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ESA and all the rest . . . 2 years 5 months ago #212379

Hi there everyone :)

I thought I'd leave a, rather long I'm afraid, message on here, as I actually have some good news, for a change!

On 2nd March, my husband died of heart failure and, as he was claiming ESA for us both, I told the DWP of his death. They immediately sent me a letter, demanding the payment back that they'd only just put into our account and, because I wasn't thinking, I did so. They then allowed me around £25 of it back - and that was the last ESA money I saw for almost 11 weeks :(

If it wasn't for the fact that I'd had my PIP examination last year, and had been awarded it again, I wouldn't have had anything at all to live on over the next 6 weeks - and it was only because a friend told me that I should apply for Widow's pension, that I realised I might be entitled to other things - although I then discovered that there's no such thing as Widow's Pension any more :(

Yet anothr benefit this government has stopped without our consent :(

Anyway, I applied for the Bereavement support, only to discover that, apart from a one-off lump sum of £2,500, which I've had to keep by, in order to pay for my husband's funeral [well, part of it, anyway], I have only been awarded the princely sum of £100 per MONTH, to live on - and this will only be paid to me for 18 months, when it will then stop - and I was told that it will also be taken away from any ESA award I get!

Anyway, I filled in the ESA50 form sent to me [they actually sent me 5 forms in the space of 3 weeks, with a covering letter in each, which had the tone of a threat to cancel if i didn't get it there in time! As you may imagine, I was grieving for the sudden death of my husband and, instead of compassion, all I got was thinly veiled threats from them :(

I managed to get the form completed by week 3 of the 4 weeks given to me - but only because I used a lot of the details from my PIP form to answer the questions, and also the wonderfully detailed advice from here, too as, I'm sure you can imagine, I was unable to think properly, let alone try and remember the dates and details that they were demanding!

A good friend took me the 22 miles to the nearest Jobcenter, so I could hand in the questionnaire , along with the medical stuff I needed to send with it, along with yet another medical certificate that they kept demanding of me, to prove my disability.

But it took another 2 more visits to the jobcenter, and a staff-wide search for the forms I'd been assured would be scanned immediately into the computer on that first viist - and which were then lost before being scanned - before they were eventually found, and I was assured, once again, that they would be scanned into the computer immediately, by a very embarrassed jobcenter worker.

As it happens, I didn't believe them, and called the ESA helpline the following week - only to discover that the jobcenter staff had, once again, left scanning in the forms for another full 5 days after my second visit! But what I also discovered, was that I was supposed to have been given another ESA form - called ESA3 - which was for me to claim ESA under an income-related claim. Nobody had told me this needed filling in, and so this, too, then made my claim even longer than it should have been :(

By week 10 after my husband's death, things were going badly for me, financially, and I hadn't heard from the DWP, and so I phoned them yet again, to find out what the hold-up was - but this time I phoned the main office here in Wales, rather than try for the local office - and I'm glad I did, as this is where I found out the jobcenter had once again left it a full 5 days before scanning in my form, after them promising to do it immediately, after their balls up of the original visit :(

Almost a week later, I got a letter from the DWP, telling me that i had been put in the Support Group!

Not trusting the letter, as it didn't mention if I needed to keep sending in medical certificates, or anything else of any relevance, I phoned up the main DWP office again and, as it happens, I actually spoke to a real human being, who totally made up for all the grief I'd been through :)

She looked through my account on the computer, then told me that, yes, I had been put into the Support Group, and that they'd judged my case on the ESA50 form I'd sent in, rather than making me have a medical! I was sooooo happy when she told me that! :)

She did tell me, though, that there was a note on my account, that I'd be getting another form in 18 month's time [something the letter hadn't mentioned], although there wasn't an explaination why - but I think it must be because my bereavement support will be finished by then :(

But, the fact is, I would probably have been made to have a medical, if i hadn't had all the info you wonderful people have put on this site, so I could fill in the form properly - including info from your recent email, which came in so very handily for me :)

So, I owe it to you all for making my life that much easier, and am so very thankful that I came across your site some 6 years ago now! :)

Many, Many Thanks for all your helpful advice, peeps :)
The following user(s) said Thank You: Drax

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Katathome

ESA and all the rest . . . 2 years 5 months ago #212391

  • Gordon
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Sorry to hear that this has been such a dreadful start to your year but congratulations on the ESA award, well done.

Gordon

tags: @RESULT @ESA
The following user(s) said Thank You: Katathome

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