ESA MAY BE STOPPED FRO CLAIMANTS WHO TRY TO APPEAL

This is from the ‘Benefits and Work’ website (who give permission to copy their info).

Obviously with so many people going to appeal the Posh Boys Government have now found a way to stop people going to appeal… by stopping their benefits!

ESA MAY BE STOPPED FOR CLAIMANTS WHO TRY TO APPEAL

The DWP has now released their response to the ‘consultation’ on a mandatory revision before appeal system. Under the new system, claimants who wish to challenge most benefits decision will be prevented from lodging an appeal with the Tribunals Service until the DWP have had another look at the decision. There is no time limit for how long the DWP can spend on this mandatory reconsideration.

This is particularly important for ESA claimants who are found fit for work, as they are legally prevented from continuing to receive the assessment rate of ESA until they have lodged an appeal.

After months of refusing to answer the question, the DWP have now revealed in their response document that they are still undecided as to whether claimants will be allowed to continue to receive ESA during the reconsideration phase. Worryingly the document does state that “other benefits may be available to claimants where ESA has been disallowed”

Pat x

Sorry Pat, but I find the headline (is it yours or theirs?) a bit misleading, and not borne out by the rest of the article.

It is highlighting an issue, but it’s not that anyone’s benefit will be stopped because they wish to appeal. Rather it’s the other way round: someone might be prevented from appealing, because they’ve not yet exhausted the internal review procedure, which has no cap on the length of time it might take. So the person could be left without benefits in that indeterminate period before they get the right to appeal. I don’t see how this is a deterrent to appealing, though, in the way the headline implies. Presumably, someone wouldn’t be appealing in the first place, unless they’d been turned down for benefit they thought they should get. So appealing wouldn’t result in them being any worse off - i.e. can’t result in withdrawal of a benefit they weren’t awarded anyway!

The issue is how long they might have to wait without benefits before they get the go-ahead to appeal. I do think that’s important in its own right, but the suggestion that sanctions would be imposed because someone wants to appeal is wrong.

Tina

Agree Tina, not very clear. I think it means in the changeover from IB to ESA. If you are found ‘fit for work’ and you go to appeal, you will have to sign on for Jobseekers.

This bit makes it a bit clearer.

In this edition we have confirmation that the DWP is actively considering axeing employment and support allowance (ESA) payments for claimants who challenge a decision that they are fit for work. Instead, claimants will have to try to sign on for jobseeker’s allowance, where they will face a harsh new regime which, from later this month, will include potential benefit sanctions of up to three years.

For more info go to Benefits and Work website.

Pat x

Hi

Can I clarify my understanding of 2 points:

  1. People will have to claim JSA if they are found fit for work from the outset. This shouldn’t count for those placed in the WRAG group. Am I correct ?

  2. Benefit sanctions for those on JSA. Isn’t this for people who refuse work or refuse to show an effort to look for work.

I think most people agree that those that can work (the work shy as they are known & talked about on here) should have sanctions if they refuse work or don’t search for work. This makes sense to me.

I think the arguments on this differ from the arguments of who should be in thw WRAG / Support group.

Neil

As usual with DWP it’s as clear as mud.

Take the scenario of a person who gets insufficient points from ATOS and is deemed fit to work. That person should then try and claim JSA. However they know themselves to be genuinely unfit for work and appeal the ATOS decision. Under the current rules they would continue to get the assessment rate of ESA (or income support at a reduced rate) until the appeal was heard. They would not be required to schlep of to the job centre and sign things to say they will be actively seeking work.

This way round the appeal procedure is significantly slowed down and the appealing person is left in benefit limbo. They won’t get temporary ESA and the only way to get JSA is to lie (about actively seeking work)

If this was just the odd claimant or two it wouldn’t be so outrageous but there are hundreds of genuinely sick people being told by ATOS to “pick up thy bed and work”

This won’t affect people who are appealing being put into the WRAG when they think they should be in the support group. They will continue to get ESA (at the WRAG rate) until the appeal is heard. They have already been deemed too ill to work – at the moment. Their appeal will take longer though if DWP are going to “Look again” first.

