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Have you claimed PIP or ESA? Please help NRAS by sharing your experiences!

I am currently working away on NRAS’s submissions to the Independent Reviews of both Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and the Work Capability Assessment (WCA). PIP is replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and is a non-means tested benefit, comprised of both a mobility and care component, designed to help disabled people live independent lives. The Work Capability Assessment is the functional test which determines eligibility for Employment Support Allowance (ESA). ESA has replaced Incapacity Benefit for those who are unable to work due to long term illness or disability.

This will be the 5th Review of the WCA and ESA which is being undertaken by Dr Litchfield and the very first Independent Review of PIP, led by Paul Gray. These Reviews are a great opportunity to highlight our concerns about these benefits and the experiences of people with RA.

To make my submission as strong and informative as possible it would be fantastic to have information about your experiences of claiming these two benefits. So if you are receiving, or in the process of claiming, ESA and/or PIP please do get in touch with me via or 0845 458 3969 and share your experience.

If you have experiences of claiming ESA it is very important that you get in touch and, if possible, answer the following questions by Monday, 11th August:

• How did you find the process of claiming and receiving Employment Support Allowance? (50 words)

• If you had a face to face work capability assessment, how did you find the experience? (50 words)

• What was your experience of the Work Related Activity Group and the actions required of you within it? (50 words)

• If you have been through it, what has been your experience of Mandatory Reconsideration and the Appeals process? (50 words)

If you have experience of claiming PIP I would be very grateful if you could get in touch and answer the following questions by Monday, 1st September:

• How did you find the process of claiming PIP? (50 words)

• If you have had a face to face assessment how did you find the experience? (50 words)

• How well did you feel the process captured the nature of your condition and any fluctuation? (50 words)

• Did you feel you were awarded an adequate level of support for your needs? (50 words)

Please contact me on or 0845 458 3969. The experiences you have very kindly shared with us before have been invaluable in our work around Welfare and benefit changes. Your help is very much appreciated and very important so please do get in touch.

The Disability Benefits Consortium is also running two surveys to capture claimants’ experiences. Please do complete them if you can as they are very, very helpful.

Big Benefits Survey 2014:

PIP Monitoring Survey:


Laura, Government Affairs Officer, NRAS

5 Replies

I had to claim ESA when I was taken off incapacity benefits, I filled in the forms they sent to me and posted them off back to the DWP , after several I was waiting and waiting for a date for a medical and this never arrived but my claim for ESA arrived and it said, although you have at least 15 points which is enough to qualify for the support group, we still think you are fit for some type of work and although I have 11 different illnesses including RA, THEY SAID THAT PAIN IS NOT TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION ANYMORE.

So then I had to go for an appointment which wasn't too many weeks away, I arrived there and was asked to take a seat to which I then asked for a high disabled chair, they had none, (typical) so I was then given an office chair and that was a bit higher so I could then sit down, 30 minutes passed and I was called over, they asked a few questions and I said I'd like to appeal, so I did and lost.

When I received a further letter to claim again after the initial 12 months was up and then I thought a bit harder and asked to be put in the support group because my symptoms were a lot worse and I'm not capable of any work.

About a month passed and I got the dreaded brown envelope through the door ( which to me was strange because they normally put any letters through the letter box), it said that my new claim was being considerered and I was being given a rise of £18 per week and it said it was be caused they didn't want me to lose out any money until THIER decision was made and I'm still waiting, so God only knows what's going on.

THIER attitude wasn't very nice of some of THIER staff and others were ok.

My DLA is still intact for now at least.

I hope this helps.


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I am not on pip etc as I have DLA at the highest rate for disability and care. BUT was in tremendous pain when I had to have a medical for DLA. They shoved my joints round something awful. I use a three wheeled walker and they had not seen one before. Then I had to pick up my feet one at a time to leave the place. The medical was up stairs till I asked them to come down to me. Apparently it was a ploy. Anyone who got upstairs was turned down.They were going to turn me down till I did this. I have to cos of the fallen arches, RA in feet, ankles etc [as well as knees, elbows, shoulders etc]

I went straight to the hospital as I was not living in Bexleyheath only on a holiday at my husbands parents home. They of course could give me nothing as I am allergic to aspirin and in all I was taken back to Bexleyheath from Catford by taxi paid for by the state.

I felt I should mention this to you. This was in 1989. OK I am worse now and also have vast diet problems. I get hypertension and rapid pulse when I eat something wrong. Can't have dairy, gluten, alcohol, nuts, spices, herbs, soya [the cause of my recent TIA which I had on prescription for 20 years, blew me up in weight though did not fathom out the cause] and add prunes, dates, pineapple, kiwi, onions, bananas, and no salicylates, plasters etc etc

I need help desperately on my diet and I am qualified in medicine ND HD HMD and PhD Immunology and used to be an accountant, lawyer and teacher.

Glennis Rogerson Skegness UK

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I put in for ESA in 2012 i was self employed at the time, unlike most my experience has not been a bad one, I went for my assessment around june 2012, and the lady i seen was very good and understanding (But then i was still having a lot tests done to see what was up with the mass on my chest,) anyway she did the assessment and asked me a lot of things, and she also asked what meds i was on, at this time i was only on painkillers,

well 4 weeks past and i got letter saying i had been placed in the SG, ( thats good did not need to hand in anymore sick notes)

This year 2014 i got a letter for reassessment for my ESA, but about 10 days before my reassessment i had to go to the Job center as they was putting me in a WRAG ( i said to them when i went down there that i have a letter asking me to go for reassessment for ESA in 10 days?) they said i still had to go along to WRAG, so of i go on the monday to WRAG, the lady i seen was very good, i told her that i had reassessment for ESA next week and i'm not sure why i have been put in the WRAG and she said well what we will do today then, is just get the paper work out the way that we have to do with every new person that comes , was only there for 30 min, and she then said give her a call once the reassessment has been done to let her know? the out come,

well i went to ATOS for my reassessment, got there on time, have to wait about 20 mins, then i get called in by a lady, i sit down and she starts to asking me about my condition, and i told her and about half way she was saying things that i was thinking but was not saying and i said yea that's right to what she was saying, (so she had a very good understanding of how my condition is) and she said i will not ask you to do the physical as i can see how much pain you are in.

and that was that,

about a week later i phone DWP up as i had to find out where i stand, as i had to let the WRAG lady know. and DWP told me i have been put back in the SG of ESA, << still waiting for the report from this assessment

Hope this helps.


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Hi! I'm new to this forum but I thought I'd share my experience in hope I may get some advice from others in similar situations. I've had RA for 16 years now and after having my daughter I applied for ESA . I was asked to go for a medical miles away from my home and it took 2 hours to get there with RA and a new born child alone. I waited for 45 minutes and then went into see the assessor. All I can say is she very obviously was a trainee as another woman was sitting in on the assessment with her.( she was all of 18 I swear). I waited for a letter and after 5 weeks it arrived saying I would be fit to return to work in 3 weeks!!!!! I applied for income support but now my daughter is at school I am constantly harassed by the job centre to find a job of 16+ hours a week! sign on every fortnight and look for 10 jobs every fortnight too. Now I work part time but not 16 hours, I may do 10-13 hours some weeks it depends, but I'm struggling with this and some nights I crawl through my front door in tears. I'm scared to apply for ESA again as the stress of that combined with the stress is hard to cope with. Has anyone been through a similar experience that they could share with me please ? Xx

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I have sle ra copd part of my lung damaged very bad hair loss i had medical and passed but i have to go to job lub when asked why im here the lady said esa only last 12 months so they were looking to get me back in work couldnt belive it also my liver results were v high that week but still had to go why

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