Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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What happens now

Hi all, please be gentle as this is my first posting.
i currently receive higher rate pip & standard rate for mobility, I have applied also for contribution based ESA and have been told i am eligible. I filled in the questionnaire esa50 ( think that was it) usually you would have a face to face interview to ascertain what group you would be put in, however, as these are suspended temporarily what happens now? Will I have a telephone call to discuss or will they just use the information on the form in conjunction with my medical records?
many thanks 
S

Replies

  • pault34pault34 Member Posts: 14 Connected
    edited June 2020
    Hi Bumbles

    I'm in a very similar position to you, I applied for Contribution Based ESA and was put on the 'Assessment Rate' backdated to Nov 2019. I filled out the ESA50 and returned it just before the 'Face-to-Face' assessments were suspended. I have also been awarded Higher Rate Daily Living and Standard Rate Mobility for PIP. I am worried that my ESA claim won't have been assessed before my current ESA claim runs out due to the 365 day limit for Contribution Based ESA on 5th Nov 2020. Does anyone know, or have any suggestion as to what will happen if my ESA claim hasn't been assessed before 5th Nov? Will they just stop ESA payments?

    Hope you/we get some replies!

    Thanks everyone in advance.
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing Team, Community Team Posts: 7,949 Scope community team
    edited June 2020
    Hello @bumbles and @pault34

    While face-to-face assessments have been suspended they are still doing telephone assessments. If they can't progress your application via a paper-based assessment (where they just use your form and any evidence you've submitted), then you'll be offered a telephone assessment. 

    Even before COVID there were long delays for assessments so you may have a little wait ahead. 
    Best of luck to you both. :)
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope

    If you have a few minutes to spare, we'd appreciate your feedback on our online community.
  • BumblesBumbles Member Posts: 25 Listener
    Thanks Adrian, 
    So I may not have to have a telephone or face to face 121 if my form and evidence I have sent is sufficient?
    S
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing Team, Community Team Posts: 7,949 Scope community team
    It is pretty standard for the majority of people to have an assessment (be it telephone or face to face) but some people are awarded just based on their evidence and form, yes. 
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope

    If you have a few minutes to spare, we'd appreciate your feedback on our online community.
  • BumblesBumbles Member Posts: 25 Listener
    Thanks Adrian,
    will I be given a date for my interview (telephone) or do they just phone you up without notice?
    thanks once again for advice it does help the anxiety level.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Bumbles said:
    Thanks Adrian,
    will I be given a date for my interview (telephone) or do they just phone you up without notice?
    thanks once again for advice it does help the anxiety level.

    If they can't do a paper based assessment then you will be given a date for the phone assessment. I would advise you to expect the phone assessment, that way you won't be too surprised if the appointment letter arrives in the post.
    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.
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing Team, Community Team Posts: 7,949 Scope community team
    They should definitely give you notice @Bumbles. I have heard that over the past few weeks some people are receiving a phone call giving them 1 weeks notice of a telephone assessment, but usually they would write to you and give you a time and a date.
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope

    If you have a few minutes to spare, we'd appreciate your feedback on our online community.
  • BumblesBumbles Member Posts: 25 Listener
    thank you Adrian,
    The reason I asked was due to the fact that when my pip review was due I posted off the form and evidence, a week or so later they phoned un announced and proceeded to ask me lots of questions relating to my problems and what I had put on the form. At the end of a lengthy conversation ( which I was totally unprepared for) he said he had made a decision and would let me know this through the post.
    I really do not want to go through that route again totally unprepared.

  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 7,450 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Bumbles Just wanted to add that is exactly what happened to me after sending in my review form I got an unexpected call asking me further questions. The DM made an instant decision and I was awarded enhanced rate on both so I was delighted and it was a 5 year award as well. 

    So these calls are not always bad news
  • littleruthie123littleruthie123 Member Posts: 490 Pioneering
    hi I'm being told I will be having an esa assessment phone call .but I haven't filled in a form recently. Last one was roughly 2 years ago.is this normal thanks?
  • littleruthie123littleruthie123 Member Posts: 490 Pioneering
    mines esa though 
  • BumblesBumbles Member Posts: 25 Listener
    janer1967
    it was good in the end for me as well PIP decision when it came gave me enhanced rate and standard for mobility (missed out by 2 points for enhanced) however, the award came with no end date and I can review if I feel my circumstances have worsened.
    I guess I am hoping that the ESA Will use all the information that I sent to make the right judgment without the need for an interview.
  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 7,450 Disability Gamechanger
    That would be nice for you but dont rely on it happening just because that happened for PIP 

    I had to go to tribunal for my work capability so they dont go hand in hand 

    They are different benefits with different criteria

    I hope you do ok 
  • BumblesBumbles Member Posts: 25 Listener
    well, had a letter arrive today saying I have aN ESA Health assessment phone interview on Tuesday anything between 20 min and an hour.
    will see how I get on, hopefully whomever is phoning they are kind and understanding!!?
  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 7,450 Disability Gamechanger
    Glad you have a date now for assessment fingers crossed it goes well for you 
  • BumblesBumbles Member Posts: 25 Listener
    Thank you, I will post after the interview and let you know how I get on.
  • Lou67Lou67 Member Posts: 821 Pioneering
    Hi just want to say great news on your PIP award, hope your ESA assessment goes as good for you good luck. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Good luck! Wait about a week after the assessment and then ring DWP to request a copy of the assessment report to be sent to you. From this you'll have some idea what the decision is likely to be.

