Has anyone else been addressed directly from incapacity for this new benefit?

I have been on incapacity benefit and DLA (high rate mobility) for over a decade, I get about when the pain isn't too bad on crutches and was diagnosed with Fibromialgia a bit over a year ago.

I was recently assessed for this new version of incapacity (Employment & support allowance) and told I no longer qualify which has left me totally baffled. My condition has continued to worsen. I had difficulty walking before, but now have frozen shoulder aswell as knee and back problems so walking even with strong co codamol is agony. I can't cook meals as I can't use crutches and carry or stand for long and the Fibromialgia leaves me in constant pain and exhausted most of the time.

I am seeing a solicitor today regarding the appeal process but wondered if there were others out there having similar problems since the change to the new benefit?

53 Replies

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  • I think there are lots of people having the same problem to be honest . The WCA is a harsh assessment with different descriptors to the old incapacity benefit assessment and a lot of people are being found fit for work who aren't. I'll be facing this myself in January and don't hold out much hope.

    I'd definitely say appeal , you have nothing to lose , but if you have a partner then be very wary because the Work Related Activities group will only entitle you to ESA for 365 days, after that if you have any other income ( such as a working partner ) it will be taken into account and your ESA may stop. The only people this doesn't apply to is those placed in the support group.

    Good luck and hugs

    Helen xx

  • Many thx for the tip as I didn't know about the 365 days thing which has never been mentioned to me. My partner does work but due to debts can help me, tho I am sure that won't be taken into account by DWP.

  • It should only affect you if you live together Pakslady . It's a very cruel part of the reforms that people are only just realising .

    xx

  • To be honest I didnt even know about the 365 day rule never mind the one about your partner. I have been with my partner for over a decade and we have lived together for most of that time. We have a nine year old autistic daughter aswell as my elderly father to care for so although he can't help as much as he would like financially he's a huge help not just caring for me but our daughter and my father.

    I guess I like many others we will be one of the families that loses out badly to the new system :(

  • Me too, you're in similar circumstances to mine . I got married in June and I have a 23 year old autistic son who lives with us. My husband is self employed and really struggling . My money is the difference between us eating and not some weeks .

    Sadly the DWP and the government don't care about that , they expect my husband to support us financially.

    It's an absolute disgrace and harks back to the 1800's when wives were treated like chattels and became the property and financial responsibility of their husbands .

    My husband has had to take over care of my son because I can no longer do it, and he also cares for his disabled dad part time ( his brother is full-time carer ) , we are struggling financially now, God knows how we'll manage next year.

  • Crikey, I never expected to find someone with circumstances so similar to my own, right down to autism.

    Do you not get financial help for your son. I claimed for and got DLA for my daughter. It may not be a lot but as you say even small amounts can help. Also if your husband works at least 16 hours a week you should be able to claim tax credits. As your son is past school age one of you may also be able to claim caters allowance for him but not sure how that works as my daughter is too young to be eligible and my dad is too old to be entitled.

  • Yes, my son gets DLA but most of that is eaten up by his needs. My husband recently claimed carer's allowance but as we were receiving a small amount of HB and CTB , they reduced that until it's made little difference. We may as well not have bothered !

    We do get tax credits too, but again that reduced HB even further and has meant we now have to pay full Council tax.

    We live ( all 3 of us ) in a one bedroomed bungalow in the New Forest District, which is hideously expensive for private rental and moving into a 2 bed is way beyond what we can afford. So my son sleeps on a sofa bed in the lounge, where my hubby also has to work during the day .

    it's really stressful because none of us have a space to call our own . Social housing have told us they have a 7/ 8 year waiting list ! And also that we are not considered over crowded !

    We were hoping that by tax credits being increased when we married , and by having carer's allowance we'd be able to afford a 2 bedroomed property but it's made no difference at all as we are now paying the majority of the rent and all of the council tax whereas previously my husband was entitled to some help, and as I was living separately all of my rent was paid.

    Now we find out that once I'm migrated to ESA the chances are we will have even less money to live on :(

  • It's sounds as tho you have the same problems as me. I have to pay full Poll Tax or whatever they call it now, and we get no housing benefit or income support. Even where earnings are not contributing to household such as some of dads pensions etc they are still counted as income when they decide what you are entitled to.

