Thyroid UK
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Anyone on Incapacity Benefit had assessment & had it refused, did you appeal? if so what was the outcome?

I had my assessment a few wks ago, Ive just got the letter saying that i will no longer be getting Incapacity, but i can appeal, which i am going to do. I was just wondering if this has happened to anyone else & what the outcome was & how long the process takes, thanks Sarah

16 Replies

I haven't been in the situation of needing a medical (at the time I was in an exempt category) but I have heard that, if you do your appeal through CAB that the success rate is pretty good. In our area more than 50% of people who appeal with the help of the CAB win their appeal so it is definitely worth doing.

My cousin's wife was refused ESA despite being in a wheelchair and on morphine for the pain and needing to sleep most of the day. She appealed and won hands down. The people at the tribunal couldn't understand why she had been refused ESA when she clearly wasn't fit for work.

You have to appeal within a month but I don't know how long the appeal process takes. Hopefully someone else will be able to clarify this for you. I think it depends on the area because different areas have a different amount of backlog to get through.

Please consider getting help with your appeal from someone like citizens Advice or other charity.

I hope you succeed.

Carolyn x


thanks Carolyn, im totally exhausted! i do a few hours a week permitted work which i find is enough, im getting my local council office to help me, its another stress which i dont need! Its a joke!!


on what ground was your assessment refused/? i think a lot of patients who have been on incapacity B, will be refused in the first instance, you need to appeal, dnt worry I have bin there and been successful however I have pre existing symptoms un related to hypo issues. Dont give up I no it is difficult but I feel you need to defend your rights.

good luck x


i scored a 0.i feel that the assessment was based on the fact that i drove to it, my husband cant drive & he waited in the car, she didnt go through my form properly & was more concerned about me having blonde hair!! i have it blonde as im naturally dark & i look even more ill!!!

Is the appeal in a court room?? i hope its a room somewhere were there are only the people that need to be involved are there!


Hello MrsB - I help people on another forum (a CFS one) with ESA and related issues - it's voluntary and I am not trained, but I have learnt a lot over the last few years through this and doing my own ESA. I was not previously on IB, but my husband was, so I know about the differences there too.

The form you need to appeal on is at the back of this form

At the moment, when you appeal, you can have the basic rate of ESA paid while the process is going on - just to make sure they do this, I would make sure that you ask for this on your appeal form. The assessment rate is around £70, the same as JSA. Unfortunately the system is changing in October (though I have heard that some Jobcentres are telling people that it has already changed in April but this isn't true for most people), as after that date the appeal system is changing.

However, the other thing that you need to know is that BEFORE your appeal goes off to the Tribunal, your situation will be looked at by another Decision Maker. This happens automatically and is called Reconsideration or Review. This is very important as it means that whatever you can do at this stage may change the decision. As you are doing Permitted Work of a few hours, then it's likely that if they do change their minds then you are more likely to be put in the Work Related Activity Group than in the Support Group.

So..... at this stage I would suggest that you gather together some evidence to send with your appeal. If you don't have time to get the medical evidence (eg Dr's letter, Specialist's reports) then tell them that you will send it on ASAP. If you are unable to persuade your GP to write anything in your support then often your medical notes may have something useful to copy - you have the right to copies of any of this for a small fee. If you have been to see specialists in the last few years then copies of their reports are often on your Dr's file. If your GP won't write a letter for free, then it's possible that they may write one for a small charge.

Also, you may send in reports from friends and family or alternative practitioners. To support my own ESA I sent in a GP's letter, a specialist's letter, a private GP's letter, and when I asked for Reconsideration, I also sent an acupuncturist's letter, a letter from my husband and also 2 from close friends.

Ideally you need a copy of the medical assessment (if you don't have it already) to see what was said, and why you were not given points - you can request this, though they are not very reliable at sending it. You need to remember that the DWP recognises that you need to do the descriptors 'reliably, repeatedly and safely' and it may well be that you are able to do an action once but not repeatedly. This is the case for me as I have an ME/CFS diagnosis. On the newest form it says this...... 'To answer Yes to any of the following questions, you must be able to do the activity safely, to an acceptable standard, as often as you need to and in a reasonable length of time', so this means the same thing.

