ESA - Important Changes

Hello Fellow Members,

Please read these important changes as from 30th March 2015;


This explanatory memorandum has been prepared by the Department for Work and Pensions and is laid before Parliament by Command of Her Majesty.

Purpose of the instrument

Where an Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimant is found fit for work or not to have Limited Capability for Work (LCW) entitlement to benefit ends. Currently claimants are able to make a repeat claim to ESA after six months and there is no barrier to a repeat award of ESA even where the claimant provides no evidence to suggest that their condition has substantially deteriorated, or that they have a new health condition.

This instrument removes the six month rule and provides that claimants previously found fit for work who make a repeat claim for ESA will not be treated as having LCW and thus entitled to benefit at the assessment rate pending determination of the claim unless they can demonstrate that there has been a significant deterioration in their health condition or a new health condition has developed.

The instrument also provides that ESA payments pending appeal will not be made to claimants previously found fit for work who are found not to have LCW on their repeat claim.

Making these changes will end an unintended consequence where claimants can make repeated claims to ESA despite no significant deterioration in their health condition to ensure these claimants get the appropriate help and support to return to work through claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

To explain here's the Benefits & Work statement;

New reclaim rules

the rule which allows you to reclaim ESA at the assessment phase rate 6 months after a refusal will be abolished for most claimants, though there are some important exceptions.  For example, if your condition has got worse or you have developed a new condition, then you may be able to get the assessment rate again - provided the DWP accept that this is the case.

The change is particularly likely to hit people who are too ill or unsupported when they first make a claim to make a proper job of it and who try to claim again later

This new system of mandatory reconsiderations before appeals means if you claim Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) you will lose the right to be paid at assessment rate when they first challenge a decision.

Instead, claimants will have to try to sign on as available for work by claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or manage without any benefit until the reconsideration process ends.Only after once an appeal has been lodged you able to reclaim ESA

Here's info on JSA from Disability Rights UK;

Here's info on UC from Disability Rights UK;

If you are in the position where you are forced to apply for JSA, please see link below about an information factsheet about declaring your disabilities, how it affects you & what reasonable adjustments you would need

Please see this link to another post which has a template for you to complete & hand in to your local Job Centre Plus when you claim JSA;


To keep up to date with Benefit changes, it might be worth signing up for eNewsletters from either Benefits & Work, Turn2us or organisations who help & advise on benefits.

Or follow them on Twitter if you have an account as they Tweet about benefit news

Please can I mention that many are advising when claiming ESA you ensure you get advice or help to complete your original claim.

Don't forget we can send you guides & you can talk to our Benefits Advisor Janet, please see this post for more details;

Also these posts may be of interest;

Please Note This may be shared on Twitter and/or Facebook

Best Wishes

Emma :)

Community Coordinator

Last edited by

16 Replies

  • What happens if you are found fit for work but are going to appeal? Can you still claim ESA until the outcome of the appeal?

  • Hello Mushmel2903,

    From what I've read you will be paid ESA if going to appeal, however what they are proposing is that you cannot appeal before you've had Mandatory Reconsideration.

    You would have a Mandatory Reconsideration first where you will not be paid ESA until you either are awarded or not or then ask for an appeal. While waiting for Mandatory Reconsideration you claim Job Seekers Allowance or Universal Credit.

    You may wish to confirm this information by speaking to your local Citizen Advice Bureau and/or a benefits website but this is what I take from the above.

    Maybe others will comment to confirm this is the case

    Best Wishes


    FibroAction Administrator

  • I find this so hard to understand.

  • Hello Shazzy,

    Step by step might explain:

    1.Apply for ESA (if found Fit for Work- not awarded ESA & do not agree with the decision then you follow these steps)

    As from 30th March you cannot Appeal before you've had a Mandatory Reconsideration

    2. Have a Mandatory Reconsideration

    Whilst awaiting result, receive no ESA so need to claim JSA or Universal Credit

    3. If you are then found fit for work & you disagree you can appeal

    In the Appeal stage you will receive ESA, unsure at what rate ? Will try to confirm

    4. Await decision of Appeal

    I hope this is easier to understand


    FibroAction Administrator

  • That is just so stupid cos you would go from ESA (assessment stage) to JSA (mandatory reconsideration) to ESA (appeal) ! The amount of time it takes to change from 1 benefit to another, you would be permanently waiting for a decision!

  • Thanks Emma, is so difficult to comprehend real meaning of these legislative documents.

  • No problems Shazzy :)

    Still confused how people can claim JSA whilst waiting for Mandatory Consideration as don't you have to claim you are fit & available to work to get JSA but you aren't???

    Anyone who is or has claimed JSA like to confirm if you have to state you're fit for work or available to work? Plus how many interviews for work per month you have to attend?

    In the meantime as I haven't claimed or read much about JSA I,ll do some reading & post any links to factsheets I find about JSA & UC

    Emma :)

  • Here's the JSA factsheet from Disability Rights UK;

    Here's the Universal Credit one too;

  • Very useful, thanks. Looking through the information you posted I came across this form, which may help those who are forced to sign on for JSA.

    Project 3D have produced a leaflet aimed at people with disabilities or long term health conditions who sign on for JSA. The leaflet gives you guidance on what you need to know before signing a jobseeker's agreement. To download it go to

  • Thank You Hedgerow, great resource for this situation. May I add to the main post please? :)

  • I'm sure you can, it was published for public use.

  • Thank you so much for this information.

    Take care

    Ken x x

  • I would strongly recommend seeking advice from the CAB if considering any appeal to ensure you receive information regarding the options available

  • these changes are ludicrous if you are unfit for work then your unfit . As with myself I have severe back problems IBS depression and other ailments . Do these people no exactly what goes on inpeoples body and mind NO so why should they judge whether they are entilktlked or not you know yourself if you are capable to work or not . I am now on the support group and I really feel like I am a person not a stastic as with the work related can't name the co that I was under I hated going as they pushed for me to get job if I wasd in any condition to do this I would do it off my own back not being spoke to like I wasd an inch tall and people who are just out of nappies that's a polite phrase . Goverment should say that everyones body and mind works different that everone should be judged in the same way. Sorry if I've droned on it just makes my blood boil x

  • This is just another [Edited by Admin] attack by this [Edited by Admin] government on disabled people who rely on ESA to survive. The changes are designed to harm disabled people. I've suffered from clinical depression for over two years. I've seen seen by 3 consultant psychiatrists, 12 mental health professionals and my GP. They all have some to same conclusion about the seriousness of my mental health condition. Yet I've had to contend with the DWP who frankly don't care [Edited by Admin] ATOS assessments (DWP [Edited by Admin] who get paid £80 bonus if they find you fit for work) which have made my condition worse. I've now been told by my GP that I've a heart condition too. If my pittance of benefit is taken away then I 'll have nothing left to live on. Do they think it's ethical to punish people simply because they are too ill to work? I can't live of fresh air alone. [Edited by Admin]

  • i'm just finding it all so difficult to understand and take in.

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