    It's ridiculous that you have to struggle to look after your son in a one bedroomed bungalow. the very least they should have to provide is a bedroom for him and adaptation equipment that makes life easier for you. I can't imagine how many ppl have to live in one room before they consider you overcrowded.

    My house is a three bedroomed terrace so we are luckier in that respect as both my daughter and dad have bedrooms, tho that said fitting dad and his special seat etc into a tiny box room was interesting.

    Then as you say the new ESA makes life even harder. As a recipient of long term incapacity I was receiving my stamp and due to the way the rule worked my benefit wasn't taken into account when assessing entitlement for tax credits. Now with the new system all are so we get virtually no tax credits on top of loss of incapacity etc.

    Like you I feel the system really is lemming us down :(

  • unless your husband has a disability himself then for a couple claiming tax credits with dependant child(ren) then its 24 hours that one person working has to work (this changed at the start of the new tax year 06-04-2012) if the person who is working and has a disabilty or over the age of 60 then 16 hours is the minimum hours that you have to work. its still 24 hours for one person within the couple is working but if both are working then 24 hours must be worked in total with one person within the couple working at leat 16 hours.

    have you informed the tax credits that you have dla for either child if not then do as there is a disability element that can be claimed. if dla is recieved at higher rate care for a child then this is classed as servere disibitity which would then entitle you to the severe disability element also. (its not alot but can make a difference)

    also if you are recieving higher rate mobility or care then i would also advise that you are in recieipt of this it may not effect your claim (if your not working) however it keeps your record up to date and correct.

    Single claimiants with child(ren) still only need to work more than 16 hours to claim tax credits

    people with no dependant childern need to be over the age of 25 and work a minimum of 30 hours.....more info can be found on hmrc.gov.uk

    I hope this has helped tax credits wise and i hope i havent confused you any further.

    Good luck with the DWP and i woluld say appeal also get advise from CAB or a solicitor firstly but it appears that this new benefit is causing alot of problems.....i hope your well gentle hugs x x

  • Not quite sure if you meant that for me or Pakslady tinkerbell but ...

    My son isn't classed as dependant for tax credits purposes because he's 23 ( even though he is still dependant on us ) and I only get lower rate mobility and care component DLA . ( He gets middle rate care and lower rate mobility )

    We are getting the correct rates of tax credits for our circumstances and a benefits check has shown we are getting everything we're entitled to . They don't take into account how expensive it is to have an autistic adult to care for , or the fact that my disabilities mean I'm unable to leave the house so that all of the care falls to my husband, who also works long hours- albeit from home- ( and sometimes late into the night once I'm in bed ) to try to keep his business going .

    They give with one hand and take with the other, to leave you in a the same - or worse - position you were in originally it seems.

  • it was meant for you both sorry i didnt make that clear......

    tax credits can be unfair in regards to child tax credits but they have to run in line with the guidance that they are provided with and with the current goverment its not benefiting who the help is intended for those who are on low incomes but there are other circumstances that are involved and they are as you are probably aware assessed on the individual or house hold circumstances.

    i understand how you feel and i also feel that they give it out with one hand and take it back with the other the benefit system sucks and there is so mmuch more i could rant on about but it will result in me stressing out complet;ley and so wiont do it u will all be pleased to know.....

    hugs x

  • Oh no, don't get stressed tinkerbell !

    We feel like we're going round in circles and getting nowhere fast . I do think tax credits should take into account dependant disabled adults , but that's just a dream.

    I really don't want my son to have to apply for ESA because he wouldn't cope with all the stress , so we have to try and manage with what income we have.

    It's ridiculous that , though my son will most likely be dependant on us forever , we can't receive any extra help because he's an adult . I'm still his legal advocate but in the present system that counts for nothing.

  • yes it would be nice if tax credits or any other kind of benefits took into account that ypu have a disabled son even though he is an adult that is and likely will be dependant on you for the rest of his life in more ways than just finacially...my heart goes out to you i can only empathise with you as i havent dealt with this myself but i do have friends that are in a similar situation to your self so have seen it, if you know what i mean?!

    i really hope that ypu get this sorted out soon as it will be causing you further and unnessecary stress which wont be helping ur fibro and or any other illness that you may have

    good luck and sending you hugs x

  • Saw solicitor, he say that for ppl like myself whose partners working the prospects aren't good as this new benefit is means tested/income related so will take his income into account also, meaning even if I win and qualify I am unlikely to recieve anything.

