Author Topic: DEBT, the Farcical ESA SYSTEM and Dirty, Underhand DWP Tactics  (Read 4526 times)

Scrooge

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Thousands of people claiming ESA are being forced into poverty and debt by the despicable reformed ESA benefits system. Recent statistics show that 70% of people who go for a 'Work Capability Assessment' are deemed 'Fit for Work' and their ESA is stopped, despite them having 'Unfit for Work' lines from their own doctors. These WCA's are just a joke carried out by people such as Nurses and Occupational Therapists who get commission for booting claimants off ESA.


Previously if removed from ESA you could appeal immediately and you would continue getting it until the appeal is heard months later. However, now you must apply for a Mandatory Reconsideration of Decision first and whilst you wait for the decision (which could be several weeks at the very least) you cannot get ESA and may have to claim Jobseeker's Allowance. You then have to try and present yourself at the Job Centre as fit for some forms of work and be actively seeking work despite being certified as sick by your own doctor. A stupider more discriminatory system couldn't be dreamt up if you tried.


You have 28 days to request a Mandatory Reconsideration but every day you wait delays the decision, so I would suggest that the day you get the letter saying you no longer qualify for ESA is the day you should request a Mandatory Reconsideration by recorded delivery mail. Don't use normal post, they'll say they never received it. Once they have refused to re-instate your ESA you can lodge an appeal with the Tribunal Service. As soon as they acknowledge it your ESA can be re-instated pending your appeal which is unlikely to be heard earlier than 4-6 months.


If you want to have any hope at all of being deemed unfit for work at a WCA, do not travel alone to the assessment and do not attend it without support. Don't tell them you drove or came by public transport either. Don't look relaxed, cheerful or display good concentration and definitely do not smile or laugh EVER. Do not turn up well groomed or well dressed and if you have any aids such as sticks, frames, wheelchairs etc, bring them all and use them. Think of this assessment, not as an assessment because it clearly isn't. They are hell bent on booting you off ESA before they even see you, so when you go in there you are already deemed fit to work unless you can put across an incredibly strong case and also exaggerate it.


Ensure you arrange for a representative from Welfare Rights/Advocacy etc to attend with you. If you go without such a person your chances of being deemed unfit for work are probably less than nil.


The current system is an utter disgrace. I have created this post to make people aware before they go to a WCA what they are up against.


If you are booted off ESA, there's a cretinous sneaky new rule that if you then claim Universal Credit you cannot go back on ESA while you are waiting for an ESA appeal date. You won't find that anywhere online or in any Government benefits information because they don't want it known. If possible, avoid UC and claim contribution based Jobseeker's Allowance while you are awaiting the Mandatory Reconsideration of ESA decision.


The 2nd cretinous sneaky tactic the DWP are using is that when you are booted off ESA and your next sick line is due from your own Doctor, they are writing to YOUR DOCTOR behind your back the week before and saying this:


"As a result of Mr/Mrs.X's Work Capabilty Assessment he/she is not entitled to ESA from (date) and you do not need to provide any more fit notes to him/her relating to his/her disability/health condition for ESA purposes."


They are telling doctors not to issue further fit notes because they the DWP know best!!

So based on a WCA which lasts about 30 minutes and is seldom ever carried out by a Doctor and is normally carried out by a Nurse/Occupational Therapist who spends the whole meeting typing into a laptop and hardly even looking at you, they are saying 'we know better' than your GP who may have seen you weekly for 2 years or 20 years!?  ;D Clearly what you should do is go to your Doctor for your sick line as normal and if he/she mentions the letter from the DWP, explain to him/her how ridiculous it is given your ongoing health issues and request a further sick line. I would imagine doctors are sick and tired of these underhand, pathetic DWP letters and will issue you with a further sick line without a problem if your health condition merits it.


Perhaps the DWP could explain why the 30 minute assessment of a Nurse means you are fit for work when your DOCTOR says you are NOT? I would also like them to explain if this applies in hospitals also, so that we are all aware that important decisions in hospitals will now be made by Nurses and not Doctors? Perhaps doctors could be removed/paid off from hospitals and the Nurses, porters and catering staff could make all the decisions?




Please note: my comments are based only on my own experiences of debt and the benefits system, it is always best to contact a professional debt adviser/Citizen's Advice etc for advice.

Scrooge

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Re: DEBT, the Farcical ESA SYSTEM and Dirty, Underhand DWP Tactics
« Reply #1 on: Feb 15, 2018, 05:14:17 PM »
Here's some more information about the Mandatory Reconsideration. If you apply for this with further medical evidence or inform them you are obtaining further medical evidence , bear in mind this is highly likely to delay the process even more, as there's no time restriction on how long they are allowed to make the decision. How many decisions do you think they overturn after a Work Capability Assessment has deemed you fit for work? I personally suspect next to none. Therefore, the best way to deal with this discriminatory process is to send them a letter by recorded delivery clearly stating why you disagree with the WCA decision and requesting a Mandatory Reconsideration. That way you will get a decision back probably within 2-4 weeks. When the decision arrives telling you the original decision stands, you should then submit an Appeal to the Tribunal Service as soon as possible along with any additional supporting medical evidence. You must submit your Appeal within 28 days of the date on the Mandatory Reconsideration Decision letter. As soon as that Appeal is lodged with the Tribunal service, the DWP have to re-instate your ESA at Assessment Rate until the Appeal takes place and that's not likely to happen in a hurry. Waiting times of 4-6 months and longer are not uncommon.


Remember, don't get caught out by their sneaky underhand rule of once you claim Universal Credit you can't get back on ESA, even pending your Appeal to the Tribunal.


You can still claim Jobseeker's Allowance even if you have doctor's lines saying you are Unfit for Work. The Job Centre has to take your medical condition into account so they can't subject you to the same ridiculous rules that apply to 'jobseekers' who do not have sick lines.


During the Mandatory Reconsideration period and when you have submitted an Appeal to the Tribunal and during the months before your Appeal takes place, you must continue sending sick lines to DWP ESA even if you are claiming Jobseeker's Allowance. In short, make sure there are no breaks in any of your sick lines and continue submitting them throughout the whole process.




Please note: my comments are based only on my own experiences of debt and the benefits system, it is always best to contact a professional debt adviser/Citizen's Advice etc for advice.[/size]