ESA hoop-jumping

My doctor’s note runs out at the end of this month. Yesterday I realised I didn’t actually know exactly what day it runs out, because the last one ran out on December 31st and obviously I was not about to be able to get a new one on New Year’s Day, and I just couldn’t remember what had been done.

Anyway, I rang the surgery and asked, earlier. Nice lady said the current one was issued on December 30th (naughty doc for doing that! :open_mouth: Grateful that he did though) so runs out on Tuesday. What I’ve done up to this point is booked a phone appointment for that day. Can’t do that now, they’ve changed their process and you can’t do anything in advance with regard to doctor’s notes, you have to initiate contact on the day it expires and a new note should be issues within 48 hours.

This doesn’t fill me with joy as the DWP gives such a short timeframe for getting the note back to them, especially as the post paid envelope they provide is 2nd class…at least at the moment I can go and collect my note myself, previously my mum’s had to do that and she doesn’t live in town, she needs to get a train in from a village 7 miles out of town.

Also, the DWP’s not…wait, let’s not make assumptions, I’ll go and check the post. This involves a bit more than it does for most people! Out of my front door, down the corridor, round the corner and down a bit more corridor, round another corner and down some stairs, outside, and into the storeroom where the bins are…so yeah, post doesn’t get checked that regularly! Ooh, and a lovely passel of missives for me! Two from PIP and the DWP reminder…


"I am writing to tell you that the medical certificate that you sent us, which covers the period from 4 October 2014 to 29 June 2015 is about to run out.

Please send us another medical certificate by 30 June 2015…"

4 October? Wut? But ignoring that…so now they’re giving you no time at all to get the new certificate to them? What is the matter with these people D: As doctors are not allowed to predate these things, isn’t that just a teeny tiny bit daft of the DWP?

Hi Jelly

I have had these problems in Sept 2013.They said they had not received my fit note in Dec 2013 and stopped my payment.I spoke to my MP and he said send it Recorded Delivery so if its late in getting there at least you have a record of posting .

Had no problems since they even text me saying they have received it and payment is approved.


I spent half an hour on hold to the DWP, hoping to get to the bottom of this, gave up in the end, it was gone 6pm by then and I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to get the best from whoever finally got to me.

Not sure it’s even worth the effort of chasing this up. They’ll get my note, hopefully by Friday next week if I can get a new one from the doc’s on the day I call them. If whoever wrote this letter fouled up once with the start date of my current note, maybe they also messed up with the date the new one needs to reach them by?

Good that they give you confirmation of receipt now, I wonder if that’s only done in certain regions.

Got through to the DWP today, turns out that letter was just badly worded. It should have said:

“Please send us another medical certificate dated from 30 June 2015”, not by

From the way the girl I spoke to reacted, I get the feeling a whole lot went out worded like this! Egg on face for someone, and they totally deserve it!


Just back from picking up my doctor’s note, need to sit for a while now so that I can at least start the 2 minute walk to the letterbox without veering about, but OMG am I irritated now!

When I talked to the lady on the phone yesterday she asked how long I wanted it for, now initially I was intending to ask for a year this time, mainly to avoid it running out in that week between Christmas and New Year again, but as this was a helpdesk person it didn’t seem sensible to say that long as she couldn’t say yay or nay, and it was unlikely that the doctor would actually call me.

So I explained why I didn’t want a 6 month one again. She suggested requesting it for 5 months instead. Why do that? I’m not likely to stage a miraculous recovery so why get this one done for less? We settled on 7 months, and she put that on the continuation request.

Just looked at the note once I’d got sat down and when does it run out? 30th December…

No idea which doctor is was, either. But I hope I never end up talking to this one. >.>

Jelly, are you thinking you probably won’t return to work? If I’m wrong, then I apologise.

But if it seems that’s the way things are heading,then won’t your employer be sending you to a doc of their choice, to see if you are now unfit for work?

Just wondering, as it is often the case after 6 months on the sick.

Luv poll

P’s hope I haven’t offended you at all.

I don’t have an employer any more, Poll, they sacked me (without discussing it with me first) last year.

I’m just irritated that I specifically said I didn’t want a note for 6 months, because of the difficulties in getting it renewed at New Year, but it’s been done for 6 months anyway : /

You worry to much about offending people hugs you’re a nice lady :smiley:

Hi Jelly,

once your ESA is sorted out you won’t need sick notes anymore. I hope to goodness they get it squared away before this one runs out. How long has it gone on for now? I think an email to your MP might well be in order.



