Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Esa assessment

Hello, could anybody please tell me when the face to face assessments are likely to start up again. I applied for new style esa in Jan and started receiving esa in march (which was backdated to Jan) . I understand I was supposed to be assessed within 13 weeks but due to covid  all meetings were cancelled. My award letter says I will only get us esa for 365 days. What happens after this period if I haven't been assessed. This is all very confusing.

Replies

  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 5,015

    Scope community team

    Hi @Andywheels56! As face to face meetings have been cancelled due to coronavirus, assessments are currently being carried out over the phone. Perhaps you could call the assessment company to find out when the assessment is likely to take place? 
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  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    HI,

    Although the assessment phased for ESA is indeed 13 weeks, even during normal times it definitely doesn't mean you'll be assessed with a decision being made within that time. Lots of people are waiting quite a few months even during normal times. If of course the decision is to place you into the Support Group your money will be backdated to the 14th week of your claim.

    Although face to face assessments are still suspended, where possible for the work capability assessment they will do a telephone assessment, like they are doing for PIP. If enough of information can't be gathered from just the telephone assessment then you'll need to wait until the face to face ones are back up and running again and there's no talk of that happening anytime soon.

    To answer your question about the 365 days, unfortunately, if a decision hasn't been made by that time then your money will stop, likewise if a decision has been made and you're placed into the WRAG. The only time it continues is if you're placed in the Support and then it's paid for as long as you remain in the group.

    The Health assessment advisory service do the work capability assessments so you could ring to ask if it's likely you'll be having the assessment soon. Details here. https://www.chdauk.co.uk/employment-and-support-allowance-esa

    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.
  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    [email protected] and @poppy123456

    Just phoned the health assessment advisory service and they said they are just waiting for the jobcentre to tell them when they can restart face to face meetings. Yes they are aware I have been waiting since March.

    When I went to sign my claimant commitment at the jobcentre on the form it has Meetings with my work coach and Work preparation activities. The lady ticked the This does not apply to me box. Is this because I had not had my work capability assessment yet?
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Usually with ESA they are less strict with the appointments with your work coach, unlike they are for UC. Although due to covid the usual appointments are not fully back up and running again at local job centres as far as i'm aware.

    Your work capability assessment could be by telephone, unless they have specifically told you that a face to face is definitely needed. I have heard of a few people that have been told one is needed because they can't get enough of information through a telephone assessment alone. Nothing you can do really but wait.
    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.
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Posts: 4,114

    Scope community team

    I hope the above advice from Poppy and Tori has been helpful @Andywheels56 :) 
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  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,998

    Scope community team

    Hello @Andywheels56. Have you had any update to your assessment? I hope you've now been given a date for a telephone assessment but it will be good to hear how you're getting on. :)
    Community Manager
    Scope
  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    Hi @Adrian_Scope, no, I have not had an update yet regarding my new style esa claim. I have been in touch with both the dwp and the health assessment advisory service and they are both aware I am in the system and still waiting to be assessed. With the current situation regarding the lockdown god knows when it will take place. 

    If I am put in the work related activity group what benefit do I claim for then?
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,998

    Scope community team

    Do you know what date your year on assessment rate ends? 
    Have they said why so long for the delay? Is there a specific reason you need a face-to-face rather than a telephone assessment? 

    What else you’d claim depends on the rest of your circumstances @Andywheels56. Do you claim anything else currently or live with a partner? 
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    Scope
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Universal Credit is the only other benefit that is possible to claim but it will depend on your circumstances because it's a means tested benefit. If you live with a partner you need to claim as couple. If you have sabings/capital of more than £16,000 you're excluded from claiming.

    Use a benefits calculator to check entitlement.
    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.
  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    What can I expect from the esa telephone assessment. Is it the same assessment as for pip?  Have just spent an hour on the phone and have been told that I qualify for a telephone assesment and they will be in contact within the next couple of weeks. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    It's similar to PIP but with different criteria. They will assess your ability to be able to do any type of work because it's about the work you can do, rather than the work you can't do. They will want to know what a typical day is for you. Impossible to tell you what questions will be asked because this will depend on how your conditions affect you.

    Saying that, are you sure the phone call you had for an hour wasn't the work capability assessment?
    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.
  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    [email protected], you are right, my phone call was about me enquiring when my work capability assessment is going to be carried out. I had a letter from ESA saying that my benefit would be stopped on the 19/01/21 as I would have reached the 365 days limit for claiming contribution based ESA. 

    If I cannot claim anymore contribution based ESA is the work capability assessment to see if I should be placed in the LCWRA group. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    An assessment is needed anyway, even if you weren't coming towards the end of the 365 days. The decision could either be fit for work, WRAG or Support Group. If it's fit for work or WRAG and you think you should be in the Support Group then you request the MR followed by Tribunal.

    Have you looked at the descriptors for the Support Group to see if you qualify? If you don't and the decision is WRAG your claim can continue as a NI credits only claim, if the credits are needed for your state pension.




    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.
  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    Just an update, I now have a telephone assessment in 2 weeks time for esa. What can I expect? Do they give you a proper grilling over your condition or are they nice and friendly, lol. 
  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    Seeing as I have getting new style esa since january if I am found fit for work do I have to pay them all the money back that I have received.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    If you kept a copy of the work capability assessment form you filled in then have a look at that before the assessment because part of it will be to confirm what you wrote in the form. The other part will be for any additional information they need. They will want to know a typical day for you and they will assess your ability to do any type of work because it's about the work you can do, rather than the work you can't do.

    If you're found fit for work you will not have to pay any money back. Good luck.
    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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