    He did say it was still worth appealing in order to get my points updated as being a recipient of DLA this could help my claim when this is reassessed, as apparently DLA ia now assessed fully via medicals.

    He also pointed out other benefits I should try claiming so I guess bad news and good news.

    Paks :)

  • Many thanks for the advice. Yes we get the extra tax credit for out daughter as she gets DLA high rate care at present.

    I didn't know that it had changed to 24 hours now, but fortunately my partner went pretty much full time a year or so back so not a problem.

    We just had our tax credits review, so discovered that tho they had me on high rate mobility which is correct, they had me on middle rather than low rate fir care so been reassessed and on payback at the mo.

    My partner has FSHD but does not claim for disability at present although it may be worth trying since is mobility is worsening.

    I see a solicitor today so I will see what he says.

    Many thanks tho for all the information.

  • no problem, im glad i could give some useful advise. let me know how you geton at your solicitors today.......hope it goes your way

    good luck

    hugs x

  • Thx tinkerbell

    I will let you know how things go and what they say. Maybe he will have some good advice that will be worth me posting for everyone caught in this same benefits trap to read.

    Paks :)

  • I'd certainly be interested to hear what happens . My email address is doggiedays@hotmail.co.uk if you can't raise me on here , I sometimes have problems accessing the site but please do let me know what happens if you can.

    Hugs

    xx

  • Saw solicitor, he say that for ppl like myself whose partners working the prospects aren't good as this new benefit is means tested/income related so will take his income into account also, meaning even if I win and qualify I am unlikely to recieve anything.

    He did say it was still worth appealing in order to get my points updated as being a recipient of DLA this could help my claim when this is reassessed, as apparently DLA ia now assessed fully via medicals.

    He also pointed out other benefits I should try claiming so I guess bad news and good news.

    Paks :)

  • hi,

    if i was in your position then i would try and take the positive out of all of this! difficult i know but i would do what your solicitor and still apply so that your points are updated (what ever they are for) and some good news about other benefits that you could claim......all not lost :D

    good luck with applying for these other benefits and thanks for the update

    hugs x :D

  • fingers crossed for you

    hugs x x :D

  • Many thanks tinkerbell, CAB r having all kinds of backlog problems due to storm damage to the centres in my area so can't get an appointment with them till 10th Sept which is right on end of 28 days to appeal si am torm as to wait an risk it or not.

    Other benefits solicitor told me about are apparently means tests so I'm unsure at present how I stand there as I'm waiting for all the paperwork to come.

    I will try and post updates if I think anything I find will help others tho :)

  • can you not call another CAB centre and explain what is happening and maybe if its not too far away from you then you could go to that centre?

    hugs x :D

  • Dear tink, I am happy to go to the centre but they are so backed up due to the storm damage that they can't get me in till after the time my form has to be in by. I plan on giving them another ring tomorrow but daren't risk losing any chance at ESA whilst waiting on CAB. I will still go to my appointment however as they can help me with what information to send on later and with the other benefits the soliticitor told me about.

  • Immediately either request that they look at it again, as you have new information, and get help to do so, from Cab or similar, do not hang about, they will look again usually, especially ifif the cab ask, it worked for me! Good Luck, Caz

  • Dear Caz, lady at DWP said that if I ask them to look again they simply look at original info and medical report again, and unlike incapacity system where you could say where report was wrong no new info is taken into account.

    Since the medical assessor practically has me doing cartwheels my only way of rebuffing her information is I'm told to go to appeal.

    From what I am told here by other ppl going through the same thing tho, even if I do get it back it will o ly be for 365 days anyway and not sure if you can reappeal then or not.

  • They told me this too, as soon as I got the lady from the cab to call, they changed their minds and couldn't do enough for her, so don't believe them!, and I also was put in support group!

    Please try the cab, it really is worth it if they can take your case.

