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Hello, sister has esa tribunal on Monday.Has it's in a court she is quite nervous and is very anxious. What is likely to happen, what questions will be asked and how lo g will it take.Wil she get told there and then if she has failed or won her case ?.Regards, Mick.

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  • Posted


    Even though it's in a court it will be nothing like a court. It will be in a normal room with a large table in there. There will be a judge, a DR, possibly 2 others and 1 of those could be a DWP representative.

    The questions they will ask will be about her conditions, and how they affect her ability to do any type of job. She will have to answer all those questions herself but if someone goes with her they will be able to prompt her. They may also be able to say a few things at the end.

    There's no timescales to how long it could last but it's most likely anything from 10 minutes to 1 hour maybe a little longer. It really depends on how many question she's asked. She should answer all those questions with as much detail as possible. Remember the Judge will be trying to get a picture of your sister and how her conditions affect her.

    Sometimes they will decide on the day and tell her if she's either in 1 of the groups or fit for work. Other times they can't tell you on the day but they will write to her within a couple of days with the decision.

    Good luck to your sister.

    • Posted

      Hi Denise,thank you for the information.I will pass this on to my sister,she really thought she would be on `trial`sort of thing as its being held in the courts.She was even thinking of not going at all.But i have heard that it is best if you attend in person.Thank you again Denise.
    • Posted

      Hi Michael,

      You're welcome. Please please re-assure her that she most definitely isn't going to be on trial! It is indeed best that you appear in person. Good luck to your sister and i really do hope a decision goes in her favour.

    • Posted

      Hello Denise,i went with my sister to her tribunal yesterday,i was not allowed to speak or answer any questions.Im afraid it was not a good experience for her,it started badly due to the judge asking for paper work which she had already sent to the court,but he could not find what he was looking for.The judge,s attitude was quite patronising and i thought was a little rude too.Needless to say my sister came away quite upset.The judge told her a decision would be put in the post,so she is not expecting to win this one.If it does go against her,is there any other avenue to be considered.Or is the judge,s word final ?Regards,Mick.
    • Posted

      I'm so sorry to hear this. It's very rare to have a Judge who doesn't listen. It's not unusual for anyone else apart from the claimant not to be able to speak though, unless you're the appointee like i said.

      What sort of evidence did she send? For ESA WRAG it's about scoring points and you need at least 15 for this group.

      For Support Group it's not about points, it's about satisfying at least one of the Support Group descriptors or regulation 35. Reg 25 is exceptional circumstances. I don't know anything about your sisters condition/s so can't help in that part. Links can't be posted her either but both of those descriptors are available to see online by searching google for them. ESA WRAG descriptors and ESA support Group descriptors is what you need to google.

      You will of course have to wait for the decision but when it does arrive if it's not what she wants the only way she can take it further is if an error in law was made in making that decision. For this she will need to ask for the statement of reasons, by emailing the Tribunal. From this she will need to find someone the specialises in finding an error in law. It's extremely difficult to do and it's rare to find them.

      For her to re-apply for ESA she can only do this for a worsening of condition or a new condition, one that wasn't mentioned on the original ESA claim form. Then a decision maker will decide if she can be paid assessment rate again.

      Also if she's in a full Universal Credit area then it will be this she'll have to apply for and not ESA.

      If she's claiming ESA assessment rate at the moment and she's found fit for work by the Tribunal then her ESA will stop very soon. The Tribunal will most likely have already contacted ESA.

      She should receive the letter with the decision either tomorrow or the day after.

      Fingers crossed that it wasn't as bad as you thought. Please let me know.

    • Posted

      Hi Denise, it wasn't so much he did not listen, it was his general attitude. Maybe he had had a bad morning and we were in the firing line eh.I will let you know what the letter tells my sister, but as I mentioned before she is not hopefull it went in her favour.

    • Posted

      Hello Denise, my sister got the letter today. She did not win her case.The judge awarded 6 points for mobility only, which is 6 more than the hcp gave at the assessment. But obviously nowhere near the 15 needed.What can she do now ? , she cannot apply for jsa because she cannot meet the criteria nor is she fit enough either.Its a shambles, my sister was a nurse for over 30yrs, now she needes help and cannot get it.How can you apply to work when you are not well, it's not as if she has been work shy over the yrs. Where can she go from here, how is she able to live on no income ?.Any idears would be helpfull.

    • Posted

      I'm so sorry to hear this. She will need to email the Tribunal and ask them to send her the Statement of reasons. From here she will then need to find someone who specialises in finding an error in law. This is the only way she can appeal to the Upper Tribunal.

