Essential information for ESA claims, assessments and appeals


Essential Information for claims, assessments and appeals. 

There are three essential ideas to keep in mind when claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA) because of the nature of the ESA50 form, and the fact that Atos are seeking to deny benefits, and NOT assess disability: this will not be a fair investigation of your health issues.

This information needs to be shared widely so people are made aware of them, and can use them when claiming ESA or appealing.

These very helpful ideas are:

  •  Reliably, repeatedly and safely
  •  Exceptional circumstances – Regulations 25 and 31, 29 and 35
  •  Atos assessments and pitfalls – how they try to deceive you

1. Reliably, repeatedly and safely. 

‘Lord’ Fraud made this statement in the House of Lords:

“It must be possible for all the descriptors to be completed reliably, repeatedly and safely, otherwise the individual is considered unable to complete the activity.”

You might be able to go up three steps once – but if cannot do it “reliably, repeatedly and safely”, in Freud’s own words you CAN NOT do it at all.

Apply the phrase “reliably, repeatedly and safely” all through your ESA50 or appeal form, use it on each of the descriptors. Make sure you state clearly which activities you can not do reliably, repeatedly, safely and in a timely manner, because Atos will otherwise assume you are consistently capable of them all.

2. Exceptional Circumstances – Regulations 25 and 31 for Universal Credit and Regulations 29 and 35 for current and ongoing ESA claims and Contribution-based ESA.

Regulations 25 and 31 will replace the old Special Regulations 29 and 35 from April 2013 for Universal Credit. This is in preparation for the abolishment of income-related ESA only, and not contribution-based ESA.

However, the old Regulations 29 and 35 still apply to ongoing cases that are not yet affected by Universal Credit, and will remain in place indefinitely for all Contribution-based ESA. So there are two sets of Regulations in place for Exceptional Circumstances.

Income-based ESA will be replaced by Universal Credit, as (or if) it is rolled out, but there will be the same additional financial components added as we currently have for ESA – you will be able to claim either the work-related activity or the support component.

The contents of both sets of Regulations are essentially the same. They are applied in the same way. 25 and 29 are for those who are not capable of work, and would usually be placed in the Work-Related Activity Group, and 31 and 35 apply to those not capable of work-related activity, and would normally be placed in the Support Group.

Because of the tick-box nature of the ESA50 form, it is likely that people will fall below the number of points required to be declared incapable of work – it doesn’t take into account variable illnesses, mental illness, or the effects of having more than one illness.

However, the Exceptional Circumstances Regulations may cover us – they both state that the claimant should be found incapable of work (Regulation 29 for ongoing ESA claims, 29 for Universal Credit) or work-related activity (Regulation 35 for ongoing ESA claims, 31 for Universal Credit) if:

  • they have an uncontrolled or uncontrollable illness, or “the claimant suffers from some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement and
  • by reason of such disease or disablement, there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if the claimant were found not to have limited capability for work/work-related activity”.

If you feel this reflects your circumstances, then we suggest adding something like this, where you put “other information” on the ESA50:

“If the scoring from my answers above is insufficient, then I believe applying the Exceptional Circumstances Regulations would be appropriate due to the severity and interaction of my conditions, and my inability to reliably, repeatedly and safely encounter work-related situations and/or safely perform work-related tasks.

I am taking all available and appropriate medication as prescribed by my doctor(s), and there are no reasonable adjustments to a workplace which would mitigate my medical condition(s).

Therefore I believe being placed in the Support Group would be appropriate, because there would be a serious substantial risk to mental and/or physical health if I were placed into a workplace environment or in the work-related activity group.”

You can word it yourself, of course. Please change the wording to fit your situation, delete “mental” or “physical” if appropriate, leave both in if necessary. If your illness cannot be controlled at all, or medication can’t be used to control it, add that instead.

Regulations 29 (for ESA) and 25 (for Universal Credit) cover people who might be put in the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG), which has work-focused activities, sometimes it has workfare placements, and sanctions may apply, while Regulations 35 (for ESA) and 31 (for Universal Credit) cover people who are not well enough for any kind of work activity. This is for people who might be placed in the Support Group. There are no conditions placed on you for getting your ESA, such as workfare, if you have limited capability for work-related activity.

You can ask your doctor to support you with this claim, as it is stated in the regulations:

“(b) evidence (if any) from any health care professional or a hospital or similar institution, or such part of such evidence as constitutes the most reliable evidence available in the circumstances” may be presented to support your case. 

