hospitals for consultants who specialise in your area?
Yes it's leg work, but eventually you will find someone who will support you.

I've been going through all this for YEARS, I was diagnosed in feb 1998!!
I've got tricks and ideas you wouldn't believe, so if you want any help/ advice or support letme know.

By the way, by using benefits and work I was successful when my DLA was up for renewal. I'd been on high rate mob and mid rate care, they downgraded me to low rate mobility...but I won it back Ian very short space of time.
They also helped me go from incapacity to ESA, straight into the support group with no medical.

JackieOHHH Sun 21-Apr-13 16:06:26

Some points......
Never ask for a reconsideration, just go straight to appeal, as they reconsider as the first step of appeal anyway.
Don't fill out forms as is you're living your worst day every day as they just won't believe it. You have to stress how you struggle, how things make you hurt/ breathless/sick, but you've to say it in a certain way..
Eg " question....can you climb the stairs at home?
" I do go upstairs, but I have to stop a few times and sit & rest on the stairs, I get extremely breathless, and dizzy. I need someone with me to help and encourage me to carry on. I stop and rest at the top"
See? Yes I can climb the stairs...but it's not that straight forward. And that's the kind of thing they look for.

If you go to a tribunal, use your stick/ wheelchair, whatever aid you need.
Remember, they are watching you from the second you arrive in the car park, and yes, sadly, making yourself look nice will go against you!

Darkesteyes Sun 21-Apr-13 17:28:53

This makes my blood boil the way vulnerable ill people are treated. My DH has disabilities so i certainly know where you are coming from having gone through it.

But can we please please not have the divide and rule. You cant know for sure the ins and outs of whats going on with your neighbour.
Divide and rule is just what they want. Its why the Mail prints such scurrilous stories. Its why the Gov was so soft with the Leveson because lets face it this divide and rule rhetoric is coming from somewhere.
And its working. I had a disagreement with another carer on fb who called a single mum a scrounger.
Meanwhile the Gov and the right wing press are laughing so lets not assist them with the lack of compassion and ugly rhetoric.

CrapBag Sun 21-Apr-13 22:30:14

JackieOHHH yes any tricks or anything you have advice on would be greatly received. smile Your description of the stairs thing is very helpful as well, thanks.

I haven't sent my appeal form back yet. I thought I needed to gather evidence to send with it (no idea what though really) but actually I don't know if I do now. I have been waiting for my doctors letter, although I have heard nothing since I requested it, I was keeping a diary of my day to day activites so they could get a better idea, is this a good idea? I also have someone suppose to be coming to see me this week from a disabled group thing but I am waiting for him to get back to me. In the meantime the deadline for my appeal is getting closer, although last Friday I still had 3 weeks so I am giving myself 2 weeks from this Tuesday to send it in.

From reading some stuff on that work and benefits website, it seems like I can send the form back now telling them I am appealing then send on evidence later on, does anyone know if this is right?

I have already asked them to reconsider, when I phoned them they said I had to do this first before being allowed to appeal, they didn't change the decision.

From reading on that website, I think I may be able to argue that I cannot repeatedly mobilise 50 meters within a period of time or get them on the special circumstances rule, which I am fairly sure is what got me through to the WRAG without having a medical or anything in the first place. Something about having an effect on your physical or mental health if you had to attend work related activities. I feel that could be the one to work. I have been through all the other things that get you into the support group and I just don't think I fit their criteria.

Its interesting that the woman on the phone told me you can only get in the support group if you are terminally ill, somehow I didn't believe her.

CrapBag Sun 21-Apr-13 22:30:55

Also as this is in Chat, it will go after 3 months, shall I get it moved? Would this be a useful thread to keep?

CrapBag Sun 21-Apr-13 22:32:57

Also I had already heard about them judging the way you look when you turn up. I will turn up looking haggered and make sure I overdo it before, just so they can see. I don't use any walking aids though so this may not look great. I will have DH with me as well so I won't be strolling in on my own and I'll get him to drive, like I have done with my medicals before, I know they watch out the window and have cameras in the halls and stuff.

AmberLeaf Sun 21-Apr-13 22:47:16

Someone close to me had recently had her appeal decision, putting her into the support group from the WRG.

She did wait a long time for her appeal decision though.

I think she got a welfare and benefits advisor from the CAB to help her fill in the gl24 appeal form.

I have heard good things about the website mentioned upthread, everyone has said it is worth the money.

I second what Darkesteyes says about divide and rule, madamred, for all you know your scrounging neighbours could also have a lifelong disability.

Good luck OP and don't leave sending back the form to the last minute!

piratecat Sun 21-Apr-13 22:54:18

hi there. you can send further paperwork to them if you don't get what you need sorted in time for the four weeks deadline.
i sent my appeal form off pronto as i wasn't awarded anything so had to say why i disagreed with their decision and i had to ask to be paid on the assessment rate. for anyone out there make sure you write that down on the GL24 otherwise they will not bother giving you any money whilst you appeal.
you don't have to be terminally ill to be in the support group. you can Google the descriptors.

yes to getting this put in another topic. it Will be useful.

PearlyWhites Sun 21-Apr-13 22:59:54

Tbh I am surprised you are entitled to ESA at all if your dh works is it not means tested then?

AmberLeaf Sun 21-Apr-13 23:09:56

That's part of the changes Pearlywhites.

