Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Due to requesting an Audio recorded assessment (first) my ESA claim as been shut down.

dawn49dawn49 Member Posts: 3 Listener
Hello there,
My name is Dawn and i have a problem regarding ESA. I was awarded ESA in the begining of July 2017 and was very pleased. i was given a date to attend an assessment at Romford Essex, during a call to inform them that i would have mobility issues with their stairs they quickly informed me that i could not attend that centre and would need to go to one that had access for claimants with walking aids, crutches etc, i was  provided another appointment at a centre at least a hour away from my home - my daughter was going to drive me as i am unable to drive due to my many health issues. I contact the company who arranged the appointment by phone to request a recorded assessment for my ESA due to untrue information being provided to the DWP when i recently had a PIP assessment done, lucky for me i was awarded PIP,  the person i spoke with informed me that the centre in  question could not offer that facility on the day of my assessment but could make arrangements for a later date, i was further told that a letter would arrive requesting the reason for non attendance of the assessment and all i had to say was the centre could not provide the facilities required for the audio recording which i did do, weeks later (13/12/2017) i received a letter informing me that my claim had stop as of 15/11/2017 and i am fit to work which totally goes against what my G.P. has informed the DWP via my sick notes (EVERY TWO MONTHS)  Can anyone please advise me as to what i need to do from this moment on, i have 3 young children the last one also has multiple health issues and i do not have anyone to help me as of the first week in january due to my elder daughter starting a full time job. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  Many Thanks Dawn49

Replies

  • tommtomm Member Posts: 231 Pioneering
    edited December 2017
    The Best advice i can give you is to contact the local CAB or your local council's welfare rights office,
    When was the first appointment date? 15.11.17  if so it seems like someone got their wires crossed, Do you have the second appointment letter ,if so they are screwed with this, because they gave you a new appointment, which you attended, they also are required by law  to provide a ground floor venue if you can't do stairs, (fire regulations)  this re shedualed appointment does not count as  your 1 time  penalty free  reschedule of appointment
    on another note, if the new venue would of taken you  more than 90mins  door to door, using public transport  to or from your home, any waiting time for change buses trains ect  you would include  in that time  if that max time of 90mins would be exceeded  they have to offer to pay for a taxi  or a home visit, same applies if journey  time  by private car/taxi would take more than 1 hour in either direction
  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @dawn49
    Welcome to the community, I am sorry to hear you are having such a rough time with this!

    @Debbie_Scope or @BenefitsTrainingCo can you offer any thoughts on resolving this issue?
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hi dawn49,

    You need to request a mandatory reconsideration of the decision and put all this information in it. You also need to make a new claim for ESA (unless you are in a full service UC area) and try to get the DWP/assessment provider to give you an urgent medical assessment as they won't pay on a new claim after failing to attend a previous assessment until you attend one. The rules of not being able to apply again unless you have a new condition/deterioration of an existing one doesn't apply in this case as you haven't been found fit for work after an assessment as you haven't had one.
    You should also complain to the DWP and maybe try to get your MP involved because the way you have been treated is disgraceful. Involving the MP is often the quickest way of getting something done, if you don't do this all you can do is follow the dispute process which will take a long time to resolve. It really is appalling to see how people are being treated and nobody can say that their treatment of you is in any way fair at all.
    As an aside, do you have a partner who lives with you and looks after you? If so, your partner can claim Carer's Allowance and Income Support if they have no other income and this can replace the ESA that you have lost. Good luck!

    Lee
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • tommtomm Member Posts: 231 Pioneering

    After reading again ,the bit below  clearley shows  where the fools at CHDA have got it wrong, They had to reschedule the 1st appointment  because they are legally obliged to,if you are unable to negotiate stairs and the venue is situated on another than the ground floor  fire saftey laws,
    So they rescheduled the appoinment at a different suitable venue, and you requested that it be audio recorded , they then should of re scheduled  the WCA  if it was known that the recording equipment wouldn't be available  on that date, these two re sheduals do not count as  your free one time appointment re-schedule that they allow everyone So they cannot by their own rules or law claim you failed to attend ,
    You should not have to endure an MR with the possiblityof having to take it to tribunal to get them to tell the DWP to tell the CHDA to  provide another WCA
    Next time request the audio recording  after the first appoinment, and make sure you tell them on the ESA50 that you  can't use stairs do to poor mobility,( they will ignore it) but you will have this on record if you make a photocopy of the completed ESA50
    the person i spoke with informed me that the centre in  question could not offer that facility on the day of my assessment but could make arrangements for a later date, i was further told that a letter would arrive requesting the reason for non attendance of the assessment and all i had to say was the centre could not provide the facilities required for the audio recording which i did do, weeks later



