ESA Farce!!

Hi all !

I’ve just come off the phone (3rd 45+ minute call - 35 mins waiting each time) with Jobcentre+ to find out why my ESA payment has stopped.

Now been told that my GP sick note had ‘expired’ and that’s why payment had ceased as quickly as it started. According to the stupid person I spoke to I should be looking for work within 365 days. I expained (…had to raise my voice just to get them to shut up) that I was in the wrong group and was unlikely to ever work again with this condition. That was like pulling hen’s teeth as I don’t think she listened to a word I said.

According to her, you have to be ‘terminal’ to get into the support group. Until they put me in the correct group (which, I was told, could take a further 8 months), I will need a GP’s sick note repeatedly for the next year to carry on receiving ESA.

Until this is sorted, I am living on savings and the woefully inadequate money my former employer’s insurers bequeath me!

I just want to scream…


Speak to your local Welfare Rights people. They have been absolutely brilliant for me (I’m in Scotland). They should help you to fill in any necessary paperwork and even go to any appointments with you. Unfortunately, you have to make a pest of yourself to get anywhere these days.

Sorry your having a tough time. Hope it gets sorted soon x


Sorry to hear about your problems.

I’ll try to tackle a few of the points.

I presume you are in the WRAG group and are appealing.

You certainly don’t need to be ‘terminal’ for the WRAG group, but the criteria to meet the requirements of the Support group has got tougher, hence the WRAG group which is intended for those who are expected to be fit within the year.

Phones lines appear incredibly busy with the introduction of the new benefit. The 8 months wait is the delays with the appeal process & Tribunal panels due to the volume of appeals (of which 60% fail).

Sorry the person you spoke to didn’t appear to be listening & has poor interpersonal skills. There is no excuse for that.

The stupid person was probably following the correct guidelines but not in the best way.

All the best


Hi Liam squash Ou do not have to be terminal to get into the support group. I am not terminal and am in the support group. I have been DX. It goes like this Assessment phase Normally intact BY ATOS about week 8 to arrange medical I sent a consultant reports re DX AND DIDN’T HAVE A MEDICAL ATOS CONTACT DWP and tell them result DWP INFORM IF IN WORK RELATED OR SUPPORT GROUP. in support group d ont have to send sick note …etc They are talking cr**. I suggest contacting the job centre, appeal your decision, contact welfare rights, either social services, turn or disabled law oximetry. Hope this helps Nil illigitum carborundum. Translate it and you get it Mike

Hiya, as soon as they get your new sick/fit note your esa payments will start again, thats what happened to us.

We are appealing at the miniute so have to still send in sick notes. Been waiting to go to Court since last Oct and when i spoke to Welfare Rights people they said we are looking at the end of this year begining of next year before we go to court!!!

Hope you get it all sorted x

Sally x


I am in the support group, transferred from Incapacity Ben. without a medical…and Im not (I hope) terminally ill. I think I was put into the support group, without a medical because of my Ulcerative Colitis…which is VERY unpredictable. Today I had another form to fill in …although I am in the support group and have been since Nov. last year. I phoned up the DWP and was told that this is the thing that they do now …reviews …they can be every three months…so I’m off to fill the form out yet again…with exactly what was on the original form…yes it is a FARCE.

Hope all goes well for you.


I’m in the WRAG group and haven’t had a sick note for years…?I though you only needed sick notes for the assessment phase and once your capability had been decided i.e you are placed in either WRAG or Support group: You’re in the “Main phase” where you don’t need sick notes, either way?

As for seeking work in 365 days that’s wrong again! If you are in the WRAG group-after 365 days-You have another assessment (either just through forms or with Dr.) which will conclude…you still have M.S…

Maybe you spoke to someone who was Job center personified and especially moronic…

My son is in the wrag group however it states (limited capability for work), so I assume there are varying degrees of WRAG?

The whole system is a farce, there are those who should be working and stayed on the old IB for longer than they should, but hang on shouldnt their gp have noticed theyre not sick anymore and those who are clearly suffering, all for the sake of getting the shirkers riddled out.

Im so sorry when I hear stories like yours. For the time being my son is being left alone.