      Does she live with a partner that works? or does she live alone? I'll advice you on the next step once you've answered this.

    • Posted

      She lives alone Denise.Are we going to need a solicitor to look for the error in law then?.
    • Posted

      If a solicitor is used then it will cost your sister, it most definitely won't be free. There are other people that specializes with finding an error in law but because it's an extremely difficult thing to do there's not many people that would do this. She could try her local CAB but as i said to find an error is law is extremely rare. This could also takes years, believe it or not and she won't be paid ESA while waiting.

      She does have other options BUT they are not guaranteed. I'll explain them here.

      Firstly she must check if her area is a full Universal Credit area, because if it is then it would be this she will need to claim and not the old benefits. To find out what's in her area google this " UC postcode checker" Then put her postcode in there and see what comes up, if it's a full UC area it will tell her and it's this she'll have to claim. UC has replaced means tested benefits like JSA, ESA, IS, Housing benefit.

      If it's not then the only way she can claim ESA again is if her condition has got considerably worse, or for a completely new condition. They will not allow her to claim ESA for the same condition/s she claimed for previously. On her fit note must say something totally different. Then a  decision maker will decide if she can claim ESA again. If she can then she'll be put back onto assessment rate with a brand new claim. If she's put into the WRAG this time then she will not receive anymore money than the assessment rate. She will only receive extra money if she's put into the Support Group.

      If she's claiming Housing benefit then DWP will have told them about the Tribunal decision and they will have stopped her money. She needs to go to her local council and ask for a Nil income form, once it's filled in they will restart her housing benefit.

      As she's no longer claiming ESA then she won't be entitled to free prescriptions until she either claims UC or ESA (if they allow her, with a new condition) She can claim them through the low income but for this she will have to fill in the HC1 form and wait for them to send her the card/certificate of proof that she can use when collecting prescriptions.

      It's a lot to take in Michael and i hope you understand everything i said. First step would be to put her postcode into the UC postcode checker. Let me know what's in her area please.

    • Posted

      God morning Denise, that universal credit has not been started in our area yet.Im going to arrange an appointment with CAB , will call them this morning. Your right Denise, it is a lot to take in, and while I'm very angry and upset that my sister has been left in this situation , I must keep a clear head if I'm to be any use to her now.We are extremely thankful for your advice Denise. A lot of advice is not readily available to the general public, such as the nil income.I had not even heard of it.Thank you Denise.

    • Posted

      Morning Michael,

      The error in law route is so rare and extremely difficult to find, therefore if it was me then i'd go down the re-applying route. For this she will not be able to apply for ESA using the same condition/diagnosis as she claimed for previously because they will refuse her application. She will need to ask her GP to either put something totally different or a significant worsening of an existing condition, this is the only way they will possibly allow her to re-apply. Even then her application will have to be sent and approved by a case manager/decision maker, so it's not guaranteed.

      The first thing she needs to do is ask for that nil income form from her local council because her housing benefit and council tax reduction will stop immediately, it most likely already has in fact. DWP will automatically send the info from their computer to the local council because they are connected. The last thing she needs is to be in arrears with her rent.

      The ESA application could take a while and she won't have any money until it's accepted so she needs to contact all of the companies she pays bills with and explain to them she has no benefit payment or any income and they will put her bills on hold. As for food then food bank vouchers are available from her GP or her local CAB i believe.

      It is a lot to take in but her first step is council for sure!

      i'm glad i was able to help with all this because you're right, it's a lot to take in and some of it isn't always available on the internet. You have to know what to look for. I'm just so sorry it's come to this. I'm glad she has you to help her. She should also get help with the ESA claim if they agree she can re-apply. ESA is more complicated than most people realise because it's not about the work you can't do, it's about the work you can do. Good luck!!!

    • Posted

      Hello Denise,you are right about trying to find an error of law.The CAB Lady said the exact same thing and to go down a different route would probably be the best bet.But first she said to apply to the court for a copy of Statement Of Reason and also a Record Of Proceedings.Then get the CAB to look them over.I did get my sister to phone the council to initiate a request for Nil Income.They made a note of the call,but could do nothing further has they have not recieved notification from the DWP to stop my sister,s claim yet.So that is has far as we have got today Denise.My sister is still trying to understand how she has ended up in this mess.If she had a broken arm etc ,then it would mend and give no further problem.But her discs /nerves in her back are damaged and consultant has said there is nothing to be done and take strong pain killers and learn to live with it.So if her condition is the same ,why are DWP/Tribunal saying she is fine and can work ?.Denise,i want to thank you again for all the help and effort you have given us,you are a marvel.Thank You,Regards,Mick.
    • Posted

      HI Michael,

      Yes, i thought CAB would have agreed with what i said. Asking for the Statement of reasons isn't a bad thing because at least she will know their reasons for the decision they made.