  • tommtomm Member Posts: 231 Pioneering
    edited December 2017
    Looking back at my own claim, The first WCA appointment they gave me was at the nearest venue to me, but was on a 1st floor, and was also very early AM, which would cost me more at that time of day for bus/train fares, and would mean traveling in peak time (seats maybe scarce ) of cause this was deliberate of them to be so inconsiderate IMO

    I rang and re itterated about my mobilty issues  and problem with stairs, I first goon i spoke to was very unhelpful and didn't know their rules, so i hung up and called again, got a more helpful person , who without problems  changed the WCA venue to the nearest ground floor one, and reshceduled  the appoinment for a later time of day to avoid peak travel times, and gave me a different number to call the person in charge of the audio recordings ,and asked me to ring them a few days before the appoinment date to verify if recording equipment would be available then, or not which i did,it was,

    I then stumbled on a little less known rule regarding the maximum journey times using public transport in a private car, And using the same online journey planner  that they use for public transport  it would of taken me more than 90mins due to the very short distance that i'm able to mobilise

    I would have to travel by bus  infact several buses  to minimise the walking distance at either end of the journey, and as i don't have access to a private car the other alternative would be a taxi, which depending on drivers and traffic time of day ect could easily exceed the 60mins max and then there is the cost who will pay?

    I rang the local maxifarce office  who can authorise  taxi's etc, on the number given to me by the 0800 contact centre,  i explained my circumstances  and predicament re the taxi fare  as would cost me a weeks Pre-assessment rate ESA  and that if taxi's where not available on their account i would need to apply for a loan from the social fund  for the fare's, they again rescheduled the appointment  to give me time to get a letter to support

    That explained why i needed to travel by taxi from my GP, which i got and sent to them, when i rang them to check if they had received the letter, during the phone call i was offered a home visit due to the taxi fares being prohibitive  for me,

    At first, i was a little hesitant because A/ i didn't want to score an own goal, ie, the assessor would expect to find someone who was bedridden, or that i would answer the door faster than they would expect.
    I'm very cynical about them 
    B/,I wasn't sure if home visits could be audio recorded

    After speaking with my CAB caseworker  who advised me to take the offer of a HV if they where offering it

    I called back to accept that earlier offer of an HV they 1st attempted to renege on it but it was approved on the second attempt

    In all my WCA was rescheduled a total of 5 times by them, 1 of which was a home visit, because they attended without the recording equipment,
    It's taken a long time from sending in the ESA50 (original they lost, claimed they did not receive) benefit claim was closed  as a result,
     3 weeks later reopened  CAB adviser sent DWP management a letter  plus lots of calls from myself

  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    dawn49,

    As Lee says I hope you have put in a request for a mandatory reconsideration of your ESA, as your claim should definitely be reopened. I also agree with Tomm that you should if possible seek face to face advice from Citizens Advice, if you can, about what to claim in the meantime. If ESA has stopped due to a supposed 'failure to attend', you won't be able to reclaim it and get paid by submitted sick notes as you did before, unless you've got worse or have a new condition. That route is also complicated by the possibility of Universal Credit, which makes it even more important to get face to face advice first.

    You may have options of being able to claim something else, for example, as a carer for your youngest, but because of the Universal Credit complications it's very difficult to advise & I'd try to get local advice on this if you can.

    I'm hopeful that a mandatory reconsideration request can sort out your ESA anyway - if you explain everything that has happened, and that you were told you just had to give your reasons for non-attendance being the lack of recording facilities, then hopefully you can get the decision changed. It will help if you can give a chronology of dates and times, letters you received, when you sent back the 'good reason' form or rang them about why you didn't attend etc.

    Tomm's experience proves they do reopen claims in these situations, so it is worth being persistent, but please do get advice locally in the meantime about what to claim whilst you are getting the situation sorted out. With your elder daughter starting work you may need advice about how this affects your household finances generally too.

    Will                         
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    PS Dawn, I just want to make it clear that it may be a possibility to reclaim ESA but as Lee explained, you won't get it paid to begin with. Unless you've got worse in the meantime or have a new condition they won't pay you until you've had your assessment (which is why Lee suggested trying to hurry it along). 

    However, because we don't know the whole of your situation I think you should get advice locally before you make any new claims. This is in case Universal Credit has started in your area, and because you may have options to claim as a carer instead whilst you get ESA sorted out.

    You should still definitely ask for an MR of the ESA decision so that if possible it gets reinstated and you don't miss money for the period from when it stopped.

    Hope this helps! Let us know how you get on.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
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