Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Mandatory reconsideration for Severe Disability Premium?

PseudonymPseudonym Member Posts: 9 Listener
Background: IR-ESA (Support) for 3ish years, PIP (daily living) for 2-3ish years. Living alone. Nobody claiming carer's benefits. Studying post-grad level - I've been transparent about this all along, writing in to update them. I had read that in my situation an ESA claim can continue while in receipt of PIP. There was no automatic addition of Severe Disability Premium (SDP) after the PIP award, even though the ESA department was aware of it - they wrote to me and made reference to the PIP, so there's no way they didn't know from the point the PIP was awarded. In January 2019 I tried applying for SDP, but had no response. (Phoning isn't usually a realistic option for me. I communicate by post if at all possible. I found an IS10 form online from someone else's FOI request. I printed, completed and posted it via signed for delivery, confirmed as received.) Since then it's taken me about 6 months to think about then finally contact them (by phone, with difficulty). In short, I was sent an IS10 form a few weeks ago, which I completed and returned.

Now: I've received (not one, but two, differently dated) ESA letters with the subject "a change in the Employment and Support Allowance Rate Payable". Except that there is no change to the rate. And the letter now states that the amount applies for another 3 months from now. Apart from the date, all details are identical.

Side issue: capability for work questionnaire also received. Under 'What you need to do' it states "you must send it back by the date we've asked you to in the enclosed letter". Except that there was no enclosed letter.

To the point of posting: Can I ask for a mandatory reconsideration specifically about the lack of SDP award?

I'm going to meet with someone soon regarding both the MR and CWQ, but as my circumstances aren't run of the mill I find it's best to be as well informed as possible - supporting an advocate to support me, bearing in mind that phoning isn't workable therefore asking DWP questions by phone isn't feasible.

Replies

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,193 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi,

    I note that you're a student, do you receive any student loan? Some student loans are counted as income when claiming means tested benefits.

    Are you claiming Contributions based ESA or Income Related ESA. Contributions based ESA is £111.65 per week from April 2019.

    The SDP isn't automatically awarded because of the criteria, even though they may know your circumstances, it's still not automatically awarded.

    The ESA50 form you received you will need to contact the Health assessment advisory regarding this because it will have been sent straight from them not DWP.

    Do you have someone that can ring on your behalf?


    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.
  • PseudonymPseudonym Member Posts: 9 Listener

    Firstly, I do appreciate your quick response and the time you've taken to post. I was a little wary of posting additional contextual information. I thought it might distract people from the actual question I have. I think this is indeed what has happened. However...

    In response to your various questions:
    Income Related (stated as "IR-ESA" in the original post). (My query about this recently, in addition to SDP, may actually be why I received 2 ESA letters recently.)

    I do not receive a student loan. As implied, DWP has been fully informed about everything relating to being a student. I am not querying the impact of student status on my claim.

    As already stated, phoning isn't usually a workable option, whether it's me or someone else making the call. It isn't anything to do with whether I can ask/get someone else to make a call. Please just accept this, as originally stated.

    If anyone knows the standard time period that they ask for the capability work questionnaire to be returned in, that would be the most helpful information about this side issue (given as context, not the point of my post).

    On the government's 'how to claim' information about disability premiums https://www.gov.uk/disability-premiums-income-support/how-to-claim it states "You do not have to claim disability premium. If you’re eligible, it’s automatically added to your:
    • Income Support
    • Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
    • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
    • housing benefit"
    Not that I'm niaive or unaware of the numerous people who have found this to be untrue in their case. Just that this is the basis for saying that SDP is meant to be added on - because the government themselves say it should be! I realise you're commenting from actual experiences, rather than the system as it theoretically is meant to work.

    Finally, my original question remains: can I submit a mandatory reconsideration specifically about SDP?

    I will see if people are able to focus on this question here. Otherwise, I may try opening a new discussion minus the other distracting information.


  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,193 Disability Gamechanger
    Please understand i'm only trying to help. The reason i asked you about the student loan is because without all the information it's impossible to give the correct advice.

    SDP is the only disability premium that's not automatically added because of the criteria involved. The other premiums available are automatically added. Yes you can request the MR for any decision you receive so yes you can do this for the SDP decision.

    The ESA50 form needs to be returned within 1 month.


    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.
  • PseudonymPseudonym Member Posts: 9 Listener
    I understand you're trying to help. Of course. I know my attempts to help in the past have not had the kind of reaction I'd expected. No doubt many people benefit from your follow up questions if they are not aware of the finer details. I've read all that I can find, including many of your posts and including information from various sources about the effects of student status and eligibility for SDP. Add in the tension from receiving the latest letters and I hope you can understand why I was frustrated at all of your first response relating to stuff anything other than what I asked!

    Thank you for your quick and to-the-point reply above, adapting your approach in light of my previous response.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,193 Disability Gamechanger
    Not a problem but as i said without all the information i couldn't answer your question. That's the way i advise people because i wouldn't want to give the wrong advice. Good luck with the MR and 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.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,653 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Pseudonym, welcome to the community and I hope you have found the advice helpful. Please do let us know if we can do anything else to help and we wish you the best of luck with your MR.

    Thank you @poppy123456 for great advice as always! :)
    Scope

  • PseudonymPseudonym Member Posts: 9 Listener
    Update: I managed to get an appointment to speak with someone yesterday. They thought that it's too soon to have heard anything about the (recentish) SDP application and, as it's purely an administrative thing, it doesn't require a mandatory reconsideration. They were also of the opinion that other recent communications I've received is unconnected to the SDP issue; it's more likely a routine reassessment, as it's coming up for 3 years since the previous decision was confirmed.

    The plan for the moment is, firstly, to complete and return the CWQ soon. Secondly, if there's still no news in a few weeks about the SDP then we will try to follow up in some way. (Seemingly some current SDP cases for people being moved over from IB to ESA are taking a few months. Not that this is the same as my situation, just as an indication of current timescales.)
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,653 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you for the update. :)
    Scope

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