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Do I still attend Tribunal if DWP sent me letters saying they've re-assessed my case and paying ESA?

Hi,

As per title, I 'failed' assessment @ Croydon in February last year, tried to appeal but that was turned down too, so it has gone to tribunal.

I got notified last July that I was on waiting list and it'd be approx 7 months, last month I finally got tribunal hearing date of next week (21/2).

Despite being helped by Citizens Advice, the DWP representatives on the phone told me something different each time I phoned them (re non payment as my benefits were stopped). Eventually I got a backdated sick note from my GP from the time I "failed" - that was in September.  I have also been getting same sick notes from GP from then each month.

Last year, I got notification from DWP about when my sick note was finished and I needed a new one, but in December the letters from DWP changed.

I got a letter in Decemebr saying they "have looked at my claim again following a recent change. From 2018 your Employment and Support allowance will be £73.10 a week". Since then I had no requests for sick notes and also no payments from the DWP(?).

I got further sick notes from my GP and sent them off and received payments, I got another letter which said my benefit would be £71.10 from April 2019, then another letter on 6/2/2019 saying the same as above ("have looked at my claim again following a recent change. From 8/1/2019 your Employment and Support allowance will be £73.10 a week".

I have received and forwarded to DWP my sick notes from my GP that covers me until April of this year, but I am totally confused.

1) Do I still have to attend Tribunal hearing next week?
2) If so, why(?) have I recevied letters from DWP saying they have looked at my case agian?

Background:

Have been pateint of local Community Mental Healthcare for past 30 years, in 2007 I was diagnosed with rare learning disability and registered as special needs, put on higher rate (£100pw) benefit - no contact with local Jobcebtre / DWP needed, benefit paid every week for years no problem..

This remained the same until 2012, when new regime of assessments started, each 'assessment' I failed, but 'won' every one upon first appeal. Never had to attend tribunal.

Higher rate of £100 pw week continuously paid.

Many thanks for any help anyone can give.

Kind regards
Andy

Replies

  • wilkowilko Posts: 1,432Member Chatterbox
    Hello @ Dillon, I would phone the tribunal service.of you have their number on any letters for an update regarding your need to attend and phone the DWP for clarification on the matter also. For anyone to say yes or no would be a folly so phone and get the answers you need.
  • dillondillon Posts: 7Member Listener
    Thank you for your reply.

    I went to the CAB about this and my representative phoned the DWP to ask for clarification.

    The guy @ the DWP said the letters were to confirm payment of emergency ESA and the Tribunal would determine what ESA group I should be in.

    The reason why I'm confused is because when I first started sending the DWP my sick notes (Sept last year), all I got in response was letters telling me when the current sicknote expired - this continued for 3 months until December.

    In december the DWP sent the letter saying they had looked at the claim again and from April 2018 I would get £73.10pw - BUT the payments stopped and I didn't receive anything in January(?).

    I find it difficult to trust what the DWP say in the phone, in August last yerar I asked for clarification as I haadn't received any payment for 6 months.

    1st call - I was told I'd get emergancy ESA as my case was going to tribunal.
    2nd call - 2 weeks later, they said I'd only get emergancy ~ESA if I provided a sick note.
    3rd call - sick note was 'lost' even though it was sent recorded delivery
    4th call - I shouldn't be on emergancy ESA but universal credit

    At this point I said I wanted to make a formal complaint because each time I phone up I get told something different to the previous advice. Next day, I got a call from ESA @ Belfast and they paid me backdated ESA from the time of my failed assessment 6 months earlier..

    Unbelievable - it's like these people can do or say whatever they want...totally disgusted by this whole 'procedure', it's an absolute scandal...
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 8,467Member, Community champion Brian Blessed
    Hi,

    The money you're receiving from DWP is assessment rate. The reason is stopped was because you didn't continue to send in the sick notes. You will need to attend the Tribunal next week and then a decision will be made on your claim. If a decision goes in your favour then once DWP accept the award you won't need to send in any further sick notes.
  • BenistmonkBenistmonk Posts: 326Member Chatterbox
    edited February 12
    The letter you got in April is a standard letter sent to everyone on benefit, it shows how much benefit has gone up and how much you will get for the new tax year. It does not mean the DWP has changed their minds on your decision. 
  • dillondillon Posts: 7Member Listener
    Hi,

    The money you're receiving from DWP is assessment rate. The reason is stopped was because you didn't continue to send in the sick notes. You will need to attend the Tribunal next week and then a decision will be made on your claim. If a decision goes in your favour then once DWP accept the award you won't need to send in any further sick notes.
    I only stopped sending the sick notes as I got a letter from the DWP saying they "have looked at my claim again following a recent change. From 2018 your Employment and Support allowance will be £73.10 a week".