If a claimant has a spouse/partner then they won't be entitled to it [after a certain time and depending on which category they are in I think]

AmberLeaf Sun 21-Apr-13 23:10:52

Yes definitely don't have to be terminally ill to be in support group.

trulywasted Sun 21-Apr-13 23:13:06

I'd like to add my endorsement of the B&W website, it helped me get DLA a few years ago after I was turned down. I got rejected for ESA but didn't go through with an appeal as I was able to get Income Support instead (not for health reasons - I am a carer for my disabled DD and I was able to get HRC DLA for her thanks to other forums and online guides as well).

There are also other forums online with lots of threads and archives, think Consumer Action Group and BBC Ouch forums were ones that I browsed for more advice and tips. I used to spend hours Googling and reading through threads like this which helped me get an understanding of how the tribunal panels and Decision Makers think.

I got awarded DLA (HRC, LRM) for MH issues, for three years. I will have to apply for PIP when it changes over, and I'm very careful now to maintain contact with a consultant psych and care co-ordinator so that I know I'll have evidence of appointments and ongoing care, and also to keep up appointments with my GP, with the thought always in the back of my mind of building up evidence for DLA renewals. When I did my last DLA application, I sent in practically all my medical notes (you can ask your surgery to photocopy them for you under the data protection act). When you visit your GP/consultant, they will write down what you've mentioned during the appointment, so I'm always careful about what I say and I make it clear if I'm having difficulties.

I agree with those who said upthread that you really need evidence from a consultant, not just a GP. My MH has improved, but only due to the high level of support I get and being able to pay for things that help me from my DLA. So in the longer term, I'd encourage anyone who'll need to apply/re-apply for any disability benefits in future to push for referrals to a consultant and/or other support, e.g. OT. Even if it doesn't really help you with your condition (I've had some pretty useless counselling and OT sessions tbh), it still helps tick the boxes for the DWP and that's all they're interested in sad. Having said that, it can take a few months to even get a first appointment sometimes, so it might not come through for any current appeals, but it's definitely worth bearing in mind for the future.

CrapBag Mon 22-Apr-13 09:45:29

Ok I have an appointment with my GP this afternoon about my supporting letter. She has said on the phone that she can't give an opinion on whether I can work or not and only give a fact based letter on how my condition is, and it will cost my £25. I am not sure if it would be worth the money unless she can say that having to attend work related activites would worsen my condition as that is the base for my appeal for the support group.

Pearly what, so I shouldn't be entitled to any money of my own then because I happen to be married? hmm

I can get contribution based for 1 year (anyone can only get contribution based for 1 year now) because I used to work and paid enough NI credits. After that you can apply for income based but then as my DH works more than 24 hours a week, I won't be eligible for any money at all, regardless of the fact that his full time wages don't actually cover our outgoings, which are hardly lavish anyway.

JackieOHHH Mon 22-Apr-13 10:01:54

crapbag your GP letter won't help. So it's £25 wasted IMHO as they disregard what GPS say.
Send your appeal now, and then send any further supporting evidence as soon as you get it.
I am in the support group and I get the highest amount, due to age addition and length of time I've been on it, my oh works full time, so it is NOT means tested.
Please please consider finding a consultant or specialist in your area that will be able to help you. One good letter can make a huge difference, honest.
The benefits and work website takes you through everything, from applying,to appealing, to tribunal.
I know I keep banging on about it, but I promise you it's worth it. They also have practice guides on there to fill in to see what you're entitled to.
Also, there's a forum on called disability & dosh, well worth a look, lots of helpful people on there ( including me!!)

If you have mobility problems, make sure ( if you go to an assessment or tribunal) that they are either on the ground floor or have a working lift...RING & CHECK!
My oh helps me get out of the car, he has to hold my hands and pull me out, ( not always, on good days I manage), but if I go to an assessment then I make sure he does ( they're watching!)
Never push yourself, if you can't do it, or it would cause you pain or discomfort then say so.
Without knowing about your condition I can't guide you as much, I'm just going on my problems.
Remember how long it takes you to do things, don't worry that going up to the toilet takes 10/15 minutes, as if its true then it shows how hard life is.
If you want anything specific answering just ask, I will help where I can

RiffyWammal Mon 22-Apr-13 10:09:43

I am in the minority because I didn't feel Benefits and Work was worth the subscription that I paid. This may partly have been because the issue I had was a new one (the 1 year rule had just come in) and they didn't know enough about it, but also I was trying to request a reassessment due to worsening of my illness and there was very little advice about that problem too. The message board is worse than useless; it is closed for most of the day, meaning you can't submit new posts, and a couple of times I wrote a long question and tried to post it, only to get a screen telling me the board had now closed, and my post was lost. The times of day the board is closed aren't even regular set times, you have to read a stickied thread daily to find out the times which is rather ridiculous.

I found the benefits board on Money Saving Expert more helpful and user friendly.

JackieOHHH Mon 22-Apr-13 10:11:06

Ok, I've just re read and see that your condition is classed as ' one of those things' so you're gonna have to do some leg work here.
You need to ring or write to the neurologist and the OT, explain why you're contacting them and could they put your diagnosis in writin?
You could ( as I did), ask them to see you again, so they can see how bad things are for you.
Even though it might be years ago, they can see you again, the reason they haven't will be because there's not much they can do MEDICALLY.

In my situation, i am not going to get better, my trachea is narrowed and my vocal chords paralysed, that ain't gonna fix itself.
But I still see my consultant every 6 months, as much at my request as his, as I like to know that he ' knows' me still, and also I am some sort of an enigma and he's determined to try to mend me!