      I know it's cruel what they do to people. ESA isn't the easiest thing to claim. This is because regardless of what a GP or Consultant think the DWP and Tribunal can over rule that. As i said earlier this morning, ESA is about the work you can do, rather than what you can't do. When going for the assessment or Tribunal they will consider any type of work and this can include sitting down in a office or any light work in the respect.

      When/if she tries to reapply for ESA she must do some online research to try to teach herself what ESA is all about. I know that must sound ridiculous but having some understanding helps massively.

      Does she claim PIP or DLA? If she doesn't has she considered claiming PIP? When i have some time later this evening i'll send you some links all about ESA and the descriptors they use for each of the groups. I'll also send you another link for a test for ESA. Have a read through with your sister and hopefully this will teach you both a little of what it's all about.

      As for my help, you're very welcome, it's what i'm here for.

      I'll send you those links before i retire to bed. Take care Micheal.

    • Posted

      Good morning Denise, no my sister has not claimed the pip...To be honest she feels ashamed at having to make a claim for any benefit, but she has worked for the last 45 yrs since leaving school and I have said to her that she is not asking for anything more than she has contributed to.Plus after losing her case for the esa I think she is afraid of maybe being granted pip then having it taken away again.The system is totally wrong, if you have contributed to the system for yrs and yrs then I feel you should be able to get help when you need it.Not have to jump through hoops and be judged by someone who has no real knowledge of how pain effects you daily.Nor how it affects your mind set.My sister was always active , now she cannot walk without aids, so this depresses her too.Will look forward to the information you mentioned sending to me Denise, as the saying goes " knowledge is power " eh .Regards, Mick.

    • Posted

      Morning Mick,

      Unfortunately in makes no difference how much you've paid into the system through working in the past. You still have to go through those assessments in exactly the same way as someone who hasn't worked. There's a lot of people who wish it was that simple.

      Now for PIP. Firstly PIP and ESA is a lot different. People claim PIP and work, so it's nothing to do with not being able to work. It's purely based on how those conditions affect you're ability to do daily things. Walking included. Providing she's under 65 of course, but she must be because of the ESA claim.

      There's PIP descriptors available online and also a PIP self test. I'll send you some more links to do with this. Evidence would be needed to support a claim, the same as with ESA. Yes, you would be review regularly but everyone has to be sadly. PIP is available regardless of any savings a person has because it's not means tested. It can also increase the amount of other benefits you receive too. In my opinion, it's definitely worth her applying. There's probably a lot of people that first thought they won't bother but decided to and were awarded.

      I have plenty of knowledge about PIP too, so if she does decide to apply then shout loud if you need some help/advice.

      Yes, you're right it really does help to have some knowledge of the benefit system and how it works. I'll send those extra links in a little while.

    • Posted

      Hello Denise,i understand what your saying and will get my sister to have a think about this pip thing.Although her head is a bit messed up with all that has gone on since last Monday in court,she still cannot understand if she is still on same meds and her condition has not altered why she as got a fail in court.But thank you for all your advice though Denise.Regards,Mick.
    • Posted

      You're welcome. Was she previously in one of the groups and was this her first claim for ESA?

      As i said before during an assessment or a Tribunal for ESA they will be looking at the work you can do, rather than the work you can't do. If this means using a wheelchair then there will be work she can do, in their eyes, that is.

    • Posted

      Hello Denise, my sister was in the work related group not the support one.I understand what you mean about them looking at way you can do, rather than what you cannot.My sister had been claiming was for about 3yrs, during this time she did try to go back into work. But because of her health issues , never made it past the handing in a cv stage.Companys were hesitant to take her on , it's obvious why.If you cannot sit , stand or walk for more than a few mins at a time your not going to be very productive.Also her health will change from day to day.So some days she will be worn out from lack of sleep due to pain. So would not go into work on days such as these.So I suppose it would be quite difficult for a company to accommodate all this and still function profitably Denise.

    • Posted

      Hi Mick,

      Yes indeed that doesn't make any sense. I'll send you another link that will fully explain the repeat ESA claims procedure because there's no guarantee that they will accept her claim. If it's not done properly then they will find her fit for work even before her claim is allowed. Then the only way would be the MR and Tribunal and she will not be paid any money for ESA during any of that process.

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