Forum

ESA supersession/appeal help needed

I have been told that my contribution-based ESA will end on 30 April as I was put in the WRAG and have been receiving it for a year. As my husband works I won’t qualify for income-based and will therefore receive nothing (apart from DLA and a small pension).

I got in touch with the DWP about this, and told them that as my condition has worsened in the year since I was seen by their ATOS doctor, I believe I now qualify for the support group, and I want them to reassess me, look at my case again, or do a supersession - the wording changes depending on who you speak to. Basically my circumstances have changed and I want them to reconsider.

I was told I had to fill in an appeals form in order for them to start this process, even though I don’t want to appeal the original decision. This morning I’ve received a letter telling me my APPEAL has been passed to the tribunals service. I am so frustrated - I don’t want to appeal! My MS has got worse and I want them to consider me again and if necessary send me for another ATOS medical!

I’ve tried to phone them today but the recorded message tells me all their advisors are busy and to call back later.

I am a member of benefits & work, but because of their odd messageboard having opening times outside of which you can’t post, I can’t ask for help on there at the moment.

Does anyone have any advice or info? A DWP person would be fantastic, because I suspect they are going about my issue the wrong way.

Thanks

I just managed to get through to the DWP after about 15 mins on hold, only to be told that they are having technical issues and cannot answer my questions but to call back after 2pm - and they are not allowed to arrange for a callback, I will have to wait on hold again.

I am feeling really stressed and depressed today anyway, and this is making me just despair.

I know a lot of people are having similar problems with ESA ending, and are struggling to have their cases reviewed while also battling illnesses. If only there were some kind of organisation who could take over for you and liaise with the DWP - someone who knew the ins and outs of the system. It would be great if the MS Society could intervene.

I understand where you are coming from as I am in the same boat… I am waiting for my appeal which seems to be taking forever to even tell me whats going on. I know they have the letter but my god they still take so long. I am going to the doctors tomorrow and getting my doc to write a letter to them to prove my illness has got worse since chrismas.

I am sick of them putting me on hold I had that for 25 mins once, that music gets so annoying after a while… Dun, Dun, Dun, Dun, Dunner, nerr!

Sorry that prob makes no sence but it drives you mad after a while.

You know, that sounds like a good idea, if someone could handle it for you and do all the phone hanging on.

luv Pollx

Try your local CAB or Benefits and Rights at your local council who will do exactly that.

There was an item on BBC Breakfast this morning about the withdrawal of ESA, which said that around 40,000 people will be in the same situation as me, ie. left over £90 a week worse off and unable to claim income-based benefits as we have partners who work. I wonder how many of them have MS?

This really is a disgraceful situation and I am baffled why there hasn’t been more of an outcry…I hope this BBC report leads to further publicity and reports.

I have today done my bit to raise awareness by sharing my story here https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/N3FNLDM on this website, and I urge anyone similarly affected to do the same. We need our voices to be heard!

I would love to see a ‘sticky’ on here for all of those facing having their benefits taken away to be alerted to this ability to share their stories, which would help the MS Society to campaign on our behalf.

I’ve had a phone call from the DWP today, and the woman had no grasp of why she was ringing me - I had to go through the whole tale again. And yet again my request to be reassessed is going to be passed on to someone else who will apparently ring me back. So stressed again today.

I’m sorry to sound like “I told you so” but I’ve been banging on about this for months. There was a thread a while ago where the implication was that I was scaring people and should shut up.
Although I am profoundly sorry that you and thousands more are in this position I can only hope that there will be a surge of outrage aimed at the government.

I’m still on IB but the very idea that after decades of work and NI contributions I will be ineligible for benefit because of my occupational pension is disgusting. (A pension might I add that wasn’t free but paid for by deductions when I was bringing up a family and could barely afford it)

For the majority of people with a permanent chronic condition there will be no return to work and to pretend otherwise is disingenuous. In my opinion getting into the support group (where you are protected from time limits) is ridiculously hard. So many people over the next few months will realize that they should have appealed the decision to put them in the WRAG or that, like you, their condition has deteriorated since they were assessed that the system will grind to a halt leaving thousands in limbo.