So, google your local hospital, see if there's a neurologist and get a referral from your GP.
Also, ask about OT support, get this ball rolling now, today, cos its hardto get these benefits without evidencial support.

I've even got a copy of a ct scan I had done, and sent them that!! That cost me £50, but again, it was worth it.
You will have to spend money at some point probably, even if you just request your medical notes from your GP & hospital, again, worth it to see what they're saying!

piratecat Mon 22-Apr-13 10:50:08

Jackie you have lots of good knowledge. thanks for your help here.

I am not sure what to say to my gp on wednesday about my mental health. Should i ask to see a consultant, at the hospital. What sort of consultant, a psychiatrist?

I need someone to back up my mental health. It was totally overlooked. I got no points at all for my physical stuff either.

One thing that is confusing is that they changed some of the descriptors on the new ESA50, and judged those ones but i had filled in the old ESA50. Particularly the standing and sitting, they changed to standing 'or' sitting.

So confused.

Sarah0378 Mon 22-Apr-13 11:10:54

The thing is some people can work even if they have an illness. I have MS and work full time. I can manage the symptoms even when I get optical neuritis in one eye and if I'm careful the fatigue is also manageable. I know lots of other MSers who work although they have been told they don't need to.
DP has a serious eye condition that means he is unable to look at screens or paperwork and he uses a screen reader and is a software developer, it's hard but he does it.
My Dads best friend has had Parkinsons for years and he still works.
These are just some examples. All of these conditions vary and levels go up and down so I don't think it's unreasonable to reapply every year. Once a year you have to fill in paperwork, what's the big deal?

AmberLeaf Mon 22-Apr-13 11:27:35

Once a year you have to fill in paperwork, what's the big deal?

The big deal is not everyone is the same as those you have mentioned.

For the people who are too unwell to work, reapplying every year and worrying for weeks/months on end about the outcome that may well leave them with no money coming in is tortuous, unnecessary and detrimental to their physical and mental health.

Because even if that persons medical condition/symptoms/general health have not changed at all, at the stroke of a pen, they may be classified as fit to work when they are clearly not.

There are accounts of people that had the above outcome even though they were still unwell/disabled, the person I know was last year put into the work related activity group despite being no better and if anything, worse than when she first claimed ESA. she, on appeal like many others was then put into the support group.

Yes many people with disabilities do work, often with the financial support that DLA gives, but many more are not able to.

The person I know used to have a very well paid job and would dearly love to be well enough to return to work. Words on a letter from DWP won't cure her though.

It is a big deal because it is your lifeline hanging in the balance.

AmberLeaf Mon 22-Apr-13 11:30:48

Such decisions are made by people who are not medically qualified and who often know nothing about the condition of the claimant and who seem to ignore medical eveidence.

So it isn't just a case of fill in a form and you'll be ok.

piratecat Mon 22-Apr-13 11:32:41

ESA is there for people who can't work or need help getting into work. It's not a case of it being a bother to fill in a form, it's the fact that nothing you answer in the form is read properly. The ESA system is failing, and it wants people to fail their medicals, in the way it is written, in the way the decision maker applies points.

There are thousands of ill and vulnerable people who can't work, and are fighting a system that is not there to help them, but to trip them up.

Should you try to get ESA, you would face this system.

ItsYoniYappy Mon 22-Apr-13 11:34:12

I've been advised by people with PTSD to ask for a psychiatrist as they prescribe, I did ask but was advised I needed to do CBT with a psychologist. Which I have done. PTSD is still here, worse than ever. I have some floaty music to relax to, told to relax, no idea how to relax.

Appointment with Welfare Rights tomorrow. I've been reading around and some people say the appeal is more like a court setting and they will ignore welfare rights person and talk to me.


ItsYoniYappy Mon 22-Apr-13 11:37:14

Believe me Sarah I would love to work, I have zero life right now.

My father is also unwell but can work, believe me I get told to 'pull myself together' every week, so thanks but your comment is very unhelpful

Sarah0378 Mon 22-Apr-13 11:57:59

And the benefits are there to help you if you genuinely can't work, but a lot of people can and claim them anyway. So if people have to reapply every year then that will hopefully separate the ones whose circumstances have changed and no longer need them, meaning there will be more money in the pot for people like you who really do need them.

Or would it be more helpful if I were to be outraged that the country is trying to get a handle on the out of control spending, because if it carries on there will be no money for anyone.

When big changes happen it takes a little bit of time to smooth out the problems and fine tune it but I really think that long term this has to happen. It is for the benefit of people that will need help in the future this is happening. Too many people have, and continue to claim when they don't need to and that is why the whole system has to be reviewed.

JackieOHHH Mon 22-Apr-13 12:35:26

I kind of see where you're coming from sarah but it's really not helpful
There are still many, many people claiming DLA who don't need it, but seem to know how to beat the system,and reapplying every year wouldn't make a jot of difference. If you know the loopholes, then you're laughing.

pirate ask to see anyone who will know abut your condition, perhaps ( and I've done this too) research wherein the country there is a consultant who is dedicated to your illness.
I'm in the north of England but have travelled to Birmingham purely for this.( top ENT consultant in the country)
You need constant backing, not to just see someone, get your letter, then go away again for a year or 2, it's NO hardship to them to see you every so often, even with no change, it's helps to keep YOU in their MIND.