You can ask for copies of any communication from your consultant to your GP. You can also ask to be copied into any further correspondence between your doctors. 

Here are some links so you can download and print off documents to give to your GP to support your claim or appeal. You ought to submit copies of these to the DWP as soon as you can. (Make sure that you keep a copy).

In some cases, this may mean that your case will be reconsidered in your favour without having to wait for a tribunal hearing.

These templates are for ongoing ESA claims and Contribution-based ESA:

(CLICK)   Cover letter for your GP

(CLICK)   ESA Appeals Letter for your GP

(CLICK)   Legal Advice of Counsel for GPs: Prevention of Avoidable Harm Interpretation and Application of ‘Substantial Risk’ ESA Regulations 29 & 35

With many thanks to the Black Triangle Campaign for these extremely helpful links and templates.

Please remember: Regulations 29 and 35 still apply to all ongoing ESA claims, and will remain in use for contribution-based ESA claims.

Regulations 25 and 31 apply to Universal credit when that is rolled out. If you are one of the few currently claiming Universal Credit in one of the pilot areas, and if you are not eligible for contribution-based ESA, Regulations 25 and 31 apply now. You may amend the print off documents for your GP, as they cite the Regulations most likely to be applicable at the moment.

The full text of the legislation appears at the end of this article (Appendix A).

3. The Atos assessment and what you need to know.

You have a right to ask for your assessment to be recorded. You will need to request this in advance, but it’s worth making sure you use this opportunity to gather evidence on record because in doing so, you make it much more difficult for the Health Care Professional (HCP) to disregard what you tell them and write “inaccuracies” in their assessment report. We would strongly recommend you exercise this right.

It’s also worth knowing that Atos don’t conduct “medical” assessments,  they conduct “disability analysis“. You are not a patient to Atos, you are a “claimant”.

Bear in mind throughout the assessment that your answers to any apparently innocent questions, such as:

  • Do you watch television
  • Do you read
  • Do you use the internet 

These may be translated into phrases for the assessment report such as:

  • Can sit unaided and unsupported for at least half an hour. 
  • Has no problems with concentration and focus
  • Has no visual problems

Assessment starts on the day of your appointment with the HCP reading the form you completed when you applied for benefit. Remember that every single question you are asked is designed to justify ending your claim for ESA and passing you as “fit for work.” That is what Atos are contracted to do by the Government. This is not a genuine medical assessment, but rather, an opportunity for the DWP to take away the financial support that you are entitled to.

Things that are noted from your form:

  • Did you complete the form yourself
  • Is the handwriting legible
  • Are the contents coherent

These observations are already used in assessing your hand function, your cognitive state and concentration.

Further observations made:

  • Do the things you have written add up, is there consistency
  • Does your medication support your diagnosis
  • What tests have you had to confirm diagnosis. For example a diagnosis of sciatica is not accepted unless diagnosed by MRI scan
  • Do you have supporting medical evidence from your GP or consultants. If you do, it shows that you are able to organise getting this information

When the HCP has read your form they input some data into the computer system. The assessment properly begins when they call your name in the waiting room.

At this point the HCP assesses:

  • Did you hear your name being called
  • Did you rise from your chair unaided, did the chair have support arms or not
  • Were you accompanied – assessing your ability to go out alone
  • Were you reading a paper while waiting – assessing your concentration
  • Did you walk to the assessment room unaided, did you use aids correctly. Did you navigate any obstacles safely – assessing sight

The HCP will shake your hand on introduction – assessing your handshake, noting if are you trembling, sweating – signs of anxiety. Note that you are under constant scrutiny. The HCP will often ask on the way to the assessment room:

  • How long you’ve been waiting – assessing your ability to physically sit, and appraising your mental state
  • How did you get here today – assessing your ability to drive or use public transport

Formal assessment begins by listing medical conditions/complaints. For each complaint you will be asked:

  • How long have you had it, have you seen a specialist
  • Have you had any tests, what treatments have you had
  • What’s your current treatment. Have you had any other specialist input e.g. physiotherapy, CPN

The HCP will use a lack of specialist input/ hospital admissions to justify assessing your condition as less severe. Medications will be listed and it will be noted if they are prescribed or bought. Dates will be checked on boxes to assess compliance with dosage and treatment regime. Any allergies or side-effects should be noted.

