Ouch Too

Forum => Welfare Rights => Topic started by: Fiz on 14 Jun 2013 03:35PM

Title: ESA50
Post by: Fiz on 14 Jun 2013 03:35PM
Latest ESA50 has arrived today. My anxiety is already through the roof. I am telling myself it is only paper and an envelope and it can't hurt me but already I am thinking there is no way I could cope with the stress of jumping through the JSA hoops, applying for sufficient jobs for their criteria and going to the JCP and also can't manage on JSA money either.

The trouble is I have felt better for the last 2-3 weeks so it has caught me in a good patch but my mood is so variable and fluctuates so much that I don't think I can even begin to describe how low and desperate I get and get regularly. I tend to block out those desperate low times when in a well phase or it sends me down the pan again and trying to remember the feelings and behaviours as I fill in the form is not going to do me any good. I am so stressed.  >steam<

For today, the shock of it arriving is enough for the day and I have put it to one side. Last time I ended up scrabbling to get it down with hours to spare because panic made me just leave it, I mustn't let that happen again.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: KizzyKazaer on 14 Jun 2013 05:31PM
A mere couple of weeks improvement after months of misery isn't something that's going to get you back on JSA, Fiz - I don't know what your current grouping is, Support or WRAG, but have you got a copy of the last ESA50 you completed?
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Fiz on 14 Jun 2013 06:53PM
I'm in the support group atm. I do have a copy of my last ESA50 from 18 months ago and I read it recently and it was reading it that made me realise that I have made big improvements. I get very depressed still, get suicidal and try hard to resist self harming when stressed or distressed but the anxiety that used to prevent me even going in to a shop has gone now I would say. I am often able to meet with someone for coffee although actually haven't been able to get to 2 groups I go to for the last few weeks despite better mood so I do still struggle to go places and see people but whereas it was never and I couldn't do it, now it is sometimes/often I can and sometimes/regularly I can't so the balance has shifted. It was that inability to cope with social situations I would think that got me the support group, so I am worried now that as I have improved in that area, I won't meet the criteria any longer.

My sw knows my mood fluctuates and changes hugely and I am sure she will write a letter saying so for me to enclose with the form but I just fear that I will be called in for a face to face and be deemed fit for work.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Fiz on 19 Jun 2013 05:26PM
My sw says I'm definitely not well enough to work yet and she will write a letter. She says not to panic if I am moved from support to wrag group though as she has a few service users who are in the wrag and she has gone to appointments with them at the JCP and with other providers and none have ever been pressurised. I do feel more reassured.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: oldtone27 on 19 Jun 2013 05:30PM
Quote
...she has gone to appointments with them at the JCP and with other providers and none have ever been pressurised.

That seems to be the experience of the various VI members from our group that have attended WRAG interviews too.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Fiz on 21 Jun 2013 04:05PM
I now have the supporting letter my sw has written which clearly says what I struggle with. She has also given me a copy of my latest care plan which I should have had earlier I think as it was sent to my GP a while ago. It's so hard seeing my MH difficulties written down like this but I guess it means she does get where I am at even though often I feel I can't fully express it or can't talk. I think she does actually know me well now from a comment she made this week.

Anyhow now I have this I really need to settle down and make a start on the form, I don't want to keep putting it off and off until panic ensues like last time.

The thing I am puzzled about is when it asks me if I can do something in the physical section, what do I put if I physically would be able to do it but my MH conditions prevents me from ever being able to do it?
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: KizzyKazaer on 21 Jun 2013 05:40PM
.
Quote
.when it asks me if I can do something in the physical section, what do I put if I physically would be able to do it but my MH conditions prevents me from ever being able to do it?
I had a similar scenario with my own ESA50, relating to my difficulty of being able to sit still for longer than half-an-hour.  I just filled in the relevant 'physical functions' box anyway with the explanation of why, even though it was a mental health issue causing the problem - at the end of the day, it still adds up to the fact that I have trouble with the physical action of sitting!  And you can always 'expand' on stuff in the 'Other information' bit  >thumbsup<
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Minniehaha on 21 Jun 2013 06:54PM
A hug for Fiz ...  >hugs<

The thing I am puzzled about is when it asks me if I can do something in the physical section, what do I put if I physically would be able to do it but my MH conditions prevents me from ever being able to do it?