Hi there,

This process is a nightmare and so stress full for all concerned. I wish i knew the answers.

Mary

Hi

Thanks for that.

If a reconsideration takes place before it goes to Tribunal then wont this result in less cases going to Tribunal and shortening the time for those cases that go through reconsideration successfully and also result in less cases going to Tribunal so shortening the time for these cases. I appreciate not all reconsiderations will be successful.

A reconsideration gives the claimant a chance to provide more evidence for their claim rather than just giving the DWP a chance to ‘look again’.

I am sure that many cases going to Tribunal are successful for the claimant (40%) but by the same token 60% of the cases are not successful. Does this mean that the majority of people appealing are found fit for work by the independant panel and this in itself creates delays for other cases.

Neil

I wonder how many of those 60% found fit for work by the Tribunal are actually fit for work?

We know from DLA applications that many people who get turned down for DLA should actually be getting it, but they do not know how to fill out the forms properly, have poor English and writing skills, or do not fully understand the form.

I think the same could be said for the appeals process.

The first time I applied for DLA I knew nothing about it at all. I just gave short answers to the questions… I was after all very unwell so assumed I would be entitled. I was refused. I appealed but again knew nothing about how to appeal, so I went to Tribunal just thinking if I told the truth I would get it. I was given ‘low care’ and no ‘mobility’.

I then somehow (maybe on here) found our about ‘Benefits and Work’ website and when my DLA finished (I was only given it for a year) I re-applied using the B&W guide. I was given ‘middle care’ and ‘high mobility’. I had learned an important lesson: you need to know how to fill out the forms to get the benefit you are entitled to.

So with the appeals for ESA and 60% being found ‘fit for work’, I wonder how many of that group simply aren’t ‘savvy’ to the way the system works? They might appeal the decision, but it’s the way that you word the appeal that counts. If you are not very educated, have no computer skills (no internet access), have poor English skills or have cognitive problems, you basically don’t stand a chance in hell.

We are considered guilty until proven innocent. How many fall through the net?

Pat x

[quote=Wendels

As usual with DWP it’s as clear as mud.

Take the scenario of a person who gets insufficient points from ATOS and is deemed fit to work. That person should then try and claim JSA. However they know themselves to be genuinely unfit for work and appeal the ATOS decision. Under the current rules they would continue to get the assessment rate of ESA (or income support at a reduced rate) until the appeal was heard. They would not be required to schlep of to the job centre and sign things to say they will be actively seeking work.

This way round the appeal procedure is significantly slowed down and the appealing person is left in benefit limbo. They won’t get temporary ESA and the only way to get JSA is to lie (about actively seeking work)

If this was just the odd claimant or two it wouldn’t be so outrageous but there are hundreds of genuinely sick people being told by ATOS to “pick up thy bed and work”

This won’t affect people who are appealing being put into the WRAG when they think they should be in the support group. They will continue to get ESA (at the WRAG rate) until the appeal is heard. They have already been deemed too ill to work – at the moment. Their appeal will take longer though if DWP are going to “Look again” first.

[/quote]

I’ve been put in the WRAG transferring from IB. I am getting help with the appeal, and my GP is giving me sick notes every four weeks and says they can’t stop my benefit if I keep sending in the sick notes. I’m not entirely sure this is true, especially in 11 moths time when my time is up, we are working out how to live without the ESA, I’m lucky that I get a small private pension, big enough to be taxed on when combied with ESA, but not enough to live on.I feel sick with fear and very tearful just thinking about it, and I’m in a better position than some.

I can understand your Gps thoughts but I’m not sure that he is correct.
The issue for you will be the 12 month limit on contribution based benefit. It doesn’t say that you are suddenly fit to work after 12 months just that benefit becomes income based and other money like partners wages will be taken into account. Having a sick note or not will not change that – the issue is not that you are fit for work but that your period of contribution based ESA is over. A year would seem ample time for your appeal to be dealt with so hopefully you will get into the support group where there is no 12 month time limit.