  • A brief note is made of how you feel each condition affects your life
  • A brief social history will be taken – who you live with, if have you stairs in your house or steps outside your house
  • An employment history taken – when you last worked, what you work entailed, reason for leaving employment

Your typical day – this is the part of the assessment where how you function on a day to day basis is used to justify the HCP decisions. Anything you say here is most often used to justify the HCP “failing” you and assessing you as “fit for work”. The HCP records their observations.

Starting with your sleep pattern, questions are asked about your ability to function. This will include:

  • Lower limb problems – ability to mobilise to shop, around the house, drive, use public transport, dress, shower
  • Upper limb – ability to wash, dress, cook, shop, complete the ESA form
  • Vision – did you manage to navigate safely to the assessment room
  • Hearing – did you hear your name being called in the waiting room
  • Speech – could the HCP understand you at assessment
  • Continence – do you describe incontinence NOT CONTROLLED by pads, medication. Do you mention its effects on your life when describing your typical day
  • Consciousness – do you suffer seizures – with loss of continence, possible injury, witnessed, or uncontrolled diabetes
  • The HCP observations include noting how far you walked to the examination room, watching to see if you removed your coat independently, did you handle medications without difficulty, did you bend to pick up your handbag

Formal examination consists of simple movements to assess limited function. Things the HCP also looks at:

  • Are you well-presented, hair done, wearing make-up, eyebrows waxed
  • Do you have any pets – this can be linked with ability to bend to feed and walk
  • Do you look after someone else – as a parent or carer – if you do, this will be taken as evidence of functioning
  • Are you doing any training, voluntary work, do you socialise – this will be used as evidence of functioning

This is not a comprehensive list, but it gives you an idea of how seemingly innocent questions are used to justify HCP decisions to pass you as “fit for work.”

Mental Health:

  • Learning tasks – can you use a phone, computer, washing machine
  • Hazards – can you safely make tea, if you claim you have accidents, there must be emergency services involvement, e.g. fire service. Near miss accidents do not count

Personal Actions:

  • Can you wash, dress, gather evidence for assessment
  • Do you manage bills

Other observations made by the HCP – appearance and presentation:

  • Coping with assessment interview – any abnormal thoughts, hallucinations, confusion, suicidal thoughts
  • Coping with change – ability to attend assessment, attend GP or hospital appointments, shopping and socialising

More HCP observations include:

  • Appearance, eye contact, rapport, any signs/symptoms that are abnormal mood/thoughts/perceptions. Any suicidal thoughts
  • How you cope with social engagement- appropriateness of behaviour – any inappropriate behaviour must have involved police to be considered significant
  • Your capacity to cope with the assessment, overall responses and level of engagement with the assessor

Again, this is not an exhaustive list, merely some examples.

Additional information:

Special cases: exemptions from assessment include – terminal illness, intravenous chemotherapy treatment and regular weekly treatment of haemodialysis for chronic renal failure; treatment by way of plasmapheresis; regular weekly treatment by way of total parenteral nutrition for gross impairment of enteric function.

At present to qualify for ESA you need to score 15 points. This can be a combination of scores from physical and mental health descriptors.To qualify for the support group you must score 15 points in one section. As long as you are claiming income-based ESA then your award can be renewed at each assessment, if you gain 15 points.

Remember that you may also qualify without meeting the 15 points criterion, even if you don’t score any points, because of Exceptional Circumstances (Regulations 25, 29 and 31, 35) if there would be a substantial risk to your mental or physical health if you were found not to have limited capability for work and/or work-related activity respectively.

Contribution-based ESA lasts for 1 year only, unless you are in the Support Group. After 1 year, in the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG), you may only get income-based ESA if your household income is below a certain threshold. It makes no difference how long you have previously paid National Insurance. 

Further information:

Lord Freud – “Reliably, repeatedly and safely”  – Source: Hansard, column 326, paragraph 4.

*There are Judges who interpret the law and where applicable, set precedent. There are Ministers who set policy. With specific reference to the use of repeatedly, reliably, safely, and in a timely manner, this is the result of Upper Tribunal judges interpreting the law and setting precedent through case law.*

Exceptional Circumstances: Employment and Support Allowance Regulation 25
Exceptional Circumstances: Employment and Support Regulation 31
Employment and Support Allowance: 2013 Regulations in full
Explanatory memorandum to all benefits 2013: Full legislation document
Recommended – Implications of the changes and advice: Employment Support Allowance claim update: Exceptional Circumstances – Regulations 25 and 31 and Universal Credit
Recommended – The Black Triangle Campaign: How to Gain Exemption from DWP/Atos ‘Fit for Work’ & WRAG decisions by Applying ESA Regulations 29 and 35 (see note for 25 and 31)
The new Work Capability Assessment 2013: DWP Guide
The Employment and  Support Allowance Regulations 2008 (as amended) –

Appendix A: 

Regulation 25

25.—(1) A claimant who does not have limited capability for work as determined in accordance with the limited capability for work assessment is to be treated as having limited capability for work if paragraph (2) applies to the claimant.