  • Thx for advice. I tried visiting CAB whilst uptown to see solicitors but was told by a lady there it is closed presently due to storm damage and opens again next Thursday so I will try again then.

    Saw solicitor, he say that for ppl like myself whose partners working the prospects aren't good as this new benefit is means tested/income related so will take his income into account also, meaning even if I win and qualify I am unlikely to recieve anything.

    He did say it was still worth appealing in order to get my points updated as being a recipient of DLA this could help my claim when this is reassessed, as apparently DLA ia now assessed fully via medicals.

    He also pointed out other benefits I should try claiming so I guess bad news and good news.

    Paks :)

  • Hi

    sorry to hear you have entered the ESA system as its not an easy one to be in. I am only in the DLA system and do not claim anything from ESA re: working/not able to work. Whilst on long term sick (now laid off due to illness) my employer wrote to me telling me to apply. It would have saved them money (about 6 months salary) and caused me alot of hasstle. When I realised that ATOS healthcare were running the medicals (and had suffered a fictional DLA medical from them) I decided to live on the money I had rather than go through the stress as my illness is worsened by nerves. I have a friend whom I helped fill in the ESA forms, he has had all benefit stopped and had to fight to reapply for DLA. He has won the DLA fight but not as yet the ESA one. It has left him short of quite a bit of cash but he is fighting on. There was a panorama programme on ATOS and the new ESA and the conclusion was you have to be dead to get it. My advice is a solicitor who is profficient in matters concerning govt benefits. I am about to tackle my tribunal result as after my GP said I didnt need any help (I had been unable to get out of bed for even toiletting for many months when he said that) I got refused anything bar low level DLA. I walk with a frame and thats on good days! You can only tackle a tribunal result for DLA on the grounds of law, so once again I am seeking legal help (having been out of my last 5 year court battle after an accident only a year). I found somewhere that may have specialists and also offer free advice on the onset. I have been waiting 2 months for the DLA barrister to write up my tribunal rejection notes, so thus far have not been given the evidence to take to them. I found them after aa long telephone and web search. Maybe they may be of use to you as ESA/DLA is their core business. Disability law service (advice@dis.org.uk) I think I have a number for them if that web info doesnt take you there.

    There are alot of "tagged" posts on here about ESA and ATOS and one post with links to the criteria for ESA that you are judged on. You are on the right track, but please get the right solicitor for the job ie one that specialises in the warped govt systems for benefit we are stuck in. I had to change my first solicitor after accident 18 months in to case as they were not specialist in fybromyalgia. My second solicitor was marvellouse and managed to help my case to the right outcome given my disabilities.

    Lots of luck to you and remember we are all fighting the same injustices, together we will get there!

    :) NN

  • Many thx for all the details, I will certainly check this out. The solicitor I used for the two times I have successfully been through the claims process no longer does welfare/benefits work and my partner only found two others who actually do in my area. I am going to see one today on their free advice session so I will see how that goes.

    The lady I spoke to on the phone from the DWP told me that if I get them to look at the decision again they simply look at the information from the original report again and you need to go to appeal to add further information. Since the woman who did my assessment seems to think I can walk 200 yards, cook, clean and a multitude of other things I can't, she said my better option was to go straight to appeal so that's what I am looking at doing asap

  • Hi

    I had a solicitor that was 250 miles away for my last case. It was all done over phonne and by e mail. Dont forget, they dont need to be near you just profficient!

    Good luck NN :) ps here if you cant find web address I gave you for disability solicitor

  • Sadly still haven't found web address for disability solicitor you gave and won't know how proficient the o e I am seei g today is till I see him face to face.

    I thought your solicitor came to the appeal tribunal with you? Mine did last time I had to go through this process, tho that was about 4 or 5 years ago.

  • Hi

    my solicitor was for accident claim, i went to cab for help with tribunal but they were too buzy to come to tribunal so I had a driver/carer take me. The tribunal judge would not let them speak or support me properly. I am never going to a tribunal of any kind again without a barrister to speak for me. I was hoping not to need a solicitor for everything in life, but alas it seems I do need one to fight the govt on DLA front! Good luck with solicitor, I will try and look out the tel number of the disability service as it may help.

