Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Backdating Claim

Hello, 

I am hoping someone can offer some advice. I was awarded ESA working group for one year which ended November 2018. I went to work activity at Job Centre, and the guy that interviewed me said I was not fit to work and come and see him in 4 months, I never received another appointment and stopped getting ESA in November 2018, I have not been fit for work since then. 

In March 2019 (4 months after I stopped receiving ESA) I phoned and asked if I could have it reinstated and that I should of been put into the Support Group at that time. I was advised to write to them which I did but did not get a reply, 8 weeks later I wrote again, and again no reply. I was advised by CAB to write to my local MP which I did and she chased them up in September this year. They then said I was due a review which I have just had, on 29th November 2019. I have just received a letter to say that I have now been put into the Support Group for ESA due to recent changes in my health condition ... there have been NO changes!! And that my payments will start from the date of my Assessment. 

My questions are:
1. Should I appeal the decision? I am appealing the fact that they have decided in November to pay me but I have been asking since March, is this an appeal?
2. Can I request a back date of payments without going to appeal? Has anyone had this experience?

Thanks in advance
Sonia x


Replies

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

    The reason why your ESA payments stopped in November 2018 is because New style ESA is only paid for 365 days if you're in the work group (WRAG) if you're in the Support Group, it's paid for as long as you remain the group.

    Unfortunately, you won't receive any backdated money and the changes will take place from when the decision was made and there's nothing to appeal here.

    If you had requested the MR when the decision was originally made when you were placed into the work group then it would have been completely different.
    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.
  • SoniaPSoniaP Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Hi Poppy

    Thanks for your reply, is there no grounds for appeal due to the 10 months I have been asking DWP to look at this again for me, a whole 10 months when I received no benefit and could not get an answer, seems a tad unfair to me.

    thanks for you advice x
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    edited December 2019
    To be honest, writing to DWP isn't the best way to request anything because they rarely reply. Did you ring to report those changes at that time? If you had rang then a work capability assessment form would have been sent to you but even then, the changes would have still have only taken place once the decision was made and there would have been no guarantee that you would have been assessed quickly because backlogs cause delays.

    Even though you said there's been no changes in your condition since the last time you were assessed, this happens all the time where incorrect decisions are made and people are either placed into the wrong group or found fit for work. When this happens requesting the MR is the route to go down, followed by Tribunal.

    Depending on circumstances you may also have been entitled to Universal credit at that time. Even now, you maybe entitled to claim UC as a top up to your ESA payments but this will totally depend on your circumstances, such as savings/capital and living with partner that works. LCWRA under UC pays more than ESA support group.
    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.
  • SoniaPSoniaP Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Hi Poppy

    Thanks again, yes I did phone them in February this year. It was this phone call that the advisor stated I needed to put it in writing. The first letter started off "Following my telephone call, the letter also stated that I believed I had been put in the wrong group as I have not been fit for work since December 2016'. I know calls are recorded and so I believe this could be confirmed. I do appreciate that it cannot be backdated beyond this time. However it is more the fact it has taken the DWP 10 months to respond (no benefit in this time, I do have a partner and they work, but before this I was working full time as an ambulance driver so was on good money). I have worked since I was 14 too. It is more about justice, as I have been unfit for work all this time and the DWP have been told this many times but have ignored it ... until the MP stepped in of course. 

    It is such a fine line, if I ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration of this new decision I run the risk of losing benefit again that has taken me 10 months to get. What I did receive from the DWP was a letter stating that I was due another face to face assessment in July this year, they told me this in November.

    Sorry to complain so much, am not a lover of benefits and my experience over the last 3 years has not been a good one, thanks again for taking time to advise me xx
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    You're welcome,

    I realise just how frustrating all this is but as i advised, even if you were sent another WCA form when you did report changes then it still would have only been affective from the date the decision was made. It's a catch 22 situation.
    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.
  • SoniaPSoniaP Member Posts: 7 Listener
    yes I totally understand x
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