(2) Subject to paragraph (3), this paragraph applies if—

(a) the claimant is suffering from a life-threatening disease in relation to which—

(i) there is medical evidence that the disease is uncontrollable, or uncontrolled, by a recognised therapeutic procedure; and

(ii) in the case of a disease that is uncontrolled, there is a reasonable cause for it not to be controlled by a recognised therapeutic procedure; or

(b) the claimant suffers from some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement and, by reason of such disease or disablement, there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if the claimant were found not to have limited capability for work.

(3) Paragraph (2)(b) does not apply where the risk could be reduced by a significant amount by—

(a) reasonable adjustments being made in the claimant’s workplace; or

(b) the claimant taking medication to manage the claimant’s condition where such medication has been prescribed for the claimant by a registered medical practitioner treating the claimant.

(4) In this regulation “medical evidence” means—

(a) evidence from a health care professional approved by the Secretary of State; and

(b) evidence (if any) from any health care professional or a hospital or similar institution,

or such part of such evidence as constitutes the most reliable evidence available in the circumstances.

*Regulation 25 outlines exceptional circumstances in which a person will be treated as having limited capability for work, but may be capable of work-related activities. People in these circumstances are placed in the ESA work-related activity group (WRAG)

However, there are further exceptional circumstances in which a person  will be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity in addition, and will therefore be placed in the ESA support group. These are outlined by Regulation 31.

Regulation 31 

31.—(1) A claimant is to be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity if—

(a) the claimant is terminally ill;

(b) the claimant is—

(i) receiving treatment for cancer by way of chemotherapy or radiotherapy;

(ii) likely to receive such treatment within six months after the date of the determination of capability for work-related activity; or

(iii) recovering from such treatment,

and the Secretary of State is satisfied that the claimant should be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity;

(c) in the case of a woman, she is pregnant and there is a serious risk of damage to her health or to the health of her unborn child if she does not refrain from work-related activity; or

(d) the claimant is entitled to universal credit and it has previously been determined that the claimant has limited capability for work and work-related activity on the basis of an assessment under Part 5 of the Universal Credit Regulations 2013.

(2) A claimant who does not have limited capability for work-related activity as determined in accordance with regulation 30(1) is to be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity if—

(a) the claimant suffers from some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement; and

(b) by reason of such disease or disablement, there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if the claimant were found not to have limited capability for work-related activity.

For all ongoing cases where Universal Credit does NOT apply, and for ALL Contributions-based ESA claims:

Regulation 29

29.—(1) A claimant who does not have limited capability for work as determined in accordance with

the limited capability for work assessment is to be treated as having limited capability for work if:

paragraph (2) applies to the claimant.

(2) This paragraph applies if—

(a) the claimant is suffering from a life threatening disease in relation to which—

(i) there is medical evidence that the disease is uncontrollable, or uncontrolled, by a recognised therapeutic procedure; and

15(ii) in the case of a disease that is uncontrolled, there is a reasonable cause for it not to be controlled by

a recognised therapeutic procedure; or

(b) the claimant suffers from some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement and, by reasons of

such disease or disablement, there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if the claimant were found not to have limited capability for work.

Regulation 35

35.—(1) A claimant is to be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity if—

(a) the claimant is terminally ill;(b) the claimant is—

21(i) receiving treatment by way of intravenous, intraperitoneal or intrathecal chemotherapy; or

(ii) recovering from that treatment and the Secretary of State is satisfied that the claimant should be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity; or

(c) in the case of a woman, she is pregnant and there is a serious risk of damage to her health or to the health of her unborn child if she does not refrain from work-related activity.

(2) A claimant who does not have limited capability for work-related activity as determined in accordance with regulation 34(1) is to be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity if—

(a) the claimant suffers from some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement; and

(b) by reasons of such disease or disablement, there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if the claimant were found not to have limited capability for work-related activity.