    The letter you got in April is a standard letter sent to everyone on benefit, it shows how much benefit has gone up and how much you will get for the new tax year. It does not mean the DWP has changed their minds on your decision. 
    Yes, I got one of those too, I also got letters saying they looked at my claim again - see above.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 8,467Member, Community champion Brian Blessed
    DWP often send letters that make no sense. The £73.10 per week is assessment rate.
  • dillondillon Posts: 7Member Listener
    edited February 22
    Had my hearing yesterday, the decision notice was:

    1) The appeal is allowed
    2) The decision made by secretary of state on 11/03/2018 is set aside
    3) I have limited capability for work. The matter is now remitted to the Secretary of State to make final decision upon entitlement to ESA.
    4) In applying for Work Capability Assessment 21 points were scored from the activities and descriptors in Schedule 2 of ESA Regulations 2008:

    Coping with change - 6 points
    Coping with social engagement due to cognitive impairment of mental disorder - 6 points
    Appropriateness of behaviour (as above) - 9 points

    5) No schedule 3 descriptor applied. Regulation 35 of ESA Regulations 2008 did not apply.

    By reason of specific cognitive difficulties, mixed personality traits and extremely poor social skills (with confirmation from my Psychologist that it's a natural disorder) that my condition is that I am significantly limited.  As a result, the above descriptors are satisfied.

    Any recommendation given below does not form part of Tribunal's decision and not binding on Secretary of State.

    In view of the degree of disability found by the tribunal, and unless the regulations change, the Tribunal would recommend that the appellant is not re-assessed.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I'd just like to add some context / thoughts...

    Since 2012 each assessment I've failed, only to be 'passed' on appeal when my Psychologist was consulted - I was diagnosed and with him for 3 years from 2004-2007.  I give the same details (specialist and diagnosis) for each and every assessment.

    I was told the recommendation to not re-assess me was only a recommendation, and I interpret that as being the DWP can basically do what they like and call me in for assessment in 3 months time if they wanted?

    Also: when my CAB representative spoke to DWP (I was sitting with her) the DWP said this tribunal was to see which group I'd be put it, but the correspondence from tribunal say this now goes back to the secretary of state to make the decision???????

    Can someone advise?

    I'll be returning o the CAB on Tuesday to leave a copy of this for my representative.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 8,467Member, Community champion Brian Blessed
    Hi,

    Schedule 2 of ESA Regulations 2008 is WRAG (LCW) as Support Group or reg 35 didn't apply. Those that are in the WRAG are re-assessed and this can happen anytime from 3 months. If your ESA claim started after April 2017 then there won't be any extra money paid for being in this group.

    To be placed into the severe conditions group where re-assessments are turned off you must be in the support group, so no further re-assessments doesn't apply for you.

    The Tribunal have recommended you be placed into the WRAG if DWP decide not to appeal the decision. To appeal it, they must first ask for the statement of reasons. When they receive this they must then find an error in law in making the decision. Without this they can't appeal the decision.
  • dillondillon Posts: 7Member Listener
    Hi,

    Schedule 2 of ESA Regulations 2008 is WRAG (LCW) as Support Group or reg 35 didn't apply. Those that are in the WRAG are re-assessed and this can happen anytime from 3 months. If your ESA claim started after April 2017 then there won't be any extra money paid for being in this group.

    To be placed into the severe conditions group where re-assessments are turned off you must be in the support group, so no further re-assessments doesn't apply for you.

    The Tribunal have recommended you be placed into the WRAG if DWP decide not to appeal the decision. To appeal it, they must first ask for the statement of reasons. When they receive this they must then find an error in law in making the decision. Without this they can't appeal the decision.
    OK, thank you
  • dillondillon Posts: 7Member Listener
    Sorry, but I'm confused:

    I don't understand WRAG and Support group, are these 2 different, or is Support group part of WRAG?
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 8,467Member, Community champion Brian Blessed
    They are different groups.  If you’ve been put in the support group, it means the DWP/Tribunal has decided that you can’t work and that it doesn’t expect you to do anything to improve your chances of finding work. No Job centre appointments are given if you're placed into this group.

    If you’ve been put into the work-related activity group (WRAG) it means the DWP/Tribunal has decided that your disability or health condition does limit your ability to work right now, but that there are things you can do to improve this.

    You’re not expected to look for work, but you can be asked to go to a work-focused interview and then do work-related activities. These activities are things that the DWP thinks will improve your chances of working in the future.


  • dillondillon Posts: 7Member Listener
    They are different groups.  If you’ve been put in the support group, it means the DWP/Tribunal has decided that you can’t work and that it doesn’t expect you to do anything to improve your chances of finding work. No Job centre appointments are given if you're placed into this group.

    If you’ve been put into the work-related activity group (WRAG) it means the DWP/Tribunal has decided that your disability or health condition does limit your ability to work right now, but that there are things you can do to improve this.

    You’re not expected to look for work, but you can be asked to go to a work-focused interview and then do work-related activities. These activities are things that the DWP thinks will improve your chances of working in the future.


    OK, many thanks
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