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TOPIC: ESA WRAG stopped - Learning difficulty

ESA WRAG stopped - Learning difficulty 8 months 4 days ago #228894

I would appreciate some advice on Mandatory Reconsideration for ESA WRAG decision.
We support a relative who has Learning Difficulties but is supported to live independently in her own home - 12 hours per week visiting support workers and lots of daily telephone support from family members. She was originally in support group but was put in WRAG in 2016, at that time she scored 21 points (Learning Skills - 9, Coping with Change - 6, Getting about - 6). We did a Mandatory Reconsideration at that time but this was declined and she has remained on WRAG. She also gets Severe Disability premium and PIP.
We sent in form E50 in December and she had medical assessment at beginning of Feb with her support worker. Just had letter to say ESA stopped and she will have to apply for JSA or UC. She now only scores 12 points - Learning Skills - 6, Coping with change - 0, Getting about - 6. There has been no change in her condition and her abilitity to start/complete tasks and manage day to day routines. The information in the E50 was the same as 2016 (we keep copies) and we included a very recent Social Work review which had ample evidence to meet the above descriptors. We have requested a copy of the Medical assessment report but not sure how long that will take to arrive. Her approach to her disability is that she wants to present herself in best possible light and does not recognise how much support she is actualy getting in order to live as independently as possible. It is quite likley that this has come across at medical assessment "yes, I can do that on my own" - when in fact it has take 5 or 6 phone calls to help her manage a basic routine.

My questions:

How much detail do we need to put in the mandatory reconsideration form? Most of what we could say is already in E50, Social Worker review and therapists report. The only additional information we could include would be a print out of 2 or 3 months of itemised phone calls which would clearly indicate how many times a day she is phoning us for support. Not sure if this would be acceptable evidence?

Would she meet the requirements for 'substantial risk' in being found fit for work? She would not be able to meet the jobseeking requirements of JSA, attend JSA interviews regularly, apply for jobs etc. She would be sanctioned and therefore no income so unable to pay bills, food , possible loss of home.etc

Any help with this would be much appreciated.
Many thanks, Greta

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ESA WRAG stopped - Learning difficulty 8 months 3 days ago #228928

Greta

Welcome to the forum, you might want to have a look at the following FAQ which explains where everything is

Welcome to Benefits and Work

The first thing you need to do is to request a copy of the assessment report, it's an ESA85, contact the DWP office dealing with the claim.

Your MR request needs to explain why she should score higher, this is not always an issue of providing new evidence or testimony but making sure that what was supplied in and with the ESA50 shows that they should. One specific thing to check is that the ESA50 actually addresses the legally defined Descriptors, it's easy to misinterpret them or to try and bend them to the claimant's conditions rather than the other way around.

The Substantial Risk criteria are much more than the claimant not being able to work, see our ESA CLaim guides for a more detailed explanation.

www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/help-for-claimants/esa1

Gordon

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Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems

ESA WRAG stopped - Learning difficulty 8 months 3 days ago #228947

Thank you for quick response. I have had a look round the website and downloaded the guides as suggested. It's a great resource and mine of information :)

I have requested a copy of the ESA85 so hoping that won't take too long to arrive. I think I understand what you mean about interpreting the descriptors. What I am confused about is why there has been such a big change in points awarded when the evidence and written explanation provided in the ESA50 for this assessment and the one submitted in 2016 is exactly the same. I could maybe understand a drop of 3 points in Learning Tasks but not dropping 6 points for Coping with Change. That's why I think it is more likely based on the face to face assessment, and if so, how do we challenge that?

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ESA WRAG stopped - Learning difficulty 8 months 3 days ago #228957

Greta

It could just be down to different assessors, perhaps the previous one had experience of Learning Difficulties and the new one didn't, their training is supposed to deal with this but you cannot replace years of hands-on experience with a couple of weeks of classroom training.

That said, you cannot assume that the assessor was not qualified to assess your relative although you may be able to show it when you receive the report.

The report should be with you no later than 7-10 from now.

Gordon

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Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems

ESA WRAG stopped - Learning difficulty 8 months 3 days ago #228965

Thank you. Will await and see what the report says before going any further with MR form.
Greta

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ESA WRAG stopped - Learning difficulty 6 months 1 week ago #231748

Hello Gordon
Any idea on how long a MR takes from when form submitted?
We received the assessment report and were then able to submit MR form well within the timescale. We have now been waiting more that 6 weeks for a response. Is this usual? I can't find any information on timescale. We have tried phoning DWP but put on hold for ages. Have also sent written request for update. We sent the MR form by recorded delivery so know that it has been received.
I would appreciate any advice on how to proceed at this point or is it just a waiting game.
Many thanks
Greta

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