Appendix B

Most Atos HCPs are not doctors, they are usually nurses or occupational therapists. You can demand that a qualified doctor or specialist conducts your assessment under some circumstances. I’ve gathered the following list from various Freedom of Information responses from the Department for Work and Pensions.

List of conditions judged suitable for assessment by neuro – trained nurses/any health care profession, so make sure that you are seen by a qualified HCP: 

Prolapsed intervertebral disc
Lumbar nerve root compression
Slipped disc
Lumbar spondylosis
Lumbar spondylolisthesis
Lumbar spondylolysis
Cauda equina syndrome
Spinal stenosis
Peripheral neuropathy
Drop foot
Meralgia paraesthetica
Cervical spondylosis
Cervical nerve root compression
Nerve entrapment syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Trapped nerve
Brachial plexus injury
Essential Tremor

List of conditions judged by the DWP and Atos Healthcare as suitable only for assessment by doctors:

Head injury with neuro sequelae
Brain haemorrhage
Sub Arachnoid Haemorrhage
Brain tumour
Acoustic Neuroma
Multiple Sclerosis
Motor Neurone Disease
Parkinson’s disease
Bulbar Palsy
Myasthenia Gravis
Muscular Dystrophy
Guillain-Barre Syndrome
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Spina bifida
Fits (secondary to brain tumour)
Learning difficulties (with physical problems)
Bells Palsy
Trigeminal Neuralgia
Huntington’s Chorea
Huntington’s Disease

Further reading:

More on questions you may be asked at assessment: dwpexamination forum 
How to deal with Benefits medical examinations: A Useful Guide to Benefit Claimants when up against ATOS Doctors
More support and advice here: How to deal with Benefits medical examinations
Step by step guide to appealing a ESA decision: Good Advice Matters

Important update

Clause 99, Catch 22 – The ESA Mandatory Second Revision and Appeals

Additional support:

The LawWorks Clinics Network is a nationwide network of free legal advice sessions which LawWorks supports.Clinics provide free initial advice to individuals on various areas of law including social welfare issues, employment law, housing matters and consumer disputes – List of LawWorks  clinics


Thanks to Robert Livingstone for his valuable contributions.

With many thanks to Joyce Drummond for contributing such valuable information about the Work Capability Assessment.

With many thanks to The Black Triangle Campaign for sharing their work on the GP support letter template, and covering legal and explanatory documents

I don’t make any money from my work. But you can help me continue to research and write informative, insightful and independent articles, and to provide support to others by making a donation. The smallest amount is much appreciated – thank you.

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186 thoughts on “Essential information for ESA claims, assessments and appeals

  1. Hi Kitty,

    I was hoping you could advise me with regards to an upcoming ESA tribunal my son next week (22/11/16). At his HCP appointment the mandatory questions were asked, you know does he cook his food, make all appointments, answer correspondence, pay bills, social life he answered yes to all the questions (all incorrect, I do it), he said he felt it was what the HCP wanted to hear and he just wanted to get out of there, as he had extremely bad cramps that day, he has Crohn’s disease and has never been in remission. He also didn’t mention that a few times a month he looses control with regards to bowel movement, he’s deeply ashamed and embarrassed by this, as he said to me he wants hold on to some dignity, should this be mentioned at the tribunal?
    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    Kind regards,


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes all of that must be mentioned if you and your son want a fair consideration and outcome. You could write to the tribunal before the hearing with that information and explain your son’s discomfort – the cramps and his embarrassment – in advance. There is always a chance the tribunal will reach a decision without going through a full hearing – they did at mine, following reading everything I sent the panel in advance.

      You must tell them that your son wanted to be out of the appointment. Crohns is terrible and especially if he has no periods of remission. That does need to be conveyed.

      Most of us don’t like to dwell on the worst aspects of our illnesses, though, or the loss of autonomy and needing support. But the HCPs and DWP use that to end claims, I’m afraid.

      Best wishes to you both, Angie, and good luck, let us know how you get on

      Sue x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve had my pip stopped and suffer major depression sum days don’t go out the front door I was so emotional when I went for my face to face as don’t want to be there my medication has gone up and I just wanted to get out the examinar was orrid my head was all over the place how do I appeal


    1. First you have to ask the DWP for a mandatory reconsideration of the decision. As they are looking again at the decision, you can add anything that may support your case. Make sure you get it in quickly though.

