Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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New rate ESA and DWP decisons

Andy1909Andy1909 Member Posts: 5 Listener
Trying to seek clarity on a decision from DWP.

Basic info.
Started claiming before 2017  and I've been through 6 appeals tribunals. The DWP messed up the paperwork on the last one but that got sorted. Didn't even have to go to that one, the Tribunal sat on a Saturday and reversed decision from DWP . Tribunal recommended 6 months until next assessment, From what I gather that's a thing when they don't hold full hearing.

The DWP reassessed after 4 and a half months, which when combined with the way they messed up the last reinstatement may be playing into what's going on here. 

Anyway, went through the process, failed the assessment, obviously, put in the MR which failed, again obviously. Registered appeal with Tribunal. And then out of the blue, 5 days after receiving Tribunal confirmation, the DWP reversed the MR decision and reinstated ESA. Haven't been paid yet, now Monday and only got the letters on Saturday. But they have also sent a letter stating that I would be paid £73 or so, the new post April 2017 rate without the work related component. Rang the DWP this morning and the woman stated this was correct as the claim had been allowed from the 29/19/19, MR decision date. But I have the letter saying that they had looked again and the decision was overturned and I would quote "continue to be entitled" to ESA. It's my understanding that the new rate doesn't apply to any claim made before Apr 2017. And not sure how the DWP can say that this is a new claim from the 29/07, which is what I was told this morning. Personally wondering if I going to the Tribunal would have been a better outcome here.

The woman finally admitted she didn't have a clue what was going on with claim, her words and has passed the case on for a call back within the next 3 days. Anyone know what applies here as the 3 days isn't enough time to get a CAB appointment to get advice on this.

Funnily enough I know someone who used to work as an ESA team manager and their suggestion was probably incompetence from whoever reinstated the claim. Seemingly the DWP got rid of most of the people with lots of time in the job and have replaced them with people who have limited experience and knowledge. They have heard from friends still in DWP that mistakes are a lot more common nowadays. Or is this the new tactic to mess people around, realise they are going to lose on appeal, change decision, class it as new claim and cut money to new basic rate. Sound like conspiracy theory, but I've dealt with DWP enough to know it's something they might do if they think can get away with it. The person has been out of the dept since just before APR 2017 so they don't know what the current rules are or how they are being interpreted, often two different things. Sorry about this paragraph, it's just me letting off a bit of steam.

Thanks in advance for any assistance with this.

Replies

  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 8,001

    Scope community team

    edited September 2019
    Hello @Andy1909 and welcome to the community. :)

    What amount were you getting before? £111.65?
    It sounds as though they have put you in to the WRAG group. Were you in the support group previously?
    Community Manager
    Scope
  • Andy1909Andy1909 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    edited September 2019
    Nope it's always been the WRAG. But in 2017 they reduced the basic payment down to £73.10  from £102 (at the time) by cutting the Work related payment,  this was not supposed to affect people already claiming.

    Document from House of commons library

    https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7649

    Check under BOLD headline, What is happening to work related activity component. This is about halfway down the page. And according to all information I can find this is still supposed to be the case.

    They seem to be suggesting that the reversal of the assessment/MR decision is classed as a new claim and therefore the new lower rate applies.

    BTW the 29/19/19 in the original post is a typo, it should read 29/07/19
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 8,001

    Scope community team

    Ahh, I understand what you're saying now, sorry @Andy1909

    Are you certain the letter with the £73.10 rate is for your continued ESA claim after your MR has now been allowed and not the letter notifying you you've been put on assessment rate until your tribunal?

    It is my understanding that as your MR was successful and your claim began before April 2017, you should still be entitled to the old rate, but I will double check with a colleague just in case. 
    Community Manager
    Scope
  • Andy1909Andy1909 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    I've had 5 letters since Friday all dated either 9th or 10th Sept.

    1. 9th Sept. Change in allowance rate. This is basically saying I will get £73.10 until the tribunal has sat and that I need to send in Fit notes.