I had a similar scenario with my own ESA50, relating to my difficulty of being able to sit still for longer than half-an-hour.  I just filled in the relevant 'physical functions' box anyway with the explanation of why, even though it was a mental health issue causing the problem - at the end of the day, it still adds up to the fact that I have trouble with the physical action of sitting!  And you can always 'expand' on stuff in the 'Other information' bit  >thumbsup<

I've always stated my physical issues with being able to sit still for long (having sciatica) but it had never occurred to me that a mental health issue such as my chronic anxiety should also be considered.

I'll remember that next time I get an ESA50 ... thanks for bringing the issue up!
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Monic1511 on 21 Jun 2013 07:17PM
Hi Fiz

you would explain that (for example) you could mobilise 50 / 100/ 200 meters (translation half a football pitch, a football pitch or two pitches) if you were well enough to walk but for the majority of the time your other health problems stop you from completing physicla tasks.

Good luck & feel free to vent
Monic  >bighugs<
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Fiz on 21 Jun 2013 08:13PM
Thanks girls, that makes sense.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Fiz on 22 Jun 2013 03:07AM
I think I've done my best with it. I'm feeling so tense and upset though. I just need to copy it somehow and then post it off. Now I just need to know their decision now so I don't need to constantly worry. What a stress this system is.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Fiz on 25 Jun 2013 09:37PM
Now that I've sent my ESA50 back, what will be the next thing I hear? I think I will either get a decision letter if they have decided not to do a face to face or I will get a face to face appointment, is that right? How long till I get a decision, any idea? I'm just putting life on hold emotionally right now and just want this over with.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Monic1511 on 26 Jun 2013 09:02PM
Hi Fiz

I hate to say this but it could take them up to 13 weeks to make a decision, it could be shorter but that will depend on the workload of the office that gets your paperwork.   I know its part of your health problems but wait at least 3 weeks before phoning the office to ask if your form has been looked at

 >bighugs<
 >dontpanic<

Monic
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Fiz on 27 Jun 2013 07:25AM
oh blimey, I don't do phones. I shall just wait however long it takes. Thanks Monic.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Fiz on 21 Jul 2013 08:04AM
Just revisiting this thread as I am still worrying about the outcome, yet to hear anything.

If they do decide to leave me in the sg without a face to face could it be that I won't hear anything at all?

Also, how would I know if the ESA85a has been created if I haven't heard anything at all, so won't know when to request a copy?

I've also just read that another thing to ask for is the LT54 which is the decision makers report?
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: bubble on 21 Jul 2013 10:27AM
Ive no answers for u as I don't know,  I just wanted to write to u for support Fiz >hugs<

Its a worry all this I'm filling my form in now,  and worrying. The same as you. I didn't need a medical last time so I hope I wont this time either.

Hubby has a medical tomorrow , and appeal in a few weeks. Hospital appointments gp , just trying to get through the day is a struggle.
Ahh well  >rainbow2<  I'll have another cuppa put the world to rights.

All the v best Fiz fingers crossed for all of us.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Fiz on 21 Jul 2013 10:42AM
Thanks Bubble  >hugs<. Hope your dh's medical goes ok tomorrow, what a stress.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: KizzyKazaer on 21 Jul 2013 11:28AM
Quote
If they do decide to leave me in the sg without a face to face could it be that I won't hear anything at all?
No, they will still send you a letter confirming the latest decision, so try and hang on for that before you think about the other stuff!  I know the waiting is awful, but it seems to go with the territory where ESA's concerned, unfortunately  >erm<

Bubble, all the best for your other half's medical..
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Fiz on 21 Jul 2013 01:42PM
Thanks Kizzy, that's reassuring. I shall wait then and try and be patient and not worry.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: seegee on 21 Jul 2013 02:50PM
Mine was posted just a few days before yours, Fiz - I'm currently still on IB & have a note in my diary towards the end of September to ask the person who did the form for me to check up if I haven't heard by then. 
Until then I'm simply trying not to think about it at all as there's nothing at all I can or should do about it until I've heard from DWP or ATOS. 
My not-waiting-expectantly time is currently partly filled by unexpected hospital appts/ investigations and changes to existing treatments, while carrying on with normal routine things. 

I hope yours is filled by looking forward to the upcoming family wedding and your own continuing improving health. >bighugs<
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 22 Jul 2013 02:06PM
[General reply because there's more than one person on this thread in the throes of ESA50-ing.]

I'm fortunate in that my sense of time is a bit out so once I'd sent in my ESA50, I lost track of when I'd sent it, so I wasn't really aware how long the process of decision making was taking.  It must be horrid when you're the sort of person who is switched on about that sort of thing and are aware of the days ticking by.

