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  1. Yes I agree - it has made it easier for many to claim whereas before they couldn't!
  2. Being a Type 1 Insulin dependent Diabetic, it is a regular occurrence. I have yet to meet any employer that would not accept this. Besides which it is covered under the DDA. And people at large are expected to believe that all ESA awardees that are in the Work Group, will volunteer and tell that DWP that they are ready to try to get back into the workplace? Some will, many won't. Much like the old IB system - 'If they don't check up on me - I'm not telling them'. As for how this will operate I'm not to bothered just as long as something along these lines is carried out. I'm sorry but you must be a very forgiving soul to think that all ESA claimants will be that honest.
  3. The Welfare Reform Act was introduced to regulate the Welfare State in a more positive and cost effective way. Why are you suggesting that the genuine sick are unable to work? I agree there will be many that can't work due to illness but put that aside there are many, myself included, that are ill/sick (as defined by the Welfare Reform Act) that can work. Not everyone that claims ESA is incapable of doing some level of paid work. Are you suggesting that those that are awarded ESA must keep quiet about the fact that they could possibly work as well? Until a better system of sifting out those that are ill AND cannot work in any capacity is devised, we are stuck with the current system that throws up these peculiar results. Testing people by reference to a set of criteria will never be able to determine whether they are sick AND unable to work. Let's be serious, just on the mobilising criteria alone, you will be awarded ESA Support Group, yet it certainly would not stop someone working in a job that does not require any form of mobilising. I can think of many jobs that don't need you to be able to mobilise. Even if there was a job that did, all you need do to get round the problem is acquire an electric wheelchair. I would add, as I have mentioned earlier, those that are only able to use an electric wheelchair (cannot self propel a manual one) and quite rightly claim DLA, find themselves now in a situation that they can also claim ESA and be awarded the Support Group! Since when was a physical disability also an illness? And don't say that it isn't happening. Many that I know that are in a local support group for wheelchair users are now for the first time able to claim ESA and be awarded it.
  4. Thank you for that link, it answers my own query without me having to ask. A decision was made in Jan 04, and I appealed against it in November 2011 - the Decision Notice was never received - it went to an address I had moved from in 2000. The decision was that the Decision Notice only needs to be sent to the 'last known address' for it to be treated as having passed the test.
  5. Why? Based on the criteria of ESA I am entitled to make a claim. I was assessed and was found to qualify for 39 points and a Support Group descriptor. Also I am entitled to claim DLA and have been found to pass the criteria of HRM & MRC. Why are you suggesting that I am not entitled to claim ESA? Everyone that is able to pass the relevant criteria, gaining at least 15 points will be awarded the benefit. Are you in some way suggesting that my claim is not genuine? I was simply pointing out that despite qualifying for ESA, I still feel that I could do some work, maybe a desk based job. I doubt very much that every ESA claimant, if they were honest enough and put their mind to it, could not carry out some level of paid work. Is that not the reason that Permitted Work is there? The assessment for ESA has nothing to do with how sick or ill you are. You are tested against a set of descriptors. If you pass enough of those descriptors and gain at least 15 points an ESA award will be given. It is entirely possible that you can be extremely ill/sick, yet not qualify for ESA as you do not 'fit' enough boxes and gain enough points. Yet you can be physically & mentally fine apart from having a difficulty in mobilising which will see you gain 15 points and be placed in the Support Group. The inability to mobilise could well arise out of a long standing disability and have nothing whatsoever to do with being sick or ill.
  6. I doubt that there is any compensation available. I had to wait from September 2009 until February 2011 before they sorted out my Pension credit claim - they decided that I wasn't entitled to anything!
  7. Given that we are talking about sick people, it stands to reason that there will be more deaths than the normal average. It's like asking how many deaths have there been last year involving ESA claimants that were awarded the benefit on the basis that they had a terminal illness and likely not to last any more than 6 months. If the GP/Consultant had diagnosed it correctly - there would have been a death rate approaching 100%!
  8. That report is far too biased. Since when was ESA ever awarded because of a diagnosis? We all know that ESA is awarded if you are able to gain enough points from the descriptors given which imitate the various physical and mental skills that are required in the modern workplace. The author has completely lost track of what ATOS are there for. They are not medics but 'disability assessors' qualified in disability medicine. The GP or Consultant is not qualified to give an authorative opinion on whether someone is able to carry out some level of work based skill. It's simple each to there own - yes the medical profession are there to treat and deal with an illness, ATOS are there to assess, given that illness, how serious your illness is by reference to the workplace and how long it is likely to be before you should be looking at going back to work. ATOS will not give an opinion on how a particular illness should be treated or managed, so why should a GP/Consultant be anymore qualified to assess the ability to carry out a work based function? Surely that is why the Permitted Work scheme is there. I'm in the Support Group and have been since late 2009, yet I know full well that with a little effort on my part I could do some work that would support me financially. I choose not to do that work. But at the same time I picked up enough points in the ESA assessments I have had to qualify me for the group I am in. Being sick does not always mean that you are written off and unable to find something that could generate an income.