It was 1st April last year when I switched from SSP to ESA, so changed to income-based at the beginning of April this year. I went for an interview at the job centre last month, which was basically a review because I’d been on ESA for a year. The lady I spoke too was mildly horrified when she saw I hadn’t been assessed yet. She felt them receiving this latest doctor’s note might prompt them into getting my assessment underway.

So I’m only having to get the notes because I’m still in the assessment group? I didn’t know that!

It`s clear now, that you need to go into the esa support group permananetly until retirement…how far off is that? I was on IB/ESA for a long time, before retirement in March this year.


yes it’s probably the only good thing, not to have to bother with notes. I know that you have said that you are not desperate for the cash - but what if you were? The assessment stage is supposed to last a few weeks not a year. It’s shameful.


Jane, I’m only not desperate for cash because I go nowhere and do nothing. I spend on nothing other than food (between £25-£40 every fortnight), and monthly outgoings, so the benefit I get is enough. I’m permanently overdrawn, so once I’m finally assessed it will mean potentially another £100+ a month that will stay in the bank to get me closer to clearing the balance owed, plus the backdated amount from last April onwards will be a larger step towards reaching a lower charges tier, which will be lovely!

Even only getting housing benefit and assessment level ESA, I’m still generally managing to clear a bit off my overdraft every month. Not this month though, £30 more spent, damnit (¬_¬) That’s from topping my mobile up and my mum taking me over to Aldi!

I have been in assessment group for 17 months


Yeah, you’ve been waiting longer than me haven’t you, it’s crazy, isn’t it! At least we will get the money eventually. I was kind of surprised when I read that, to be honest.

I’m catching up on threads and outraged at this one! Have you rang the DWP to chase up your assessment? I know you say you’re not desperate for the money but in my book you are if you’re living on a costly overdraft. You are very patient, in your shoes (polka dot) I would be ringing them every week, I would also ask CAB if there was anything they could do to help and I would also get in touch with the bank to explain the situation and ask if anything could be done regarding fees.

Best of luck

Jan x

Hi Jan

I have spoken to DWP/CAB/AGE UK/ ATOS and MAXIMUS.

Finally MAXIMUS say their assessment doctor has the ESA 50/ESA 1/ESA 3 forms and has had them since NOV 2014.


Jan I really should chase them up, shouldn’t I. I was never much good at doing that sort of thing pre-MS, and I’m far worse at it now. I’m the queen of letting it lie I did ring the DWP and ask, about a year ago, and the lad I spoke to told me to ring Atos. Because the news at the time was full of what a pig’s ear Atos was making of things I didn’t, because I didn’t see how it would achieve anything other than cause me a load of needless stress.

Hmm, the lady at the job centre said about talking to the bank about reducing my overdraft fees, I’d forgotten that until you said it again. Would they do that? I think I forgot about that suggestion because I didn’t for one second imagine the bank would be willing/able to do anything, and I suppose I’m reluctant to put myself through the rigmarole.

See, I’m not so much patient as…well, as what? Overly passive? A doormat?

Maybe we should do a sweepstake to guess when Graham and me finally get assessed!

Hmm, the lady at the job centre said about talking to the bank about reducing my overdraft fees, I’d forgotten that until you said it again. Would they do that? I think I forgot about that suggestion because I didn’t for one second imagine the bank would be willing/able to do anything, and I suppose I’m reluctant to put myself through the rigmarole


Under certain circumstances overdraft interest can be frozen and a regular payment plan negotiated. Banks can be notoriously difficult to negotiate with directly and it is sometimes best to get advice from an organisation like national debt line. If you prepare a financial statement (lots of places on line to help with this) you can show the. Bank that you can only afford to pay £x per month.

BTW I really couldn’t manage on your food budget! There is a weekly figure that creditors accept you need to spend on food (before paying debts) it is significantly higher than £20 a week per person. Advice organisations have access to the numbers (they are called trigger figures)


Jane really? Wow, I didn’t know that. But I manage fine on that amount. Some shops it’s more, like if I’m getting cleaning products, or a big pack of toilet roll and so on. I’m a big believer in getting larger packs of things as the unit price is always cheaper, and I look out for decent branded products when they’re on offer, Velvet or Andrex 18 roll packs when they’re on offer, are the same price as the Tesco “luxury” equivalent. They’ve got a nerve calling that stuff luxury, seriously. If you’ll excuse the pun, it’s as bog-standard as you can get!

I’ll see what Google can tell me about these trigger figures though, there is so much that I have no clue about! Thanks for this!

Graham and Jelly can I suggest you both contact your MPs, a quick email to tell them what is happening or not happening might get the ball rolling. Sorry if I seem pushy

Jan x