Help with ESA....Please

I've been on ESA for nearly a year. I went for my assessment and received the dreaded brown envelope today. Basically they're saying that I have the potential to go back to work. I'm really worried because I can barely manage to take care of myself. I also found out that I can only receive contribution based ESA for 12 months. What happens after the 12 months? Will they stop my benefits? I have Fibro, CFS, Endometriosis stage 4, bowel issues (resulting from a bowel resection, ileostomy and reversal). I Suffer from chronic depression and generalised anxiety disorder. I'm divorced, I live alone and have no family around. My mobility is limited so I can't use public transport. I'm really worried about how I'm going to manage. Will I have to go through the whole lengthy ESA application again? Any advise would be very helpful. Thanks

17 Replies

  • Hi Lady Penelope

    I am so sorry to read of the stress and worry that this has placed upon you, and I genuinely hope that you find the answers that you so desperately desire and deserve. You could go through the process again and see what transpires?

    You could also apply for PIP? (Personal Independence Payment). This could help you a great deal and mean that you do not have to return to work if you do not feel ready to do so if you are successful with your claim. I have pasted you a link to the GOV.UK cache on this:

    How To Claim PIP

    I wan to sincerely wish you all the best of luck with whatever you choose to do.

    All my hopes and dreams for you


  • Hi lady Penelope. Like Ken says if you are not well enough to go back to work you should see if you are eligible for other benefits. You may not get esa if you re-apply if they have told you they think you could go top work If you do re-apply couldn't your doctor or a therapist back you up. After all they can't argue with a medical expert. I have a friend who was being forced back into work by the jobcentre. She then gave them the details of her doctor and therapist she is now on dla. It depends whether you are prepared to go through all that again or not. Good luck in whatever you decide to do.

  • Speak to them and ask for a re considerations as you do not agree with the outcome. Speak to your CAB they are a great wealth of help and information.

    I am Contribution ESA Support group and have been since 2012. the rumors say that after election contribution will be stopped?

  • Hi Lady Penelope,

    I am basically in the same boat as you, experiencing problems wuth ESA, I was put on ESA work activity group I wrote to be put on ESA support last July, they claim not to have received it, so I'm in letter correspondence with DWP, initially on my own, but now everything I do is done through Welfare Rights now, fantastic people!!! they can come to your home, you don't need to go there. My latest 2 letters from DWP were to say contributions will stop at end of claim year then letter saying benefits will stop end of May this year, I panicked took to welfare rights & it is being dealt with, it hasn't lessened my stress much, which I guess, will be the case until the final outcome, I'm trying to think possitively, Welfare Rights will also fill in any forms you need to do you just sign, that in itself is a good help. I've applied for ESA contribution based & Pip fingers crossed it goes well for us both, take care Honor xx

  • Hi,

    I'm sorry you are having such a tough time! I did not qualify for ESA and was really upset and worried about how to manage but then I got awarded PIP. Have you applied for this? Also you can appeal the decision for your ESA. Did you get any help with the forms or have anyone with you at your meeting? Citizens advice bureau are really good - they can help you at every stage even go with you to appeals.

    I hope you can get some help with this.

    Take care

    Becky xx

  • Just asking I am on ESA mine finishers in November this year I will not get it again as iv got a husband that works I all so get PIP standard for both for 2 years when my ESA finsh do I still have to put in for it as I know I will not get it cos he works so will I just not put in for it or anything like that ?

  • Hey to all of you please stop panicking, it's contribution based due to employment in the past but once it runs out after a year and if there's no other income (DLA & pip are not included in these calculations then you receive income related ESA and they pay you the same rate as you've had..

    Even if placed in the WRAG they aren't saying you've got to work, but you are asked to do a work related activity and attend every 4-7 months at the jobcenter..

    When I go I come off all morphine so I can make sure I'm in pain, my advisors great, one time she put applying for pip as my work related activity, and another was a five minute job search to see what's out there...tell them you don't feel well and don't try and be too brave...

