IB to ESA support group without a medical
“. . . thanks once again to the fantastic guides on here, my migration from long term incapacity benefit with top up income support over to ESA has been straight forward & successful as I've been placed straight into the Support Group (the right group for me & also without a medical)”

Subscribe before 10pm on Friday 30 September and save £1.25 on your annual subscription.  Just type NEWSLETTER in the coupon box when you join.

Support group appeals:  your real-life experiences

Getting into the employment and support allowance (ESA) support group has become desperately important to tens of  thousands of people.  

It already offers protection from the pressures and sanctions of the work programme.  And from April 2012, if the welfare reform bill goes through unamended, it may be the only way for claimants currently on contribution-based ESA to get any further ESA payments at all. As one former soldier, now coping  with the mental and emotional effects of wartime service told us:

“If they do not see sense and place me into the Support Group, it really is a matter of life and death come April as I am already struggling as it is.”

In our last edition we asked you to tell us about your experience of appealing to be moved from the work-related activity group to the support group.  In Support Group Appeals: Your Experiences  (members only) we look at:

  • How big is the risk of losing your whole ESA award if you appeal against being put in the WRAG?
  • Is there a real possibility of getting moved into the support group without having to go to a hearing?
  • How long is it likely to take to get an appeal heard?
  • Can you trust what the DWP tells you about appealing?
  • Tips for support group appeals

Staying with the support group, we’ve had an encouraging number of forum posts from members who have moved from incapacity benefit into the ESA support group without having to have a medical. Rather than scatter them in the Good News at the end of this newsletter, we’ve collected them together here.

I have been put in the Support Group without a medical...Many many thanks B&W I would not have had a clue where to start without this sites help.

The receptionist called me up to the desk and said, "You don’t have a medical to attend."

Anyway, Support group without medical, review November 2012. Thank you so much for your website and guides, they were absolutely invaluable

Today I had the most wonderful news! I was told by letter that I have been placed in the support group! and I didn't even have a medical!

We used this website and got excellent advice but I'd like to add some of my own.

Just received phone call from Jobcentre Plus advising me that I have been placed into the Support Group.

I also received my letter informing me I'd been placed in the Support Group for ESA without having to attend a medical- thanks to your guides, I suspect as well as a helpful GP and nearly killing myself to fill the forms out)

EVEN MORE ESA NEWS (Members only)
Still staying with ESA, there’s some hope for claimants from the fact that the Lib Dem conference voted against the introduction of a time limit of one year for contribution-based ESA for people who are not in the support group.  Whether this will translate into a genuine ‘revolt’ by Lib Dem MPs remains to be seen.

The proposed one year time-limit has been shown to be particularly unreasonable by the DWP itself.  Research commissioned by the department shows that only a quarter of ESA claimants who had a job before claiming are back at work a year later. This figure falls to 9% for claimants who were unemployed before getting ESA.

And even though the proposed time limit of 12 months claiming ESA is not yet law – and may never be if the Lib Dems discover a scrap of courage - the DWP have begun sending out letters to claimants warning them that their benefit may be cut or stopped entirely.  These letters are even going out to claimants with terminal illnesses who are likely to have more than six months left to live.

With such savage cuts in income for the sick and disabled on the way, it should come as no surprise that Jobcentre Plus staff have already begun sending tens of thousands of claimants to a Christian charity to be given food parcels instead of crisis loans.


There are more stories in the Members Only News section than we have room to cover here.

Many thanks to all of you who have submitted news stories or links to items they thought might make a story, including: Ricia, Gareth, Papasmurf, Jim, Pat, and Crazydiamond.

Even if your story didn’t get published we are very grateful to everyone who takes the time to contact us.  There’s more information on how to submit a news story here.


The DWP have claimed that the Atos medical will no longer be at the centre of decision making about ESA and that all other evidence that a claimant submits will be taken into consideration.  Which is all very well if you have a very supportive and knowledgeable GP or consultant who is happy to write a detailed letter for free, carefully addressing the descriptors that apply to you.

But is that the reality for most claimants?  We’d very much like to hear from you about what your experience of trying to get supporting evidence for ESA or DLA claims has been.  Was there anyone you could ask for evidence and if so were they willing to give it for free, or even at all?  Did you write asking for evidence or ask in person?  Was the evidence helpful to your claim? Have you any handy tips for other readers  about collecting medical evidence?

Please drop us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or post in the forum if you have experiences to share.  We may use part of your contribution in an article on the subject, but your identity will not be disclosed in any way whatsoever.

The National Day of Action Against Atos on 30 September sees protests planned for a number of places, including:  Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol,  Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Nottingham and Sheffield as well as online for people who can’t attend any of those events.

Protests against the cuts to disability benefits are also being planned all over the UK for 22 October in a second day of action organised by Hardest Hit.  This follows their successful march and rally in London last May.  More details from the Hardest Hit website.

Meanwhile, the Broken of Britain are asking claimants and carers and their supporters to contact cross-bench peers to explain why debating the welfare reform bill in a side room is a bad idea.  More details and a list of email addresses are available from the Broken of Britain website.

We’ve a favour to ask you.  

On some pages on the site you will now see a Google +1 symbol.  These are Google’s way of allowing people to recommend web pages they like to their friends. The number of people who click on a +1 may also affect how high a page ranks on Google searches in the future.   If you think the information on our site is valuable and worth sharing, we’d be very grateful if you’d click the +1 symbols when you came across them and, in particular, the +1 symbols at the top of these two pages:

Disability Living Allowance

Employment and Support Allowance

You will need to be logged into your Google account for this to work.

We close, as usual, with some cheery feedback from the forum and also a huge thank you to all our moderators, who have read and dealt with over 28,000 posts so far this year – a truly incredible and really quite humbling achievement when you consider that they are all volunteers with their own health battles to fight.

Indefinite higher rate mobility and higher rate care without a medical

Higher rate mobility and middle rate care re-awarded on reconsideration

Incapacity benefit to ESA WRAG

Successful incapacity benefit tribunal

6-24 points on ESA appeal

DLA higher rate mobility and middle rate care returned without tribunal

From WRAG to support group on reassessment

From incapacity benefit  to ESA support group at reconsideration stage

DLA lower rate mobility awarded in a week

The more people who subscribe to this free newsletter, the more people who know the truth about benefits and who may help fight for claimants rights. So, please do forward this newsletter to anyone you think might be interested.

You are also welcome to reproduce this newsletter on your blog, website, forum or newsletter.

You can read this newsletter online.

Remember:  Subscribe before 10pm on Friday 30 September and save £1.25 on your annual subscription.  Just type NEWSLETTER in the coupon box when you join.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
Company registration No.  5962666


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