ESA then JSA, Reinstated back to ESA, now date for tribunal

Confused?...so am I.

Bear with me re the long dissertation

Asthmatic for 57 years. I had eczema from 3 months old for 17 years. Perennial allergies (tested and its the environment; trees, grass, dust, smoke, yakkety yak, you get the picture). Diagnosed with COPD 2013 then dismissed from work (NHS) due to ill health 2014.

Was able to claim ESA, however following an re assessment February of this year, I was found ‘fit for work’. I appealed immediately as I thought they are NOT in my vicinity when I am unable to breathe, get out of bed, get dressed etc. I claimed ESP (extended sick pay) for 3 months, but was promptly told, I cannot have another ESP with the year. At least I did not have to sign on every 2 weeks.

So for the last few months, I have had to sign on every 2 weeks, struggling to breathe sometimes. The coach was sympathetic and angry at the system as she could clearly see I was not in a good way but was tied by red tape. She advised me to go for ESA reinstatement, but ESA told me I couldn’t. So onwards I go each fortnight to sign on. My anxiety has risen to the point I am waiting for an appointment with psychological services. The doc gave me a 3 month medical note, but I told them JSA would not accept it. Was told if I need another note to let them know.

One week my usual coach was not in and I was told to volunteer at a second hand furniture shop for up to 16 hours a week (as I am a people person). I explained my predicament, but she says…give it a go. I thought I was strong, but I said yes because in my head they could sanction my money if I don’t do this.

The day before starting I went for a chest x-ray as the doc says I haven’t had one in a while as I wasn’t feeling well the past few weeks.

I started volunteering for 4 hours. There I am in the back area filing store tickets. Meanwhile some guys are unpacking and re packing ‘stuff’….yep…..dust! Pounding the shop putting price tickets on things that haven’t got one. I’m doing this for the whole 4 hours. No rest, no sit down. Go home and straight to bed I went.

The doc calls me the next day and asked me to pick up antibiotics as the x-ray showed up an infection.

I called both the shop and JSA to inform of the situation.

From all of that, I went to sign on last week (again not well). I asked about the 2 week sick note and was told that I can only have 2 separate 2 weeks sick note……and I would have to come and sign regardless. The sick note was to inform JSA that I was too sick to look for work for the period, but if I didn’t come in..sick or not, I would be sanctioned.

At that point, she advised me to contact ESA again and ask for reinstatement, but I would have to sign off JSA. I did this as soon as I got home and was told by ESA to send in the medical note. I posted the note and then telephoned benefit centre to sign off.

Not finished yet. My money which was supposed to come Wednesday, didn’t…..why? Because they closed my claim too early. I know I know…don’t ask me why or how.

Anyway from many phone calls made, they did pay me…..eventually. In hindsight perhaps I should have signed off when I got confirmation from ESA. I was told however that I had to sign off as soon as I got in touch with ESA.

This morning I received a letter from the tribunal with a hearing date.

I don’t think jelly wobbles as much as I did upon receiving it. Having being given PIP, ESA, JSA and reinstated ESA (although I wont know until 2 weeks time if I will or not), my mind is in a turmoil.

Like a lot of people that court day will be one of the ‘better days’ that I rarely have

Phew!

I usually say onwards and upwards. But I feel like I’m spiralling downwards out of control with fear

29 Replies

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  • What a muddle EmAitch! I honestly don't understand what is going on and why have things gone so wrong for you - did you break a mirror.

    Seriously though l just couldn't not reply to you having read your post.

    I hope someone will be on soon to offer help and advice. Have you contacted Citizens Advice Bureau? Just a thought. Xxxx

  • u need somebody stronger than cab is ur mp any good do u have a consultant anything would u go to the media

  • CAB is a good starting point though reiver. Maybe MP can help if needed later. Xxxxx

  • Hi reiver

    Thank you for your response

    I am new to the area and therefore dont know the MP....yet!

    I do see the consultant every 3 months, however his reports are usually 'positive'...and that is because I bed rest for a couple days before travelling to see him, due to the travel to get there.

    I did ask him once and his response was no because he doesn't see me enough...(its only been every 3 months for nearly 18 months!!) and I am to ask my GP, which I did. The GP did a letter with medical history and this is posted.

    Best regards

    Em

  • You would think so re mirror lol, but I havent.

    CAB wrote a 'report' and asked me to send that in (which I did), but I could not have an advocate with me as they are short staffed (which I understand)

    Thanks for response and concern

    Best regards

    Em xx

  • omg what a carry on....you need to get in touch with cab...these forms have to be filled in in a certain way or you get turned down ,, they are set up to make us fail ....every form you fill in you must tell them how things are on your worst days when you cant do anything for yourself or you have to have help with things that you should be able o do....they are not so interested in what diagnosis you have its how it affects your life

    A cab adviser is most definitely needed so contact them asap

    This is a link to another brilliant site

    benefitsandwork.co.uk/

  • Thank you for your response Mandy

    I did all you say, however having arrived at the assessment SOB, wheezing etc and because I was able to touch my toes and put my arms above my head, I was seen to be fit for work.

    I have been trying to get in touch with benefits and work because my email account is not longer active and I need to change. The catch 22 is am unable to get into my account to change it. Paid £20 and the account lasted about a month or so and therefore I have lost out. I do intend to reapply when my money is next due.