    NN :)

  • I am so sorry to hear about your experience at the DLA tribunal. I have only face the tribunal once and that was over a decade ago. Fortunately I had a solicitor with me who did most of the talking other than when questions were aimed directly at me. I dont qualify for legal aid as my partner is working, but from the things I hear if I do have to attend a tribunal when my DLA comes up for review I will try to save to pay for one to attend as it would seem the only way you have any chance at all.

    The solicitor I spoke to yesterday was very helpful. He said that with the old incapacity system they managed to get the majority of their clients benefit reinstated, but that the new system is so different and doesn't take a lot of things into account that incapacity did. As a result the majority don't qualify any more or even if they do it's for the lower group.

    Either way it is now means tested/income based so if your partner works you are unlikely to get anything even if you qualify, and even if you do it will only be for 365 days. Not good news in all.

    He did say it was worth trying in my case as I will still eventually be having my DLA reassessment and getting the points on this one upped to qualifying level could help with that claim, so as long as my doctor will support me and provide the appropriate & required note I will give it a go.

    He then went on to tell me about benefits he thought I would be better claiming for, so I guess now those will be my best bet.

    I do hope that things work out for you. It would seem to me that the new system really is letting the majority of people down.

    Paks :)

  • Hi

    Thats good the solicitor seems to know about the benefits field which is what we need in these cases. We need to adapt as quickly as the systems do and evolve ways of staying afloat. Ive learnt alot since being so sick, and sometimes that knowledge seems like a hard earned strange kind of "gift". Ive got tougher on the inside, and am sure I will eventually evolve and get my head above water again. I will post any "wins" in the system so we can all share the good stuff aswell as the bad. Keep fighting and above all make time to smile x :) NN

  • Thx, I do know what you mean. Usually I get really stressed about these kinds of things, but having lost my mum to cancer, followed by my nan to thermoplastic anaemia 6 weeks later, then almost losing my dad during what was supposed to be a routine hip replacement, I try these days to look for positive sides to everything.

    At present because of backlogs due to storm damage it's not looking like CAB will be able to fit me in before I have to send back my appeal for so I may just need to send it with a more info to follow note then add whatever they tell me I should after.

    As I now have dad at home my solicitor tells me he should be claiming Attendence allowance which I am told is like the over 65s version of DLA. Whether he gets it tho will I am sure depend on whether it is means tested as my dad gets a small works pension aswell as his state one.

    He also said I should claim carers allowance for my daughter as she is DLA high level care, but again this depends on whether I get ESA reinstated and whether DLA will now become an income based benefit as incapacity has.

    I will keep you posted as to what I find out as both good and bad news may be useful to everyone going through this now or in the future :))

  • Sorry I meant to say or appeal, but if you can get them to look again there is no going through the appeal process, just make sure you give every scrap of evidence, includung statements from your healthcare specialist, and members of your family who see and/ or care for you regularly, make sure you read these statements to be sure they are accurate, and only ever send copies

  • I have similar problems to you and have had a night mare with esa, originally i was put in the work related activity group in december 2011, l appealed because they hadnt got the right details for me, onkly had ne down with having vascular disease even though l sent list of diagnoses, aps , sjogrens, fibromyalgia, lupus like illness etc, they didnt even give me a proper appeal as l wanted to be placed in the support group, all they did was change my prognosis from3 to 6 months. Had to fill out another atos form which had to go back end of march this time l got help from benefit advise and answers, finally after calling them several times the told me l had passed my medical, hadn't had one !!! and that l was still in the work related activity group, l don't know if they wrote to a doctor or not if the wrote to my gp he has no clue how difficult most of my days are. l have to appeal again.l must admit l am feeling very down.

    Do you live with a partner, and were you on contributions based incapacity,

    lesley xx

  • Sorry to hear that you too are having such a bad time. From what people are telling me about ATOS healthcare nobody will be passing their assessments.

    I don't know what contributions based incapacity is, but if it's linked to your job then it's unlikely as I have been on these benefits for over a decade. I do live with my partner but his own debts mean he can't help me much.

    When the lady at DWP sent me a copy of the ATOS medical report I had to laugh or you would end up crying. She has me walking 200 yards with ease, whilst cooking meals and cleaning my housevevery day.