However, if you submit an ESA50 and there's no quick answer, the best thing to do is to hope that that means that they've either put it at the bottom of the pile or that you're going to get a face to face assessment, and if the latter, the longer it takes, the better prepared you can be for what you're going to say. 

If you get it into your head that the delay is because they're going to turn you down and you can't damp down the worry of that, get on your computer and start planning your appeal.  If nothing else, it will act as a  good review of your current state of health/impairment etc. and of whether you need any extra help/equipment/healthcare/therapy etc. that you don't currently have.

I only say this because if like me any of you are worriers, it's best to divert your worrying into something to make you feel prepared rather than letting it get to you. 
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Fiz on 22 Jul 2013 03:43PM
ESA50's are sent out 3 months before face to face appointments are due, so if previously they awarded ESA for 18 months then 15 months after that decision the ESA50 will arrive on your doorstep. This gives them 3 months to decide whether to call you in for a face to face or award without one. My worst fear is to be called in for a face to face, I hate and dread them so I am hanging on the hope that like last time they will decide without one.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Sunshine Meadows on 26 Jul 2013 02:11PM
Fiz,

Kizzy is right about them sending out the decision to you, but we have heard on a thread that Becca posted on that they DWP dont send another letter giving you a break down of how the amount of benefit is worked out if there has been no change in the amount.

Try not to get too stuck worrying about a face to face assessment because things have changed since ESA first came in partly because of Harrington but also because of the DWP realising that if the assessments are not to properly people will win their appeals.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Becca7 on 27 Jul 2013 02:06PM
I just wanted to say that I was told that they do not have to inform you if there is no change. I have now had that in writing from my local office. If my support worker had not rung I would not have recieved any confirmation at all so if you want something in writing regarding the claim contact them in case in your area they are doing the same thing.

Also, in my area we don't get ESA50 3 months before they run out, we get them on the day of renewal. Mine ran out 25th Feb this year and I got the form that week. It's annoying how it changes from area to area.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: seegee on 30 Jul 2013 05:34PM
I suppose I should at least get a letter about the decision as "no change" isn't an option - it's not possible to just keep paying me IB after sending me a ESA50.   >confusedgif<

Still leaves 3 choices though... >erm<
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Sunshine Meadows on 30 Jul 2013 06:10PM
It is worth remembering that more people are getting ESA than did when it first came out and also more are being placed in the Support group including another member of Ouch Too who mentioned recently appealing at getting moved from WRAG to Support Group.

 >bighugs< >chocolate<
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: seegee on 15 Aug 2013 03:27PM
I received a decision letter today (no face-to-face assessment).  It says I am entitled to contribution-based ESA & have been put in support group.  Feel a bit numb & teary but that'll wear off soon I expect. >what?>

On the last page it says, "The amounts on this page apply from 27 August 2013 to 25 November 2013.". 
Does that mean they'll send me another form in November >yikes<, or that the amount to be paid will change on that date, or is there another reason for it?
My condition hasn't changed a great deal in years (well, I have gained a gastric ulcer so had anti-inflammatory drugs stopped recently=more pain since form filled in) & isn't likely to suddenly improve; I don't understand why such a short time is quoted, have been on IB for years. >confusedgif<
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: KizzyKazaer on 15 Aug 2013 04:55PM
Seegee, delighted to hear you have a positive ESA result  >thumbsup<

Regarding the 'end date' November 25, this is not connected to your award length at all - it's to do with the Christmas Bonus, believe it or not, as for one week only the amount will change and the DWP computer system can't process that change until nearer the time!  (The same thing happens for annual uprating - decision letters that give 'end dates' of April 9, say).  If you want to find out your 'prognosis' - the date at which ATOS have recommended you be re-assessed again - you need to give JobcentrePlus a call as they will have this on their systems, it's not normally given on the award letter (I had to find out mine from my personal advisor - funny old business, but that's the DWP for you  ;-))

Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: seegee on 15 Aug 2013 06:38PM
Ah, OK - I'll have to ask someone to phone JC+ then - either my PA or the bloke who filled the form out for me.  If that's not possible (i.e. DWP will speak only to me) I'll have to call in to the local office & ask them to check.
Thank you, Kizzy. >tah< >thumbsup<:-)  >star<
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: sherbs on 15 Aug 2013 08:59PM
Great news severe, congratulations
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Fiz on 15 Aug 2013 09:13PM
Bril news seegee
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Silverstar on 16 Aug 2013 11:12AM
Hi

Great news,how is this though, I sent of my original ESA form around this time last year (was migrating over from IB). I heard nothing until mid January 2013  when the DWP phoned me I was in the support group. I then got a letter telling me I would be moved over to ESA payments in February.

