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

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17 Replies

  • Thank you offcut for sending that info to the site members and the offer of the full details to those who need it, glad to hear you won your appeal are were not put off by the initial refusal. Best wishes

  • I was not going to let it go because they took no notice of the information I had told them and just had a very narrow view to the answers IE: I could lift my arms up. " I am fit for work in an office as I could lift an empty box off a shelf" I have not seen many jobs offered for empty box lifters. but gave me 6 points for my inability to walk far. My nearest bus stop is 1 mile away. Another comment on the ATOS form they stated that "I sat for 35 minutes waiting for them to interview. so a sedentary job is appropriate." What else am I supposed to do as standing can be painful? and my breathing had settled by then. The whole experience has been very stressful but it seems is not over yet until the DWP agree and send me their response.

  • HI Offcut, just catching up on posts thank you for saying how stressful the experience has been so far,hope you are calming down and feel a little better, I recall some years ago being labeled as a neurotic female whilst going through the claims system for benefits Oh and I share your problem about empty boxes to lift and standing with arthritic foot pain, in fact they said light employment in office, employer said no way The system does not make realistic assessments for employment capacity, or in respect of your right to benefits unless you fight sadly. Causing more distress on top of your illness problems. Best wishes

  • Your perseverance and dogged determination paid off. I hope this will be an inspiration for others not to give up


    Your daily tonic

  • Pleased to hear you were successful.x

  • Thanks for sending info. x

  • my pleasure hope it makes sense any questions please ask

  • At Last! Just got confirmation I have support ESA and being back dated 25 weeks and to make me feel so much better they state I am entitled to the Xmas Bonus all those things I can spend £10.00 on over Xmas. Oh yes Gas, Electric, Rates, Mortgage, Debts,Petrol and what's left I can buy food!

  • I retire in 14 months so if they stop my ESA after first face to face and I then appeal I would be within the 12 month period that is the cut off point for claims .surely it's just a waste of money & time not to mention my stress with high BP. ?!i I detest what this Govt is doing to take in money THEY & their bankster buddies lost & fiddled. !

  • They keep putting up the retirement age for me. They have no idea how it stresses people out with all the form filling and then been treated as if you are a liar. With ATOS looking to run away this adds to it all. I have been told this week that I have got to look at my lifestyle as I will not be able to do what I have been. But DWP still want to see how much I have improved since the last time I went?

  • I'm thinking my face to face (due to my age of 63almost 64) may be for my PIP Claim and not for ESA as I believe you get the same paperwork !as I have recently applied ( 3 months ago ) for PIP !?

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people with a long-term health condition or disability aged 16 to 64.

  • All seems a bit pointless at age 63 then ( 64in June) ???thanks off cut .good stuff and v helpful stuff on this site !!! :)

  • It is not pointless getting what you are entitled too.

    This may be you best way forward.Attendance Allowance:

    You can get Attendance Allowance if you’re 65 or over and the following apply:

    you have a physical disability (including sensory disability, eg blindness), a mental disability (including learning difficulties), or both

    your disability is severe enough for you to need help caring for yourself or someone to supervise you, for your own or someone else’s safety will take you to the site maybe get the PIP then go for AA?

  • Thanks offcut! I have probly been entitled to these benefits (AA & DLA ) but since 1985 I have managed but as I have gotten older of course , things become more painful & difficult ! My son has to do all my shopping & has to help me bathe & shower (sooo embarrassing) !!! Thank you to all who have bothered to reply cheers. !

  • That's it I told them to stick ESA WHERE SUN DONT SHINE!!!gone onto pension credit still able to claim PIP so no worse off and no more threats and worries from ATOS TOSSERS ! Free at last !!!

  • could I have a copy of the esa guides that you have any help most welcome,I have to go back for another assessment as my first was cancelled, I think because I complained too loudly about my access issue, I am a female with disabilities was asked(no other way) to go up a ramp over 4 stairs in my mobility scooter at a medical it was like a ski slope, then got stuck twice got lifted over hump and asked if I was okay, well I was shocked when he said I can't wait to see your face you have another ramp to get up. then I needed the toilet to much horror my carer(husband) wasn't allowed to attend to me, the male (security guard) opened the disabled toilet door then was I to get back out? after ten mins of shouting for help, a woman came to my rescue and opened the door, the then security guard says I can not hang around all day waiting for carer was in shock to be told the mobility scooter should not have been allowed in the assessment centre in the first place. sorry for my rant, I have copd(restrictive) among others. this is my attempt on speaking on here, its took quite a few days and lots of looking around, sorry and thank you..

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