Claimants with MS are not going to get better. They will not cast off their walking sticks and dance into full employment (I wish). I appreciate that many MSers work but those who have come to the hard decision to give up careers and claim benefits are not going to do a U turn in 12 months and get back in the rat race. Most will have already tried shorter hours and/or career changes and no amount of “help” from DWP is going to alter the fact that their working life is over.

I have 30 years of NI contributions and I didn’t ask for this condition just so I could give up my job! Please heed Perky’s call and shout this from the roof tops.

Jane

Thank you Jane for a brilliantly written post. I wish I had seen and heeded one of your warnings, and I might not be in this situation now!

Another thought has occured to me - according to a phone call from DWP today, I am not due to be seen by ATOS again until the end of this year - about two years after my first and only examination. How strange that someone with a progressive, incurable disease should be deemed to not need further medicals for 2 years when placed in the WRAG group, but I have read of several MSers who were placed in the Support Group only to be called back for further medicals after a couple of months! As thought the same progressive illness might have got better in their cases, but in mine will not have got any worse! It’s just madness. A cruel and stupid situation.

I would advise writing to your MP for support. It is easy enough on the Write to Them website.

Need to make a lot of noise about this gross unfairness.

Where are the MS Society on this? Are they in bed with the Tories as well? You were told, you were warned you chose to ignore… What can I say? Plenty of people have been fighting this since 2010 and it fell on deaf ears Good on them weed out the scroungers - did you think because you have MS you werent a scrounger? MS,cancer, Parkinson’s, whatever You are a scrounger. Thats your new label - sorry but deal with it. No one as in the general public/ Charities care shrugs

I have recently returned yet another ESA50 and awaiting the outcome with baited breath.

I have been on ESA contribution based since 2009 and after my medical in may 2010 when I was placed in the WRAG I appealed, mainly because I knew this year thing was coming in and also I did meet the descriptors to qualify.

That appeal went to tribunal mainly because I did not send any medical evidence in to back up my claim, and a year later I was placed in the support group after spending about 10 minutes at the tribunal. In the meantime I had been reassessed in 2011 from another ESA50 so back in the WRAG again aghhhh.I put in a late appeal and have now been placed back in the support group.

I will be very annoyed if it is taken away again as my condition has got a lot worse since 2010 as I am PPMS not that it means anything to these assessors…one cap fits all seems when it comes to MS

jax

An update (cut and pasted from another board where I have asked for help today);

I am still tying to get reassessed, and this has become even more difficult and distressing for me.

Last week my doctor eventually (after first claiming she could not write a letter for the DWP unless they requested the information by way of a form!) wrote me a letter regarding the worsening of my condition. I also wrote a detailed complaint to the DWP about their handling of my case.

Yesterday, a complaints person rang me to tell me that the letter from my doctor was not good enough to start a reassessment and my request has therefore been rejected. The reason? My doctor had written ‘she REPORTS a worsening in her disability’…‘she REPORTS her symptoms have increased’ rather than ‘this patient’s condition has worsened’. I tried to explain that the nature of MS is that it is not measurable by a GP; many symptoms are invisible so the only way a doctor knows you have them is if you tell them!

I found this so frustrating, that eventually the complaints woman said she would ring my doctor and explain how the statement re; worsening should be worded. Shortly after I was called by my doctor, who told me she had spoken to the DWP woman, and that with all ‘patient reported’ symptoms (ie those that a doctor cannot see or measure - fatigue, numbness, pain etc) she has to write ‘patient reports’ and that is the same in every case. She then told me she had told the DWP woman that I may be capable of some work, for example on the ground floor with reduced hours…I cannot begin to describe how much this horrified me. I told the doctor that, as I have told her before, I am unable to go out alone anymore, I cannot even do my housework or look after my family, and I cannot possibly work. But she would not listen - she had already written a fit note to the same effect!

