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 Post subject: Before sending off ESA50
PostPosted: Sun 28 Sep, 2014 4:54 pm 
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Bonnylad wrote:
Is it best to request a recorded assessment on the ESA50-or is it best to wait for the phone call to arrange the assessment date? Also, when I had to take an ill-health retirement 10 years ago, I was told I was a health and safety risk and that no future employer would touch me for insurance purposes-how do the miracle workers at ATOS get around this? I have been through this once before and realise I will be going down the 'zero points and hopefully win my appeal' route!


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PostPosted: Sun 28 Sep, 2014 4:54 pm 
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ephemerid wrote:
Ask for a recording at every opportunity - and always attach a covering letter.

The letter should summarise the health issues, and any mobility needs - also, it's worth pointing out what your evidence says, eg. "My employers described me as a H&S risk, please see p. 2 of the evidence.
Always send as much written evidence as you can, use copies (they have a habit of losing stuff) number them, and refer to them throughout your form and letter.

Do it on the ESA50, send a covering letter with the form making the same request, and ask several times during the call.

Also - on the form, in the covering letter, cite the regulations relevant to your case. For example, if you can't walk 50M or whatever, say that this satisfies the LCWRA descriptor for mobility.
You need to quote regulations 29 and 35 - these refer to risk, and if finding you capable of work or work related activity would put you or another person at risk they must find you incapable of work or WRA.

There's an earlier post of mine here explaining this in more detail.


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PostPosted: Sun 28 Sep, 2014 4:54 pm 
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ephemerid wrote:
PS - you must get this right first time.

As of today, there is no automatic right to appeal. See my post on Clause 99.


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PostPosted: Sun 28 Sep, 2014 4:54 pm 
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Bonnylad wrote:
Many thanks for the advice-I certainly feel like I'm playing against a stacked deck!


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PostPosted: Sun 28 Sep, 2014 4:54 pm 
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Bonnylad wrote:
I had to have my ESA50 returned by October 8th -I have heard nothing since. Does anyone know if this is usual practice?


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PostPosted: Sun 28 Sep, 2014 4:55 pm 
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Bournemouth Lad wrote:
Bonnylad wrote:
I had to have my ESA50 returned by October 8th -I have heard nothing since. Does anyone know if this is usual practice?


Pretty much, mate - I've heard nothing since sending mine back, and that was in August.


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PostPosted: Sun 28 Sep, 2014 4:55 pm 
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justamentalpatient wrote:
Bournemouth Lad wrote:
Bonnylad wrote:
I had to have my ESA50 returned by October 8th -I have heard nothing since. Does anyone know if this is usual practice?


Pretty much, mate - I've heard nothing since sending mine back, and that was in August.


Same here.


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PostPosted: Sun 28 Sep, 2014 4:55 pm 
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ephemerid wrote:
justamentalpatient wrote:
Bournemouth Lad wrote:
Bonnylad wrote:
I had to have my ESA50 returned by October 8th -I have heard nothing since. Does anyone know if this is usual practice?


Pretty much, mate - I've heard nothing since sending mine back, and that was in August.


Same here.



Atos are behind on the assessments.

I waited for a few months after my ESA50 was sent, then got in touch via what passes for Customer Services.
I have it in writing from Atos that they have a massive backlog - this is partly due to existing ESA claimants having too many re-assessments, and also due to getting all the IB claimants on to ESA.
Most of the IB claimants are being assessed on paper only - ie. they are not getting a WCA at all, just scrutiny of forms etc.

Although the wait is nerve-wracking, it's actually good in a way. If they don't do a face-to-face assessment after weeks or months of waiting, and then allocate you to the wrong group, you have a very good case for reconsideration and for a subsequent appeal later on. The longer they delay, the better - you can claim maladministration on top of any other errors in the assessment process.

What Atos did with me was allocate me to Support Group on the basis of medical evidence and forms only - for just 3 months.
I wrote to DWP asking for all the decision makers' paperwork etc. which showed that my illness was permanent; then I complained to DWP, saying that I'd waited for months for an assessment that never happened, Atos and the DM had agreed my condition would not improve, and yet they gave me the shortest term possible for the next assessment.
I eventually got a letter saying I would not be assessed again for three years.

This is happening everywhere - people are waiting for months on end because the ESA claimants are being recycled through the process too quickly and a backlog is inevitable.
I claimed ESA for the first time in May 2009 - I've had 3 WCAs, 2 paper reassessments, 4 reconsiderations, 3 appeals, 3 tribunal hearings, and several official complaints due to poor decision making, appalling WCAs, lost medical evidence, etc. etc. - and every time ended up with Support Group after a battle.
I've had several apologies from DWP, a few from Atos plus compensation, and this time I actually got the Support group first time but then had to battle again to get it for a reasonable period of time.

The whole system is imploding - I advised someone posting on the Guardian the other day who had been waiting for his initial WCA (having been kept on assessment rate throughout) for nearly a year.
It's a mess - and if you are waiting for the outcome of the first stage of reassessment, ie. the decision on the ESA50 as to whether you need an assessment or not, you'll be waiting a long time.
If you are on IB, you probably won't get a WCA and DWP will rubber-stamp whatever the Atos person decides; if you don't get the right grouping on the basis of a paper assessment, you have very good grounds for appeal, especially if you sent good medical evidence. Of course, you have to have the mandatory recon now before you can appeal.

I'm sorry to hear you're all having these problems - it's very wearing when you're ill to start with, but in a weird way it's not entirely bad news because the more they fuck up the better your chances of getting the right result in the end.

There's a post on the Daily Politics (Page 1 Tuesday this week from Rebecca) about the Work and Pensions Select Committee asking for evidence about the WCA - the deadline is in March, and anyone can write in with their stories.


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PostPosted: Sun 28 Sep, 2014 4:55 pm 
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Bonnylad wrote:
Well I finally had my assessment last Thursday. It was recorded and I was given a copy. I asked for a copy of the HCP's report, which I have just received. As expected I was awarded zero points. I assume I will have to wait for the DWP decision before I ask for a reconsideration-not that they will overturn a zero points decision. I realise there are people a lot worse than I am, but to score zero points with a prolapsed disc, sciatica, irritable bowel syndrome, helicobacter pylori infection and recently diagnosed cervical spondylosis makes me wonder how the hell you do score points!


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