Jane

This may be of interest to some of you. I have been trying to get an answer from No. 10 as to why these laws appear to being breached, but it’s a never ending circle - No.10 say it’s not a question Cameron can answer and it’s referred to the DWP, the DWP say it’s a question for No.10 to answer and around and around it goes.

I wrote to the Equality and Human Rights Commision at the beginning of the year to ask why the Government are being allowed to breach these laws. As I had not received a reply by June I sent a reminder. I received a reply to say that since I had contacted them, many other now had too and they were ‘conducting a review’ into the matter. Still awaiting the results of the review.

I am also aware that steps are being taken to try to get Cameron and his clueless cronies hauled up in front of the EU Courts to answer for these breaches and to answer for why 32 people a week are dying after being declared fit for work - I have read that that figure has now increased to 73 a week.

The Equality and Human Rights Act Article 27 Work & Employment states:

Disabled people should be protected against forced or compulsory labour.

The Disability Discrimination Act states
Persons deemed to be disabled
A10. The following people are deemed to meet the definition of
disability without having to show that they have an impairment that
has (or is likely to have) a substantial, adverse, long-term effect
on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities:
• A person who has cancer, HIV infection or multiple
sclerosis (MS) (Sch1, Para 6A). See also paragraphs
B16 to B19 below (progressive conditions).
• A person who is certified as blind or partially sighted by a
consultant ophthalmologist, or is registered as such with a local
authority.
3 A11. Anyone who has an impairment which is not listed in A10
above will need to meet the requirements of the definition as set
out in paragraph A1 in order to demonstrate that they have a
disability under the Act.

So in view of the DDA, why are people with such conditions as
Cancer, MS and any other deteriorating debilitating conditions that
define them as disabled under the criteria of this law, which
states that they do not have to prove that they have an impairment
that has (or is likely to have) a substantial, adverse, long-term effect
on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, being
forced to prove their disabilities have a substantial, adverse,
long-term effect on their abilities to carry out normal day to day
activities, let alone work & why are the DWP via the government
breaking this law.

The next WCA forms I receive will be including the above laws and asking why I am being called in when the law states as an MS sufferer I do not have to prove my disability or how it affects my day to day life and then I’ll sit back and watch them squirm! At the moment I have been ‘lucky’ as they put me in the Support Group - but I feel this is not due to the fact I can’t even write my own name any more, can rarely make the short walk to my local shops less than 5 mins away and all the other things that make my life difficult and quite miserable at times, but because my Neuro diagnosed me with severe depression - which wouldn’t usually make a jot of difference to them, but they don’t want any more reports on the news of people with mental illness slashing their wrists in benefit offices or setting themselves alight outside benefits offices do they? Very bad PR, especially for a man who appears to be addicted to the limelight.Would be interested to hear if anyone has any stories to tell of being forced into the WRAG Group or back to work, or who had to appeal to get a correct decision. As an ex DWP employee I am disgusted at what I am seeing and how genuine people are being hounded to death, quite literally in some cases.

I am quite disappointed that Jane Russell, who can’t even write her own name any more and is not really well enough to fight this battle is having to do so, but the MS Society don’t seem to be raising these questions regarding the breaches of law. They have greater teeth than me and should be asking the government why these laws are being blatently flouted.

Apologies for the multi post of the same reply, think the MS website has had a funny turn as I pressed the button to post and it went all wobbly and then 3 replies appeared??? I don’t seem to be able to delete the extras.

Don’t worry Jayne… it happens all the time.

The thing is that your post is so good it deserves to be posted 3 times.

Fascinating in fact. Yes the government appear to be breaking the law… incredible that they are getting away with this!!! Well done for writing to No 10 and making a fuss about this!

Pat x

Thank you Pat - the website seemed to go down as soon as I tried to get bac to this page, so it’s obviously having a bad Monday morning.

