Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Help! dwp unable to make a decision for ESA

Eclipse24Eclipse24 Member Posts: 2 Listener
hi, I’m new to this forum and need some help! My husband has been receiving incapacity/ esa since 2003. His last esa50 form was completed in 2016 and he had a medical assessment January 2017, as we live in France this was done by the French authorities. He had heard nothing until he received a letter at the beginning of this year asking for a letter describing a “typical day”. I contacted them and I was told they had not received a copy of his medical assessment! I contacted the French medical service and they told me they’d sent it, but they would forward another copy to the dwp. (Unsure at this moment whether they’ve received this or not).
He sent them a “typical day” letter and this week has received another letter saying the information provided was insufficient to give a medical opinion, and has been asked to fill out yet another esa50 form and reply to a list of 19 questions eg are you able to get out of bed unaided?
are you able to wash yourself? Etc etc.
My husbands disability is mainly in regards to activity 1 moving around and using steps and he’s unable to walk 50 metres, in fact can only walk around 30  “safely and repeatedly”. There are only 2 questions in this list that will support his claim, as the rest he is able to answer yes to! I feel this is a trap! 
With regards to the esa50 form, if they couldn’t make a decision the last time and had to send him for a medical, how will they be able to make a decision this time as the information will be the same!!
One last thing, he won a first tier tribunal in 2014 to be placed in the support group!! Any help and advice would be so much appreciated as I feel we’re going round in circles!!

Replies

  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hello Eclipse24

    When a person goes for a medical assessment, a copy of the ESA50 form is usually sent to the assessor.  As such, it maybe worth contacting the assessment centre to see if they still have anything on your husbands casefile.  It is a long shot but worth a check. If they have you can request a copy be sent to ESA and if possible also your husband.

    Next I would lodge a complaint as all manner of documents keep going missing which is delaying the claim being decided. The link below explains how to complain:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions/about/complaints-procedure 

    It is quite rare for ESA to make a decision just on the ESA50 form, generally a decision maker has the ESA50 and medical assessment report before them when making a decision. In my experience the medical assessment trumps the ESA50 form that is the decision maker will generally follow the points as identified by the medical assessor  rather then the ESA50 form. However, to show fairness the decision maker will look at both the ESA50 and medical report when making a decision. 

    You can also make a subject access request that you can request a copy of your husbands ESA case file. I have put links below to explain how to request copies of files.  If you make the request from 2016 then you can see what documents ESA have.

    https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/personal-information/ 

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dwp-request-for-personal-information

    Good luck

    Maria
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • Eclipse24Eclipse24 Member Posts: 2 Listener
    edited May 2018
    Hi Maria, thank you for your response. I contacted the assessment center on 2 occasions and both times they said they would send on another copy to the DWP, however they still don’t appear to have received a copy! I think we will lodge a complaint as I do have a vague memory that when we hadn’t heard anything for a few months I did phone and was told the assessment form was with the translators, but to be honest I’m not 100% certain that I’m correct on this. I will certainly take a look at the other links you provided and request a copy of his case file. In your opinion do you think he should insist on being sent for another medical assessment, as the information on the esa50 form will be the same as the last one as nothing has changed!
    Thank you Maria for you advice!

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