I have been though the ESA nightmare. I applied when I was told to by JS staff as I have a multitude of health problems. After 4 weeks they stopped paying me because they claimed I had not made enough NI Payments in the last 2 years. It took me 6 months to get the HMRC to agree that I was fully paid up and another 6 weeks to be paid my back payments (which they put in the wrong closed account 10 days later to get in the account I already told them about) in the meantime I had to go to the ATOS assessment which is a box ticking exercise I fully explained my conditions and was given 6 points you need 15. I was going to CAB and they did help a lot as did BLF and put forward an appeal. You must get this done ASAP as you are on a time limit. I also had a letter from my cardiologist explaining my heart and lung conditions in detail 6 weeks after my ATOS meeting. I sent this to DWP explaining this is further evidence explaining my conditions in more detail from my consultant. Now, any evidence you send has to be relevant to before your ATOS meeting as any new condition after is not taken into account. I did get my originals back with a letter saying that this will be added to evidence for appeal.
I had my appeal last Wednesday and it was found in my favour after 10 minutes mainly due to the letter from my cardiologist and the doctors and judges questions about all of my conditions and how I am coping. I have been awarded under the support ESA Schedule 3. Regulations 29 Exceptional circumstances and 35 Certain claimants to be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity.
Conditions that do not take the box ticking as the only condition to grant my ESA.
I did call the DWP the next day to ask what happens now and they have told me that they will need to agree and then they will send me information to what they decide on. This can be at least 5/6 weeks.
I did get in touch with my MP while I was not getting my money and asked them to intervene the next day I was told the money is being granted but I think that was more coincidence.
The government is trying to reduce payments and some of them I do agree with, however just allowing under qualified people tick boxes that are designed to save money is not acceptable.
When you go to your appeal do not feel that you have no voice take someone with you if they ask about breathing explain that you have sat down for however long but if you had just walked to the court it would be very different. You have very little to lose by putting your case forward in a polite way. Wear clothes that you would wear that are easy to put on as they will pick up on this.
I do have the information regarding ESA in more detail 44 Pages and also how to deal with ESA appeals that I am happy to pass on to anyone that requires it by email