INCAPACITY BENEFIT & THE NEW ESA

Can anyone help explain the above to me please. I received a letter from DWP a short while ago after my long standing claim was re-assesed (firstly i had received a phone call from ATOS confirming my re-claim had been sucessful but that it was being "renamed" ESA" from August but that the amout of benefit i received would be the same). I received a P45 parts 1,2 & 3 and then a letter for me to go along to the job centre for them to maybe find me work. I have phoned the jobcentre and they know nothing about me, my medical history or medical condition - they also said they have no medical knowledge also. This seems all rather bizarre to me! I have WG, which i've had for quite a few years now but since january 11 my condition now has deteriorated so much after a massive and life threatening flare - that i now require fornightly visits to hospital.

Any comments, help, anything....would be greatly appreaciated.

mandi

6 Replies

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  • Coincidentally I had confirmation by letter today too, that my IB had been renewed but was now going to be called ESA.

    As with all of these DWP letters, you have to dig for the information to try and make sense of it all (deliberate do you think??).

    It would seem to me after reading the (long & conveluted) letter (and I am no expert) that the offer of ESA benefit is split into two distict groups. ( See below in no particular order).

    Group 1 - Work Related Activity Group. This means that as a condition of getting ESA benefit you MUST attend the work focused interviews, with a view to getting you into work

    " IF YOU ARE ABLE".

    Group 2 - Support Group - This means you can VOLUNTEER to attend the work focused interview, with a view to getting you into work.

    The difference between the two groups is obvious: Group 1 - getting the ESA benefit is DEPENDANT on you attending the interviews. Group 2 - you don't have to attend the interviews if you're not up to it, to get the ESA benefit.

    I hope all this makes sense!

    Good luck!

  • the job centre ESA advisor got in touch with me with an app't. Did you fill in the ESA form? Ask your consultant at the hospital for a letter detailing your problems. If you don't already get it apply for DLA too.

    regards, sandra

  • Hi there

    Thanks both of you for replying and trying to clarify! I did subscribe to "benefits and work" but cant really make head nor tail of it. I thought there would be a forum that i could discuss this in but i cant find one. My consultant is fairly new to me and to be honest he is a load of rubbish - so asking him for a letter excusing me from work is about as likely as it is doing me a referral letter to Professor Harper at QMC! I've only been asking for it since may!

    To be honest, i think i have a battle on my hands and i just dont have the energy for that at the moment!

    Sandra, i havent filled in any forms (apart from the form when i had to reapply for IB in January) - apparently the interview will take an hour, maybe that's when i will have to fill a form in.

    I'm just going to take along all my medication, all my hospital appointments past and present and all the letters from all the dr's involved in my care from january - if the interviewer doesnt know anything about WG and pulmonary heomarrage....she will afterwards!

    Actually, i wonder if i go and see my GP who is a wonderful man, he may be able to help?

    many thanks

    regards

    mandi

  • hi mandi, in the back of the guide is a form you can fill in and give to your g.p. it will help him to answer the questions the dwp will ask him. regards, sandra

  • Last September I had to fill a form in for ESA as I was told my IB was ceasing. I had a phone call from the job centre in December to say I had been awarded ESA and would get the same payment as I had been getting for IB.

    About six weeks after this I had another ESA form to complete, exactly the same as the first one. I rang up to see if they really wanted me to fill out another long form and was told that they had no record of the first one. I duly completed it with a bit of extra info as my CSS had flared again at this point.

    Eventually I got another phone call and a letter confirming that I was entitled to ESA.

    I have kept copies of all my forms and letters and sent letters from consultants with the form. The whole experience made me think that the system is in a mess but keeping copies of everything you send is important. I also made a note of the dates of the phone calls.

  • Mandi

    BerkshireBird is absolutely right ..... there are two possible groups. It 'looks' like they have placed you in the first group (WRAG) but forgot to tell the DWP. The assessment process is handled by a company called ATOS and is a total mess.

    From what I read you should, most definitely, appeal and make sure they put you in the Support Group. If you remain in the WARG Group you will only (I believe) receive ESA benefit for a maximum of 12 months. In the Support Group it is open-ended as long as you fit the criteria. I think you have to appeal within a month of the decision (may be wrong)

    Be very wary of any communication you receive. ATOS are paid on results (financial) - not how well they help people who need help! As the Americans would say - 'Go figure'!!

    Benefits and Work can be heavy going but all the information is there. The guides are excellent.

    It's a very daunting process but try not to let it get you down.

    Good luck!

    Dave

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