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My brother's partner is deaf and has received SDA for several years. She has just received a letter asking her to now apply for ESA. Does anyone have info regarding ESA and deafness, have many deaf people who had been in receipt of SDA now been put onto JSA or ESA WRAG rather than ESA support group?

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I don't think being deaf in and of itself would make someone eligible for ESA. Do they have additional problems, socially, emotionally etc.? I think we would need to know more to be able to advise about an application. I have 2 close friends who have no hearing at all and both work full time for example.

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Your friends are lucky. My brother is also profoundly deaf and every time he has applied for a job he has been told they can't employ him for health and safety reasons. His partner suffers from depression/anxiety which she receives medication for. I'm confused, if someone receives SDA because of a disability why are they then not considered for ESA? Going by past experience they are highly unlikely to be given jobs because they are deaf and the health and safety rules.

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Why do they ask you to apply for ESA when being transferred from SDA if you are not eligible, do they not know or look into why each person they are sending this letter to is in receipt of it? Are some disabilities no longer classed as disabilities?

Edited by Rapha
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Hi Rapha


Please be patient as its the weekend it may be a bit slower getting advice but I am sure the caggers will be along to help.


Sadly you are probably not the only one in this position due to the Welfare Reforms.


Please look at these links as they may be of assistance:








What you need to do is gather as much supporting evidence of the medical condition as possible to send with you application.


1. You may need to ask for copies of your medial records from GP (please check the doctors surgery policy as there may be a cost involved)

2. Keep anything whether its even an appoint at the doctors.

3. Ask the GP and if under the hospital the Consultant for supporting letters

4. Research the medical condition online.

Edited by stu007

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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

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Rapha, there is a difference between SDA (given to people with severe impairments regardless of their 'ability') and ESA (given to people who are unable to work due to disability or illness). On the face of it, I do agree with some of the ideology of it. However the flaw in the plan is many people are deemed fit to work by the ESA50 form and assessment process when they are definitely not just because they don't meet the set criteria. The ESA assessment needs changing NOW, rather than blaming and binning Atos as has been done.


But looking at where we are now, your brother's partner is more likely to meet the needed criteria for ESA for their depression and anxiety than they are their hearing impairment. Have a look at the descriptors for ESA and see which of them they would meet and what scores they feel they would score for each question. If you have that knowledge from the start it is easier to complete the ESA50 form in more accurately at the start of the process.

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Severe disablement allowance is what we call a legacy benefit. Used to be awarded to some claimants who couldn't work cos of disability, but hadn't paid enough national insurance for a contributions flavoured award. Current Government theory's that everyone who can, should work despite disability. Not a bad idea if they're supported to do so, but many of us feel the current criteria are too harsh for the support that's available.


The current criteria for an award of employment n support allowance and a description of the assessment can be found at;




The descriptors are of prescribed activities that are relevant to the workplace. Activity 7 on page 20 is the one that covers deafness.


Mentioned in #5, the CAG guide to completion of an ESA50 questionnaire's a bit dated (we're working to get it updated) but still very useful. The 10/13 version of the questionnaire looks different, but the type of info Jobcentreplus are asking for remains the same.


For the mental health part, there's a completely up to date guide, with some tips about supportive evidence, on Rethink's site;



(Search for work capability assessment factsheet)


'Why do they ask you to apply for ESA ......' No, Jobcentreplus don't check why a claimant's in receipt of severe disablement allowance before sending notice of conversion. There may be some historic information on Atos computers, but your brother's partner should treat this as the first ever assessment she's ever had for a disability benefit.


Best wishes, Margaret. :panda:





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