      The DWP will send you two copies of their reconsideration decision. I can’t give you an idea of how long that will take, as it varies, and there is no restriction in place to make the DWP respond within a time limit. My experience was 6 weeks.

      Use the SSCS1 form and the letter generated by your Mandatory Reconsideration Tool to ask for an appeal.


  3. Great article. It’s so wrong people walk into this blindly and have to find out after the damage is done. I have to go through this again soon and I have developed a pathological fear of the process since being ravaged last time. You can tell a lot about a society by how they treat their most vulnerable.
    Our society has gone wrong.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks. I totally agree, our society has gone wrong. I need to claim PIP as I have lost a degree of independence and I am struggling to cope. But I am too afraid to, because of my own distressing experiences claiming ESA, facing a the tribunal, only to get another assessment three months after winning my case. The terrible stress exacerbated my illness and I can’t face that again.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m so sorry. You deserve a lot better. Your government has failed you.
        It’s like psychological warfare. I was absolutely blown away by what I was put through last year.
        The process is so grotesquely antithetical to the disabilities and disorders that it’s supposed to be there to serve, that I believe it ought to be subject to a criminal investigation.
        Furthermore I think the victims of this persecution should all get together and collectively sue the government/ATOS for their treachery.

        In the meantime, it’s great that you are trying to warn people and give them help through this misery.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It definitely is psychological warfare. Cameron said when he came to power that he would tackle the “culture of entitlement”. I realised inhorror, in 2012 when the welfare “reforms” got hammered through parliament, that THIS is what he meant.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. The fact that he would refer to caring for the most vulnerable in society as entitled is all you need to know. The real entitled people in this society are those abusing positions of privilege in parliament. They no longer represent the people, but banking/corporate interests. The system no longer functions in its primary role.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. It’s accummulation for the 1% by dispossession of the 99%. That’s the state simply securing and maintaining privilege for a minority at our expense. You’re right, collective action is the only way forward

        Liked by 2 people

      5. I agree. they can’t help themselves. It’s a war that’s been raging for a long time and I suppose always will. We are just unfortunate to be on the losing side at the moment. But all the more reason why it’s important to push back. So well done for that.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. hi kitty, ive been reading this post, ive been giving pip advice for some years and have all you need to know regards , pip assesment rules laws, and case laws, the main critera for pip tasks are, “when you want to, need to, have to, safely, repeatedly, in reasonable time” all to an acceptable standard, if you can find me on faceache, of ouch comunity fb, message me and i will help al the way with the pip info gladly, d hamilton

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi all

    Somewhere on here I wrote that I lost an appeal for ESA but appealed to the Upper Tribunal on two counts, one being that an Unregistered GP sat on my Tribunal and all the evidence I could find online pointed to the fact that any GP sitting on the Tribunal should have been registered with the General Medical Council.

    Incredibly after harbouring little hope that any admission would be made about this I have received a letter today from The Tribunals Service admitting this “oversight” and have set aside the original Tribunals decision and are going to send me a date for a new Tribunal hearing. I won’t go into the details of the pros and cons for me on that on this thread but the point being is that if any of you have lost a Tribunal Appeal and an Unregistered GP or Medical Practitioner sat on your Tribunal then this more than likely if the same applies for everyone means that you could be entitled to a new Tribunal on the basis that you had an Unqualified Tribunal Member sitting on your hearing.

    You should be able to check if your Medical Practitioner who sat on your Tribunal was/is registered by using the search facility on the General Medical Councils website.

    Hopefully this will help some of you have a second chance…..

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I had a stroke now i suffer severe anxiety and fatigue. Im already anxious about my assessment in may,its making me so ill. Most days i can’t open my.own door let alone go out of it

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Have you organised for a home visit? You could ask for one because of your difficulties getting out because of your condition. Use what you can from the article too, and ask for the assessment to be recorded. Let us know how you are doing, and how you are getting on Linda, good luck x


  6. I find it so awful how we are treated with the ESA claim. Last November I was awarded PIP at enhanced rated for care & mobility for an ongoing period. Now I have claimed ESA I have been refused a home assessment even though PIP took my reason (sexual assault in a taxi) as enough not to be able to travel by taxi, too unsteady to use public transport, but most importantly I travel a max of 2 miles to my doctors (1 mile) hospital (2 miles) the assessment centre is 14 miles away. I’m so ill I couldn’t travel that distance then wait in reception, then be in a assessment for up to 60 mins!