All good so far,I sent off for a copy of my esa85a to see the length of the award, 12 months. I was felling relatively "safe" until I got yet another ESA form to fill in at the beginning of July. I went into meltdown, phoned the DWP, got a really snotty b...h on the line who accused me of being stroppy because I wanted to get an explanation.

I belong to b&w so following advice they told me to ask for an escalation and ask for a more senior staff member to call me. Who did but she explained that although there was a massive delay in informing me of the decision, the original paper medical assessment was carried out at the end of August 2012 and that is where they were taking the 12month award date from. Not from when they informed me.

So out of a possible 12month award I had just under 5 months in the SG before they hassled me again. You couldn't make it up.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: KizzyKazaer on 16 Aug 2013 12:42PM
Silverstar, sadly the saga you have described is not uncommon due to delays by ATOS/DWP in deciding claims ...to be honest, I'd rather have my two years in the WRAG (my current award) than half that amount of time in the Support Group, the way it's going  >erm<
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Fiz on 16 Aug 2013 01:24PM
Yes also they send out the ESA50 form 3 months before the end of the award length time to allow for time to process that. I'm surprised they couldn't explain that easily on the phone when you first rang. I think the constant reassessments are particularly hard on anyone with MH issues as they increase them and slow down recovery or prevent it completely. If people had the time and space more people would recover.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Silverstar on 16 Aug 2013 03:01PM
Hi

What annoyed me was that I even contacted my MP as per the B&W advice he didn't even bother replying (he is a Tory so no surprise there). As I was not technically migrated onto ESA from IB until 5 February 2013 I had only actually been on ESA for 5 months. I suppose I could have taken it further and kicked up a fuss and made a big hoo ha but sometimes you just feel too scared to make a noise.

Maybe as a technicality I could have got my point across but they seemed to be disinterested in my case and I was told fill in the new ESA50 or else. The welfare rights people seemed surprised when I told her that the DWP were not prepared to do anything or to postpone the renewal until Feb 2014. I don't know why, I wasn't lol. I too would prefer 2-3 years in WRAG if they would leave in in relative peace to the hassle of being in the SG, just when you think you are home and dry. I will see what they will do with me this time around.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Silverstar on 16 Aug 2013 03:04PM
Hi Fiz

By that token I should not have had my renewal for ESA due until November 2013, if the DWP had honoured their 12 month award. As it is I got whole 5 months in the SG before they came sniffing round again.   
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: seegee on 16 Aug 2013 05:27PM
Oh, for anyone who can't cope with phone calls from strangers... 

I didn't answer the initial call from DWP; they still sent the form.
I got help, someone (working for a charity specialising in brain injuries) filled the form in for me.
I didn't answer the call a few days ago; they just posted the decision to me.

So I am lucky enough to be in contact with someone who helps with DWP forms regularly - but the bit about not needing to take phone calls from unknown numbers in order to get benefit may be relevant to other people.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: seegee on 16 Aug 2013 05:44PM
I just re-read what he wrote:- "brain injury... huge difficulty following & understanding form such as this" "difficulty taking in new information" "nervous meeting new people" "learning new tasks is very very difficult" "often lose track of what others are saying" "poor dexterity" "pain" "poor memory" "support worker visits 3 times a week".  Other stuff about unable to remain in one seated/ standing position for long... oh, I am sooo employable.  >doh<

It's all true but seeing it in writing along with my various diagnoses, social work assessment and medications, it's not amazing that they chose not to get me to an interview especially as I don't pick up the phone.
For some reason many people seem to think phone is easier than in person??  >erm<

The thing is, I was expecting to have assessment and appeal because I look OK and often sound OK for a while - an employer might not realise they'd got a dud until the new employee has failed to learn the basics after a couple of months and is clearly becoming ill through ?exhaustion through working 15-hours each week. 
I suppose I get used to one-finger typing, suddenly having to lie down, looking for leaning-points when entering a room & forget that this isn't, er, normal...>lol<
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Fiz on 16 Aug 2013 06:21PM
The only person/organisation (apart from close family) that has my mobile number is my sw at CMHT, not even my GP has it. I don't give my number to anyone else, so they have no choice but to write. You are very blessed seegee to have someone to help you with the forms at short notice. I wish there was more help out there for people.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Sunshine Meadows on 20 Aug 2013 12:21PM
Seegee,

I initially missed you good news  >hugs< >thumbsup< >star<

Good advice about filling in the form too.

