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ESA Appeal Hearing

Has anyone been to an appeal hearing and got any advice to offer me? I have mine next week, I know what I am planning to say and am representing myself but really have no idea what to expect. I don't know whether to be smart or casual ( I don't want to look too well). I don't know how many people will on the panel or how long I'll be there. If I had a idea what to expect I think it would ease my nerves.

Thanks in advance Jenny

7 Replies

Hi Jenny, I've been in a benefits tribunal before (with a rep). I suggest that you wear smart casual & feel comfortable. Remember whatever you wear, they will be judging you on your appearance, behaviour & mobility (whether you struggle to take off jacket/jumper; how you sit; how well you look). Always tell them about your day to day living (on your worst days); how do your symptoms affect your everyday? Take copies of all hospital summary letters, GP letters of current state, medication. What health conditions do you have? Why can't you return to work? My last ESA tribunal took a yr to set date, in which time I had pneumonia, SLE flare up, a shadow on my lung, chronic arthritis, gastroenteritis, severe anaemia (had a blood transfusion) & necrotic finger (blood clot in tip of finger). I had been in hospital for 3 wks & was given an ESA tribunal for 2 mths later. I'd sent copies of hospital summary letters (including hospital stay notes), GP letters & doc notes to ESA beforehand. On the day of tribunal, the ESA judge reps phoned & told me that I didn't have to attend & am entitled to ESA. Very strange but a relief. I think it's rare that happens but remember you have to prove to them that you are not fit for work. Stay focused on your objectives & pls keep us posted! Best wishes to you!



It's usually 3 people on the panel

A Solicitor (judge) who looks at the legal side

A Doctor and a Social Worker ( both look at the medical section, what is wrong and how you cope)

It's not advisable to go on your own, Welfare Rights (they are attached to the local council)

Their is no time limit, but they will try and catch you out

You need to know which sections you are disputing and why, you can't enter any new evidence on the day, so if you have missed something off your application you have to send it to the tribunal

Check out the Benifits and Work web site, they do charge a fee for their material but it's really good, I used it in my claim and it went straight through

Good luck


Hi jenny14, I had mine on the 9/9/15 there was 3 people on the panel as you've been advised. I also had the man from the dwp aswell.. Do you have anyone to represent you? I am with the union.? They approved my claim on the day. Just listen very carefully to the questions and think about how you are gona awnser. And tell them how the condition effects your daily living. Good luck..!!


Always recommend get a rep. I do them at CAB and have SLE, myself. Take plenty of evidence, though it's probably too late. If you have time, check out the claim form (ESA50) and jot down notes about how each descriptor affects you and what points you feel you meet. Don't worry about how you look, just wear what us easy to get on. It's not a 'court' it's a big table with a chairman, a GP and someone else who has something to do with disabilities. They are not there to interrogate you, but to find out how your condition affects your abilities. If you can do something, think whether you can do it repeatedly etc. Wish you well


Advice now is a REALLY good website with info on how to act in an appeal hearing. It gives you two people with the same problem and shows you why one failed and one didnt. we took their advice and put into writing why we felt we should succeed in the appeal and we added all those things you forget about when under pressure. I gives you a transcript to follow and advice on how to answer. It really helped us and I refused to pay 20.00 for advice from other sites. GOOD lUCk


Benefits and Work is an excellent site. They go through the appeal process step by step. It is run by a lawyer who knows exactly what applicants should say and what not to say.The advice is second to none and I am only too glad to pay the £19.99 for membership which helps this non profit making site continue for the benefit of all. I haven't found comparable information anywhere else.

I found CAB unhelpful. They are so short of money and didn't have a welfare expert available. I was turned down after the advice I had from them. Not really their fault. As I said, funding is so bad for advice centres.

Jenny14, do you have a disability advice centre near you? It may be worth contacting them. They usually have a long waiting list but may know of someone who could advise you informally and come along with you to the appeal. They are not allowed to say anything at the appeal but it is so comforting to have someone there so you don't feel alone, or, a friend/relative who understands your condition to support you.

I wish you well,



Thank you all so much for the advice. I have sent so much evidence, I have seen 7 specialists in the last year and although feel like I have bombarded them with copies of letters I want them to know how complex my medical problems are. My main complaint is that I was assessed by a young physiotherapist who had no understanding of any of my medical conditions and I felt the conversation I had with her was just going way over her head, in the letter I received she didn't manage to identify any of my conditions correctly and so trying to explain how they affected me just felt like a pointless conversation. Describing me as fit was work was incredibly insulting. I will certainly do my research before the hearing and thank you all.


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