    Best regards

    Em x

  • If you go into the Benefitsandwork website, on the left you will see a link to Contact us. Click into that, and there is another link to click for Technical Problems, log in etc, words written in blue. Click on that link, then do what it says. They are very helpful people, and your annual payment is just that, an annual payment. Hopefully you will have read all the advice (and there is a lot on the website) which is provided free? Have another go.

  • Goodness, no wonder you feel anxious. I think I agree you need to see CAB; at the least they can advise you on form completion. It's about demonstrating how your essential activities are limited by your condition. But I am thinking you must have done this before to get PIP. You really need to talk it through with an expert. Have you tried the BLF helpline, I think they may have someone who can give welfare advice. Good luck. X

  • Thank you for your response scorpiolass

    Yes re PIP.

    At the last assessment, although I explained essential activities are limited, they seem to think that because I actually made to the assessment and was able to touch toes, hold hand above head, I was deemed fit for work.

    Best regards

    Em x

  • Why oh why is everything like this for you. You sound such a genuine person with genuine health problems. You need a degree in gobbledygook to understand the whole rigmarole. I wish I could help. Hopefully the advice you are given on here will be useful. Let us know how you get on?...and good luck.

  • Thank you for your response Jennifer

    I had to laugh (tried to without coughing) re degree in gobbledygook

    Best regards

    Em x

  • heh heh.....EmAitch.............glad I made you laugh - now.....................slow gentle breath please.......

    x

  • Hang on in there EmAitch, don't let the red tape grind you down! I hope the outcome of the tribunal goes is positive for you. x

  • Thank you Jaynair

    Oh don't worry, I am hanging on but not with a rope around my neck as I think this is what they want lol..

    Best regards

    Em x

  • You definitely need to contact a welfare rights officer to help fight your claim, you shoudnt have to be going through this alone, benefits resolutions on facebook are really good if you want support and advice I would suggest getting in contact with them. I'm dreading them contacting me about my esa I know I will be in the same boat at you xx

  • Thank you for your response Tracy

    I will check out benefits resolutions on facebook. Thanks for that.

    Good luck with your ESA

    Best regards

    Em x

  • Benefitsandwork website as suggested by others is very good. When I went to CAB, I did not find them very helpful. Instead, can I suggest you contact your District or County Disability Charity, not Council. Mine is Disability Huntingdonshire. They offered to represent me if I needed to go to Appeal etc. They are very helpful and have lots of experience. I was confused as to what stage you are currently at. Have you had a recent Spirometry Test? There are handy to have copies of as they show your lung age, which goes some way to explain to DWP why you are struggling. You are in my thoughts.

  • Thank you WheezyAnne

    Loving the name because that is me most day. I will check out the local disability charity and give them a call.

    I swear the consultant is on their side because every time I go to see him, the report does not reflect my every abilities, but only on the day I see him. I bed rest for a day or two before going to see him due to the journey. I dose up on inhalers etc, therefore by the time i go to see him I am less wheezy.

    Best regards

    Em x

  • Have you a law centre where you live they are far the best yet would help this is what there are very good at

    Hope this helps

    Stay safe

  • Thank you or your response Stephend

    I will have a look to see where the nearest law centre is.

    Best regards

    Em x

  • This just confirms to me the system does not work, I do hope the tribunal goes well for you they have no idea how being in a building like the job centre can make so vulnerable to cough's and flu nor do they understand if we get a chest infection our lungs never recover

  • Thank you for your response onamission

    The same can be said for GP and other waiting areas. The other week I was in the waiting room at the docs and someone openly sneezed without covering their mouth. I knew would be ill soon after and I was. I've just come back from a second chest xray to see if the infection has cleared.

    Best regards

    Em x

  • I avoid the GPs shops when the kids are off school any place that make us vulnerable. I go in to the surgery to drop off my prescription but if I have to see the GP I always arrive on time and have waited outside in the past. I have to say our GPs are great and I'm lucky they fully understand my condition.

    good luck in court hope it all goes well

  • I am really confused as to why you had to continue claiming JSA for such a long period. The correct procedure when someone is found 'fit for work' is that their ESA claim will be terminated. If you disagree with this decision you have a 28 day period to request that a different DWP ESA Decision Maker looks at the decision plus you can offer more evidence as to why you think the decision is incorrect. This is called a Mandatory Reconsideration. If the new DM agrees with the first one you are then informed of this in writing and full instructions are included telling you what you need to do to appeal to an independent tribunal. I believe a further 28 day time limit applies. If you decide to appeal it will be when the DWP receive formal notice from the tribunal that they have lodged your appeal you can then apply to reclaim ESA pending the tribunal hearing. ESA will only be paid at the assessment rate, though and you will need to provide a current medical certificate from your GP. If you 'win' the appeal, arrears of the additional component will be fully backdated.

  • Thank you for your response blueberry

    That was the very reason why the job centre coach was baffled, as was I. How far back do they back date, do you happen to know? I could do with flooring as I only have MDF tiled (in place when i moved in) and cant afford flooring lol

    The tribunal date is now set...phew

    Best regards

    Em x

  • Well said and well put . I had to go through the entire rigmarole as well, i immediately appealed and was paid at the reduced rate whilst handing sick notes in, this went on until i won my appeal and was paid for all the backdated money owed to me

  • Thank you for you response Sykes

    Good to hear good things can come out of bad situations

    Best regards

    Em x

  • Thanks for your nod of approval and just to let you know that ESA stands for Employment Support Allowance and not extended sick pay. Once again Thanks

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