The descriptors now are very tough and it is not easy to pass on them. There are also Regs 29 and 35 but if you are already doing Permitted Work then these do not apply. You need to check through all the descriptors and see where you might be awarded points (bearing in mind the reliably, repeatedly and safely phrase).

The problem with organisations helping people now is that they are overwhelmed by appeals. They rarely can come to the Tribunal with you as they are too busy. Also a lot of the orgs are now staffed by volunteers and the quality is very variable. Personally I think if you can read it up yourself then it's safer to know what you are doing.

There are some very good guides around to help you. I would highly recommend Benefits and Work, though you do have to pay for their guides, but some of their info is free. They also have a forum for questions, though you need to be a member to ask, but you can look at it and search for free.

Although I realise that this organisation is ME/CFS related they do great free guides to ESA and the appeals process...... Action for ME.

This is the Appeals one, but if you go to their website they do more on the ESA process.

Incidentally, I have now been assessed 3 times for ESA, and was placed in the Support Group through using my own advice, and this was via Reconsideration so I didn't need to go off to Appeal.

Incidentally the Appeal tribunal is private - you are not in a room with other people!!


Hi Carolyn B,

Briefly, I had a med assessment in Feb - failed it- 0 points. I needed 15 points to pass.

I didn't appeal as felt a waste of time even though not fit for work. I drove there aswell and they are not interested only in questions they have and one size fits all approach.

I was told that I couldn't claim JSA and appeal at same time - to make you mind up. I was checking out what options I had and ESA payment may pay a smaller amount while appealing but you had to apeal first and only for a month. They aren't too compassionate. They stopped payments 2 weeks before they sent me a letter saying they stopped payments and left me in the lurch. If you can see CAB if you appeal it may not be a bad idea. I couldn't go through it all again. Its 2am and cant sleep - why I'm here!


can you help me please av just been takeing of incapacity benefit and a want to appeal what do i need


I have just been through this for the second time. I passed the first time and failed (after I had been diagnosed with Hashi by the second medical) the second time with 0 points.

When you fill in the appeal, make sure it is for your worst possible day. For instance, do not say you can walk * yards but it causes you pain, say you cannot walk * yards because it causes you pain.

You should be put on JSA at £71 a week while waiting for appeal. The appeal can be up to a year, and some people have had a second assessment while waiting for the 1st appeal to be heard. Virtually everyone gets 0 points at the medical. You should be sent a form saying why you scored 0 points, and you should challenge the points that you think you should have scored something.

At the appeal, the Doc said "I see you are on Thyroxine, so that is your thyroid problems sorted" even though I had printed out a chart for the last year with my blood results that showed that the results were all over the place. I scraped through as my hands and feet are numb most of the time, and I cried a lot, and asked the Doc "what is wrong with me?" As he could not answer, but could see I was not coping, I had 15 points.

If you win your appeal, you will get back payment, but 6 weeks later, I am still waiting.,,

I now have to go to interviews to help me get back to work, with things such as writing a CV. Fair enough but I am over 60, with 2 degrees. I just wish I could find my brain again, I do miss it!

Good luck with your appeal - get it in as soon as you can. Hug - I know the stress that this brings, and on top of everything else, feels like the last straw. You will get through it, Take care of yourself.


thank you, when i had my TT the surgeon made it sound so simple, take it out, give me tabs and you will have a normal life! some chance, its been a very rough 5 1/2yrs. Its not fair the way they put genuinely ill people under so much stress like this.


I didn't get ESA but did following an appeal.

What I'd say is always get help filling in a form, doing an appeal. The questions are made to be sneaky. For example you must write how you are on a bad day or write that your condition varies (if it does).

Get a copy of the medical report ATOS did on you. Many people find that there are mistakes made in them. I made sure I had the medical recorded, but there were still mistakes in mine, it even had my name slightly wrong!

