Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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2 DWP decisions overturned

Hi, 
I’m new here, but just wanted to say hello, and to let you know that you can have decisions overturned, but you must act quickly. Last April (2017) I was in the ESA Support group indefinitely. Following the new ATOS-run re-evaluations, I was seen and awarded 0 points, and was told that my ESA had been stopped. I was advised to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance. DWP have introduced a new in-house Mandatory Reconsideration, which has to be lodged within a month of their decision. I applied for that, and it resulted in me being re-entitled to ESA, but placed in the WRAG. I then appealed that decision. I’m pretty sure they made me do a second Mandatory Reconsideration in order to take it to appeal. Their second Reconsideration ruled that I was in the right group. Again, you have only 1 month in which to appeal for a tribunal, which I did. My GP was also very helpful, writing a letter which said that forcing me back to work would have a ‘catastrophic’ effect on my health. 14 months after my initial assessment, my tribunal was held locally. It took them less than 5 minutes to decide that my appeal was allowed, based largely on the information given by my own GP. I’m now back in the ESA Support group for a minimum of 2 years, and the difference in benefit was backdated to April 2017. You can have these decisions overturned, but you must respond within the 1 month window, and you must ask your regular GP, Nurse, Psychiatrist, Specialist etc to write a short letter giving their own opinion of your health. Mandatory Reconsiderations and the 1 month timescale are out there as hurdles, to make overturning a decision as difficult as possible, but if you are genuinely unfit, it can be done. If you aren’t able to do all the form-filling yourself within the specified time, ask for help. If you miss that 1 month mark, DWP can disqualify your claim. It’s not easy, but it can be done. DWP pin their hopes on the majority of claimants either not knowing how to appeal, or simply giving up. If you are too ill to work, a tribunal judge and doctor will look at any medical evidence you can provide, preferably from a doctor who has been treating you for a significant period of time. Good luck to you all. 

Replies

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi,

    Great news on wining the Tribunal.

    Just so people don't get confused, you only have to ask for the MR once, not twice and i'm not sure why you had to do that.

    You do actually have 13 months to appeal and that's with the MR and Tribunal stage BUT you do have to have good reasons why you didn't ask within the first 28 days.
    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.
  • bandadbandad Member Posts: 8 Connected
    @poppy123456
    Yes, it was odd. DWP sent just one copy (not the two they advertise) of my MR that followed the physical re-assessment. I had to photocopy it to send it to HMCTS. When I appealed their initial MR, which put me into the WRAG, I was told over the phone that I would need to apply for a MR. I advised them I had already done so, and read their decision to me over the phone. They appeared to have no record of it. Several weeks later I received two copies of a MR, this one being different than the first. The second letter outlined the fact not that I had been placed in the WRAG, but their decision to leave me in it, and not move me to the Support Group. Obviously, I sent both differing MR letters to HMCTS. I didn’t think I needed to go through it twice. Either DWP genuinely failed their own system or they abused it, in order to prolong my case. Either way, I have 2 very different MR letters, with differing dates. Both were included in what HMCTS sent to me as ‘the bundle’. It didn’t cast DWP in a particularly good light at my tribunal. Hope this helps clarify my original post. 😊 
  • whistleswhistles Member Posts: 1,590 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome. Thanks for your post.

    Just a few questions. :)

    I didn't think anybody was on ESA indefinite. How do you know that part? Where does it say it?
    Its being scrapped so I guess nobody is if they were originally.  :(

    It is points to get ESA in the beginning and be placed in the wrag group. But the support group isn't based on points.
    What puzzles me, surely at review they got given info from your gp etc and they chose to ignore it?  It's sad that they put you through this. 

    Interesting that it was April 17, because that's when they stopped the extra payment for new claimants in wrag. 

    I think the two MRs are because the first was to reconsider esa. They decided to place you in wrag. The second is because you did an mr about that decision.
    Do not follow me, I don't know where I am going.
  • bandadbandad Member Posts: 8 Connected
    edited June 2018
    @whistles,
    Thanks for your reply. I can’t remember how long I had been on ESA Support, previously Incapacity Benefit, but there was no time limit in place when it was first awarded. It was DWP who told me that following my initial re-assessment in April ‘17 that I had lost my entitlement to ESA Support ‘for an indefinite period’. (The award being indefinite, not the loss of it). And yes, while the medical evidence from my GP helped get me back into ESA in the WRAG, it was not considered, by DWP, in the second MR, to be sufficient to merit me going back into the Support group. Hence the Tribunal, who thankfully thought otherwise. I agree about the two MRs. Despite being told I would only need to do it once, I appealed 2 different decisions, and clearly, DWP decided that each merited a MR. 
    I’m not at all surprised that people give up, the new system is designed to make the process as difficult as possible for claimants. I just posted to try and encourage people going through the ordeal I did. 14 months is quite a wait, but a tribunal is heard by an impartial judge and and equally impartial doctor. If you have medical evidence submitted in good time, you stand a good chance of winning. My tribunal win was based entirely on the fact that both regulations 29 and 35 applied. 
  • whistleswhistles Member Posts: 1,590 Disability Gamechanger
    Its shocking it takes so long to sort. It doesn't take that long to cut your money, that's instant.
    How do they think people survive in the meantime. 
    Glad it's sorted.
    Do not follow me, I don't know where I am going.
  • bandadbandad Member Posts: 8 Connected
    The cuts are done in nano-seconds. So are the notices that go out to your local council, if you’ve been receiving Housing Benefit and help with Council Tax. It’s pretty savage. They have no consciences and zero empathy, which makes this site so invaluable. 
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