I am so angry Pat, I get angrier by the day - I cannot believe this is happening in our country in 2012, especially as a former emloyee of the Department of Woe and Pain! I just want everyone to be aware of these laws and to realise that the Government are breaking them. Just knowing about the DDA and Article 27 could help people when completing their claim forms/renewals. If I had my way, everyone with MS would send a copy of my question along with their forms to the DWP and ATOS.

I hope more than anything that Cameron and co will be made to pay for the lives they’ve ruined, the people who have fraudulently been declared fit for work and promptly died afterwards and those who have felt they have had no choice but to kill themselves due to these reforms - by rights these politicians should be behind bars.

I may copy my post and send it to the MS Society through the contact us button, as I would like to know why they aren’t asking this question directly to the powers that be - they have more power than I do and are more likely to get a direct answer from the government.

Sorry to be cynical, but sometimes I wonder if these Societies really do have our best interests at heart - I imagine that all the top bods in the MS Society drive big flash cars and get paid big wages out of the donations made to the society - wonder how many of them actually have MS themselves or if they really want a cure to be found as that would put them all out of work and out of their flash cars and lucrative jobs. The services and help for people with MS is disgusting - my experience so far is being diagnosed 2 weeks before last Christmas and being left to fend for myself with no help at all.

Jayne1969 How interesting your post was and certainley gives food for thought!! I’ve been placed on the WRAG and I’m absolutley astounded at this considering how I manage to to control my own life on a day to day basis. The system stinks, they ought to try harder at weeding the scrotes out that really are taking the Micheal out of the benefits system - oh wait they can’t find them so they are targetting the genuine honest claiments first. I also heard recently that they are changing DLA too? Don’t know how true this is it’s called PIP (pi******s in power) in my opinion

Thank you Bambi - you are a prime example of what I am talking about - this is very wrong. If I were you, I would be asking why the above laws aren’t being applied. The more people that start asking the question the more likely we are of change. I have been trying to get an answer from the Government to this question and have , and getting angrier by the day - they can ignore me, which is why this issue needs to be pushed until the TV Media start broadcasting it, it’s only when that happens and the Government are shamed into embarrassment, that things will change.

Since I brought up the subject of these laws being breached on the BlackTriangle & Spartacus pages, I’ve recently seen that disability organisations have decided to try to band together and are hoping to take it to the EU Court, I am surprised that no one seems to have picked up in it before.

This is a link to Article 27

http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/human-rights/human-rights-practical-guidance/guidance-from-the-commission/a-guide-to-the-un-disability-convention/part-2-know-your-rights/article-27-work-and-employment/

Have a look for yourself & tell me if you think the laws are different from what is actually happening.

The WRAG Group is purely a stepping stone to get people back into a job - at the moment, there are no jobs, so they can’t push the issue, but knowing them as I do through having worked in the system, the next step will be to move people from WRAG on to Job Seekers to make the figures look good. this is because, having amped up the frenzy in the media and public, that all people claiming sickness benefits are faking it, they now have to prove they have sorted the problem, to make themselves look like they’ve done a good job kicking ‘scroungers’ off benefits.

Many people who have claimed JSA after being told they no longer qualify for ESA are then told they are too sick to claim JSA and so therefore claim ESA. Unbelievable. Figure massaging excercise like I’ve never seen, and I’ve seen my fair share.

Despite having been somehow ‘lucky’ enough to have made the Support Group, I know very well that I could be twice as bad when the renewal drops through the door, but that I could very well then be classed as fit for work and put in the WRAG Group too. As much as I would love to sit here being left alone with the hardships of my daily existence - isn’t it bad enough to get MS, let alone have it and be hounded and assessed - some people every 6 months? If they assessed me fraudulently as fit for work - I think I would actually rather die. There is no way I’m fit for work, or is anyone who hasn’t decided that for themselves according to their MS. I only wish they could have an active dose of it for a year and see how they feel about their ability to work with MS.

