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Esa question

Hi all i was wondering if anyone could answer this question for me please.

Had my second esa meeting last week,and decided to appeal about being put in wrag instead of support group.

I went to see cab and they are going to help me at the end of the month.

I was told to get sick note from doctor who i see this week,the problem i have is this.

Do i hand the sick note in at the jobcentre or wait and give it to the cab.

I am not very good at this thing as it is a long time since i needed help with forms etc, the brain fog and not being well is so frustrating.

I only see my consultant once a year so i do not think he will be any help to me.

I thought i understood about this esa thing but i don't understand it at all.

Last month i was told not to appeal and this month they tell me to appeal.It is so confusing.

Sorry .for the rant

Take care Lornadoon

10 Replies

Hi Lorna. The most important advice is to take a copy of it - front and back. You can do it with your mobile phone if it has a camera (I frequently use this method for copying important documents, though I store them on my computer at home).

The DWP will probably tell you to keep the note and hand it to the ESA people. But they need to see it to continue to pay your claim.

Is your ESA income related or contributions based?

You also don't say how long the sick-note is for - and I think this may matter (though I have no evidence for this). If you show it to the ESA people and it expires in a month or two - and you are getting income related ESA in the WRAG group, it may have the opposite effect to the one you are seeking...?

But if you are sure it will help your case with ATOS - I would take copies, and show it to them as well as the DWP (but hang on to the original unless they insist you produce it).


You can get lots of photocopies of your doctors letter done at your local library. I believe it's very cheap.


Hi Lorna

I'm trying to unpick what you have said, because I don't understand all of it. When you say second 'meeting' about ESA, do you mean a second assessment with ATOS, or a meeting with DWP staff at the Jobcentre? You can't get ESA at all without a medical certificate to start your claim, and since you are already on it, I'm assuming you are just being asked to keep providing them at the moment.

The key thing to succeed at an appeal is specific medical evidence rather than a certificate. It's crucial if you want to get into the support group to understand the descriptors for the support group, and to argue where you fit within the descriptors. I've already written about this process on my blog post 'What does it mean to be in the ESA WRAG' but here is the relevant excerpt from it:

"The other group of people on ESA will have been placed in the Support Group (a misnomer in my view, as they don't get any 'support') because they are deemed too ill/disabled to participate in any work related activity. They get slightly more money, and the payments can continue for as long as they qualify. They don't get asked to any interviews usually, apart from people occasionally checking that they still qualify or asking if they want to volunteer for things. Just say no.

If there is even a vague possibility that you have been put into the wrong group, I would suggest you appeal the decision. Get help from an advice agency to do this. You can only win such an appeal if you can score the relevant points or the 'exceptional circumstances' rules apply. Check this document for the points relevant to the Support Group on pages 24-26:

For 'exceptional circumstances' to apply, you need to show that there would be a substantial risk to your physical or mental health if you were found fit for work related activity. You need good medical evidence for any appeal, and it needs to be specific to the grounds of your appeal, not just saying you have Lupus. It is not about your condition(s), but about the functional difficulties you have because of the condition(s)."

I hope that helps.


I'm not sure about the sick note side of things but some general advise:-

As well as CAB it is worth checking if your local council social servive dept have a welfare rights officer who could help you - my GP refered me and they acted as my representative in the appeal

I won appeal and got put into support group based on "exceptional circumstances" (after originally being in WRAG) . In particular I used the fact that stress of being in WRAG made my Lupus worse (stress can trigger flares for many people with SLE) and that being in WRAG affected my mental health severly (eg made depression worse) Both my consultant and GP backed up my appeal, also Lupus UK wrote a letter which added to my "evidence"

If you are a member of Lupus UK they can help by providing supporting letter for "evidence" for use in an appeal - e-mail Christine at Lupus UK with some basic details.

Also Lupus UK provide free guides published by "Benefits and Work" which may also help -

In my experience the more "evidence" that what you say is true the better your chance of successfull appeal. Hence be very clear with GP about what is going on and ask if they will do a letter that will help your appeal. Also allthough you do not see your consultant often it may help to discuss your situation with them and see if they will help by writing a letter for you.


