Repeat ESA medical referrals deferred for two years!

From the benefits&work website:

Copied and pasted below:

"Benefits and Work has received information from a DWP insider claiming that people who are due to have their employment and support allowance (ESA) award reassessed in the coming months will now have that assessment deferred for a full two years.

On Monday we broke the news that current employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants will be left on the benefit, without further medical checks, until another company can be found to carry out repeat work capability assessments (WCAs). The DWP stopped referring claimants to Atos for repeat medicals with effect from 20 January 2013.

The change does not apply to IB to ESA transfers or to people who report a change of circumstances, such as a worsening of their condition. It will also not apply to anyone who has already been referred to Atos or to those who have made a new claim for ESA, as those assessments will still take place.

Benefits and Work has now received further information from a mole within the DWP on how deferment works. Whilst we cannot verify the identity of the individual, they clearly had access to the DWP memo which Benefits and Work obtained, as they were aware of details which we did not publish.

One unpublished section of the memo states that:

“Scans will be run from 18 January to identify and defer Employment and Support Allowance repeat referrals. The impact of this should be seen from 20 January.

“The scans will be managed centrally and will result in a reduction in the number of Work Available Reports.”

The DWP mole informs us that the scan has caused reassessments due in late January through February to be moved on by two years. The same scan is due to be run each month throughout the year. Each time, all those due to be reassessed will be given a two year deferral. So someone due to be sent back to Atos on 1 February 2014, for example, will not now be re-examined until 1 February 2016.

The revelation is clear evidence of just how long the DWP really expects it to take to clear the massive backlog of WCAs built up under Atos.

It is also evidence of the extreme heartlessness of the DWP. The memo in question makes it clear that claimants should not be told about the deferral of their reassessment. Instead, the intention is to leave people for years dreading that brown envelope dropping through their letterbox and constantly wondering why it hasn't arrived yet."

23 Replies

  • Well, what a surprise to us all ATOS exposed for what they are, sorry if that sounds rude, but it's been a complete mess up ever since they got involved :o

    Foggy x

  • I knew what you meant, Foggy ;-) x

  • My husband sent back ESA50 on June 24th.2013. Still waiting....

  • Yes, my brother sent his off in May 2013 and heard nothing. This is why they're deferring to catch up on the backlog.

  • Not fit for service in my books :o

  • They received my ESA50 form end of June and have heard nothing

  • I sent mine in October 2013, so if this is true I won't hear anything for another 2 years which would be great. what about PIP if someone applies now how long before you hear?

  • If you've not had a decision yet, Mazz, I don't think it'll apply to you, unfortunately. It'll only apply to people who've not yet come up for review is how I understand it.

  • No, they didn't make an announcement about it, Bluebell, but Benefits&Work found out about it via a Freedom Of Information request. It's been picked up by some newspapers including the Independent and the Mirror:

  • Bluebell I have the same problem my ESA claim ends start of April but heard nothing from ATOS to if I'm going in for a medical

  • Yes, that's what they want to concentrate on now, eeek. And a certain arm of theirs have changed their name to OHAssist and another branch of Atos has changed its name to something else. Obviously trying to disassociate themselves from all the bad publicty!

  • This is not ringing true to me, I'm due to go for a assessment re my ESA on Monday. I was transfer from Incapcity benefit feb 2012 to ESA after filling a assessment form in I received letter saying I was in the support group. Exactly 18months later I received another form to fill in, I quieried this and was told everyone as to be reassessed. So I filled the form in once again, explaining my illnesses were on going and entered the same details as before sending it back 5/9/2013. I didn't here anything until 2wks ago 6mnths, I thought it will be like last time everythings the same guess what I've to go for a Assessment with the ATOS on Monday. I haven't worked since 2005 you can imagine the state I've got myself in, its like they are playing God and turning peoples lives upside down. So if what you say is true I must be one of the unlucky ones. MG

  • MG, I'm very sorry to hear what you've been going through. Benefits&Work are very reliable and they got the information after an FOI request but the DWP hadn't told anyone. It was also touched upon the WOW (War On Welfare) debate in the House of Commons today. Unfortunately you are one of the unlucky ones as your claim has already been processed and the date for your medical scheduled. It is precisely because of all the need for repeat assessments which the DWP drew up that Atos have got behind and are now threatening to pull out of the contract. So the priority now is to do new assessments and those stuck in the backlog. I have a member of my family who sent his off last May and has heard nothing. That's how far behind they are.

    I just hope and pray that whoever eventually replace Atos will be better but I won't hold my breath. Best wishes for Monday.

  • Hi Kirby

    I sincerely hope that you are feeling as well as you possibly can be today? Thank you very much for this, it is informative and knowledgeable. Once again you have shared with us useful posts, and we all sincerely thank you.

    Take care

    Ken x

  • You're welcome, Ken :-)

    K x

  • I been read about this and so confuse about it my ea50 was sent off before Jan 30 this year and it been month no news I am so hpe not get medial or it may push me over the cliff , they have been told in form and report that I may end up take my life .... So worried.

  • Hi Zenco,

    Please don't worry. They are so behind I don't think you will be hearing soon.

    If it is still causing you a lot of distress perhaps you or a friend could ring DWP on Monday to see what they say. Stress your anxiety and how ill it is making you.

    When I rang on Wednesday, the young man made a note for his supervisor, who phoned me a couple of hours later.

    Hope this eases your worries.


  • Hmmm sound like great idea I am bit worried phone them do you mean job centre people ? I was worried phoning in case they say something I don't,t like :( but thanks for advise

  • Very sorry to hear, Zenko. I get worried on phones too, so maybe you could get a trusted friend or family member to phone on your behalf? Better still someone who knows about Welfare Rights or CAB? Please don't suffer alone and remember that many people are aware of what is going on with Atos and the assessments. There was a debate in parliament only yesterday about calling for impact assessment, though it was mostly Labour MPs who spoke at it.

  • Thanks Kirby I couldvask a friend family to do it or my mam it petty that cab in my area had it budge cut so it only phone advise now oh but there charity here who help fill in my forum maybe he could advise me. Oh over thing got stupid job centre phone me on Monday see how I been since been put work programming which now finish what waiste time that was....

  • Yes awful that CABs had budgets cut. But good idea to get help from the charity or family or friend. Good luck and hope you will be able to relax a bit this weekend before Monday. Yes Work programme a complete waste of time from all I've heard. Take care, Zenko.

    K x

  • Try to relax not really try worry about it see what happens on Monday with job centre but not going worry about medical cause I know if i worry to much i get I'll :-) but thanks for advice cheer me up.

  • You're welcome, Zenko. :-)

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