Asthma and ESA and other benefits

Hi everyone,

I was diagnosed with severe asthma before Xmas as my asthma has been getting worse over the past few years, I actually lost two jobs in that time due to asthma absences (they made me redundant but I was the only one who lost my job...)

So I have been claiming Universal Credit while unemployed and have tried to apply for ESA as I'm virtually housebound due to my asthma. First I was told last year by someone from the DWP "ESA doesn't exist anymore if you're on UC", the second time I tried again and was sent a letter saying my application had been sent to UC and heard nothing.

I applied again in Oct and after months of stalling by the jobcentre it seems there is an appointment in the post. Meanwhile I am still being treated as a "normal" ie. fit for work jobseeker despite the fact i'm sending in sick notes. I feel like they are basically stalling me as they don't want to give me ESA. Has anyone else had an experience like this, I feel like I am being punished for having asthma, despite telling them about the Equality Act it doesn't seem to cut any ice.

4 Replies

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  • Hi I am puzzled by this as if you are not fit to work you ring up and put a claim in for ESA. You then send your sick/fit notes to them and this is done automatically. Within 13 weeks you should get an assessment and it's at this stage they decide if you are fit to work, put in the Work Related Activity Group, or in the Support Group. Hasn't this happened with you? Did you claim JSA by mistake originally?

    If you are refused ESA then the only benefit to claim is JSA and you have to sign on and look for work. . if they think you are capable of some work then you are put in the WRAG group where you still have to sign on and look for work. . If you are deemed incapable of any work you are put in the Support Group and you haven't got to sign or look for any work at all, though you can work if you think you can and still retain some benefits.

    If at the end of this you have to look for some work then you can see the disability advisor at the Jobcentre and you can ask you doctor for a letter which can details the type of work you can do and how many hours etc.

  • Hi lilacil

    The problem is JSA has been replaced by Universal Credit where I live, and since I was unemployed first (ie before my asthma got worse) I was on the jobseeker component of it, but when my asthma got worse I was advised to claim ESA by the UC call-handlers last year only to be told it didn't exist when I applied. I think ESA is now part of UC rather than a separate benefit, because the work-capability form I was sent had UC on it rather than ESA. They seem to be calling this 'New ESA' on the GOV website.

    It's really confusing though as my claimant commitment is the 'all work-related requirements group' that I signed when I was feeling ok when I first signed-on. I got some advice from the CAB and when I asked my work-coach to put me in the 'no work-related requirements group' you're meant to be in if you're not fit for work, she refused and just told me to send in sick-notes and keeps asking me what work I can do, even though I've said I'm housebound at the moment, she seems to want to sort things out informally without going onto ESA. But I keep being threatened with sanctions for not doing the things the work-related things, lie going to a training company 10 miles away when I'm housebound! It's very frustrating as I feel like I'm in a no-win situation with them and they are well-aware of my limitations.

  • Hi look under Universal Credit then type in ESA in the search box. It is saying that you will have to attend a Work Capability Assessment and if you get ESA it will be added on to your UC. I hope this helps.

    Single people in Great Britain and couples and families in the other sites listed can claim new style ESA by calling the UC service centre below.

    UC service centre

    Telephone: 0345 600 0723

    Textphone: 0345 600 0743

    Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

  • If you're still having issues, try going to your local citizens advice bureau. They'll know how the local system works, and will take the time to go through it with you if you need help working out what forms etc you need to fill in.

    They seem to get a lot of people with these sort of issues so you won't be the first, especially if there have been recent changes or if it's extra complicated!

    Hope you've got it sorted already tho x

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