I finally received the brown envelope this morning, informing me that I have been put into the esa support group. My form was completed and sent back in July and my assessment was 7 weeks ago. I just wanted to share this with folks. It has been a long and stressful 5 months but at least I know now. Hopefully, and according to new rules set by the government, this will be my last assessment. I would like to wish you all a merry Christmas.

Izzy x

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Hi Izzy

Brilliant news. Well done to you. A lovely Xmas gift from the DWP!


Phew! What a relief. I can’t understand why it takes so bl***y long to process the ESA50 for on going claiments, perhaps they need to extend the award time and stop re-re-re-assessing the same people.

Can anyone confirm that if you are in The Support Group you will no longer be required to attend assessments ?


Yes, if you

  • have a severe, lifelong disability, illness or health condition, and
  • are unlikely to ever be able to move into work

You should satisfy four conditions:

  1. the level of function will always meet LCWRA (limited capability for work and work related activity) criteria;
  2. the condition will always be present (some lifelong conditions are present from birth, but others will develop or be acquired later in life);
  3. no realistic prospect of recovery of function (with advice on this being based on currently available treatment and not on the prospect of scientists discovering a cure in the future);
  4. unambiguous condition (following all relevant clinical investigations a recognised medical diagnosis has been made).

They include MS, if it is severe and progressive.

See Guidance on Work Capability Assessment reassessment published | Disability Rights UK

What is unclear is whether you have to have a new assessment (ie after the date the change was announced in 2017) before you are told that you no longer face reassessment.

I’m hoping they’ll look at claims from people already in the Support Group before requesting a reassessment. But suspect that we’ll all face a reassessment first post October 2017 in which they’ll make the decision of whether you fit the criteria for no further reassessment. If that makes sense!! (Unless like Izzy, you’ve just made your first claim in which case they’ll make their decision now.)



Hi Sue,

Thanks for that, yeah it was good news and an early xmas gift. Hope you have a fab time and I hope Santa brings you lots of nice things.

Izzy x

Your not joking, it was such a relief after the long wait. As I said, hopefully this will be the last time. It’s awful and needless having people going for assessments who are clearly not able to sustain employment. Wishing you all the best and hope Santa is good to you.


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Merry Christmas to Izzy and all here.

I was supposed to have an ESA reassessment (my last one hopefully) at the end of November.

No brown envelope arrived. I thought perhaps there is a backlog due to the mix up with payments to some

180,000 who were not paid the correct income when they migrated from IB to ESA.

I think I might be one of those. But I don’t care - I just want to be left alone to rest and deal with my symptoms.

I am so sick of the DWP - things have been totally chaotic at the DWP for a number of years now, with the ministers chopping and changing all the time.


Hopefully a General Election in the New Year will lead to an end to this reassessment madness and

all the anxiety this causes to some many of us. I could do without the worry of form filling and asking

for help to collate all the evidence yet again.

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The new guideline that those in the Support group would no longer be subject to reassessments came out late 2016. I did my last one in early 2016 (previous two both SG, paper assessment), at the time of the 2016 award it was for next three years. Which means I’m waiting for the brown envelope in Feb 2019.

What I’m unclear on is if the announcement in 2016 re no constant reassessment will cover me, and I won’t get reassessed? Or if it meant on the assessment AFTER the new guideline.

Also, I’ve a feeling that as my area has now become Universal Credit, they’ll be searching for people like me to drag onto its lousy system. But have a feeling that as I’m contribution based ESA, I won’t?

Anybody have an answer to the two questions here?

Will I be subject to one further assessment in 2019?

I feel like I should know these things. I might know for some time… there’s a time gap and I’ve forgotten!

Oh and I’ve not been moved from DLA high rate both, to PIP yet! I’m almost feeling I’ll get the PIP form first, then a few weeks later the ESA!

If they awarded standard Care (I’d go to appeal, and win), but it’d be a chance to get the full ESA payment to nil. I only get ESA still because of the passporting/grandfathering from IB. You know how Byzantine the legacy benefits are/were? Bloody UC is even worse. And UC will efffect 25% of the working aged population. Basically the working poor and disabled.

Happy New Year to you all!

Susi x

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Hi Sue

I think you’ve got the date right, it was 2017, not 2016 as I said.

Both of us are still unclear whether the decision to leave those in SG alone will only affect those post 2017. I’m hoping it will cover all those in SG prior but as it’s computer generated there’s no realistic chance that human common sense will prevail…

and all those prior to 2017 will have one last assessment and most found WRAG… cue appeal.


Those who are due to back pay are those who were, or had an entitlement to income related ESA.

I find the matter confusing too Susi.

My rough understanding is as follows - others correct me if I am wrong:

  1. Some 180,000 folk on contribution based ESA were not asked if they needed to be means-tested,

so lost out and are now owed c.£5,000 + when they were moved from IB to ESA.

  1. If you are now SPMS this will be your last ESA work assessment. So the DWP now recognises progressive neuro

diseases. When I phoned the DWP they told me this. My assessment is 2 months over due.