    Since even before I had shoulder problems, I had knee and back problems which mean I struggle to stand for long, I'm not sure how she sees me managing to stand long enough to make meals, clean etc. Or even if I could how she thinks I would carry them even if I could. Are the NHS now handing out head gear that allows you to carry things safely on your head???

    I know I shouldn't make jokes about such a serious matter but this new system just seems totally rediculous to me.

  • l know exactly how you feel, l have constant blurred vision, and some days l dont even know my own name my balance is so bad that l am forever falling or walking into things! and that is beside the constant joint and muscle pain and not being able to walk very far unaided, they make me sick!! How did you get a copy of your medical report? l don't know how the can assess me without having a medical. If you have contributions based incapacity it means that you get them even if you are married or living with a partner, if its non contribution then l believe they have to take your partners income into account, not really sure if this is so. you are only allowed to be in the work related activity group for a year, after this it becomes means tested which is a bummer!

  • I can certainly sympatise. I don't get the blurred vision till the exhaustion is really bad at which if I still can't sleep i resort to painkillers and sleeping tablets. The brain fog seems to be something everyone has. When I had my medical I hadn't slept for 3 days and had also just finished high dose antibiotics for an infection so felt awful and was tearful all through interview.

    I think the ATOS ppl who do them simply don't care tho. You are simply a number on a page. The woman I spoke to at the DWP place tho, Wendy I think she was called (brain fig again sorry) was very sympathetic and when I told her half of what she said I could do, I simply couldn't she offered to send me the full report so I would suggest that you must be entitled to a copy if you ring and ask for it.

    I intend to take mne with me to solicitors today.

    Thanks for tip on incapacity but not sure how this will work now that incapacity benefit no longer exists, or how it will follow through to the new benefit.

  • good luck with your solicitors appt, hopefully he will be able to help you, take care xx

  • Saw solicitor, he say that for ppl like myself whose partners working the prospects aren't good as this new benefit is means tested/income related so will take his income into account also, meaning even if I win and qualify I am unlikely to recieve anything.

    He did say it was still worth appealing in order to get my points updated as being a recipient of DLA this could help my claim when this is reassessed, as apparently DLA ia now assessed fully via medicals.

    He also pointed out other benefits I should try claiming so I guess bad news and good news.

    Paks :)

  • I've been told by a worker at Citizens' Advice Bureaux that, of all those people who have been told they an no longer claim DLA and whats more, are able to work, 67% are reinstated on appeal. Also, they must carry on paying you whislt the appeal is pending. Don't jump for the expensive alternative, the CAB are very clued up on all matters arising from the implementation of the new benefit.

  • Many thanks Chrissie, we do have a CAB in my home town, but you need to make appointments to see them so have not yet got in to see them. They are close to solicitors tho so we do plan to pop in and make an appointment as they don't make them by phone for some weird reason. I have been receiving incapacity & DLA for over a decade and have been through the appeal process twice in that time, once before the tribunal. The solicitors I am going to offer a free advice appointment which is what I am going to and to assess whether I would qualify for legal aid. As my partner now works almost full time I would consider it unlikely so I will in all likelihood have to rely on CAB to get me through the appeal process this time.

  • I believe that they carry on paying esa but definitely not dla if its denied but they will backdate it if your appeal is successful.

    regards, sandra.

  • Yes, if the system hasn't changed, then that is what happened to me last time I had to go to appeal. I am not sur how that affects you if you have a disability car at the time.

    My appeal process took almost 6 months so tho the backdated money is great when you finally get it, trying to manage in the meantime is awful.

  • HI to all you people

    I am reading all of this and like yourselves I am on DLA and about to face the ATOS so called medical any day - just wating for the appointment. I just cannot believe what this government is doing - if I had the strength to be angry I so would be. Knowing that we are all in this together and just how many of us there are gives me a little glimmer or hope that someone somewhere will take up this cause and fight for us as a whole. This is what it is going to take - please someone who has the clout and the knowledge to fight please come to our rescue - this is going to cost lives the worry, stress and the whole feeling of having no control in what happens is just making us all so much sicker. Is there anyone that is willing to take this on through the courts of this land or human rights?

