Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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ESA payment suddenly stopped - looking for advice please

RenegadewiccanRenegadewiccan Member Posts: 1 Listener
Hello. I am new to the community!
I am hoping for some advice please.
I have been claiming ESA  since late January of this year, when I was between homes for awhile, and once moved into my new address, I promptly called them to update them of my new address.
I have multiple chronic health conditions, and as such have been supplying fit notes to the ESA people, who having until recently, been paying me fortnightly. My previous fit note was from my previous g.p. for a three month period. I made a photocopy of this, even though in the past, I have received written and text reminders about my sick note running out.
unfortunately, I moved home, and lost my photocopy, and was very ill for nearly two months after my move in date, so time sped past. Although unsure on what date my sick note ran out, I was reassured from prior experience, that the benefits people would send written and/or text reminders.
They suddenly stopped my payment, which was due on the 25th of April, and although I phoned them, I had difficulty listening to the endless music on they're phone line, due to have hearing loss and an inner ear injury. I instead sent an email, only to find out four days later, that they don't actually deal with ESA benefits issues, only technical!
So, I had no choice but to phone again last Monday (30th April), and spoke to someone about the missing payment, and she said they HAD sent me two reminders in the post (no text tho), however I had received neither. I was advised to get a fit note asap and put into jobcentre to scan across as urgent, and that the payment would then be in my bank within 24 hours.
I did as asked, getting another fit note for three months, and put into jobcentre as advised, however, the payment was still not paid into my bank in the 24 hours promised.
By this time, my family (young boy of nine yrs), were getting extremely low on food.
I phoned yet again (waiting over an hour) to question why the funds hadn't been paid, and why I had not been informed prior to them stopping my money, to be told that although two letter were sent, there are two 'systems' and one had been updated with my new address, but the other hadn't (why?). So I never actually got any written notification that my fit note was running out, as they posted them to the old address.
My question is this: - Can they legally stopped my payment given that it was they're error for sending notifications to the wrong address? Essentially, it means I was not informed and they just stopped my money. I have nothing else to survive on, and cannot work due to my health, with a child also dependent on me. 
I really want to complain about this treatment and they're total incompetence which has resulted in my not having any money to survive on for almost two weeks.
i was told they would try to get someone to phone me regarding all this before 6pm last Friday, given the pending bank holiday, but I got no call back, and still no money in bank.
Assuming they do pay me the missing payment tomorrow, my next payment by this point will be the following day, as they have taken almost two weeks and done nothing.
Should I honestly have to endure hunger, and the anxiety caused by having little to no food for my child, when I am also coping with so many chronic illnesses?

please can you advise me on how I should handle this? I have been so distressed, which isn't helpful for my heart condition, and it is all due to the incompetence and complete disregard for my circumstances/wellbeing by this benefits ESA department.

sorry for the long length of my post and I would greatly appreciate any opinions or advise that can be provided.

- Renegadewiccan.




Replies

  • WaylayWaylay Member Posts: 922 Pioneering
    Alas, I can't offer any advice on how to deal with the ESA people, but you could try calling your MP's office ASAP and telling them what dire straights you're in. They can often get things sorted *very* quickly, if they're an MP who cares. You could also call your GP's surgery, explain what's going on, and say that you need a food bank voucher. I know, it's a bit weird, but they're there for exactly this kind of thing.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi,

    Unfortunately mistakes do happen.  It is also down to the claimant to make sure that their fit notes are up to date and sent appropriately. Do you not receive child tax credits and child benefit for your child? Child tax credits are usually paid weekly.

    I know you've rang a few times but your only option is to ring DWP again and ask for a call back from a manager. Your payments should be back dated to when they stopped.

    In the meantime as advised by Waylay that there's the food bank option. Hopefully it will be sorted very soon.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    edited May 2018

    Renegadewiccan,

    I hope that you get the missing payment back, and then your ESA is paid as normal. But even then, yes it is worth complaining. You state that one system was updated with your change of address, but one wasn't, and that's why you didn't get the reminders you should have got. 

    On the one hand as part of getting ESA, at least until you have had a decision on your limited capability for work, you have to submit sick notes. On the other hand, the DWP do normally remind you when your sick notes are running out, and arguably that's a minimum requirement of a system for disabled people. They failed to update your address & that is why you weren't reminded, & their failure has caused a huge amount of distress & hardship for your family.

    I would also mention in your complaint how your hearing loss makes it difficult for you to wait on their phoneline (it has very long waiting times as you know).  And finally, you did submit a sick note as they requested when you got through to them, but you still weren't paid within the time they'd said you would be.

    You can complain by following the DWP complaints procedure.  Unfortunately, you can't make a complaint about ESA online at the moment, but I hope that you will complain. 

    Meanwhile, I really hope that your ESA payments have started again. If they haven't, get advice as soon as you can - contacting your MP's constituency surgery is a good suggestion, or you can try Citizens Advice. But even if you get your money, & the gap is covered, you can complain about what has happened.

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