BreconBeBuggered Mon 22-Apr-13 13:58:34

As I understand it, it's not simply a question of re-applying, or doing a bit of paperwork once a year. If your ESA award was contribution-based, the benefit will stop after 12 months and you can only qualify again once you have paid enough NI contributions. Which will be difficult if even ATOS acknowledge that you're unlikely to be fit enough to return to work, as in the OP's case. I'd love some indication that I'm wrong about this, as a close relative is in a similar situation and has no idea how they'll survive on her partner's income when her benefit payments stop.

hewedvoices Mon 22-Apr-13 14:13:10

Yes, that's how I understand it Brecon. I was on income-based ESA and that was stopped when I moved in with DH as he was suddenly expected to 'keep' me. We're fortunate that he has a good job so we can manage on his salary though, and luckily I still get my DLA.

I've always been on income-based ESA as I didn't have enough contributions to claim the other type. But apparently, if I'd been on contributions-based ESA, I could have continued to get ESA regardless of DH's salary.

It's a horrible position to be in, to be completely dependent on your partner, and it's a heavy burden for them too. DH is brilliantly supportive and doesn't pressure me to work as he knows it would be too much for me, but I can't help feeling guilty sometimes. And for those who don't already have partners, it must be much harder to find someone to have a cohabiting relationship or marry, as they'd be expected to support you as soon as you start living together. I even lost my child tax credits based on DH's salary, although they're not his dc. My friends who are on income support (as single parents) are in the same position - it's really a sexist, old-fashioned view of relationships where the ill or destitute lone parents are expected to find a nice man to take on their children and look after them hmm

AmberLeaf Mon 22-Apr-13 14:35:53

Sarah that is a very simplistic view of what is happening and its the view that the government want people to have.

The reality of what is happening is quite different though.

The main point seems to be 'if you are genuine you have nothing to worry about' which is really not the case.

There has been mass propaganda to influence the public into thinking that benefit claimant with disabilities/long term sickness = fraudster/slacker/malingerer.

That is both untrue and unfair.

The aim of the gov is to cut the disability welfare bill by 20 or 25% [I forget which exactly] yet by their own admission the fraud rate is only 0.7% so clearly, there will be some genuinely sick and disabled people who will lose vital support, people who are unable to work/work without support.

You are fortunate in that despite having a disability, you are still able to work, should your condition change for the worse and work becomes impossible, you will be jumping through the same hoops as the people on this thread are currently.

If you really think that 'the benefits are there to help you if you genuinely can't work' then all I will say is, I wish you luck and good health, because things are changing and not for the better.

piratecat Mon 22-Apr-13 14:39:05

Sarah. we would prob all agree that change to stop money going to the wrong person is a good thing.

you are not seeing or reading the point here. the new system is making it so that many ill people are getting nothing. not just people who you think are probably scroungers.
i was shocked and disgusted when i started to look into the cases where people had been totally ignored on their forms.

piratecat Mon 22-Apr-13 14:40:53

amber you put it better.

AmberLeaf Mon 22-Apr-13 15:03:21

Thank you smile

CrapBag Mon 22-Apr-13 18:36:25

Sarah I actually find your views a massive part of the problem. You know some disabled people who can work so you are assuming that many others can as well. This is pure crap. Your posts are making me angry and not what this thread has been about so far. We have all been helping each other and I have found it really useful.

As others have pointed out, it is nothing like just filling in a form once a year, if only. Narrow mindedness like this is such a part of what we are battling against. "but a lot of people can and claim them anyway" Yep, you are one of those people who think that the majority of people claiming sickness benefits are not actually in need of them.

ItsYoniYappy Tue 23-Apr-13 12:13:09

I seen someone from Welfare Rights again today.

It's so difficult thinking back to what my health was like in Aug/Sep. I filled in the EA50 in February medical in June my medication has been changed about 6 times since then,I got lost in the DWP system confused

Anyway for anyone doing this alone, we went through the points sheet to see where I had lost points or not had any where I should. I meet with a Lawyer and a Doctor next Thursday. I have to get 9 points. I have 6.

I'm not holding out tbh. I find it difficult to tell others face to face

piratecat Tue 23-Apr-13 13:23:50

hi yonniyappy. it must have been so hard to go through it all, i am pleased you have got it done now.

what day is your tribunal?

Crapbag, how are you today. Do you think you could get this thread moved to health/mental health so it doesn't get lost?


trulywasted Tue 23-Apr-13 13:39:41

YoniYappy you can make a request to see your medical records, if you ask your surgery. There's a sample letter here. They can charge up to £50 for photocopying, but if it's anything like my bundle that will be worth it, as there's often valuable evidence lurking in there, plus there will be records of all the meds you've been on. (My records were so thick that the cost for photocopying went over £50 but legally that's the max they can charge). I also found some letters written from consultants to my GP which I'd never been copied into angry but they served as useful proof about my condition (and it was easier to get hold of them than trying to ask for a specific letter from my consultant).

Will the welfare rights person be able to attend the tribunal with you?

JackieOHHH Tue 23-Apr-13 13:46:01

Trulywasted speaks a lot of sense, you'd be surprised what's lurking within your medical records!!

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 23-Apr-13 13:52:12


We've moved this to General Health now at the OP's request.

ItsYoniYappy Tue 23-Apr-13 14:21:09

Sorry I haven't made it clear, the Doctor and Lawyer are who will be attending my tribunal on behalf of ATOS so it's next Thursday afternoon.

They really do go into what you do in a day, it's difficult describing literally 'nothing'.

She also advised I may be asked if I have had a family party or any type of 'gathering' last year which, I couldn't/didn't attend, I did I had 3 things, I managed one out of the 3, so she asked me about the other 2 things I hadn't attended.