  • Dear sharonD, I can't remember his name but I guy did post on hear about a week ago saying he was looking to take his case to the upper tribunal, which only hears cases where you are fighting a point in law. Hopefully if there are more like him that can challenge what the government are doing the law could be changed. You would certainly think that by forcing ppl, the majority of whom are to I'll to hold down a job of any kind even if they could get one that they would be breaching their human rights when you consider some of the ridiculous decisions the courts have upheld regarding terrorists and murderers.

  • I was put on Employment with Support Benefit earlier this year & was told by the CAB & it was confirmed by the Jobcentre woman that unless you are terminally ill or on dialysis or similar, everyone deemed unfit for work will go on ESB & have to go to the Jobcentre every month. I have arthritis, fibromyalgia, depression & panic attacks, & agoraphobia so when I got to my first "support" session I sobbed my heart out having the worse panic attack I have ever had and I was told to "think about the poor people in Africa" and instructed to go to my GP and get counselling or she would send me to their counsellor if my GP refused as their system had made me more ill than I was before. My GP said I don't need a counsellor unless I have a really bad panic attack next time I go for "support" and the woman has no right to refer me herself.

    I wouldn't dare ask for DLA as I think I would end up with a complete breakdown and dread to think what would happen to me.

  • It sounds as though like the rest of us you are having a pretty bad time. Ironically my solicitor told me that although everyone on both ESA and DLA will face medicals in future when their renewal comes through, getting people their DLA back is far easier than ESA. From what ppl on here have told me there was a panorama program on ATOS healthcare who do the medicals and it basically came to the conclusion that ton pass your medical you would basically need to be dead.

    On top of that, like you say, to get into the support group you basically need to be practically terminally ill, and if like me your partner works, even if you get into work related you will either recieve no benefit or get it for just 365 days, which since they take my ESA as starting in march means just 6 months for me. Since they say appeals can take up to six months, by the time I hear one way or the other I won't actually receive the benefit anyway.

    I don't know your situation, ie. How mobile you are, how much you can care for yourself so I can't really tell you whether it is worth you trying for DLA, however if you need a carer, or cant cook, clean, look after personal needs, then it is definately worth doing, tho I would advise getting CAB to help. As mentioned before my solicitor says DLA is easier to get reinstated at present than ESA. Also I guess it depends on other circumstances too, as if you have a partner and they work then unlike incapacity, ESA is means tested so theybwill take your partners earnings into account before deciding if you receive anything.

    If you need help or support please feel free to email me on mordormaniac@Netscape.net

    I try to keep this updated but don't get to it every day.

  • Than you so much for your reply. It's a nightmare, isn't it? I hope you are successful with your campaign to get your rightful benefits.

    I used to be the main carer to my severely brain damaged at birth brother and then my mother (my Dad, brother & Mum died within 30 months) & I had some terrible fights for their benefits at times but I've lost my energy for the battle now I'm 60 & physically & mentally under par. I reach retirement age in the beginning of 2014 so the ESA nightmare will come to an end then, I hope!

    One of my previous battles was over my mother's DLA which was taken off her for 6 months and which resulted in her saying they thought she was a malingerer so she didn't fully explain her pains & she was only diagnosed with cancer 2 weeks before her death. I can't face asking about DLA for myself as it brings back so many bad memories.

    My agoraphobia has really worsened since the ESA thing so I don't want to push my luck. To see anyone at my local CAB you have to be in the long queue outside the CAB well before they open at 9 am and I can't face that at all.

    I don't have a partner but I share a house with my other brother & of course we are treated as separate entities as far as my benefits are concerned so that is a blessing.

  • hello there.i have been on incapacity benefit and have had DLA since1998.i was told in 2007 that i wouldnt have to attend anymore medicals etc.i filled in my claim forms fro ESA and returned them by oct 3rd as requested with a letter from my doctor.received my letter a few days ago telling me I was in support group.when I filled in my forms I went into great detail about what I could and couldn't do-11 extra pages-some ahnd written and some typed to see that I couldn't type without errors .i would advise anyone to add any extra information about how their conditions affect them and not just answer the questions in the boxes they supply.i don't know if you did this.i rreally feel for you ,I fi hadn't been placed in the support group I should imagine it would affect many other benefits ie council tax,disability bus passes etc,

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