    Work capability assessment reports are not the easiest to understand, if you don't understand it then please come back here and i'm sure someone will help you. You'll need to look for the LCW/LCWRA recommendations at the back of the report.
    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.
  • BumblesBumbles Member Posts: 25 Listener
    had telephone assessment today, lasted around 35/40 min not sure if that’s good or bad?
    i think/feel that it went well but I guess I will just have to wait and see what group I get put in.
    thanks for all your input leading up to the interview.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    The length of time for the assessment doesn't mean anything at all. Wait a week and you can ring DWP to request a copy of the assessment report to be sent to you. From there you'll be able to see what the recommendations are. It will either be WRAG, Support Group or fit for work. Support Group will mean your ESA money will continue (with an increase from week 14 of your claim) for as long as you remain in that group. WRAG and your money will remain the same and only be paid for 365 days. Fit for work and your ESA ends.

    Good luck and hopefully you won't be waiting to long. If you request the report and you need help to understand it please do post back and i'm sure someone will help you. They are not the easiest to understand.
    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.
  • BumblesBumbles Member Posts: 25 Listener
    That’s great, thank you.
  • BumblesBumbles Member Posts: 25 Listener
    Not received my assessment report yet or heard anything to say what group I will be put in.
    not sure if it’s relevant but today I received a DWP letter asking for me to supply “medical evidence” or sick note later this month?
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2020
    If the letter is a reminder for your fit note then yes this is correct because you need to continue to send them until a decision's been made on your work capability assessment. Once it's been made it will either be WRAG, Support Group or Fit for work.

    I also see that you only had your assessment 9 days ago which isn't really that long to be honest. There's no timescales for decisions but some wait between 2-8 weeks sometimes longer.
    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.
  • BumblesBumbles Member Posts: 25 Listener
    Ahh, that makes sense, thank you for the clarification.
    Not holding my breath for the report decision as it will be what it will be, maybe I will like their decision maybe I will not so face things as and when they arrive.
    incidentally can you email a copy of your sick note to them?
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    You can't email it but there are other ways to send it. See link https://www.gov.uk/send-fit-note

    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.
  • BumblesBumbles Member Posts: 25 Listener
    edited August 2020
     I thought I would let you know that I Have heard from the DWP with a decision on my esa, they have put me in the support group, although they have a caveat on that stating I will not get the uplift on the money until early December.
    at least that is one less stress for now.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    That's great news! Although early December for the increased payments seems rather a long time. Rather than me read the whole thread may i ask what date exactly you started your claim for ESA? If you can tell me that date then i can work out when you should start to receive the extra money.
    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.
  • BumblesBumbles Member Posts: 25 Listener
    Started the whole process on 18th May. It works out to just under 15 weeks after I received my award (support Group) letter.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2020
    Then your extra money starting from December is not correct. There's a 13 week assessment period and payments start on the 14th week of your claim from the date you start your claim, not from the date the decision's been made.

    My calculations are that your extra money should start from about now, give or take a couple of days. It definitely isn't from December.

    May i ask who told you your extra money is from December?
    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.
  • BumblesBumbles Member Posts: 25 Listener
    I received a letter which was from the DWP (jobcentreplus) which states that they have placed me in the support group from 4th December, and that is when my money increases from £74.35 to £113.55 weekly.
    hth
    Many thanks.
     Steve
  • BumblesBumbles Member Posts: 25 Listener
    Having re read the letter it’s quite ambiguous, you could read it that I have been placed in the work group now and that I have to wait until the 4th of Dec before I receive the additional money.
    confused....
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    That really doesn't make any sense at all. I'd advise you to ring them and ask because the assessment period for ESA is 13 weeks from the date you first apply and not from the date the decision's been made. Why would you be placed into the work related group first?

    Please do come back and let us know once you've rang them. ESA letters are aften very hard to understand.
    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.
  • BumblesBumbles Member Posts: 25 Listener
    Sorry that should have said support group not work group😖
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2020
    Ah ok thanks. Well you still need to ring them and ask why you have to wait until 4th December to receive the extra money because you applied in May.
    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.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2020
    I've tried to find confirmation of my advice but can't find anything specific that actually states from the time you apply. Ally i can find is this, which states...https://www.entitledto.co.uk/help/employment-and-support-allowance-phase

    Employment and Support Allowance has two phases; the assessment phase that is paid while you await your Work Capability Assessment (this should be up to 13 weeks but can be longer), then the main phase once you have been placed in either the Work Related Activity Group or the Support Group.

    Note the highlighted part that says 13 weeks. Sometimes a decision can take longer than this, if does then backdated money is paid from the 14th week of your claim.

    ESA rules haven't changed at all and i've claimed it since 2012/13 and my assessment took about 11 months, i was backdated all the money owed from the 14th week of my claim.



    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.
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