    This is about you being on the path to work one day, they aren't saying it's now, and even if they did how long before you passed out?..that's what I said to them...

    Btw I've been in the wrag since early 2009 and was told I'd be able to work in 6 months...what a waste of tax payers cash eh?

  • This is the best news I've had since yesterday. I was in such a panic that I had to take a sleeping tablet to help me fall asleep. I was frightened that I would lose my benefits whilst I'm terribly unwell. I have no husband/partner and no support. I AM SO RELIEVED. Thanks Ellejm for being so honest. I will do just that and have a seizure or two. That should scare them into sorting me out😎. I am so happy I coukd kiss you. 😘

  • Forgot to say income related is for any length of time and doesn't stop after a year unlike cb which does..

    Happy to have helped, none of us should be in this position, it's all so wrong. Xxx

  • Try not to worry! Appeal the decision and speak to citizens advice. If you have a good doctor that will also help

  • This isn't the best way to do it tbh, there is a better way, give it a bit of time then make out your condition has worsened, appeals are stressful and it will take months, get some evidence to say it's worse and write a letter stating you wish to be moved to support group as your health is worse.

  • Hello Ladypenelope,

    We, FibroAction an supply you with step by step guides if you email us we can send them via attachment. Our email is

    We look forward to hearing from you

    Best Wishes

    Emma :)

    FibroAction Administrator

  • Thank you Emma. That's very kind of you.

  • Hello LadyPenelope. Appeal. You need to get into the Support Group. You need help from Welfare Rights if your council has one, or CAB. They did the same to me, and I got Welfare Rights to represent me at a Tribunal. It's tough but worth it if you are unable to work. Maximus has taken over from Atos and they are even worse. Most are no qualified to make these decisions, and the DWP are not doctors.

  • To those saying appeal part of the problem is that they know she'll be appealing because her entitlements run out after a isn't what I'd do or did, so long as you are in the WRAG and have no other income ie working partner you will get income related many are fighting for the support group cos they think they will be sent to work, this isn't the case,

    you will be on the pathway to it but it depends how unwell you look in reality...I sit at my advisors desk in bits, 3 kids with me, I only go after school cos I might pass out alone and I make sure I am in pain...yes she tries to talk me into working from home but I can only stay awake for a few minutes once I'm on my iPad, as I'm on a massive amount of burprenorphine and she sees Me every six months but she does the winter interviews on the phone...this last interview the advisor wants me to look at the employment market for 5 minutes...I'd rather do this that get maxed out fighting for my entitlements (I know not everyone is like me though)

    I've done exactly what I'm saying, I've been in the WRAG since 2009 based on back surgeries but was waiting for a proper diagnosis to explain the pain I had, I tried to fight but my appeal failed and then I was advised to submit further evidence stating my symptoms had worsened which I've just done...

    We shouldn't have to do this, but unfortunately our illness is so misunderstood and misconstrued...who knows maybe things will improve on the government front and there will be some let up for us...

    It's up to you though, but what I've said does depend on household income xxx

  • Thanks Ellejm, Ive been in hospital and since I was discharged, I'm completely wiped out. I got a ginormous flare up plus an infection in my left lung. I think appealing will be too stressful for me. Whilst in hospital I had to make phone calls to let the job centre know that I was in hospital and couldn't make it for my scheduled appointment. I've never felt so ill in my life

  • I hope your application has been going ok and there is a break through. Was very sad to read your story; and hoping you finally got some assistance. I understand fully where you are coming from and admire that you are keeping strong no matter what.

    I was also refused ESA as well after my assessment. didn't have energy not follow it up coz i was too depressed in constant pain, extreme exhaustion plus i was recovering from surgery, lost my job due to the condition and missing work, and the failed assessment. i felt so alone. i am glad i found out about this website to chat with other sufferers and gain some new insight.

    wishing you strength and good health


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