Last year I was sleeping away days, when the DC were at school, this year I cannot sleep unless I take a sleeping pill. She asked about 'change' how I would cope if tribunal time/date were changed etc.

Asked how I would react if they had a job for me on Monday. I was truthful I would be delighted, then reality would kick in and I couldn't do it.

She asked if I had any accidents around the home (I dont - I live in away where I wont)

She told me that the area I live in the GPs have now completely stopped giving out letter for these medicals.

I was reading over (with her)my EA50/medical papers and the person who gave me that medical was talking nonsense. Over a lot of things, she had just made them up. One being I talk daily with my mum on a mobile, then another hour on the house phone, another I sleep until 11am each day, I love watching the soaps every evening confused

I still have to work out how to get there next week and look over the form again

ItsYoniYappy Tue 23-Apr-13 14:24:55

Thank you Rowan.

I may be a bit late with my GP records now, someone from welfare rights will meets me at the place next week 15 mins before. I think I have a letter from mine, I just need to collect it but if they don't believe his sick lines?

My psychologist letter isn't great apparently as it goes into detail about my illness and counselling and CBT but doesn't say I am unfit for work.

CrapBag Tue 23-Apr-13 22:50:46

Yoni they won't say you are unfit for work, its not their place to. I saw my GP yesterday about a supporting letter for my appeal and she said she can give factual based stuff on my actual condition and how it affects me but she can't give an opinion on whether or not I can work as she doesn't understand the benefits system. I imagine thats the case for medical professionals in general.

She is however, going to state that attending work related activity will make my fatigue and depression worse. I think that is enough tbh.

Jackye do you think it is worth getting a copy of your medical records anyway? I'm not sure I want to pay out £50 unnecessarily as I can't really afford it, plus I am paying £25 for the letter from my GP as well.

JackieOHHH Wed 24-Apr-13 08:04:30

Crapbag my experience of getting my medical records proved well worth it, but it's up to you, to ME it was a case of spending money to gain evidence and get my benefits...

FYI benefits and work website currently have an offer on, which expires tomorrow at midnight, for 20% off annual membership. Type in code 68452 when paying. It brings the cost down to £15.56.
There is a story on there of a claiming with ms who sued atos and won....
Some very inspiring stories.
Re: medical records, you may be surprised what's in there, letters you've never been copied into, consultant notes, X-rays, medicine lists, EVERYTHING you've seen anyone about will be in there.
I got mine from my GP and from the hospital....I got a copy of my ct scan too, all quite expensive but by very worth it.

gallifrey Wed 24-Apr-13 21:15:50

I got a copy of my MRI scans and all the reports for £20 from the hospital.

piratecat Thu 25-Apr-13 07:46:34

just to say my doctor is referring me to a psychiatrist to have something more concrete.
she was really helpful and when i asked her did she know what's wrong with me the last few weeks she said its Conversion Disorder.
Had not heard of it before but my slurred speech extreme tiredness and disconnected brain feeling match this. its caused by stress. thanks DWP and Atos.

On top of depression its no wonder i have had this breakdown.
i have finally written out the descriptors that apply to me and with a friends help gone through what was not right in the decision makers report. that is out the way thank god. Will send it all off.
how is everyone

ItsYoniYappy Thu 25-Apr-13 09:03:17

That's good news about the psychiatrist Piratecat, I'm sorry you are so unwell just now. I have the GP again today (I will be asking about psychiatrist has my psychologist has done what she can) I cannot see my GP until 17th May so don't hold out much hope until I see him, I am living much the same as you, they call mine dissociating/disassociation disorder and even my sleeping pills are only working for 3-4 hours just now. I call it obsessing over ESA appeal and stressed out to the maximum.

I read the Consumer Action Forum during the night and read some positive outcomes but some equally negative ones.

I still need to work out how to get there, I might have to ask my Dad,he detest me being on benefits and thinks PTSD is some made up illness for sick lines. How are you supposed to get there if you have 6 points for 'not going out' ? confused

If I was ready to work, I would be working, I had a fantastic job when things went bad with my X, the plan was to separate from him, get counselling, get better, not get counselling then PTSD.

Hope everyone is well.

CrapBag Thu 25-Apr-13 09:49:32

My doctor is referring me for GET, there is a new thing in the place where I live that deals with M.E./CFS so she is referring me to see if they can do any good. I haven't said much about my mental health but I did tell her that I am on the brink. I already have an appointment with a mental health team next week anyway to assess what treatment I may need. I think that is psychologists as well. I'll be interested to see what they say. I am on my 5th bout of depression now and am trying this as oppose to going back on the medication although I am not ruling it out later on as it does help.

Yes, thanks again ATOS and the Coalition for making these changes for all us 'scroungers'. hmm

SodaStreamy Thu 25-Apr-13 09:55:45

Hope everyone is doing as well as can be and was wondering if this has happened to anyone?

i asked for a copy of the report the person completed for my DLA (and was awarded) and received a copy of an ESA Medical report form dated May 2012 however I never saw a person to get examined so it seems to have been completed without ever having seen me

I have mobility problems and advised ATOS of this and that I could not make it to the centre on my own so could someone come to the house.

i never heard back from them so this seems to have been completed without even seeing me confused

This may be of interest to some

CrapBag Thu 25-Apr-13 10:00:49

Wow soda cannot believe they filled one in without actually seeing you!! shock They just get worse.

CrapBag Thu 25-Apr-13 10:05:01

Just read your link Soda, that is shocking that a company that deals with disabled people don't make adjustments for them attending medicals.

