Ataxia UK

ESA benefit

This is a long story so I'll keep it as short as I can.

I feel as though I would like to take the Government and DWP to court over their treatment of me.

When I stopped working nearly 6 years ago I was paid by my company for a year and then applied for ESA.....I went for a medical and failed having only attaining 6 points.

I appealed and with the help of a help line manager I had my first tribunal after waiting 10 months.

I won and was awarded 24 points.

The new Welfare reforms stopped my money at the end of April 2012.

Again I had help from the help line and Lyn Smith was constantly speaking to them on my behalf (she was such a great help to me).

This went on for nearly a year and then they turned round and said to her 'They are not treating my case as urgent' (why didnt they say that months before instead of messing us about)

They then sent me for another medical in Aug 2013 and only awarded me 21 points.

I appealed for the second time and had my appeal tribunal in Sept 2014.

I failed and was stripped of all my points (fit for work now in their eyes) despite my consultant in Oxford saying in a letter that it is clear I'm not fit for work.

It took the DWP a DAY after the judgement to send me letters getting me off ESA.......P45 as well from them.

I would greatly appreciate anyones views on this and I will provide you with more details if you wish

11 Replies

Dear Lonesome - ( - Don't be! - do you have a local Support Group??)*

This is appalling treatment! I have just today lobbied my local MP regarding extortionate fees for repairing stair lift - (£120 call-out fee!) - and also highlighted that the government not so long ago declared it's committment to Rare Disease sufferers. (And what since then....? ) - Keep shouting; lobby your local MP; get your GP on board; do you have a specialist neuro- consultant? (if not why not....?)

Let's not let them get away with this dismissive "don't care" attitude!

Ataxians Unite!!

* Contact Tina Thatcher at Ataxia UK head office for details.


Thanks for replying......I do have a good local support seeing my MP on the 14th at his surgery here......he said in a letter to me before he couldnt do anything about the verdict from tribunal because it was in the judicial system and on going.

Its not now as the DWP have taken me off ESA so I want something done by him!

I see a Dr Nemeth at John Radclif in Oxford ( since 2009)

If I dont get any help from my MP.....I'll see if the local paper will be interested.....any exposure will make more people aware of the treatment dished out to people that are unable to work.....the hoops we have to jump through.

Its not right!

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Quite so! Good for you! Nag your MP (gently - briefly, and with a smile!) until he acts for you. (That's his job!!) Glad you in a Support Group. Where do you live? And local paper is always a very good option! Speak to the editor - get a pic and an article!

- national press even better! (Today local - tomorrow - the world!! )

All best wishes.


I will be polite with him......time to be pushy as well I think.....election coming up for him next year as well so he should take up cases like mine.

I'm in Corby by the way.


Excellent plan. Corby...have heard.... but can't remember (my disability - )

which county...



Its in the middle of a triangle.....half hour from Northampton, Peterborough, and Leicester

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OK thanks.... (have a sister in Leics.....)



first time in his working life have just experienced contacting esa to apply for my husband, has worked for last 36 years despite friedreichs ataxia and only recently taking time off work due to lung disease (not related to friedreichs). Cannot believe how difficult and confusing the process is and how many times given different information about the same thing from different people. Managed not to start laughing when she said about going for a work capability assessment. If he is sent for one then something is definately going wrong with the benefit system in this country and am inclined to agree with your posts and contacting newspapers to raise awareness.

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Thanks for your reply Tobytots.....its a shame you (and me) have to do all we are put through.

Jumping through hoops springs to mind!

I am in the position now of losing that second appeal (they are all in the same boat with the government).

All any of them can see (and have been told) is make it as hard and difficult as possible for anyone to get benefits they get as many people off their books and make the government look good!

I wont stand for it and have researched the Equality Rights .....and have asked the Tribunal service for a 'Statement of Reasons' to go down the legal route.

I feel so ashamed to be British sometimes.

You work hard for years safe in the knowledge you will get looked after if bad health strikes.....not so!

All the best with the future dealings with ESA and if you need anything....just ask.

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I was taken off ESA in March after getting 0 points from the assessment I had. I asked for a reconsideration

and after a 13 week period of being put back on jobseekers, I had a phone call from ESA they asked for more details about how Ataxia affects me, they changed at decision and put me back on ESA in the work related activity group then I will be assessed again in 2016. To see if my condition has improved, and if I am fit for work then.

I don' t know if they understand the word Deteriorating condition. Maybe they know something the medical people don't, haha.

It is very stressful having to go through all this just because we are unable to work.

If I had didn't have Ataxia, I would really be happy to work, and not be on ESA.

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Thanks for replying.....after I won my first appeal in Sept. 2010, I was informed by the helpline advocate (who was a great help to me) that I should have been re-assessed at a medical and the DWP (like you have been) a year later in Sept 2011.

Nothing ever happened and for 5 years now I have been maintaining that I will never be able to work, am not fit for any kind of work (a letter from consultant states)......all have been ignored though.

No matter what they state about being independent, the Courts and Tribunal Service work in partnership with....wait for it....the Justice minister, who happens to be a conservative MP!

'Welcome to Britain.....we ignore ALL medical advice and just make our own mind up whether you are ill or not (to suit our needs)'

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