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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jun 2012, 21:50 
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Joined: Thu 01 Mar 2012, 02:08
Posts: 35
Hi Folks!

Well I received the dreaded ESA application form about 2 months ago, I filled it in as best as I could using some of the advice I'd got from this forum and elsewhere on the internet. Sure enough within a week or so of returning the form I was instructed to go for an Atos medical assessment. That was on the 10th of May and its now over a month later yet I've heard nothing from the DWP.

I'm absolutely dreading whatever is coming, from what I've read in here it looks like I'll probably be getting moved onto JSA which will be pretty terrible as I'm in no position to work. Ironically I would love to go back to work, its just impossible / impractical plus I'm not fit to work or be in the work place with other people. Does anyone have any idea of how long they take to decide what the outcome of the medical assessment means is going to happen to my benefit claim? Should I be contacting the DWP because I've not heard from them for weeks?

At the moment my income support is still getting paid into my bank account as usual and it still says 'DWP IS' on my bank statement, so I'm clearly still getting income support and not ESA. I really dont know what to do and the stress of not knowing if my world is about to collapse is making me ill - I'm having trouble sleeping at night as the thought about what the knock on effects of my claim getting cancelled just whirl round and round in my head. I havent even planned for what to do if the DWP tell me I'm going to have to claim JSA.

For starters my financial situation will be even more dire than it already is as JSA is about £40 less that I get for my Incapacity Benefit. Plus having to spend nearly £5 every week out of that on bus fare to get into the city to sign on is going to be nigh on impossible, especially as they'll expect me to still have £5 busfare left almost 2 weeks after I will have received my previous JSA payment... What planet are these people at the DWP on?

Anyway sorry to come in here moaning on and on! Really I just want to know whats going on so I dont have to keep stressing out about it, I'd rather just know than be kept in suspense for weeks.

many thanks

Johnny


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PostPosted: Tue 12 Jun 2012, 21:48 
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Joined: Sat 03 Sep 2011, 16:22
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Sorry to quibble, but if you're on income support then you're not getting Incapacity Benefit (which is contributory only). If you get moved onto ESA it will be Income Based, which isn't time limited. So your main worry is whether you get found fit for work, in which case your income support will reduce to same rate as JSA (which is also the rate you get if you appeal and are waiting for it to be heard).

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PostPosted: Tue 12 Jun 2012, 22:59 
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Joined: Fri 25 May 2012, 01:14
Posts: 45
You have entered what is known as the 'conversion phase' in transferring your Incapacity related claim over to ESA. As has been correctly stated on here, the DWP wheels grind slowly and I suspect your claim has not yet reached a decision-maker. In almost all cases you will be called for assessment under the 'limited capability for work assessment' (to give it its correct name). After this a decision will be made as to whether to transfer your claim over to ESA.

It is also quite correct that you receive Income Support in cases where you have insufficient National Insurance contributions to quality for Incapacity Benefit. Income Support claimants receive what is known as 'incapacity credits' for Income Support ('credit' cases). If your conversion goes smoothly you will transfer over to 'Income based Employment & Support Allowance'. Incapacity Benefit claimants transfer to 'contributory based Employment & Support Allowance'.

If your conversion does not go smoothly seek specialist advice from a welfare benefit specialist agency (such as CAB or law centre who display the 'specialist help point' logo (like a green flag) under funding from the Community Legal Service. It's a scheme which is set to disappear because government is withdrawing legal aid in this area; however the scheme is still in operation until April 2013. They will be able to help you appeal. They will also be able to advise you on ensuring the conversion process has been carried out properly according to law; it's a complex area. Specialists are challenging the way the DWP have gone about the process. It is key to make sure evidence is presented to show how you meet the physical and or mental health descriptors or qualify under another route such as 'exceptional circumstances'. Getting help to complete the ESA form is desirable but if you end up appealing you can say more in the appeal; it is often the case that claimants do not put everything relevant in the form.

The DWP are taking months for cases to come to formal decisions because of the backlog of cases. Your money should not be reduced until the conversion decision is made (this will be after the assessment when a decision-maker has looked at your claim) You will be formally notified of your right to appeal and you should do so within one month of the date the decision is sent to you. Please heed all the good advice on this excellent forum about recording everything you send and keeping careful notes over any telephone conversations you have with the DWP. Make sure the 'healthcare professional' who assesses you (unless you are exempted from this) from ATOS healthcare is told everything about your conditions; both physical & mental. If the healthcare professional appears to spend more time with their head in a laptop during the assessment (it is a 'computer' aided process which scores your level of limitation) then politely ask him or her to spend more time in engaging with you & listening to what you have to say. If you produce any medical evidence at the assessment to the healthcare professional ask him or her to record the documents on the 'ESA 85' medical report form so that they are properly logged; if they refuse ask them politely to note their refusal on the same form. Do not hand over any originals as you may well never see them again. The assessment is your opportunity to tell them what they need to know and that includes looking at any evidence which may aid the assessment. Time the assessment as to when you go in and when it is finished, this may help if you have to appeal as the medical report is timed in the assessment and it is not beyond ATOS to say they spent 40 minutes with you when it was nearer 20! At all times keep it pleasant and if you are dissatisfied with the assessment then ask for an ATOS complaint form, these should be prominently displayed at the medical examination centre.

Hope this helps and good luck!

NickD

Welfare Benefit specialist
mylegal.proboards.com
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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jun 2012, 17:40 
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Joined: Sat 03 Sep 2011, 16:22
Posts: 690
kab wrote:
TiddK wrote:
Sorry to quibble, but if you're on income support then you're not getting Incapacity Benefit (which is contributory only). If you get moved onto ESA it will be Income Based, which isn't time limited. So your main worry is whether you get found fit for work, in which case your income support will reduce to same rate as JSA (which is also the rate you get if you appeal and are waiting for it to be heard).


People do get IB plus IS


Yes, if the only family income is Incapacity Benefit (i.e. there are other dependants e.g. children), then it will be topped up with income support. However, if the Incapacity Benefit stopped, the income support wouldn't, and would be topped up to the level required. This would apply whether the previous income was Incapacity Benefit, but was now JSA. The end result would be the same level of income support in both cases. The IS level of minimum need requirements for a family to live on doesn't change just because an income reduces.

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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jun 2012, 22:45 
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Joined: Sun 17 Jun 2012, 00:57
Posts: 30
Not sure if I can add anything useful but I will say I’m in your shoes Johnny so I can certainly sympathise.


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