Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Worried as I haven't had an assessment yet for Contribution Based ESA which runs out in November.

Hi All

I just wondered if anyone can offer any advice on my situation.

I applied for New Style (Contribution Based) ESA in January, and was awarded this backdated to November 2019. I am currently on the 'Assessment Rate'. I completed the ESA50 form and returned it before the date required (19th March). As it is the Contribution Based ESA then this will end on 3rd November 2020 unless I am put into the Support Group. As yet I haven't heard anything back from DWP about an assessment and am worried that it will just stop if I haven't had an assessment before then. 

Should I try to contact DWP or has anyone got any better advice please?

Thanks in advance, Paul.

Replies

  • woodbinewoodbine Member Posts: 2,313 Disability Gamechanger
    The best advice at this stage would be to phone them, try and do so when they open and are less busy otherwise atm it can take upto an hour to get through.
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing Team, Community Team Posts: 7,746 Scope community team
    Hello @pault34. You're correct that if you haven't had an assessment by the time it runs out in November your claim will stop, but there is a fair amount of time before then so try not to worry too much.
    It could be worth you giving the assessment company a call and double checking your form was received and asking if they're able to give you a rough ETA on assessment times. These are all being completed by phone or on paper at the moment. 
    I hope you hear something soon.
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  • pault34pault34 Member Posts: 14 Connected
    Hi @Adrian_Scope. Thanks for the response. I managed to build up the courage to call the assessment people and they confirmed that they have received my form but couldn't give any indication of timescale for any form of assessment, just 'things are opening up a bit now so hopefully you'll hear something soon'. Not the most helpful response for me due to my mental health and anxiety issues. Don't know if it's worth trying to ring DWP as just speaking to people on the phone is so distressing for me at the moment.
  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 6,395 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi there is no point ringing DWP as it is the assessment company that do the assessments and is them you are waiting for, and as you have already conacted them there isnt really a lot you can do.

    I know you are worried your money will stop but it is over 3 months away so I would leave it a bit before chasing up with DWP, Thats only my advice
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing Team, Community Team Posts: 7,746 Scope community team
    Hi @pault34. As @janer1967 mentioned, the DWP won't be able to give you a timescale or speed up the process unfortunately.

    It's great that they've confirmed having your form and hopefully it won't be too much longer until they get to your assessment. Please keep us posted.
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  • pault34pault34 Member Posts: 14 Connected
    Hi @Adrian_Scope and others. Just wanted to update and perhaps get a definitive answer... I sought advice from CAB and they said that my Contribution Based ESA claim would continue to be paid at the assessment rate beyond the 365 day limit until I had had my medical assessment and outcome from that, even if the assessment had not taken place before the 365 day limit due to the current situation.
    However when I spoke to the DWP they said that I would stop receiving Contribution Based ESA even if I had not been assessed by the 365 day limit (3rd November 2020). I spoke with the Health Assessment people and they still couldn't give me any indication of when my assessment would be.
    Does anyone know which answer is correct, as all of this uncertainty is really dragging me down and I don't know where else to turn.
    One other question is that I have hearing loss (severe/profound) and want to know if I can request that if they want to do a telephone assessment that they do it via Relay UK using the NGT lite application?
    Thank you all for listening and hopefully your advice.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 22,214 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2020
    HI,

    Oh dear, that's not the best advice you've had there from your local CAB. I'm afraid they are not correct and this time DWP are correct. Even though the current circumstances are far from normal New style ESA will not be paid beyond the 365 days unless you're in the Support Group.

    Once you are assessed, if the decision is to place you into the Support Group then you will receive all the backdated money owed, including the difference between assessment rate and Support Group rate from the 14th week of your claim.

    You have 10 weeks of your claim left so you could well have been assessed and a decision been made by that date.

    I'm afraid i can't answer your question regarding the NGT lite application but you can ring the health assessment providers to ask them directly.

    It's possible that they maybe waiting for the face to face assessments to start back up again before you have your assessment and i have no idea when that will be.

    I'm sorry this is causing so much stress but there's nothing more you can do but wait.


    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.
  • pault34pault34 Member Posts: 14 Connected
    Thanks @poppy123456 , as you say it's now a case of 'wait and see'. If only the DWP and Health Assessment Providers could understand the anxiety and fear that they cause with the uncertainty.

    I'll update once I hear more. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 22,214 Disability Gamechanger
    I totally understand how stressful the process is, been through it many times myself. Backlogs are just aprt of the reason a decision can be delayed.

    I see you only returned your work capability assessment form in March. If you take into consideration Covid19, people working from home, on the sick also, then that's really not that long. The issue is that you backdated your claim for 3 months, if you hadn't done that, there may not be such an issue.

    Hopefully, you'll hear something soon.
    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.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,672 Disability Gamechanger
    I hope you hear something soon @pault34. :)
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  • gentlegee1976gentlegee1976 Member Posts: 29 Connected
    This has happened to me. As far as I'm aware the DWP cannot just stop any benefits as you have not been declared "fit for work" and are therefore still ill. My ESA entitlement ran out in November a couple of years ago, although I wasn't reassessed until the following February. They continued to pay me from the Nov until my new assessment in Feb.

    Don't know if this will happen in your case, but it's what happened in mine.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 22,214 Disability Gamechanger
    This has happened to me. As far as I'm aware the DWP cannot just stop any benefits as you have not been declared "fit for work" and are therefore still ill. My ESA entitlement ran out in November a couple of years ago, although I wasn't reassessed until the following February. They continued to pay me from the Nov until my new assessment in Feb.

