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ESA Appeal Success! 5 years 4 months ago #168499

Dear Benefits and Work

I would like to thank you for the guides on your site, which I read over to support my appeal against the DWP's decision to move me from the support group of ESA to the work related activity group.

I was able to use the information in the guides to successfully overturn the decision of the work capacity assessment and the DWP's mandatory reconsideration at a tribunal into my ESA claim. The tribunal returned me to the support group at the end of the hearing and I obtained confirmation of the decision in writing within 15 minutes after the hearing.

I would like to advise anybody who is facing this ordeal to read carefully through the guides on the Benefits and Work site and use case law on what your condition is against what the assessment has reported, to challenge any discrepancies. I have chronic illness; my condition fit into category 3 and I was eligible for the support group. The decision in the assessment was that I would not be at risk if I were moved to the work related activity group. On that basis, I was moved from the support group, with the loss of the disability element.

The report was not damning and it did not seem overtly unfair so it was difficult to challenge. However it was not accurate and the misreporting of my condition, how it impacts me and my daily activities gave the wrong impression. As well as misstating my condition so that that category 3 criteria was not adhered to, the report erroneously misreported my daily life. It seemed that I was having an active, happy social life, fully engaged with people, able to communicate with a wide range of people, going out regularly, enjoys getting out and about and using public transport. In fact, on top of my often debilitating chronic illness, I was suffering from depression and barely left the house but to communicate with debt collectors for a wrongly imposed debt and potential court action. However this communication, in terms of the assessment, constituted 'social activity' and as I used a library to write the letters to the debt collection firm and the court etc, the assessment reported I was able to 'engage with people'.

I saw in the case law that this sort of activity could not be deemed 'social activity'. The work capacity assessment had also proposed my hospital appointments as 'social activity', a point which was specifically mentioned in one case as to be disregarded.

I went alone to my assessment. I did feel isolated as there were lots of people there on that day, most of whom were supported in one way or another by other people, friends, family or legal representatives. If you can get some support, do. If you cannot get support, don't let it put you off. Submit as much information as possible to the tribunal in advance. Copy your medication inserts to the tribunal so they can see how your medication works and the side effects it may cause you. Print out some medical opinion about your condition from specialists, again to give the tribunal some knowledge of your condition, what is reported about it and what is specific to you in it. I think this helped me because my chronic illness is 'unseen' so sometimes other people cannot relate to how I suffer and struggle with it.

The basic message is, if your condition fits the category for the support group, then the DWP should not be allowed to swerve this in place of general 'no risk' if you are placed in the work activity group. The law is clear, if you fit the category, you are in the support group and they have to abide by the law just like the rest of us.

Good luck everyone.

ESA Appeal Success! 5 years 4 months ago #168503

  • Gordon
  • Away
  • Posts: 49398

Congratulations on your award and thank you for posting your experience I am sure that it will help other members.

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