Fibromyalgia Action UK

Can anyone help? I'm confused about ESA


I'm forever reading other member's posts about Atos assessments and appeals for ESA and I'm confused about what to expect and how the system works.

I put my claim in for ESA a month ago, to run from mid-November when work had stopped paying me SSP. The reason why it took me til mid-January is because my employer took 9 weeks to send me my SSP1 form which you can't claim without. By the time it came through, I had my contract terminated anyway, so sent my SSP1 form and P45.

3 days later I received around £500 backdated benefits, and a letter saying my claim had been successful, and I could claim for 12 months. 4 days after this, I received the Atos questionnaire which I filled out and sent off the same day. I've not heard anything since.

Can anyone tell me what will happen next? Should I not be attending a group or something? Will they keep on paying for 12 months provided I have a sick note? What happens at the end of the 12 months? Do I stop receiving any money, and become un-entitled, or am I potentially entitled to anything else?

I've worked hard my whole life, and never thought I'd have to claim benefits, but I became so ill that I was no longer able to live alone never mind hold down a job, I was considered to pose a risk to myself. My decision to leave my job didn't come lightly, but I am such a long way off being returned to the kind of health that means a person can commit to a 9-5 job, that at the end of 12 months (if I'm not going to have to have an appeal and assessment like everyone seems to have had), I still won't be able to work and then will have nothing.

Sorry for essay, thanks if you have got this far



4 Replies

Hi Alex, it's silly me again........ Serious this time though !

ATOS are renowned for taking a very long time to process applications, and I don't think there is an exact time on anything with them.

To me, and I am quite prepared to be wrong, it seems like they've given you 12 months on a contribution basis, But it may be on an income based one, either way I don't think that will change if you get into the support group or into WRAG until the 12 months are up. Then, if in that time they have come to their conclusion and if you have appealed, you may have to have occasional checks to see if your situation has changed at all. From what you've said, I don't think you will have to have sick notes to support your claim.

I was placed in the WRAG and had a meeting at my local Jobcentre, which I was dreading, thinking they would want me to attend courses or actively be looking for work. I couldn't have been more wrong, the lady who dealt with me was really nice and she said she could see that work wasn't an option, neither courses to lead to work. She told me not to worry about anything and that my benefit wouldn't be altered. She asked if I wanted to appeal and I felt that I couldn't face all that stress, so she just sent my form back for a reassessment , but the decision was the same, so that was ok with me. I then had a call from her after 12 months, I went in and saw her and she said it was purely a routine thing that they have to do and sent me on my way.

I would love to be able to return to work, but as the lady at the Jobcentre realised, and the thing I hate most, is that I am not reliable enough to be in the workplace. I never know from one day to the next how I will feel, whether I will be felled by migraines or be completely unable to function properly due to fatigue.

I hope you can make some sense out of what I have written, I'm not very good at explaining things, so please forgive me. I hope others will help and give I you reassurance.

Foggy x


Ahhh thanks for this Foggy, it is very helpful indeed. It's such a horrid position to be in isn't it? Some days, I think, I'm so bored, I could have done a days work, I don't feel too bad, it would keep my brain going etc. but then I remember, that even if I were to start a new job, I'd be letting them down within the first week as one or two days I would wake up as a wreck and not be able to go in. I'd be setting myself up to fail, and it would look shocking on my CV too. Before I put my claim in, I helped out a friend at his law firm, on a voluntary basis for a couple of days, writing a few wills, and doing a bit of probate work. But, I had to stop doing that because I had a flare, so I couldn't go in, which meant he had to go back over the work I'd done to see where the case was up to, so that he could pick up where I left off. So it actually took up more of his time than if I'd never gone in in the first place. So I was no use even unpaid, as consistency was the key, and I just couldn't offer it. It comes to something when you can't even give away your services :( .

One thing I'm still not clear on, should I be going to a group now? Or is that what Atos decides when they eventually get round to it? I'm still being asked for sick notes, and it's contribution based, I just got a letter that said I could claim for 12 months. Should I just stop worrying about it until I hear from Atos?



Hi Lipbalmaddict

I am so sorry to read about the confusion that has been created around you regarding your benefits. As Foggy says ATOS is well known for being slow with these things. I have attached the website link with all the information regarding claiming of ESA. I have also put the telephone number on in case you have a questions for them.

Telephone: 0800 055 6688

I sincerely hope that this is of some use for you and that you can sort out your benefits. I also hope that you are as well as can be?

All my hopes and dreams for you

Ken x


Hi there

Foggy that helped me too reading about being in the support group. Of course I have not yet reached the stage of being put in in a group as have not yet been sent for. I do know claims are taking a long time and so far mine has been 11 weeks having sent them a second sick note. I know I don't post a lot on here but thank you so much for all the useful information which is so helpful x


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