Another document I have saved in case I ever need to reference it in the future!

ItsYoniYappy Thu 25-Apr-13 11:04:10

I seen a GP and as I thought she wants me to wait until my appointment 17th May to ask head of GP practice (only GP who knows how to treat PTSD) to see a psychiatrist, she agrees seeing the psychologist/mental health nurse is not enough.

I have some pills which I swore I would never take again, anti-psychotics (zombie pills) but if they drug me enough to get from today to the tribunal I will take them.Tbh my tribunal is in the afternoon, I am thinking of taking no medication from Wednesday night,let them see me at my worse!

I can drive but just not to where it's being held.

MadameOvary Thu 25-Apr-13 12:33:23

Hi all, not read all of thread so sorry if this has already been covered but am a member of B&W site and would be happy to check it out for you. Just PM me.

gallifrey Thu 25-Apr-13 14:10:43

When I had my medical I was using an electric wheelchair and had told them that it would be difficult to get to the ATOS building which was in the centre of Hastings. I asked to rearrange one appointment as I didn't have anyone to accompany me and they then helpfully sent me a map and the walking directions from the train station!

2old2beamum Thu 25-Apr-13 18:04:57

DD2 Downs pacemaker asthma 27 yrs was summoned to ATOS centre 28 miles away @ 09.15
First catch 4 buses! Of course i took her.
She was placed in the WRAG We appealed and she is now in support group.
DD3 also Downs heart problems 24 yrs sent forms I duly filled them in sent evidence letter back in 2 weeks put straight in the support group
Good luck

piratecat Thu 25-Apr-13 19:16:35

disgraceful. angry

WhoWhatWhereWhen Thu 25-Apr-13 19:20:36

Contribution based ESA is only paid for 12 months if you're in the work related activity group, you then have to claim Income based ESA.

CrapBag Thu 25-Apr-13 22:36:03

I know Who but I won't qualify for Income based because my DH works more than 24 hours a week. Even though his income doesn't cover our outgoings (we don't smoke, drink, have Sky tv, go out for meals or anything like that but we need my money) it doesn't matter, I will be entitled to nothing else after a year unless I get in the support group on appeal. I don't think I would even be allowed to claim job seekers as they have agreed I am not fit for work and even after my money stops they will still pay my NI contributions, so I will not be actively seeking work. I would basically be in limbo and as my GP put it "what they just leave you high and dry!?"

I have someone coming around tomorrow from a charity that deals with disabled people. He said in the emails that he can help me so fingers crossed. I have just typed out as much information as I can think of to send with my appeal form, trying to explain exactly why work related activity will make me worse, what my full time job was and how I tried reducing it before being off sick permanently, when I went back to college and retrained and tried work again after a few years off sick but it didn't work out. I also gave a basic account of my general day to day life when DS is at school, what I do and what times, when I rest etc etc. I also kept a diary during the easter holidays (although I only done it for 6 days, keeping writing all the time was really hurting my hand). Time when I was exhausted because I wasn't getting to sleep in the day. I hope they can get an accurate picture from it. With that and my GPs letter, I hope it is enough. She told me basically what she is going to write and it does support what I am saying well, without her being allowed to comment on my capability or not of work.

Does anyone know if a supporting letter from a spouse is any use? DH is the person that knows me best and he can tell more than me sometimes when I am worse. But then the tribunal may think that they would say that anyway.

piratecat Thu 25-Apr-13 23:32:21

i don't think it would do any harm. a friend has written a letter for me.
As we don't have any idea what they take notice of and it seems it varies then a letter from your dh it is.
i have no specialist letters. my records for when i last visited a gp for my illness and when i first got incapacity ben are over ten years ago.
i am not sure they would mean anything.
god its a bloody minefieldsad angry

CrapBag Fri 26-Apr-13 10:22:44

I'll ask DH to write something then I'll forward it with my GPs letter then.

I don't know how much notice they will take of the £25 letter anyway! According to people they don't listen to your GP (what the medical professional who knows you far better than the person you see once does hmm) but after her telling me what she was going to write, it completely backs up what I am saying so I think it may be worth it.

I don't have a specialist though, never have done but I am now being referred for GET, so we'll see what thats like. By the time the appeal comes up then I may well be seeing someone else anyway.

2old2beamum Fri 26-Apr-13 10:33:39

Why do GPs charge, mine didn't charge me for either letters for my DDs.

ATOS makes my blood boil How can any respectable person do a such an evil job. sad

CrapBag Fri 26-Apr-13 17:25:53

Thats actually a good question 2old. I don't actually know. Maybe its because yours were for children?

I know that if the DWP request a letter from a GP they pay them for them, which is why my GP didn't do a letter when I first asked. Now that they didn't ask but I still need a letter, I have to pay myself. It had better bloody to the job!! I'm not exactly flash with cash and £25 is quite a bit of money to me.

On another note, I now have a representative for the appeal. A very nice and helpful man who came to see me today from some disability thing that I found on the net. He went through what I have written already, gave me a couple more things to write and will be my representative. Plus he gave me advice on other stuff as well like blue badges, HB, possibly getting SS involoved to see if they can help with cleaning.

He did also say though that getting in the support group is very very difficult and you do have to be extremely ill. So not feeling hopeful but still going for the special circumstances rule.

gallifrey Fri 26-Apr-13 18:37:43

Who was it that came round Crapbag? He sounds like a godsend!

