Hi there this is my first post i have been reading a lot online about appealing a decision for ESA and am confused over certain things and wonder if anyone can help. Not sure if this post should be here or in the IB to ESA migration section as it covers both areas really.
I have been on long term IB for around 10 years due to anxiety and depression. A couple of months ago i got the letter through saying that IB is being phased out and that i would be assessed for ESA. At the time i did not know about the new much tighter rules for ESA or about the whole ATOS medical tests.
So i filled in the questionnaire myself without advice (ESA 50 i think?) and was then called for a medical by ATOS. I then began researching online and discovered the trouble people were having with ATOS and the DWP trying to move onto ESA.
My ATOS medical was 3 weeks ago and i am now expecting the decision that i am not entitled to ESA through anytime now and am getting increasingly worried. There are a few points i am unclear about regarding how i go about initiating an appeal and what happens when i do this.
1 How do i immediatly inform the DWP that i intend to appeal? Can i do this by telling them over the phone (when they phone me with the decision) or do i have to ask them for the form (GL24) ?
You can phone up, especially if you have mobility or similar problems - but make sure you get the name of the person you speak to, and ask them to confirm the date and time of your call. Log the call, as part of a complete paper trail you will create.
2 Can i get the form GL24 from my local jobcentre or do i have to ask for it and wait for them to send it out? ( i was thinking that i could fill this form in and have it ready to post as soon as i get the decision)
Under no circumstances behave as if failing is a formality which you expect. WAIT FOR THE DECISION!! And please also bear in mind that while you only have 30 days to notify them of your intention to appeal, you have much longer to prepare for the appeal itself, complete the Tribunal forms, and get evidence. In any case - the first thing that will happen is that after you tell them you intend to appeal, the case will be passed to the original DWP DM for "reconsideration". These usually fail, then you'll be notified and you go ahead with the appeal. The Tribunal Service is independent.
3 I read somewhere online that in the box on form GL24 that says "reason for appeal" that simply writing" i wish to appeal the decision" is not good enough. If this is true what do i need to state? Bearing in mind i just want to immediately lodge an appeal without waiting for the full written reasons, etc. I was thinking i could go through all the paperwork later with the help of the CAB.
Outline that you are appealing because you fulfil the descriptors for A B C etc, and that you will be supplying medical evidence for this. You don't need to make the full statement of reasons at this time, simply indicate that you meet the requirements for ESA and state which sections of the form apply. Don't play your full hand though, just tell them the minimum they need to know.
4 I understand that i can claim JSA or ESA while waiting for the appeal. Does this start from the date that my IB will be stopped? Or will it only start from the date they recieve a valid appeal? Or because i am coming from IB does it mean i have to fill in a new ESA form ?
I believe that with IB claims you will receive the assessment rate of ESA while waiting for appeal? Don't claim JSA whatever you do. And yes, wait until you have a date that your IB will stop.
5 If i have to fill in a fresh claim for ESA do i need sick notes from my Doctor? I have been on IB long term and have not needed these from my doctor for years.
You won't be making a fresh claim while you have an appeal pending UNLESS there has been a change in your condition.
6 If i claim JSA while on appeal will this be considered that i am fit for work?
No, not if they find you "fit for work" anyway, but if you can get the assessment / appeal rate of ESA, that's the one to go for.
7 It seems to me that when my IB will be stopped there will be a gap between that and when any JSA or ESA assesement benefit will be paid?
Thanks in advance if anyone can help me with any of these points, am expecting the ESA decision very soon and things are running through my mind. I want to be as prepared as possible.
Don't expect to fail necessarily - it often happens but it isn't inevitable.