Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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ESA appeals - DWP attending more?

Hello,
I have an ESA appeal hearing next week and do not have a representative. I won an appeal 2 years ago and my health has not changed, so I'm making the same argument again. A relative is coming to the hearing with me, but no expert/advisor/etc. I heard in the media that the DWP was planning to send more 'presenting officers' to argue their side at appeals - does anyone know if this is happening? Am I more likely to be facing a DWP officer as well as the tribunal panel at my hearing next week? And are there any stats on whether decisions go against claimants more when the DWP turn up?
Thanks for your help!

Replies

  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,258 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello NY19 and welcome

    Good luck with your appeal

    All the tribunal are only interested in is the truth, the DWP presenting officer cannot really do much other than speak as to how they came to their decision which is contained in the bundle.
    The DWP have/are employing more presenting officers, but there are no stats that I can find, however I have heard a few claims that the DWP have been "shredded" by the panel for causing undue stress

    CR
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • debsidoodebsidoo Member Posts: 327 Pioneering
    It may be worthwhile presenting the tribunal with the findings of the previous decision stating that your health is more or less the same as it was when previous decision was reached.I’m assuming this will show that you are still entitled to an award.x
    Good luck.
  • NY19NY19 Member Posts: 14 Connected
    Thank you, CockneyRebel and debsidoo, for your input. I have included the previous appeal decision in my submission and made the point that there's no change, with a letter from my dr to support that as well.
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering

    Hi @NY19

    I'm afraid I don't have any stats on the impact of presenting officers, but my advice on them is not to be too put out if one is present.

    You are right in thinking that the DWP have recruited more of them, and they attend more frequently now, but they are unlikely to be able to draw the judge's attention to anything they would not have regard for anyway.

    Just be civil with them and answer any questions they may have, and try not to panic too much.

    Good luck! and kind regards,

    Mary

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • NY19NY19 Member Posts: 14 Connected
    Thanks for your advice, Mary.

    I had my hearing on Thursday and I was successful.

    The DWP did have a presenting officer there, which made me feel really nervous but actually this hearing was easier than my last appeal (2015). I made a point of asking the clerk who greeted me whether there was anyone there from the DWP, so I was prepared for it before I went into the room. The presenting officer wasn't allowed to say anything until the panel had finished speaking to me, and then all she asked was whether I'd be able to do work-related activity again. So obviously all she thought she could do was stop them putting me in the Support Group (I've always been in the WRAG and wasn't trying to get into the SG). She didn't make any attempt to argue their case for stopping my ESA at all, so they must have known they had no chance. Also, this isn't really relevant but I noticed she was wearing grubby trainers, not very respectful of the occasion!!

    The doctor on the panel did most of the questioning and I felt that he was very much on my side, he was asking very relevant questions and reinforcing my points for me. I won my appeal on Regulation 29 (substantial risk to health). I had written a very detailed submission that I sent in a week before the hearing, and I think that really helped.

    By the way, for anyone else feeling nervous before going into their hearing, I went into the loo and did some 'power posing' and it definitely made me feel a bit calmer!: https://blog.ted.com/10-examples-of-how-power-posing-can-work-to-boost-your-confidence/

  • Pippa_ScopePippa_Scope Member Posts: 5,856 Disability Gamechanger
    Glad to hear about your successful hearing @NY19, and great tips about the power posing too!
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