Employment and Support Allowance Benefits
When you are struggling to cope with a serious illness, health condition or disability, claiming employment support allowance should be a formality. However for many of us it's an absolute nightmare. The new benefits system Employment & Support Allowance ( ESA ) consists of the most complex, debilitating assessment procedure to gain benefit entitlement we have ever encountered.
ESA Work Capability Assessment
At the heart of the assessment is a procedure called the Work Capability Assessment, which includes two medical tests. These tests are conducted on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions by so called medical health professionals Atos Healthcare. There have already been many criticisms of the accuracy of the Work Capability Assessments, undertaken by Atos Healthcare, the sole DWP contractor, and an independent review is under way.
Here's a heads up on what the assessor is marking you on, please be aware they will not ask all the questions outright, from the moment you walk or wheel in you are under observation and your demeanor and the way you act is duly noted. It's also a good idea to get a lift off a family member or relative to the assessment center, this carries more weight.
Limited Capability For Work-related Activity - Test
The 'limited capability for work-related activity' test will be satisfied if any one of the following conditions apply. Anyone meeting the conditions will qualify for the 'support component' which is worth more in monetary terms than the 'work-related activity component'. People who get the 'support component' will not be required to take part in 'work-focused interviews' or the 'work-focused health-related assessment'. The questions are a series of yes or no answers.
Atos Healthcare Medical Assessments
These tests were designed by dubiously constituted committees, tried out on a statistically insignificant number of claimants, then re-worked to make them harder to pass and then written up into the most incomprehensible and convoluted legislation possible. Which is apparently only open to interpretation by the DWP and Atos Healthcare, where they deem necessary.
The questionnaire which you have to complete is misleading and, at times irrelevant to the actual legal tests. The guidance given to the alleged doctors or medical professionals is equally questionable, so indeed is the whole set up.
With Atos Healthcare being paid per medical test and the alleged medical professionals a commission per test, it is no wonder the accuracy leaves alot to be desired. In many instances claimants have concluded the medical professional couldn't have been in the same room at the time of the assessment.
A Guide To Employment & Support Allowance Appeals
The aim of this guide is to help you through the appeals process with the independent Tribunal.
The Tribunal is part of the first-tier Tribunal which belongs to the system of courts and Tribunals which decides people's rights. It deals with disputes about social security benefits, including employment and support allowance.
An 'appeal' means applying to the Tribunal for an independent ruling whether a decision by a department or council on entitlement to benefit is right or not. There are over 200,000 appeals each year. This guide explains what an appeal involves step by step.
ESA Shaw Trust Work-Focused Interviews
All ESA claimants who are put into the work-related activity group will be required to attend a series of six work-focused interviews with a personal adviser.
The purpose of these interviews is to draw up and implement an action plan with a view to getting you back to work.