Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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ESA applied - heard nothing

Hi, 
After 5 months off last year due to anxiety and an additional 3 months this year, I had to make the horrendous decision to leave my job and apply for ESA. I currently receive enhanced care and standard mobility for PIP, an award that lasts until July 2023.
I received a letter saying I would start receiving the assessment rate as of yesterday which is fine. But I’ve heard nothing since that letter. Does anyone know how long I’m looking at until my assessment gets flowing? The waiting is so so stressful. I applied 5 weeks ago, I know the usual wait is 13 weeks but I know due to Covid, everything is all different and I’m looking at the wait being much much longer.

I’m very much in the dark about this benefit. I’d never considered myself unable to work and am still struggling to come to terms with it. My disability is primarily mental health (official Autistic diagnosis as well as severe anxiety and depression) but I’m also partially sighted. Obviously the whole time I’m on the ‘assessment’ rate, I have to keep bothering my GP for fit notes, please tell me I’m not gonna have to do that for a year?! 
The only income I’m currently receiving is my PIP, and the assessment rate of ESA, its hardly anything to live on and honestly, I am struggling. I cant apply for UC because I have savings BUT I cant legally access those savings yet despite them being in my bank account (its inheritance money, its all very complicated). I’ve got visions of having to live off the assessment rate for months to come, and because I’m under 25, that rate is only £117 every 2 weeks. I’m needing to move out of current property soon and I can’t guarantee private landlords what my income will be until I get a decision on which group I’ll be placed in (although I’m terrified they wont place me in a group, despite my GP insisting I cant currently work!).

I’m basically an anxious wreck that has no idea what theyre doing and would appreciate any help or advice. What are my next stages? How long do I wait until I ring them and tell them I can’t financially cope if I have to wait over 20 weeks for a decision?

Replies

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    edited November 2020
    HI and welcome,

    There's really no timescales at all i'm afraid. The assessment rate is indeed 13 weeks, however, may people are waiting a lot longer than this for the assessment. Before you can be assessed you'll be sent the work capability assessment form, which will need to be filled in and returned with all your supporting evidence.

    Unfortunately, claiming PIP doesn't guarantee that you'll be placed into one of the groups. When you're assessed they will look at the work you can do and not the work you can't do.

    If you're placed into the Support Group your money will be increased from week 14 (backdated if it took longer than this) if you're placed into the WRAG then your money stays the same and will stop after 365 days. If you're found fit for work then your money stops once the decision is made.

    When you fill out those forms i'd advise you to put as much relevant information as possible about how your conditions affect you and then add a couple of recent real world examples of what happened the last time you attempted that activity for each descriptor that applies to you.



    At the moment all face to face assessments are suspended and telephone assessments have replaced them. Just so that you're aware, If they can't make get enough of information through a telephone assessment then you'll need to wait until face to face assessments are back up and running again, which could delay the process.

    Hope this helps but sorry i can't be anymore specific with the timescales. Hopefully you're not waiting too long.




    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.
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,093

    Scope community team

    Welcome to the community @Klou96 :) I hope that the above advice has helped? Keep us updated.

    Don't hesitate to ask any further questions you might have in the meantime.
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  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,278 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome nothing to add to the great advice you have been given. Just want to wish you good luck and hope your not waiting too long
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    One thing i didn't ask when i replied earlier. You said you can't claim UC because you have savings but can't access them. May i ask what you mean by this please? Are they in a trust or just in a bank account in your name? You don't have to give any details of course but if they are in a trust, which you can't access then the money could be disregarded for UC purposes.

    Although claiming UC and New style ESA your ESA will be deducted £1 for £1 from any UC 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.
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Posts: 3,229

    Scope community team

    Welcome to the community @Klou96

    Glad to have you aboard :) 
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  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 3,798 Disability Gamechanger
    edited November 2020
    As usual @poppy123456  makes a good point, if those "savings" are in your bank account in your name why can't you get access to them? If they are tied up in some sort of trust surely they wouldn't be in your bank in your name? Perhaps you need to get legal advice on that? If you don't want to explain that's ok, but we probably can't go forward with further advice.
    my advice is given freely and is correct to the best of my knowledge.
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