I do hope you soon get your dues and dont have too much stress after hanging on for that long and getting nowhere. Id also get help from Welfare Rights or similar organisation, let them do all the running for you, or help you. I had problems writing because of my hands and my son cannot read nor write hardly.



email your local MP. I have had massive problems with my esa and was realy sceptical when was told to email him. But he has kicked the dwp’s arses into touch and actuly rung me in person to apologise for the crap id had. The dwp then also rung me because of what he did and they have fixed things in a little over a weak and have back paid me as well.

Is there a neuro support centre near you? Not sure where you are from but they helped me!

Hey Liam

I am in the support group of ESA and know how difficult and frustrating it can be trying to claim ESA.

I am just wondering if they have had the medical yet of if you have sent the ESA50 back yet? If this is the case then it sounds to me as if they if you are fit for work or you are in the assessment phase of ESA whilst waiting an appeal?. From what you have said it, appears to be the latter. The DWP need to have a fit note from your GP whilst you are in the assessment phase of ESA and are waiting for the tribunal.

If this is the case then this is what you need do, I have done this since being at tribunal in 2008 and have not attended a medical since the initial one! If you have a copy of the ESA50 form that you filled in (always best to photocopy these forms before you send them in AND to send it at least recorded delivery. Join the Benefits and Work website and find out what the descriptors for the support group that apply to you are. Then contact your MS nurse and get her to write a report based on your form (please tell me you had help to fill it in!), this report needs to include separate headers for each descriptor that applies to you. These headers must be accurate and unambigious or else the DWP will use it to award lower points ie if you can only push a wheelchair 50 metres or maybe more, you have to be accurate so that it meets the descriptors.

Once you have this report, you should have to send it to the Tribuunals Service as they will send you out a pack that wil have copies of everything for you. If you haven’t receved this yet you will in due course. You MUST send the report to the Tribunals Service at least registered post (as mentioned previously) as it is not unkown for things to get lost in the post and for public sector organisations (such as the DWP) to lose things! If you can get this done it should make life a lot easier for you as it has done for me.


hi liam

i been off work for 10 months have ppms and school caretaker had relapse and need stick to get arond now and the walking just too much

esa been supplementing my pay had letter this week have to go for medical and looks like employer going to let me go,got union so all ok there,dont know what to expect

all best


Hi Everone!

Thanks for all the kind feedback. I’m so sorry for the rant - I was just so angry at not being told what to expect, and nobody from Jobcentre+ bothering to contact me despite assurances they would.

Now that I’ve had a day or two to calm down, I intend to see my GP tomrrow (hopefully) and ask for a new sick-note and ask her to put this on some kind of ‘auto-repeat’ to save me continually requesting updated docs from the surgery in future.

She - of all people - should know that sick-notes are going to be required continually from now on, unless I can be transferred to the Support Group instead of the WRAG and consequently not require repeated SNs…

I still intend to email my MP and relate my experiences towards the end of last week. This has left me with a distinctly sour taste in my mouth and a very low opinion of the current ‘system’ we have. Let’s hope he takes it on board …but at the moment I’m not expecting anything worthwhile to come of it?!

I’ll be delighted to be proved wrong, as always!


I seem to remember supplying sick notes while I was claiming ssp and for the first 13 weeks of esa but as soon as I was placed in the wrag they did’nt need them anymore


Don’t know if you hace welfare rights officer in your area but Citizen advice should be able to point you in the correct organisation’s direction



I had exactly the same problem with ESA I went to an ATOS assessment last year around about this time, I got letter back saying I had received 0 points, I quickly got in touch with citizens advice bureau and they helped me complete an appeal and I got my money reinstated, I dont know how many points I got but i passed the appeal.

Anyway I got letter in again this year to go for another medical assessment, which I went to this morning and I know I will probably get 0 points again or maybe a few as I have got a few new symptoms but I will appeal that decision once more, they do try and catch you out by asking questions that were on the forms they sent out but just give them the same answers.

It is all one vicious circle which we all have to go through when we cant work with our condition etc.

Good luck people


what i have seen of the questions they are not suitable for MS folk , I looked at the questions and thought I would not make the 15 fatique is not taken into consideration

Hi all Try this link if it helps Mike