CrapBag Fri 26-Apr-13 20:50:51

He is an advocate for disabled people in my city. I found the name of someone who works there from an M.E. website then when I went on the website, this blokes name came up so I emailed him telling him what was going on and would be be able to help. He emailed back saying yes and he could come and see me if I wanted. He came, and yes, was extremely helpful. Makes such a nice change!!!!

SodaStreamy Fri 26-Apr-13 23:50:08

CrapBag have you applied for DLA?

The reason I ask is because I was placed in the Work Related Group then applied for DLA , which I didn't want to do for pride reasons.......I didn't want to be labelled as disabled because in my own my mind I was still the same person and trying to cope

It was a bit of surprise and a wake up call when DLA was awarded because I sort of had to acknowledge to myself that I was indeed unwell.

When DLA was awarded I was automatically transferred into the ESA support group.

Please consider applying for DLA if you haven't already because it really does help.

So glad you have found an advocate, wishing you the best although I wouldn't agree with him on having to be extremely ill, I don't class myself as extremely ill

JackieOHHH Sat 27-Apr-13 09:28:25

sodastreamy DLA has now been replaced by PIP, which is what new claimants will now have to 'attempt' to claim.
It's MUCH harder than DLA to get, which was hard enough as it was.
I find your comment interesting about not wanting to apply for DLA, but also being surprised when you got it...which kids says to me you didn't try very hard...well all I can say is well done! There are people struggling like crazy to get it so maybe you can share your secret?!

The benefits and work website also has links to pip, and sample forms.
Hope everyone is doing ok, and crapbag I hope you start to see some light at the end of that tunnel.

ItsYoniYappy Sun 28-Apr-13 11:01:45

I cannot stop thinking about Thursday. I keep panicking then crying, my boys will be back soon so I will hopefully I can stop thinking about it. She kept reading out the following to me but I cannot think straight, I don't do change, moving house lead me to get PTSD but I have to forget that and think back to last year. confused

14. Coping with change

a) Cannot cope with any change to the extent that day to day life cannot be managed. 15

b) Cannot cope with minor planned change (such as pre-arranged change to the routine time scheduled for a lunch break), to the extent that overall, day to day life is made significantly more difficult. 9

c) Cannot cope with minor unplanned change (such as the timing of an appointment on the day it is due to occur), to the extent that overall, day to day life is made significantly more difficult. 6

d) None of the above apply 0

They don't apply as I don't make appointments, if the appeal was cancelled (an example) I would be majorly pissed off and tell them I'm not going. They can come see me.

I actually feel sick. I have to feel like this until Thursday. Argh! CAB filled out my DLA form, I don't care if I get it, I'm not pushing it. I don't even know what the form said. I just answered questions and by the time she had left she had spoke to me about my appeal, my debt, my DLA, some place I have been referred to and I didn't know if I was coming or going by the time she left.

Information overload. I also sent my MP a stinking letter about ATOS and how unwell they are making me and how their system stinks... in attempt to not go to this a appeal and he showed them it. I'm terrified.

JackieOHHH Sun 28-Apr-13 15:05:08

You need to think about those statements above....
It sounds to me like you fit a) or b)... This is where benefits & work helped me, they help you to put that question into context for your day.
For instance on Thursday what would it do to you if they rang & changed the time or venue of your appeal? Yes you'd be pissed off but you don't get points for that, would it mean your day was made significantly harder or would it mean something even worse?
Answer the question honestly & be prepared to have to explain your newer as best you can.

JackieOHHH Sun 28-Apr-13 15:05:42


CrapBag Sun 28-Apr-13 15:31:14

Soda I have just had my DLA reviewed as it is coming to the end of the peroid that I got it for. I got lowest rate care and I have been awarded the same again for an indefinite period. I think they have put that as they know it will be PIP from now on but I have just got in under the old DLA system.

Its a shame really as they have pointed out many things in the letter that I need help with but it isn't quite enough to give me anymore than the lowest rate care. They admitted that I walk slowly but it isn't enough to give me anything for mobility.

I asked my advocate about a supporting letter from DH and he said there is no point as the tribunal won't look at it. They would expect my DH to say whatever that supports me anyway which is what I thought. He did tell me to include the treatment I am about to get for my depression and the fact that my GP is referring me for GET. He said it helps to show them that I am trying things.

He also told me to use the word repeatedly a lot in my statement as I really have to get them to understand that doing any activity repeatedly is going to make me worse. He said I should put in about the emotional aspects of having this illness and how it makes me feel, he was reading through what I had already done and things I had out about looking after the children. He also said back up things you say with actual examples. Like if I am trying to use a sharp knife in the kitchen and I am having brain fog, I have dropped the knife before due to my clumsiness and it landed point down inches from my foot, stuff like that but he stressed use real examples.

CrapBag Sun 28-Apr-13 15:32:42

Oh he also told me to wait until I have the GPs letter and send it with my appeal as he said it is likely they won't match it with my paperwork and it will just get lost if I send it later.

Lolapink Sun 28-Apr-13 15:52:00

Crapbag, can I just clarify one of your points. My husband and I are both blind he works full time. I lost my job before he moved in I had to claim job seekers allowance I wasn't even eligible for incapacity benefit. So very much doubt I would get ESA. My husband moved in 16 months ago, and because he works full time we are eligible for nothing.

CrapBag Sun 28-Apr-13 15:55:56

Lola thats dreadful.

My advocate was talking to my nan at one point and the subject of my cousin came up, who is blind and doesn't work. He doesn't get the highest rate of benfits but apparently he should. My advocate told me to tell my cousin that he can help him and he should get in touch.