    2.9th Sept. We can pay your ESA allowance from 29/07 at £73.10 basic rate. But you will possibly need to attend WRAG interviews.

    3. 9th Sept. Request for medical certificate while waiting for Tribunal if I want to keep claiming ESA in mean time.This needs to reach us by 29th July!!

    4. 10th Sept. Last medical cert ran out on 28 July and you need to send us a new one. Ignore if I have already sent this.

    5.10th Sept. Letter stating that the MR consideration of the 29th July has been reversed and that I would continue to be entitled to ESA.

     Whether these letters are out dated I have no idea. But after ringing the DWP call centre, the worker basically said yes my money has been cut to £73.10 because it was a new claim from 29/07. But honestly she didn't sound like she had a clue what she was talking about so I thought I'd check here to see if anyone had any insight. My illness means I've been on ESA since 2010.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi,

    As your ESA claim originally started before April 2017 and you were in the WRAG then your payments will be for the rate before the changes took place. The letters you received were obviously sent before the MR decision was made and refer to the assessment rate. The person you spoke to on the phone most likely has zero knowledge, which usually happens because they simply read from a screen.

    I'd ring again and ask to speak to a case manager.
    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.
  • Joanne_ScopeJoanne_Scope Scope helpline, Scope adviser Posts: 190 Pioneering
    Hi @Andy1909,

    I completely agree with @poppy123456! It does sound like they have made a mistake. Your payments should include the extra for the WRAG as you have not had a break in your claim and started a new one.

    Let us know how you get on if you manage to speak to a case manager.

    Joanne 
    Scope
  • Andy1909Andy1909 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi,

    Joanne/Poppy. Thanks for insight. It was along my line of thought but after the phone call this morning, even though I have no faith in most DWP call centre staff, I maybe have it in my mind that they are doing this. And until I get info one way or the other will work on the assumption that another tribunal might be in my future. 

    I really don't fancy another call hold queue for an hour so will wait on the call back and see what comes from that. Hopefully somebody a bit switched on. Wish I could have gotten hold of the lass from March and their last mess up. She knew exactly what she was doing and had everything sorted out in about 5 mins. Mind you she was also the one who advised me never sign on for JSA while waiting for tribunal as they would then put you on a new UC claim and you'ed never get back on ESA. The DWP weren't advertising fact at time that you could claim ESA while waiting for tribunal and were pushing new claims. The wording on the letters also made it sound like you could only make a new claim for JSA/UC.

    I'll keep this updated as and when I get new info on chance it will help someone else.
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 8,001

    Scope community team

    Thank you for your input @Joanne_Scope and @poppy123456

    Fingers crossed they call you soon @andy1909 and that they can sort this out for you quickly. Will keep an eye out for your updates!
    Community Manager
    Scope
  • Andy1909Andy1909 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Further update. The DWP didn't bother to call back within the 3 days as stated. But I did get a text msg this am saying that the appeal had been successful and that the arrears would be paid in to my account. Quick bit of maths shows that this is for ESA including the Work Related group component. So be aware if your claim predates Apr 3rd 2017 you still get the higher rate so try not to let them talk you into a new claim if you can help it.

    Why the lass at the call centre didn't have that information is beyond me.
    Don't care if they call now as the issue seems to be sorted. But it's been annoying waiting for a call that didn't come.

    Anyway, thanks for the advice and the ability to let off a little steam.
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 8,001

    Scope community team

    That's great @Andy1909. Frustrating they didn't call you back like arranged but I'm glad it's still be resolved anyway!
    Community Manager
    Scope
  • Joanne_ScopeJoanne_Scope Scope helpline, Scope adviser Posts: 190 Pioneering
    Hi @Andy1909

    Good to hear that its sorted! As you pointed out the April 2017 date is well worth bearing in mind as frequently DWP advisors are not aware of these things.
    Joanne 
    Scope
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