I was also really surprised at how much you are judged on appearance etc. The fact that you drove to the meeting will be recorded as many things. Being independent, able to follow a map, make a plan, go to an unfamiliar place, meet with unfamiliar people and more. The fact that you dye your hair will be taken as; you can take care of yourself and appearance, your home life must be fine etc.

If you carry a bag and put it down when you sit down and pick it up again when you stand that means you can bend down and pick things up with no problem all the time. Similarly if you can sit for x amount of minutes that means you don't get tired sitting ever.

So, do get a copy of your medical write up and do see Citizen's Advice or similar. I saw the Advice Shop in Edinburgh.

They will do a "reconsideration" first but I was told on the phone by them that they won't say yes to you unless it's supported by paperwork at this stage. The tribunal appeal after that is in a closed room with a doctor, judge and yourself. Someone can also accompany you. I had someone from the Advice Shop who was excellent and spoke up for me on points of law etc and "held my hand" (I needed it!).

Good Luck.


i def will need someone to hold my hand!! can you bring written statements from people who know you, will they be considered?


Hi MrsB

I don't know if you saw my reply above - I typed a very long one with various links to guides that will help you as I help as a voluntary adviser online?

Yes, you can get statements from people who know you as well as medical statements, though it's better to first send them with your Appeal form so that they can take them into Reconsideration. Ideally send as many statements/letters as you can (I sent 4 medical ones and 3 from friends/relatives) but try and get them to write relevant info re descriptors if possible. Ask your GP if he will write something for you, or if there is info on your medical notes then pay to get a copy (eg re consultants you have visited, or number of times you have seen GP).


Yup been there had it done, that and appealed and won.

Thing is to find out was the assessment Dr qualified for assessing your medical needs.

Mine I found out knew 'knees' but was vague on everything else, therefore was not qualified to assess my full medical needs. Plus having just undegone a major surgery he failed to mention I was not allowed to do anything for 6 months.

Please do ask how qualifed was the Dr who asessed you. Some are genral GP's some can be Hosptial Consultants, rairly are the Drs all knowing.

At an appeal you will go before a Judge, these can be single or duplicated Judges, They do try and have one to cover your ailments. Or arrange Medical persons to aid the Judges on your appeal. Such as say and Endo based one, knee, etc, when they can. Its friendly enough but its still daunting.

i won my appeal as the 'Judges' understood my medical needs far better and filled in the correct points score that was missed by the first Dr. They also submitted a request to remove that Dr from assessing as he clearly was out of his depth and not up to it.

You can bring with you testimonals or medical reports such as Drs, Endos etc letters. But you cannot bring in anything from websites. They can print them off and that is what they often say. You can ask them to go see for themesleves anything on a website that you feel will aid them to better understand it from your perspective. Always add please check out blah website as it explains far more on my blah condition. as this will show blah affects this on a daily basis or causes this blah to... etc.

Warning the DWP can get sneaky after you win your appeal. When they next asses they do this as they did to me and fair due the Appeal Judge did warn me they can do this. My latest medical, I wasn't even assessed correctly and I have no paperwork this time as to what they scored me on and no Dr assesment eitehr. As they dont asnwer their premium rate phone numbers. Due to this I cant appeal now its been too long, there is a sneaky time limit imposed now. I've been moved off incapiicty into fit for work.. Which on my first meeting I had a major nose bleed and it went sprayed and went everywhere. When that stopped I then passsed out after I got hot. So its got them thinking who is going to employ a woman who sprays copious amounts of blood out of her nose, goes red and promtly faints. Think only employer I am likely to get is Mr Tarantino as his blood effects specialist.


Hi all! just an update as to where i am, i have got my forms sorted, Dr has written me a letter & so has my counsellor, i have also sent a detailed 'essay' as to why i think the appeal is wrong, so fingers crossed,big thank you to all that took the time to reply :)


appeals waiting times I was told today are 17 weeks national average but here in kettering Northamptonshire 40 weeks wait?


I had my appeal hearing on 31st Oct & i won my appeal, it was awful you are made to feel like you are telling lies! I never want to go through that again, it was pretty traumatic but at least it went in my favour.


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