Isn't there someone who you can try and get in touch with, like an advocate and they can give you so much more help and information than you can find out yourself? He told me things that I didn't know about and his help is proving invaluable.

NutraxForNerves Sun 28-Apr-13 16:00:39

Lolapink - Blind Person's Tax Allowance:

Lolapink Sun 28-Apr-13 16:12:00

Thank you nutraxfornerves. I hadn't heard of this. Crisp bag no we don't have an advocate to be honest I have given up fighting the system. My husband lost his cane the other day that was £70 for a new one, they aren't free. He also pays £40 an hour for mobility lessons. Luckily I have a guide dog which means my mobility is free.

ItsYoniYappy Sun 28-Apr-13 17:27:00

Thank JackieOOH That makes sense, if they changed time and venue I couldn't deal with it. I would have to have them cancel if they made a change and possibly go up on even more medication if the appeal date was to be pushed to May.

I will read the rest of the thread in a minutes, I'm off to give myself a shake.

My parents tell me to do this weekly.

Still have PTSD. They don't understand you 'cannot shake it off'! Tbh I have been doing things I don't do, i.e counting out pills in my head and thinking if I'm not here I don't have to deal with this.

Thankfully that's my feeling sorry self part of brain. My lone parent bit kicks in after that and tells me to quit it! Dc need me.

ItsYoniYappy Mon 29-Apr-13 06:35:48

Lola that's just terrible, does the Blind Person Tax help at all?

I'm forgetting my appeal for today (hopefully) it's making me ill and I cannot change it,i.e. not go at all, so I need to quit worrying about things I cannot change.

ItsYoniYappy Mon 29-Apr-13 14:28:14

Well some good news, I have been awarded DLA, mobility and care lower rates. No idea when it starts, wish this could get me out of ESA appeal but it seems not

JackieOHHH Mon 29-Apr-13 17:33:37

Your DLA will start from the date you first claimed, so if it was a while ago it'll be a nice payment for you!

It's more evidence for your ESA appeal, not a huge help, but it's definatley a step in the right direction.

piratecat Mon 29-Apr-13 18:03:36

Yoni that's good about the DLA, did you only just fill it in the other day?

I wonder if there is any point me trying. Or was it the new PIP you applied for.

You could take that award notice with you to the tribunal. Have you worked out how you will get there yet?

ItsYoniYappy Mon 29-Apr-13 19:48:56

Unfortunately me being me, I didn't realise the form had to be in by a certain date (and felt I hadn't not a chance in hell tbh) so the form came on 28/02 and was to be back by 15/04, by the time I called CAB to advise them I had the form, I couldn't get a home visit until 15/03 so CAB said they would put a note in explaining why the application was late. They didn't, so I called to explain - DLA will look at it again but money is being started from 15/4/13 through to 12/04/15. 4 weekly (I think).

So they received it on the 17/04/13. Last week I had 3 letters one asking why DLA form was late and saying they would not proceed until they heard back.

Another letter saying they were writing to my CPN (I enclosed my ESA letter)

Final letter saying I would hear in approximately 8 week. confused

This isn't the new form, CAB wanted to get the form is asap as 'new forms' (PIP) were starting this month. Could you ask CAB Piratecat? I know it's terrible but I have no idea what she wrote on the form, she just asked me lots of questions.

My Mum and Dad are taking me on Thursday. Tbh it's not the best option but the only option.

ItsYoniYappy Mon 29-Apr-13 19:49:53

That doesn't make sense I will check my calander grin

Mr brain is like a sieve

ItsYoniYappy Mon 29-Apr-13 19:52:37

Form was to be in by 10/04/13

CAB only appointment was 10/04/13

DLA being allowed from 1/04/13

Not been allowed the 28/2-12/4 - but if they get my letter (which seems to have crossed path with this one) explaining why my claim was late.

Anything is a bonus juts now tbh

ItsYoniYappy Mon 29-Apr-13 20:01:39

DLA being allowed from 13/04/13

Gah keyboard issues

JackieOHHH Mon 29-Apr-13 20:26:55

You can request the dwp send you copies of what they've got...
When I've applied for anything I've photo copied everything I've sent them, as they are renowned for losing forms.
I'd request it if I were you, ring them and ask for a copy of your form, it's also invaluable for when you re -apply or renew as you can see what you've written previously.

ItsYoniYappy Tue 30-Apr-13 08:12:28

I was thinking the same Jackie obviously I know what points/descriptors I have met but I would like to see how it has been worded.

I seen a sheet yesterday for the descriptors for support group and meant to copy it to , I will go googling again today

piratecat Tue 30-Apr-13 09:53:04

i got a copy of my esa85, with the full report. i rang to get it, but they wouldn't send it to me unless i wrote for it. f**ckers

ItsYoniYappy Tue 30-Apr-13 12:33:42

Mine was full of nonsense piratecat I wonder if they have my files mixed up but then I didn't have PTSD last June, I filled in my form in Feb 2012.

ItsYoniYappy Tue 30-Apr-13 12:35:21

Oh I actually feel quite sick at the thought of this now. Nice one ATOS. I am hoping that by some miracle they will look at my file before Thursday and I get a call saying I don't have to go. I know I am dreaming. I've wrote out the points I'm looking for and a few examples next to it.

piratecat Thu 02-May-13 12:17:34

good luck today let us know how you got on x

piratecat Fri 03-May-13 09:41:52


how are you, how did it go?x

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