DWP woman then called me, and I felt she seemed gleeful that she had got the doctor to say something that had contradicted me and made pursuing a reassessment or appeal pretty much impossible.

I should point out that I last saw my GP on December 2nd 2011, five months ago She has never physically examined me as she is not a neurological specialist. I visit her only to request medication for specific symptom relief or to get referred to my neurologist. I have no idea how qualified she is to make occupational health assessments, least of all on a patient with a progressive illness who she has not set eyes on for five months!

I am so incredibly stressed, upset, and feeling like a scrounger who is swinging the lead. I am not sure how to deal with what’s happening with my claim - I think I should get an appointment with a different doctor and ask him to examine me - but even then if it is a doctor who has never seen me before, will he be willing to state my condition is worse? All I want is for DWP to look at my condition again, and if they feel it necessary send me for an ATOS medical.

Please does anyone have any thoughts? Has my doctor acted wrongly? I am beginning to think it must be me as everyone seems to be against me and suggesting I am lying or exaggerating - maybe my mobility problems are immaginary? Maybe my MS has spontaneously got better? Sorry for being facetious but I really feel so hopeless. :frowning:

Oh Perky your GP sounds like a real doozy.

It might be difficult to unring this bell and I am very grateful to you for pointing out that erroneous wording so that others might avoid “she reports” I wonder how many things this applies to – how do you quantify the pain in an injured back or the effects of CFS? It is going to be hard for you to argue that your GP cannot make the assessment it will look like its just because you don’t like what she has to say.

What you need are some quantifiable indicators. Do you have a copy of the ESA50 that you first filled in to claim ESA? Can you go through this and compare what you said then to how things are now – this may show a clear decline.

My feeling is that you need specialist help with this. I would try CAB or Welfare Rights – you need someone who can repair the damage that your chocolate fireguard GP has done. How long is it since you saw the neuro? Could they provide a more favourable report?

Thankyou so much for your support. I’ve got myself in to quite a state; was awake until 6am and only dropped off for an hour then as I had to get my son up for school, so I feel really unwell today.

I saw my neuro very recently so am pinning hopes on this - I have managed to get a dr appointment this afternoon so fingers crossed they will have my neuro report which I can contrast with my report from a year ago. I hope to god he doesn’t use the words ‘patient reports’ too! I’ve also left a message for my ms nurse to call me back.

You are spot on re; unringing the bell - I fear I am going to look bad now. It really is hard to believe that a doctor would make such comments unless they are true - but they really are not! She seems to have an unrealistically optimistic idea of what ms is - she must think mobility is my only issue, and if I can work somewhere for three days a week (which I did before I was retired through ill health!) I would be fine! Never mind my fatigue, numbness, concentration probs and eyesight when tired etc etc- I don’t need to spell it out for anyone here.

A self-completed ESA50 would be rejected as DWP told me they must be informed of worsening by a doctor only.

I will look into welfare rights and cab too - I don’t know whether to contact my MP as well - it’s all so bloody stressful, and I have to explain it all from the beginning every time.

Thanks again x

Here are some usefull lonks and you can then determin why or how they have scored you:

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/f60.htm

The following pages contain a mockup of the questions and you can score yourself.However it does state this is not accurate and will not help the outcome of a decission on benefits.It also explains the appeals system.

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/personal-independence-payment-pip/pip-p…

They are very informative and worth a read and passing onto others.

Thankyou for your help, but my problem is with ESA not PIP. I am a member of benefits and work but their message board never seems to be open when I want to make a post, and their guides are quite specific and don’t address my issues with reassessment!