    Don't know if this will happen in your case, but it's what happened in mine.

    Hi,

    I note that your ESA at the time was a reassessment. This is different to a reassessment, it's Paul's first assessment. New style ESA is paid for 365 days unless placed into the Support Group. If a decision hasn't been made on their assessment by November then their money will stop. It can't be paid past the 365 day rule.
    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.
  • pault34pault34 Member Posts: 14 Connected
    Hi @gentlegee1976 and all.

    Thanks for your response, @poppy123456 is right. I got back to the CAB and they had got their advice wrong in the first place. I've now sent a complaint into the DWP about unreasonable delay in assessing my claim, so will have to see if that progresses things now. 

    I don't know what the situation is if I haven't had an assessment before the 365 day limit. I won't qualify for Income Based ESA as we fortunately have some savings. I 'think' I can re-apply for Contribution/New Style ESA after 12 weeks (I had been working up until Oct 2019 and paying NI contributions, and have been receiving NI credits since then, so may qualify?) but don't know if my current claim is ended after the 365 day limit, or if I just wait for an assessment and if placed in the Support Group the award is back-dated to the 13th week of my original claim and then on-going if I remain in the Support Group.

    Sorry to be asking all these questions, it's just that for someone who has been fortunate enough to never had to claim benefits before after working for over 30 years than it's so difficult to understand how it all works!
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 22,214 Disability Gamechanger
    Income based ESA no longer exists for new claims, unless you're claiming a severe disability premium in another benefit, which you're not. All areas are now Universal Credit, which has replaced some means tested benefits. Savings/capital of £16,000 and over will exclude you from claiming. Savings of more than £6,000  will see a reduction of £4.35 per month for every £250 (or part there of) over that amount. If you live with a partner you claim as a couple.

    Making a complaint to DWP about the assessment waiting time isn't really going to help because it's nothing to do with them, it's the Health Assessment Advisory Service that do work capability assessments and it's those you need to complain to.

    If you haven't had your work cqapability assessment by the time your ESA ends then i wouldn't advise you to re-apply, you need to wait for the assessment and for a decision to made on that claim, which will either place you into the WRAG, Support Group or be found fit for work. Re-applying again will only cause confusion and the whole process starts all over again.

    If placed into the Support Group, backdated money is paid from the 14th week, not the 13th week. You will also be backdated any money owed from the date it stopped.

    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: 7,746 Scope community team
    Hi @pault34. I just wanted to check in and see if you've had your assessment yet? Fingers crossed this has now all been resolved but it would be great to hear how you've gotten on. 
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  • pault34pault34 Member Posts: 14 Connected
    Hi @Adrian_Scope. Thank you for checking on my progress on this. Unfortunately I have not had an assessment, and therefore my CB ESA payments have stopped.

    I involved my MSP and MP as the Health Assessment Advisory Service say the reason they can't do an assessment is because I am severely/profoundly deaf and they can't therefore do a telephone assessment, despite me advising them I have a specialist streaming bluetooth streaming device which connects directly to my hearing aids to help with telephone calls, and that i also use NGT lite to enable me to use the phone.

    I also contacted the DWP complaints resolution team to explain the situation and that I believe it is discriminatory that the HAAS are not utilising alternative methods to assess me. I have not had any response directly. The DWP spoke with my MP's office to state that I have to wait until I can have a face-to-face assessment. Which obviously they aren't doing for the foreseeable future.

    I do wonder how many other people are being impacted this way if the HAAS say they can't do a telephone assessment for various reasons.

    Thank you again for your concern.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 22,214 Disability Gamechanger
    There are other people that are having to wait until face to face assessments are back up and running again, we have actually got a few members here that are having to wait. For the work capability assessment sometimes it's not possible to get enough of information through a telephone assessment alone.

    Have you check entitlement to Universal Credit?
    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.
  • pault34pault34 Member Posts: 14 Connected
    Good evening all. Especially @Adrian_Scope @poppy123456 and @Chloe_Scope.

    I just wanted to update you on my ESA Claim. After much effort and back and forth with the DWP, the CAB managed to get hold of a senior DWP manager, who agreed to send my PIP assessment to the HAAS to be included in my ESA assessment. Other routes I attempted to get the HAAS/DWP to enable an assessment (through my MP and MSP) unfortunately came to nothing.

    Anyway, to cut a very long and protracted story short, I have been informed today that my ESA assessment has been completed using the ESA50 form, and my PIP Assessment.

    The result is that I have been placed in the Support Group and will be paid arrears dating back to the 14th week of my claim. Obviously I am delighted that this decision has been made, as I believe the award is the correct one for me based on my circumstances.

    I also wanted to let anyone else who is struggling dealing with the DWP - or as in my case more specifically the HAAS, that it is worth keeping going, and not to give up. In my case it has taken months, and a great deal of effort from me and the CAB, but eventually things have been resolved.

    Thank you to those who have given me support through this. Hopefully I will be able to repay that by helping others on the community in the future.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 22,214 Disability Gamechanger
    That's great news, thanks for the update :)
    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.
  • cupcake88cupcake88 Member Posts: 656 Pioneering
    Yay this is great news 
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,086 Pioneering
    Great news @pault34

    Thanks for the update :) 
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  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,754 Disability Gamechanger
    Fab news @pault34 :) We certainly look forward to seeing you around on the community! 
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  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing Team, Community Team Posts: 7,746 Scope community team
    Hi @pault, I'm really glad to read this and to know that your ESA is now sorted, it must have been a really worrying time. Thanks so much for updating us! :)
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