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New legacy ESA IR Claim 9 months 1 week ago #242996

Hello,

I made a new claim for ESA, Income related (legacy) via telephone last week. I submitted a fit note online, as advised and receipt of it was acknowledged via text.

I got a text today from the DWP asking me to call them straightaway because they have not received proof that I received SDP within my housing benefit in the calendar month before the start of my claim. I was never asked to provide proof of being entitled to SDP within my HB when I made my claim. I was simply told a customer statement would be sent to me for me to check through (summarising the details I gave when I made the claim, including that I get SDP as part of my HB claim) and that my application should be processed by the end of this month. I was also told a B16 form would be sent out to me for me to fill in and send back to them because I am self employed.

I phoned straightaway and it seems I was not put through to the ESA processors in Belfast but was dealt with by an agent at the DWP who looked at my notes. She gave me a one line freepost address and told me to send proof I get SDP in HB. I have an annual uprating benefit decision letter from my council dated March 2019 which itemises that I have entitlement to the SDP as part of my applicable amount. I also have a full bank statement for December 2019, showing 2 payments from my council of housing benefit. I guess that they want proof that I can only apply for ESA and not UC because I get SDP in a legacy benefit in the month before my claim starts? Will that letter and my bank statement be enough proof? Why can't they enquire and get proof via my council directly? I thought they all liaised electronically now. The phone agent at the DWP seemed to think it was about getting an extra payment for having severe disability - clearly she was talking rubbish because there was nothing in my notes saying that - I hate it when their telephone agents play guessing games and relay incorrect information. That extra payment can only be got once an IS10 form is completed. In fact, I completed the IS10 form over the phone with the advisor when I originally made the claim last week.

The DWP agent told me to go to my local jobcentre and submit my evidence electronically if I didn't trust the freepost address - my worry is that this information is essential to progressing my claim and it will take too long to get to them by post or may even get lost. Do I just turn up at my local jobcentre? They don't have a customer services number to make an appointment. They just have the general DWP enquiry number.

Is there any way of sending this information by guaranteed post so I can track it to the ESA processing centre and know they have received it?

Any help appreciated. Thank you.

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New legacy ESA IR Claim 9 months 1 week ago #243018

Libra

If you do an internet search for your local JC+ office it should return their phone number so you can make an appointment to have your letters scanned.

I'm afraid you cannot use a Tracked post with a one line Freepost address, they all require a postcode, it's probably WV99 1AA but I can't guarantee that's correct.

Gordon
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New legacy ESA IR Claim 9 months 1 week ago #243029

Hello Gordon,

I did an internet search to find my local jobcentre number. However, none of the numbers work. They all redirect me to the UC claim line. In fact, you have to phone the DWP ESA enquiry line (0800 169 0310) if you want to make an appointment with your local jobcentre to take documents in to be scanned into their system to be sent on to the correct benefits office. I called the DWP ESA enquiry line this morning and was told that my local jobcentre no longer has a separate phone line and that all appointments with them need to be made via them. However, as luck would have it, the DWP advisor I spoke to this morning was incredibly helpful. He said that the information I needed to provide was urgent as my ESA claim could not progress without it - he said that it could not be directly obtained from my local council by them, as they had tried and failed to get hold of anybody. Therefore, they needed proof I get SDP in HB, particularly in the calendar month before my claim start date, from me. He told me that the benefit decision notice from the council which includes the SDP entitlement information and a recent bank statement showing HB payments should be sufficient. He then gave me the actual address with postcode in Wolverhampton where I could send it by guaranteed tracked mail. He also put a a note through to ESA processing to alert them to expect this information being sent by tracked mail imminently. He told me to phone again when I had confirmation that my evidence had arrived and been signed for in Wolverhampton and confirm the Royal Mail tracking number so that they could trace it asap and make sure it is uploaded onto their system. Incidentally, he confirmed the one line freepost address would take far too long and going to the jobcentre to submit my evidence would require an appointment.

So, done and sent today. To arrive at Wolverhampton on Monday morning. I was lucky this DWP phone advisor was so, so helpful and knew what he was talking about. I will check on Monday that they have received it. Fingers crossed. All goes well and it is processed without further delay.

Thank you for your help.

Libra
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New legacy ESA IR Claim 9 months 6 days ago #243096

Hello again Gordon,

I just received my customer statement following my telephone claim for ESA (IR). I have to provide further evidence of my self-employment as well as bank statements, which I was expecting.

However, an accompanying leaflet mentions having to attend a work focused interview? Health and work conversation? What is this? It seems from the leaflet that it happens before even having a medical. Does it happen before the ESA50 is even sent and returned? This must be something new. I don't understand. I thought it was something that you only have to do if you are put in the WRAG after attending a medical and being put in main phase ESA. Is this WFI or WHC something you have to do during the ESA assessment phase? I don't think the leaflet makes it clear at all.

Thank you for any help.

Libra

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New legacy ESA IR Claim 9 months 6 days ago #243100

Libra

It has always been the case that claimants can be invited to attend Work Focussed Interviews and other appropriate activities but I would not expect you to be invited and even if you are then the activities must take into account any limitations that result from your conditions.

Gordon
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New legacy ESA IR Claim 9 months 6 days ago #243102

How would my limitations be evident if I haven't even submitted a work capability questionnaire? Are you sanctioned if you don't attend? What horror is this? Can I take someone with me? I would need someone with me. I have mental health issues. I don't remember this happening during the assessment phase of ESA when I applied 9 years ago. I submitted an ESA50, had a WCA and then I was sent to these sessions which were compulsory. Literally in the first month after my claim went into main phase ESA and I was put in the WRAG. I had to attend 6 sessions. They were worthless. Just a profiteering exercise for the private company conducting them who lost their franchise before I could even complete my sessions. But, I do not remember being told I would have to attend anything like this until I had passed the medical.

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