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Benefits and Works message about ESA claims on physical grounds

This has been forwarded to us from someone who received it from Benefits and Work. If you have any questions or comments please contact Benefits and Work. www.benefitsandwork.co.uk

New reclaim rules
In just 18 days’ time the rule which allows you to reclaim ESA at the assessment phase rate 6 months after a refusal will be abolished for most claimants, though there are some important exceptions. For example, if your condition has got worse or you have developed a new condition, then you may be able to get the assessment rate again - provided the DWP accept that this is the case.

The change is particularly likely to hit people who are too ill or unsupported when they first make a claim to make a proper job of it and who try to claim again later.

We’ve included details of the new rules in our claiming ESA guides, updated yesterday.

New ESA50 form
Our updated guides also take into account the new ESA50 claim form issued at the end of February. The new form coincides with Maximus taking over the work capability assessment from Atos.

The main changes to the form are questions being arranged in a different order. But many of the boxes for claimants to give information in have also been made much smaller. It is also no longer possible to reduce the font size in the .pdf version to get more evidence text into the boxes.

It almost looks like Maximus are being paid twice as much money to process half as much information.

PIP alerts
We’ve also added ‘PIP alerts’ to the ESA guides. These warn you about which ESA activities overlap with personal independence payment (PIP) activities. This is important because, as we revealed recently, ESA medical reports are now being used to make PIP decisions. So, a poorly completed ESA50 form can threaten not only your ESA award but also your PIP award.

In addition, we’ve included brief information about the change from Atos to Maximus and an update on when ESA reassessments are likely to start again under Maximus.

You can find a list of all the changes we've made to our guides to claiming ESA on physical health grounds and on mental health grounds just after the index at the front of each guide in the ESA section of the Benefits and Work members area.

Missing forms and missing medicals
Not everyone will have to deal with the new ESA50, it seems.

We’ve been hearing from members in the forum that they have been summoned for ESA medicals without ever having received an ESA50 to complete. We’d like to know if this issue is widespread.

In relation to PIP, we have heard from one reader who was initially asked to do a six hour round trip for his face-to-face assessment . He was then given a series of inappropriate appointments before a paper-based assessment was used to deny him any award at all

Again, we’d like to get an idea of how widespread this practice is.

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