    My MP managed to get the date changed for 2 weeks to allow my GP to write to the HADS or MAXIMUS as we know them as. I’m on max amount of gabapentin, liquid morphine, sustained release morphine capsules, baclofen for spasms, naproxen, tramadol . There is also issue of sight in my left eye and I suffer photophobia and phonophobia ( light & sound) I suffer chronic fatigue , fibromyalgia, Behçet’s disease rare auto inflammatory disorder (1 of 1000 out of 62m in uk) plus effects of a head injury.

    I spend most days in bed as I have no energy through the chronic fatigue and the excruciating pains I take all the meds for. Thing is I would be a danger not only to myself but others if I was even able to stand to get to work. I told my GP I am suicidal yesterday, and that I seriously I pray I go in my sleep each night and never wake up – as the stress of having my illnesses is bad enough without being degraded.

    If I am found fit for work – I cannot fight as I have no energy that ordinary folk would have – CFS or M.E as it’s known is a serious loss of energy and function which is now recognised as a very serious condition. I was diagnosed by a lead neuro who told me I needed to pace myself as I’ll end up bed bound. These people playing god with our lives don’t understand that I am not faking a bad back or sore foot.

    I have wrote to the DWP DM and informed them that if they can’t assess me from my ESA50 and my specialists reports and prescription list, and I have to gave a f2f assessment then regulations 29.2b should apply, if they do not apply this then they by taking receipt of my letter and attached copy of the ESA regulations that is an act of parliament they are complicit and I will furnish any tribunal with the fact I asked them to consider the esa regulation in advance of any assessment.

    May not do any good but, we have to fight fire with fire.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hiya Kitty & all that read this. My grandma is/was called Kit.
    Thank you for all of the above. I am also awaiting for a tribunal date as of the 12th of April. However this is where I differ. The DWP are taking me to tribunal, yes they applied to the HMCTS, not me. When I received a letter from Birmingham in a white envelope, suspiciously I opened it & saw HM courts, annoyance set in “Who’s taking me to COURT”! My bills are in order, two are in arrears, one because I’m being billed for the wrong meter, therefore being charged for more than I owe, despite the engineer checking the meters last month, the other because I would forget to take the bill with me when grocery shopping. Both are now being paid by Direct Debt.
    Anyway upon opening it further I was relieved to see it was about my ESA tribunal, as of the 7th of April, it is dated on the tenth.
    I had my WCA on the 22/10/16, yes a Saturday. I was awarded the obligatory 0 points & this was superseded on the 14/11/16, quite quick for the DWP, me thinks. So I began writing my appeal, to them, as I had not read the letter properly, just dived straight in as usual. I had to sign on during this period, I’m now back on ESA. Something I hadn’t done since being made redundant in 1991. I was given an appointment with Possibility People (PP & thumbs up to them). I was thinking that this was to help my appeal “That I do not have limited capability for work” sadly I was wrong, it was for a J2E course. So I rang the DWP to ask for more time to write my appeal, telling them the all reasons why. We are now in the middle of December. I had had a number of medical appointments, one in London. I was not given a date to send my appeal in by, yes I still have read the letter properly as I’m not at that stage yet. As this is what I did in 2011, again it was close to Christmas. When after attending yet another medical months before, I was awarded 0 points & told that I was no longer able to claim Incapacity Benefit. Having passed many beforehand & never having had any correspondence from ‘the dole.’ Since 1999 when I first claimed IB. I successfully appealed this & was awarded ESA Income Related. I was told “this was because I had paid National Insurance.” This was November 2012. I then passed another WCA in October 2013. Funny?
    After my appointment with PP, I called their office & left a message. Two days later I received a call back where I was informed that I needed to ask for the Mandatory Reconsideration first. So I wrote a new letter asking them to hold their MR, so I could appeal their ‘Wrongful decision’, I never thought that they would find in my favour so at the end of my letter a stated that in the “meanwhile I will continue with my letter of appeal.” By now I had missed the last post before christmas. As I live almost opposite a Royal Mail Sorting Office, I decided to post this request on Saturday the 6th of January so things back to normal & it wouldn’t get lost, it is difficult for me to go to the closest Post Office & send the letter somehow recorded, so again I ‘Took a chance’ & sent it unrecorded. However to my horror the late collection had been discontinued.
    I hadn’t had a reply from them by mid March, my Job Coach, the person I sign on with, stating I haven’t done any work, told me that they had not received my letter asking for MR. So I called them again (firstly I recommend calling them after posting correspondence to them as they’ll just sit on it doing nothing & secondly maybe this is another sneaky plan on their behalf to prove ‘we’ “are fit of work”, so ask a friend to call them, two can play at this game) I was told that they received my letter on the 11th of January & that they would forward it on. It is stated in the tribunal correspondence as received on the 14th of March & also listed as a letter of appeal. This department can’t read or don’t bother to read properly, as back in 2011 when that sat on my appeal letter clearly stated so. The MR decision maker is taking reasons I stated for the delay in my request as reasons for me claim, or trying to claim ESA. You should see her letter to me. They made their MR decision on the 28th (March). A week or so later I received the ‘already known’ decision. Then another week goes by & there’s that white envelope in my mail box.
    I am now writing a lengthy letter of appeal, well using the speaker button on my phone to record it. Then laugh or scratch my head as to what appears on the screen. I think it’s now up to ten pages long, as I’m ripping apart the report by the Registered Nurse, whom assessed me. But now thinking that makes me look to clever. Then my reasons are lower limb, leading to depression & anxiety. As you’ll all know now this is tested on the short walk to the assessment room & how one gets there.
    Now I understand how I am reported to be able to use public transport, as it would have been how I got there, if it had been a weekday & other things. However I don’t own a microwave, which is repeated 3 times, so they are assuming things too!
    Also why so much is repeated, I’ve taken this to make me look like a lazy benefit scrounger, not the case.
    I now know I should’ve been placed in the ‘Left alone group’ & not have to attend, stupid 1-2-1s etc & the repeatedly do, which I can not, I should read throughly myself.
    Sorry I didn’t mean this to be so long.
    But any help would be greatly received, even other people’s as stories/accounts.
    Together we will fight on, thou I’ll have to crawl to the frontline or I’ll be shot down easily by one of the Secretary of State’s infantry women, ha ha.
    I believe you deserve a sainthood for this website.
    P.s just noticed the image & bloody Treasa May wants to bring back fox-hunting! called Kit.