Hi all and thanks for the response,when i went for the second meeting the guy said he thinks that i should appeal the decision as he said i certainly was ill and he would not like to send me on courses etc.

I have received the letter from Christine and everything else to help me.

When i went to cab the lady i saw said i had to go back to get help filling in the form and as i was leaving she said to me go and see your doctor for a sick note,this is when i should have asked her what do i do with it and i did not think as my head was spinning trying to take everything in,

As i say that day i was in so much pain and my chest was so bad that i could not stop coughing,i had been in bed for three days prior.

As i say when i went to first meeting he gave me forms and said i did not need to appeal, and that i would be paid till next year,then when i saw him last week he said why have you not appealed i told him you took the form off me, he then said you are in the wrong group i asked him do i need the cab and he suggested that i go and see them.

That is why i was asking does anyone know if i keep the sick note and give it the cab or do i hand it over to job centre.

I think all the worry is making me more ill.

I think i will ring cab and ask if i can see someone sooner, or at least find out what i do with the sick note.

It is my stupid fault for not being bright and taking in what people say and not asking the correct answers.

Well i see the doc this week so i hope i get the right sick note.

Thanks Lornadoon


Every time I have taken my son's medical certificate into the job centre for my son I have asked them to do 2 copies for me, they have always obliged and stamped it with their official stamp. My son needed one for his employer and one for his records. Even though you have not seen your consultant for a while I would still advise you to contact his/her secretary and request a letter stating you are not fit for work. We took this on my son's 2nd medical and he was kept on his benefit whereas on his first medical we never and he was kicked off ESA and had to appeal and go to a tribunal. I would always appeal as the decisions made at ATOS are routinely overturned and Welfare Rights will accompany you or Citizen's advice. Never go to a tribunal alone as you need someone with you who knows the ropes and can challenge anything they may say that is incorrect.


Thank you ikic i will ring my cosultants receptionist and ask her, you never know he may be ok about it.

When i take the sick note i will ask for photocopies like you have said.

The other problem is that i do not have anyone to go with at the tribunal,so i only hope that the day i go i will be able to get someone from either of these places to go with me.

I am not sleeping as all this makes you so anxious which is not helping my ibs at the moment or my lupus.

I will be glad when all this is sorted one way or another.

Thank you for the rsponse

Take care Lornadoon


When it came time for my son to go for his tribunal I contacted the Welfare Rights people within the Social Work Department in our area, I got the nunber from the phone book. We had to say on the tribunal papers who would be representing him. I would urge you to contact them now even if you do not know whether or not you will be going to tribunal because they then become aware of you. The girl who came with us was so helpful but more important we felt calm because she was with us. My son suffers from anxiety and depression and was not able to do any of the necessary running about required and that fell to me. I must say that as someone who does not suffer from anxiety and depression the process of going through this with my son has actually made me feel severely anxious and depressed. I would urge you to get representation, you are entitled to it, everyone told me not to go alone and I would agree with that sentiment. The other thing I would say is to study the paperwork and see where you lost points as this is the important bit of information, if you do not know where you lost points then you do not know what areas you need to concentrate on. My son was unable to do any of this for himself as his anxiety just went through the roof but it is important that you understand why you were put into the group you were put into and what information you need to get you moved into a different group.


The other thing I meant to say was that doctors and consultants are being called upon more and more to write letters for their patients in order that their benefits are not stopped, so much so that the British Medical Association are up in arms, so I am sure you will not be the first person to ask your consultant for this type of help and I bet you will nto be the last and most doctors are aware that if a patients benefits stop then their illnesses can become worse.


Hi Ikic

Thanks for your help i have decided to ring my consultant and ask for a letter also i will do as you say and ring welfare rights as i need support.

When i go to these meetings i cannot think straight as the heart is beating so fast i feel ill.

Also i sweat so bad with the stress.

As i say this whole process is so worrying, and it does make you stressed.

Yesterday the cab sent me a letter to change my appt for a week later so that is making things i still do not know what to do with the sick note do i give it to them or send it to job centre.

I should have asked but did not think, this is the problems i have i cannot think straight.

Hope the welfare people can help me as to what i do.

I tried all day yesterday to try to speak to someone at cab but to no avail.

Thank you for the help

Lornadoon .


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