  9. Have you read this advice from the government? https://www.gov.uk/set-up-business-uk Normally when you decide to become self employed you will have funding in place that will not only cover the initial set up costs but support your living expenses until you are earning sufficient money. This funding is generally savings, loans, overdraft or a mixture of all three. Being self employed can bring high rewards so it is expected that there will be high risks attached.
  10. I thought legal aid had been removed from advisors/solicitors in cases where there is a claim for a benefit involved? It was seen as the taxpayer funding a solicitor to try and get more money out of the taxpayers. I know our CAB has lost all of it's full time professional welfare rights workers, and I hear that a large legal advice clinic in Birmingham has just gone bankrupt. Most Welfare Rights Officers are employed by the local authorities, but that their advice and support is now mainly limited to those claimants that have involvement with Social Services. Mind you I have heard of ways round this - through the back door so to speak - but that is in my mind abusing the system for one's own selfish end.
  11. I can only say what the Pension Service have told me in writing, although over the telephone it was a completely different story! I don't want to run the risk after I have cancelled the ESA to be told 'Sorry we didn't realise that what we told you was wrong for a contribution based benefit, but right for an income based one - never mind, try and get back on ESA if you can'. I never trust the DWP with any advice unless it is in writing. When I failed the ESA assessment in 2010 I telephoned the BDC and they told me that I should be claiming JSA. I made an internet claim for JSA and had an appointment to go to the jobcentre. When I arrived I was asked why was I claiming JSA and not ESA? I told them what I was told to do. The advisor ripped up the JSA claim and tried to get me back on ESA with a 'fast track' form. That was in January 2010, because of the poor advice given, I missed the 1 month deadline for appeal on the ESA and had to ask for an out of date appeal to be accepted which it was eventually. Because of this one little bit of bad advice, my money was stopped as from early January 2010 until it was sorted out in late May 2010! What should have happened is that after the ESA had stopped the Pension credit payment should have been increased. The Pension Service told me that it would take upwards of 20 weeks to get things changed and I was better off staying where I was on ESA/JSA. Since then I don't believe a thing they tell me unless they can prove it by reference to the relevant regulation and I get it in writing. Good luck if you want to take the risk. By the way we were on Pension Credit from 2004 (when my wife became 60 and started to receive her State) Pension, and I claimed ESA (contribution based) based once again on advice given by the Disability Helpline people in September 2009!! We were no better off and with hindsight should have stayed on Pension Credit only and never claimed ESA.
  12. Be very aware!!! The Pension Service told me the same thing, that I could cancel my ESA (contribution based) claim and have the Pension Credit topped up with it's loss. Not being entirely satisfied that they actually give out the correct information and wanting it in writing, I wrote to them asking for a formal ruling before I did anything. The letter eventually came back from them and told me that as it was a contribution based benefit that I was thinking about giving up, they would treat it as a deprivation of a benefit that I was entitled to claim in priority to Pension Credit. They would NOT make up the difference if I closed the ESA claim down, they would treat it as I am still receiving it even though I wasn't. Consequently I am still on ESA (aged 64) and claim a top up of Pension Credit. I couldn't afford to lose the £110 a week ESA. The same also applies with contribution based JSA. You have to continue to sign on. Both benefits, ESA & JSA will run until the date the State Pension is payable. Income based ESA & JSA are not affected - you can cancel them both and go onto Pension Credit.
  13. Doesn't surprise me in the least - I had an assessor (doctor actually) removed by ATOS from their panel owing to gross incompetence, not even knowing that Lithium was used for mental health treatment!
  14. The Tribunal are 'supposed' to take 'all' available evidence into account. However they simply cannot have every Tom, Dick & Harry giving their opinion. If that person is recognised by the DWP as acting with and on behalf of the claimant, then they can offer evidence. I went to a Tribunal on behalf of my wife who at that time was hospitalised with PE and a collapsed lung. They refused to hear from me and instead carried out a 'paper' hearing. I was politely told that I had no right of audience as I was not a recognised person acting on her behalf. Bit miffed at that. She lost her appeal - Attendance Allowance.
  15. With my first ESA claim that was made in September 09, they decided in the following February that I had received no points following an assessment in January 2010. I appealed and it took until January 2011 (just 2 weeks before the appointed Tribunal date) for the DWP to award me enough points to not only give me ESA but also to put me into the Support Group for the next 3 years. I was all ready to send my evidence in to the Tribunal when they decided this on no further evidence than that that was available in February 2010 to change their mind. All they had from me was the ESA50. A totally clear indication of their poor decision making.
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