If you’re eligible for ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) you’ll be put into either of the following:
The support group or
The work-related activity group
You’ll get a decision letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) telling you which group you have been put into. The DWP will make this decision based on the information you put on your ESA50 form and the results of the medical assessment.
If you’ve been put in the support group, it is because the DWP have come to the conclusion that you can’t work and that they don’t expect you to do anything to improve your chances of finding work. However, if you’re in this group and decide that you want to take part in work-related activity anyway, you may do so by letting the DWP know you want to do this. They will then let you know if there’s any suitable work-related activity going on in your area that you can join.
If you’ve been put into the work-related activity group it means the DWP has decided that your disability or health condition does limit your ability to work right now however, there are things you can do to improve this.
You’re not expected to look for work, but you may be asked to attend a work-focused interview and then do work-related activities. These activities are things that the DWP believe will improve your chances of working in the future.
You won’t need to attend a work-focused interview or do any work-related activities if:
You are a single parent with a child under one year old
You have reached Pension Credit age
If you’ve been put into the work-related activity group, you’ll be asked to go to a work-focused interview. Here you will be allocated a personal adviser who will assist you.
At the interview, your personal adviser will try to get a better understanding of your health issues and your abilities and your limitations. He/she will look at what you can already do, what you might be able to do in future and what help you may need to do to be able to go to work.
To do this, they’ll want to talk to you about:
Your work history and qualifications
The things you could do that might help you to eventually be able to work
Any practical support that can possibly provided to you
While you are getting ESA in the work-related activity group, you might have to go to more work-focused interviews like this.
If you’re in the work-related activity group, you’ll be expected to take part in work-related activity unless:
You’re a single parent with a child under one year old
You’re a carer getting Carer’s Allowance or a carer premium as part of your ESA claim
You’re a single parent with a child under 3 – if you’re a single parent with a child between 3 and 13, you will have to do work-related activities, but only during normal school hours
You’ve reached Pension Credit age
If you disagree with the decision that’s been made about your ESA claim or reassessment, you can challenge it in the first instance by requesting the DWP to carry out a mandatory reconsideration. You will need to request this within 1 month of the date on the decision letter.
If the request for a mandatory reconsideration is conducted successfully then your Employment Support Allowance will be reinstated. A successful reconsideration at this stage can save a lot of time, stress and money and you should carefully consider if you need assistance in putting forward your request for a mandatory reconsideration at this stage.
If your application for a mandatory reconsideration is unsuccessful then you will have the opportunity to have your appeal heard on papers or in person before an independent panel, called a tribunal. More information about social security first tier tribunals can be found here. First Tier Tribunal Appeals Page
In order to request an appeal after an unsuccessful mandatory reconsideration you will need to complete a SSCS1 form.
You may also request an appeal through the government online system by clicking on this link https://www.gov.uk/appeal-benefit-decision
Once the DWP receive this they will send you a tribunal bundle, this will consist of the reasons of why they have made the decision to not award you Employment Support Allowance.
Receiving the tribunal bundle can be daunting for some appellants and most choose to request legal assistance at this stage in order to put forward a tribunal submission appealing against the DWP’s decision. Some appellants also request assistance for the tribunal hearing at the first tier tribunal stage
I have over 18 years’ experience in dealing with welfare benefits appeals and I am one of the few solicitors in the country that specialises in this area of law. I take on clients from all over England and find that most of the work can be done over the phone, email and skype but if a face to face appointment is needed this can also be arranged.
As legal aid is no longer available for benefit appeals I offer a fixed fee service so that you can be rest assured of the amount that you will be charged from the outset and you will not receive any unexpected surprise bills at the end of your case.
As a fully qualified solicitor my services are offered through national firm Scott-Moncrieff & Associates Ltd Solicitors, more information about the firm can be found at www.scomo.com and a recent case study of one my ESA appeal cases can be found at the following link:https://www.scomo.com/News/Esa-tribunal-attention-to-detail-and-expert-legal-knowledge-win-appeal.html
If you would like any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.
I would be delighted to help you with your legal matters.
For a free initial consultation please call 0203 9729011 or email me using the contact form below.