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ESA refusal advice please....

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Good evening all,

I will try and keep this as short and sweet as i can.

 

I have suffered with foot pain from Tarsal Coalition since the age of 14/15. I have had various non-surgical and surgical procedures in 1985, 1998 and 2009 to try and help since but they have been unsuccessful to date.

I left school with no qualifications so most my jobs have been manual and i had to stand/walk alot. I coped as best i can though i never seemed to be able to last more than a few months in these jobs and had to take more than my fair share of days off due to pain.

 

In 2007 i suffered a mental breakdown which affected many tasks i could previously do. I couldn't work, was afraid to open letters or answer phone. I never kept up with bills and ended up having to move due to rent arrears. I never took care of myself and frequently was scruffy, unshaven and probably stunk from lack of washing/baths. My temper was short and i'd swear and throw things when angry/frustrated aswell as self harm.

I ended up being on Incapacity Benefit until last year when i got notified IB was being replaced by ESA.

 

Over time my mental state has improved but is still not 100% what it once was. I am still liable to bouts of throwing things and saying things i don't mean to those around me when angry/frustrated.

 

I also asked for a second opinion from the local hospital last year about treatment for Tarsal Coalition and they stated they'd like to carry out fusion of the bones in each foot which if successful will reduce pain by about 80%. The downfall is that i will have much less flexibility at my ankle joints than i do even now which is not alot anyway.

They also noted from the x-rays that i have arthritis. I suspected i had arthritis but blood tests did not show this so that info was unavailable when i filled in the ESA 50 form.

 

I got a phone call beginning of January from ESA assessor asking if i had a date for foot operations to which i said no and they then told me i was being removed from ESA, will receive final payment later this month and from then on i'll need to apply for JSA. They also stated when i know the date for operation i can then reapply for ESA. I have since called the hospital and got op date which is mid March.

 

After the limited researching i've done it would appear the above advice was correct but would like to see what others think.

 

A few points i'd like to make are these :-

1) I'm not totally happy with the decision to award 0 points and feel i could have been awarded a max of 9 points, 6 points and 9 points on 3 sections for a total of 24 points however they may be able to successfully argue the 2 awards of 9 points leaving just 6 points. These are :-

a) they state i can mobilise more than 200 metres on level ground without stopping (they know i have a wheelchair which i tried using but gave up as inconvenient)

I live in an area with hills and am unable to get wheelchair in car so use crutches instead. For more convenience i use one crutch instead of 2 but do stop alot.

b) they state i behave in a way that would be acceptable at work

I cannot admit or deny this as i haven't worked since 2007 but my temper and attitude is not the same as it was before my mental breakdown, that much i can say for certain.

 

2) I've been living for so long with this foot pain it has become normal to me and up until recently thought i'd have to put up with it forever. I've got hope now that i can have operations to make the pain go away but this issue is forcing me to reconsider and just claim JSA then hopefully get a job with my limited capabilities and experience. I don't need to have problems if i go ahead and have these operations only to be expected to walk to doctors for sick note to claim ESA then travel to sort out money afterwards while i am meant to be recovering.

 

Regards

A very confused and unhappy smackers

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So far as I can see you have two options open to you at the moment:-

 

1. You can appeal the decision to award 0 points. Your case would go for mandatory reconsideration first during which time you wouldn't be paid ESA but could claim JSA. If the decision is not reconsidered in your favour, it would then go to appeal and you could claim ESA at the appeal rate until the tribunal. You must ask for reconsideration within one month of the decision letter and you will need to submit sick notes to be paid the appeal rate.

 

2. You can claim JSA until your operations, then change to ESA.

 

To be honest, it's not going to make a huge difference to your income whichever you choose so you probably need to weigh up which is the most hassle - keeping to a jobseeker's agreement which may or may not make allowances for your limitations or getting sick notes etc.


RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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