  1. From DLA to PIP - I hope you have your MS - especially care needs - well documented with NHS care/management plans etc.,.all ready for when your PIP form arrives. See SAMPLE PIP FORM HERE
  1. As for Universal Credit, as far as I know, you will still have to report to the JobCentre for an assessment

interview with your photo ID, passport etc.,. But this ‘Managed Migration’ for this sick and disabled has been delayed until June 2019-23.

So there is another year to go, but who knows how long this government will last?

UC might have been scraped before that time.

I had a look earlier today and found a few bits and pieces about reassessment for the ESA support group.

The first is the basic rules and the date from which reassessment applies:

Then there’s the detail about how you fulfill the ‘severe conditions’ rule:

So it seems that everyone who had their last ESA decision before September 2017 will at some point have to go through one more reassessment. And at that point, assuming they meet the severe conditions rule, they’ll be told that they will not have to face the reassessment again.

Lastly there’s the revised ESA Handbook:

Hopefully this helps. Personally, I’m dreading having to do it again - my last assessment was early 2017 (bugger it!). And we have no idea when they’ll decide to ‘invite’ a renewal claim.


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Many thanks Sue for the extra documents.

ESA reassessments appear to be every 3 years, so I guess Sept 2020 will be your next one.

The system seems so cruel, as it appears you have to supply ‘GP Fit notes’ when transferring to


Totally bonkers! for those with long-term degenerative neurological diseases.

Hope you all had a good Christmas.


I have a brilliant OT, whom I’m seeing in a few weeks at the National Neuro hospital - we go back to 2011 when she first wrote to the wheelchair clinic about my clinical need for leg elevation. I’ve been going to that hospital since I moved down in 2006 and in recent years have had even more contact so that I feel it’s my bloody second home!

I don’t have a local authority care plan as I’m self funding, and to be honest it’s a waste of council resources to get one.

What do you mean exactly about .well documented with NHS care/management plans’ etc.,.all ready?

You’ve jigged me into getting my OT to write down a big list of things like leg elevation, manipulation, regular appliance ice packs (pain relief), turning, toileting. I can just do her a list and she can write it up.

My community physiotherapist will write a letter, my Neuro will. My Pain consultant has just retired and I’m discharged since I just checked in with him each year as we’ve been seeing each other for years and, in my case, my Pain is unresponsive to meds, surgical spinal intervention. I have regular tibial nerve stimulation for bladder and a bowel nurse, have a Palliative Care consultant at Marie Curie and he can write. I think I’m well covered here, it’s just getting them all to write so I may as well start now.

I have severe vertigo and that’s driving me mad as it’s so incapacitating.

Ive been diagnosed since 1987, with a central nervous system full of lesions and I’ve got cognitive difficulties which aren’t always apparent. But I’m struggling like mad to be actively involved in DPAC and a UC campaign which involves lots of meetings,writing of motions for meetings and conference. I was SO on top of the briefings on this grotesque benefit and within a few weeks now of noting, following on from us singing non-Xmas UC carols outside of a north London job centre, then shopping centre, it’s all leaked out of my brain…

I should be quite calm about the PIP and ESA assessments, I’m prepared compared to most others, but I find it induces such awful misery and anxiety.

I will be amazed and terrified if I have to go to an assessment, I never had to. But I know PIP insists in even the most severe. I can’t insist on them visiting me at home, because I won’t be at home, I’ll be renting whilst my ground floor is made completely disabled accessible…

Anyway, I think I’m just having the normal post assessment feeling of doom!!


Hi Susi

The PIP and ESA assessments can be done on the paperwork if you’ve been clear about how you fit the criteria/descriptors and provide evidence (which it sounds like you have tons of).

Many people have had assessments done on the paperwork, including me. And qualified for maximum PIP for both Daily Living and Mobility for a 10 year award and ESA support group.

So getting all the evidence in order, and understanding the rules, both of which you seem to have in spades, is perfect preparation. All you now have to do is complete the claim!!

I’ve always thought the best way to approach the claim is by treating the assessor as a colleague. Someone who you just have to lead towards the right decision. The opposite of the way many people automatically treat the assessor as an antagonist.

It doesn’t prevent you from worrying and being stressed by the process. But it can work.


Although not for everyone. The last time I had to complete an ESA50 was in October 2012.

UPDATE: 250,000 disabled people told to fill in ‘senseless’ 45-page form to win back their benefits

Another form might be on its way to some of us.

"The form is being sent to thousands of people who are owed £970m in unpaid Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) dating back to 2011.

The blunder, revealed earlier this year, affects people who moved from older incapacity benefits to ESA between 2011 and 2014. In total 570,000 cases are being reviewed, of which 180,000 are expected to receive back payments by the end of 2019.

DWP chiefs insist everyone owed money will receive it. But some claimants expressed bafflement after the ESA3(IBR) form dropped on their doormats."

Read more:

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