Fibromyalgia Action UK
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In this edition we have confirmation that the DWP is actively considering axeing employment and support allowance (ESA) payments for claimants who challenge a decision that they are fit for work. Instead, claimants will have to try to sign on for jobseeker’s allowance, where they will face a harsh new regime which, from later this month, will include potential benefit sanctions of up to three years.

Plus, we learn how many ESA claimants who get found fit for work are left with no income at all and discover the outrage amongst disability charities at a secret deal done between Disabilty Rights UK and the DWP.

We also have leaked confirmation that Atos will be paid millions in bonuses for getting disability living allowance (DLA) to personal independence payment (PIP) transfer medicals done in a tearing hurry rather than getting them right – and how this may also affect not just DLA but also ESA claimants.

And finally, as well as the money off offer below we also have a free screensaver of stunning images from A Way of Seeing to say thank you for over 5,000 Facebook likes of our Benefits and Work page.


The DWP has now released their response to the ‘consultation’ on a mandatory revision before appeal system. Under the new system, claimants who wish to challenge most benefits decision will be prevented from lodging an appeal with the Tribunals Service until the DWP have had another look at the decision. There is no time limit for how long the DWP can spend on this mandatory reconsideration.

This is particularly important for ESA claimants who are found fit for work, as they are legally prevented from continuing to receive the assessment rate of ESA until they have lodged an appeal.

After months of refusing to answer the question, the DWP have now revealed in their response document that they are still undecided as to whether claimants will be allowed to continue to receive ESA during the reconsideration phase. Worryingly the document does state that “other benefits may be available to claimants where ESA has been disallowed”.


ESA claimants who end up on JSA face an extraordinarily harsh new sanctions from 22 October, when decision makers will have the power to ban claimants from JSA for up to three years for repeated offences of:

leaving a job voluntarily;

losing a job through misconduct;

refusal/failure to apply for, or accept if offered a suitable job;

refusal/failure to participate in mandatory work activity.

If you can show you had good cause for your actions, then there will, be no sanction. But with legal aid ending for welfare benefits next year, help to show good cause will be harder to come by.

Claimants may lose out on JSA where decision makers refuse to accept that the they are too ill to undertake mandatory work, for example. Or if an unscrupulous employer unlawfully sacks them because they are disabled, but alleges that dismissal was for misconduct, then they may also face sanctions.

Again, with the ending of legal aid for employment law and the introduction of hefty fees for taking a case to tribunal, it will be much harder for claimants to show they were not at fault.

The three year sanction will apply for a third offence within 52 weeks. The current maximum sanction is 26 weeks. Claimants may be eligible for hardship payments during the sanction period.

download the response document

9 Replies

Geez I have read that twice and still can't take it all in.... So I am right in summing up that basically the government want truly disabled people ... Not the few or many benefit rise from their sickbeds like jesus curing Lazarus and go out to work or just quietly starve to death and not be a burden to the system ... Sorry if I offend anyone here but this smacks of ebeneezer Scrooge combined with hitler....


I don't think you'll offend anyone, VG; it sounds exactly what I was thinking! I have long thought that our current government (irrespective of what has come before) will be quite happy when the genuinely poor and needy have all popped their clogs, and the rich can wallow in their own richness. Until they remember that they needed the poor to empty their bins and do the dirty jobs, but then they'll probably import a few!

Sara xx


i think it is bad .looks like no one will have any money. don't know what we are meant to do.


Well said verygrumpy!! I echo your thoughts entirely! Like you I just can't actually take in the full impact of this...


It certainly makes for disturbing reading. One wonders what they will come up with to follow this, Eugenics seems a logical step for this government. Do we not learn anything from history? Jane x


This government looks as if they are trying to take us back to a place where when you were poor and had no money and became homeless then there was only ONE place left THE WORKHOUSE !! They wont be happy until 'The Poor' and 'The Disabled' are stamped into the ground !


I think this is outrageous inhumane and possibly could be challenge in the Human Rights courts...So if you are one of those who are forced to go on jobseekers even though you are disabled you have no rights at all....thats basically what this is saying...Just because you are disabled you can be sacked then the DWP are told that it was for misconduct when in fact it was clearly a case of discrimination. Are we going backwards to a time when they opened up the workhouses where the poor and infirm were subjected to horrendous conditions....Because, all I can see what will come from this is a lot of misery, pain and possibly an increases in homelessness because if you have no money a person cant afford to pay their rent/mortgage or any other bills....Is this truly LEGAL ...I think its time then that LOBBYISTS campaigned against this....For lets face it those who are making these decisions are the very people folks go out and vote for!!!!! They can soon be removed!!!! I can think that a lot of money would be saved by removing MP's expenses....they really dont need them ...why do they need so much money...or two houses....Scrapping MP's expenses would save a lot more than taking away DLA and other disability benefits away from those who are vulnerable and rely on that money in order to live.....A final note where are these jobs...because unemployment is own daughter who is not disabled is finding it difficult to find a job when you have 200 to 400 + job applicants apply for one what do the government intend to do to tackle this and find employment for all British UK citizens...whether they are disabled or not????? Sorry just ranting.... Bev :(


Clearly they just want us all to crawl under a rock and stay there )-:


This is not only deeply concerning but extremely confusing. I am on ESA support group for another condition and when I rang the department to tell that I now suffer from Fibro, they informed me that I had to wait for my current award to end before I can give any additions to my claim. I don't have an end date so am in limbo land!! Very scared. My only hope is that Labour come to power as I am in danger of a double whammy, with the proposed cuts to disability payments and the bedroom tax through present Tory gits!!

I know I'm not alone or in as a bad a situation as some but does anyone have any idea what it means that I don't have an end date? I'm too scared to ask the department in case they look into my claim and decide that I'm fit for work and I have to go through their ridiculously unfair procedures.

Gentle hugs to all and dare I say 'Happy Easter'.

K xx


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