As an ex-civil servant, I cannot believe what I am seeing - the world really has gone mad! As you can imagine, no one despises benefits scroungers more than someone who’s had them laughing in her face day in day out for years and how the last place someone like me would ever want to be is on the other side of the counter.

This system makes it much harder to feign disability and illness I grant you, but there will always be a tiny element of people who will get away with it. The fraud rate is minute in sickness benefits - a private company as large as the DWP would probably be quite impressed. The real bludgers know the system a lot better than some of the staff do - I see their way of getting around it now as feigning depression, which feels like a horrible thing to say, knowing full well how hideous an affliction it is, but this is what some people who really are blagging the system will do, because they know that depression can’t really be proved, some people will be able to act their way through it - I know that, having spent so much time in their comany, getting to know them, many for years - something ATOS cannot do. You ask a civil Servant to give you a list of lead swingers, they will be 100% accurate up against ATOS. Why are we paying billions to this company, when we have staff who can do a better job if given the proper resources to do so. And who has shares in ATOS with strong links to the government, because they are getting contracts from the BBC IT systems to decomissioning nuclear power stations (God help us!) & the whole country has been crying out for 2 years that they are totally unfit for purpose, yet they win contract after contract - hmmmmmm all a bit suspect to me.

I’m just bewildered by it all Jayne, never felt so low and oh boy have I had some low points especially when the attacks have left me completely imobolized, and even partially sighted :frowning: I just don’t know what the future holds anymore!!

No matter what your status is as far as benefits go, if you are genuinely ill you are genuinely ill. If, for instance, you find yourself on JSA and become ill (whether physically or mentally) you consult your doctor and get him to give you a fit note. Whether you have been previously ill for many years, and this is your first spell on JSA, doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference. If the government does intend to withdraw benefits while you’re on appeal (which I think is most unlikely) and this (as it most likely would) has the effect of worsening your mental health or MS or ME, you have the right to reapply for ESA because your condition has worsened. If you are genuinely ill, the government is bound under law to provide you with susbsistence and the means by which to live. Politics is only about how much and how little, and what ‘being ill’ means. I know that’s a big ‘only,’ but that’s life.

I am sorry donald king but I’m afraid you are wrong (as an ex DWP employee I can promise you that). I spoke to a gentleman this morning who had been awarded DLA many years ago at the higher rate, although he is far more disabled than he was when he got it, his DLA has been totally taken away and he has had 2 appeals turned down. I have referred him to a specialist organisation to fight his case for him. This is very real I’m afraid Donald, very wrong but very real.

Take a look at these stories - just a tiny example of the dozens upon dozens I have read over the last few years and these are only a few examples from the last 6 months.

KAREN SHERLOCK - DIED 8TH JUNE 2012 AFTER A MAMMOUTH BATTLE FOR MANY MANY MONTHS TRYING TO PROVE SHE WAS FAR FROM FIT FOR WORK AFTER HAVING HER BENEFITS STOPPED. DIABETIC NEEDING KIDNEY AND PANCREAS TRANPSLANTS, HEART CONDITION AND MUCH MORE - CLEARLY DYING - YET TOLD SHE WAS FIT TO WORK AND HAD AN ALMIGHTY BATTLE GETTING WHAT WAS RIGHTFULLY HERS - SHE DIED 2 WEEKS AFTER FINALLY WINNING HER APPEAL. ONE OF THE MOST HORRIFIC OF THE STORIES I’VE READ SO FAR - http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/voices/2012/06/disability-karen-sherlock-sue-marsh
AN ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING SHAMEFUL DISGRACE!

31 8 2012 A cancer sufferer, who had her benefits cut by government officials who said she was fit to work, has died.

Cecilia Burns, 51, from Strabane, County Tyrone, had started a campaign in February to have the decision overturned.
Ms Burns had her benefits cut after she was assessed by government contractor Atos Healthcare.
She had her benefits reinstated just a few weeks ago but died on Monday.