    Liked by 1 person


    I have studied the “Statement of Reasons for the Decision” – copy attached – and I am intrigued by item 7, in particular. The report by the Healthcare Professional (HCP) stated that no descriptors under Schedule 2 applied and Regulations 29 and 35 did not apply.
    All mandatory evidence was provided within my application (ESA50) of the 13th March, 2015 and my NHS History, which accompanied it. The reasons why I took early retirement in December, 2012:
    The lack of energy; unable to complete minor tasks; partially sighted and not allowed to drive.
    Maybe I expected too much of the HCP. I did not wait eleven months for the Medical Assessment to be told I have I.B.S – irritable bowel syndrome. He decided not to provide the relevant information and produce a document that is completely worthless.
    It had no substance – his obsession with “cut and paste” – the fact that I played dominoes and take the bus into town, is a joke. Omissions and false statements were made, which carried forward to the DWP and the appeal courts.
    I had to wait a further 19 months to have all these matters resolved, in the second hearing.
    I would suggest he is placed on suspension until the Independent Case Examiner have completed their investigations and his membership of the GMC removed.
    His loyalties are in question: with the CHDA or the medical profession.
    The only people who have suffered in this sad episode are my two sons – only seeing them 9 times in the past three years has taken its toll – with my eldest son on anti-depressants at 19!
    No amount of money will replace these lost years.
    AND still we wait, with more excuses.
    I trust the DWP and CHDA are holding their heads in shame and this is the reason, nobody is talking to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Kitty,
    I couldn’t find a contact section on your website. I just wanted to make you aware of a book I released last week called Begging the Question. It’s mostly poietry about OCD and depression, but the part I thought may interest you is the final section of the book where I look at how spurious assumptions about mental health are manipulated by the government(DWP) and private companies against the mentally ill. I’ve know idea if you’d agree with what I’ve said, but nonetheless, I thought it might be of interest as I’ve seen you discuss these subjects on this wonderful blog(which I’m subscribed to under another name BTW – I decided to use a pen name given what I’m writing about!). Please let me know if you’re interested and I’ll see if I can get you a copy. If not, that’s fine too – just thought I’d let you know in case.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Eek – just notice my typos there, including “know” instead of “no”. That’s a good advert for my book isn’t it! ha ha ha. OK well, I’ll leave it with you to let me know if you’d like to download a free copy Kitty. No pressure. Just thought it might be up your street Cheers – Sherwyn.

        Liked by 1 person

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