I am giving up claiming ESA tomorrow! My reasons are that I WONT attend the ATOS medical and put myself through worry, anxiety, depression and make my condition even worse than it is now. I have been claiming ESA (contribution based £67 a week) since the beginning of August 2011 (reluctantly) and so it will all come to an end in August of this year anyway. I have waited 6 months for a medical (which I am sure is far too long) - which is on Thursday of this week. The symptoms I put on the form originally, have changed completely! I am undiagnosed and am being referred for a 2nd opinion to Southampton hospital, which is next month. As I am undiagnosed, it will make a medical even more difficult to pass and I know I will be put into the WRAG. What is the point of putting myself through this S**t, only for the benefit to be removed? This may sound like a cop out to some, I know, but I have always hated claiming benefits and did it as a necessity (financially). I know I am entitled to claim - I have worked since I was 16 and am now 47.

I got optic Neuritis in March of 2011 and have experienced numerous symptoms since, from fatigue, pins and needles, difficulty walking long distances, depression, numb face, sore feet and trigeminal neuralgia. My husband and I have been going through a difficult period and almost split up, but have decided to sell the house and downsize so we can have a better quality of life. I have not been living - only surviving.

The Government and politicians have a lot to answer for. My GP has signed me off work - that should be enough. It is more than his jobs worth to lie - it is so degrading for GPs across the country - not to mention everyone with a disability, whether physically or mentally.

Have you tried:

I am giving up claiming ESA tomorrow! My reasons are that I WONT attend the ATOS medical and put myself through worry, anxiety, depression and make my condition even worse than it is now. I have been claiming ESA (contribution based £67 a week) since the beginning of August 2011 (reluctantly) and so it will all come to an end in August of this year anyway. I have waited 6 months for a medical (which I am sure is far too long) - which is on Thursday of this week. The symptoms I put on the form originally, have changed completely! I am undiagnosed and am being referred for a 2nd opinion to Southampton hospital, which is next month. As I am undiagnosed, it will make a medical even more difficult to pass and I know I will be put into the WRAG. What is the point of putting myself through this S**t, only for the benefit to be removed? This may sound like a cop out to some, I know, but I have always hated claiming benefits and did it as a necessity (financially). I know I am entitled to claim - I have worked since I was 16 and am now 47.

I got optic Neuritis in March of 2011 and have experienced numerous symptoms since, from fatigue, pins and needles, difficulty walking long distances, depression, numb face, sore feet and trigeminal neuralgia. My husband and I have been going through a difficult period and almost split up, but have decided to sell the house and downsize so we can have a better quality of life. I have not been living - only surviving.

The Government and politicians have a lot to answer for. My GP has signed me off work - that should be enough. It is more than his jobs worth to lie - it is so degrading for GPs across the country - not to mention everyone with a disability, whether physically or mentally.

My daughter is loosing her ESA too, she has just been reassessed. It is only contribution based ESA that is stopping if a partner works.

So the message to the country is never work basically and you will get ESA for life.

Anyway my daughter has M.E. but is in relapse at the moment and asked the assessor to help her find work. She was told that sadly the chances of anyone employing her with such a bad medical record at the moment would be virtually ZERO.

But my duaghter is looking to do something self employed so they are going to help her. Anyway her partner works but because there are still children involved 13 years old, he can if he drops a few hours get more tax credits etc.

So it seems to me, that this ESA is counter productive. IF you work you get nothing thats one. IF you never work you can still claim that is 2, and if your partner works and looses a few hours they can get more tax credits…

And by the way this was all set out several years ago about the ESA taking over I.B.

I think also your doctor is actually right in what he has reported. It is really difficult for them to answer these questions without comprimising themselves. Its not your fault, it is because in the past people have been able to hoodwink doctors about their pain. I mean if I looked at you, i would not see your pain but it doesnt mean your not in pain you are. I always make sure my doctor sees me when I am at my worse so they can see for themselves how we are. You are probably one of those people who are brave and just get on with it, and your doctor just hasnt seen you at your worse lately. Thats sad truly. I hope you get somewhere this afternoon ok. Try not to stress too much about it though as it makes your MS so much worse.x

I am so sorry for you, but is there a chance your husband could claim something else when your loose your ESA?

My daughter will loose it, but will gain it on tax credits.

So glad I am retiring finally this year.