Silverstar,

On paper what the DWP in regard to renewal dates probably sounds reasonable to the DWP. To them it is just paperwork and a process of claiming, but to many of us it is a hugely stressful time not just because we are steeping into the unknown worriment of possible financial difficulties should our claim not result in a positive outcome, but also because we have now had three years + of being portrayed as scroungers and liars in papers like the Daily Mail.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Fiz on 23 Dec 2013 06:59PM
6 months after sending off my ESA50 they have decided to allocate me the support group without a face to face. So I stay in the support group. I wonder who sat there for 6 months deciding ..

Thing is the letter which arrived today says how much money I will receive weekly but it does not have the premium that I get for living alone so the total amount quoted is less than I have been receiving for the last month or so. This doesn't mean I will suddenly get less does it? I can't afford the under occupancy reduction in housing benefit without it. Now I am worried. As the premium is paid as part of my ESA, I am worried they have 'accidently' removed it.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: NeuralgicNeurotic on 23 Dec 2013 07:05PM
I also missed your good news, seegee, so belated congratulations  >bighugs< >thumbsup<
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Monic1511 on 23 Dec 2013 07:17PM
6 months after sending off my ESA50 they have decided to allocate me the support group without a face to face. So I stay in the support group. I wonder who sat there for 6 months deciding ..

Thing is the letter which arrived today says how much money I will receive weekly but it does not have the premium that I get for living alone so the total amount quoted is less than I have been receiving for the last month or so. This doesn't mean I will suddenly get less does it? I can't afford the under occupancy reduction in housing benefit without it. Now I am worried. As the premium is paid as part of my ESA, I am worried they have 'accidently' removed it.
Hi Fiz they might have accidently removed it as ESA support group is typically paid as "Contribution based ESA" and your premium is part of income related ESA which you are also entitled to.  I hate to say this but your going to have to call them or get someone to call for you, I suspect the office will close (like ours) at 2.30 tommorrow  so if you can try to phone at 8.45
 >hugs<
Monic
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Fiz on 23 Dec 2013 07:18PM
Oh  :-(
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Becca7 on 24 Dec 2013 11:43AM
I hope you sort it Fiz.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Sunshine Meadows on 24 Dec 2013 01:44PM
Fiz,

 >hugs<

I agree with Monic.

It could be as simply as the person who processed the claim ie tapped the details into the computer system, failed to tick a box and so the income based part of ESA was not added.

Here is a link with info you can quote when you give them a ring https://www.gov.uk/disability-premiums-income-support/what-youll-get.
If there is a delay over Christmas I reckon the payment should get back dated because none of your circumstances changed and the issue is clerical error.
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: KizzyKazaer on 24 Dec 2013 04:18PM
Quote
It could be as simply as the person who processed the claim ie tapped the details into the computer system, failed to tick a box and so the income based part of ESA was not added.

That's just made me think of another possibility, harking back to my processing days - it could  well be, now there is technically a decision made on a new claim (the ESA renewal), that the system wants re-verification of entitlement to the Severe Disability Premium.  So you might well receive another brief form to complete - which may be held up in the Christmas post  >doh<  Just the questions based on living alone and whether someone receives Carers Allowance for you (and yes, your SDP will be backdated to run as continuous from your previous ESA claim, as you still meet the qualifying conditions like living alone).  See what happens when normal DWP and postal services resume after the holiday closures..
Title: Re: ESA50
Post by: Fiz on 24 Dec 2013 07:15PM
Kizzy, I think that is probably what has happened tbh. I haven't managed to phone the DWP today as I've been caught up in other stuff. The tree that was in the neighbours garden fell down in the storm last night and has fallen into my garden crushing the fence and is completely filling my garden. It's about 15ft high even though it is lying on its side. I managed to phone the council (good for me, I am rubbish with phones) but not surprisingly there are a lot of trees down and they are prioritising those that are in dangerous positions which this one isn't. But my main worry is I have contents insurance but not buildings as I rent, but I do own two sheds. One was a big strong one and contained loads of stuff and that shed is completely crushed, can't get anywhere near it to see what is salvagable from inside until the enormous tree is moved by the council, the other shed was empty but is damaged beyond repair, it was a very cheap shed. I am assuming that as I don't have buildings insurance, I am not covered to replace the sheds? I will never be ale to afford to otherwise. Or, as the tree that fell down crushing the sheds belonged to the council, are the council liable for replacing my sheds? I know my contents insurance will cover anything damaged inside the sheds. What a nightmare, though I am so thankful the huge tree fell sideways and didn't hit our house.