26 9 2012
The parents of a man who suffered from epilepsy and died after being stripped of his benefits have blamed his death on the stress of being found ‘fit for work’.
Colin Traynor, 29, was marked as being able to work as part of the government’s overhaul of the welfare system.
He appealed against the decision but died before finding out the result which was ultimately successful.
His family learned the appeal verdict five weeks after his death in April.
Mr Traynor’s father Ray said: “I firmly believe - 100% believe - that the system this government introduced has killed my son.”

30 7 2012 Stephen Hill was sent to his first Work Capability Assessment in 2010 when he gave up his job as a sandwich delivery man after being referred for tests on his heart.
His wife Denise, who was with him at the assessment, said: “She checked him out. She did his blood pressure and his heart and said to see a doctor as soon as possible.”
Despite the assessor telling Mr Hill to seek urgent medical advice, he was still found fit for work. In the meantime doctors had diagnosed him with heart failure.
He won his appeal but he was ordered to attend another assessment.
“He got a letter for another medical and I couldn’t believe it,” said Mrs Hill. “He’d got to go for a medical when he was waiting for a heart operation.”
But he was again declared fit for work, with the assessor declaring: “Significant disability due to cardiovascular problems seems unlikely.”
Mr Hill died of a heart attack five weeks later.

26 9 2012 My father was claiming ESA for his chest pain (which was on the forms as indigestion/acid reflux, but I am sure he was on tablets for Angina) his difficulty walking and his poor eyesight.
4 weeks after he was called by ESA to tell him that he was fit for work (and a couple of days before his Rent was due, which because of ESA stopping his benefit, he was short for) he suffered a huge heart attack, and died a few days later in hospital.
A week and a half or so ago, I received a letter from ESA telling me that my father was going through the appeal process and asking if I wanted the process to continue.

I wrote back to the explaining what was wrong with him, and telling them how ridiculous that it was that he was declared fit for work, as there is no way on Gods earth that he was. I asked for the appeal process to continue.
This morning, I got a letter through from ESA stating that they are standing by the original decision, even after taking the ‘points I raised’, and his paperwork has now been sent off to an independent tribunal who will look at the decision again.
I really feel that ESA have failed my father. (I do believe that they are partly responsible for his death with the stress they caused him)
I don’t know who I am supposed to complain to, to make my voice heard.
I need to do something to make my complaint heard. To try and get this system changed to help others.
Watching Channel 4 news, there is a family who have just gone through the exact same thing and it needs to stop.

THERE ARE ALSO MORE CASES DETAILED ON http://calumslist.org/ IF YOU HAVE THE STOMACH TO READ MORE HORROR STORIES!

So although you are quite right in what you think the system should be, as you can see, this is not what is hapening in reality and so far there has been no recourse against the government. However, myself and many others have been fighting to have this investigated and investigations are in progress. Mr Cameron has been reported to the International Criminal Courts and hopefully will be having to explain why, on average, up to 73 people per week are now dying shortly after being declared fit for work by the government via ATOS and the DWP and why laws that are supposed to protect us are being breached.

Hope that helps to show you the truth of what is going on and not the propaganda that the government is feeding people.

Jayne, I simply cant believe how awful ms sufferes are being treated. Im lucky I have an amazing employer who makes it easy for me to be flexible and they appoint OH nurses for me. They knew about my condition and still took me on and made adjustments necessary. But if I ever get to the stage where I need to claim ESA, then I would rather not after reading all this. It’s disgusting how people are being treated. I know for a fact that the dwp does not catch all the benefit blaggers as I know a woman who pretends she has a bad back, had £20,000 inheritance and hid it in her sisters name and continued to claim ESA, DLA, h Ben, c tax Ben and careers allowance!!! That’s the sort of person who makes life difficult for people who are really sick A consultant has to,d her there’s nothing wrong with her and she too had a Atos assesment and has been told to get to work…and so she should get to work. She’s a blagger! As for those who are truly ill they deserve all the help going and should be left in peace. Concentrate more on the scrubbers who cheat and lie their way through the welfare system.