Mar 102013
  Time for your ESA assessment?

Not for 78,000 claimants
– waiting over a year!

Only the other week we had the DWP recklessly fuelling the tabloids over its absurd claims that 15,000 Disability claimants (most of whom were pensioners and children) were seemingly breaking a leg to get their claims in before the dreaded new Personal Capability Assessment comes in to being this April for new claiments; the DWP neglected to make sure the media told everyone how the figures they were quoting were months out of date!

When challenged over the figures the DWP advocate that you should ‘dig deep’ and look beyond their damaging headlines.  When you do so it’s interesting to see what you turf up – the utterly chaotic Employment & Support Allowance ‘reassessment of the sick’ programme goes from bad to worse as it is revealed (upon digging deeper in to their figures) that thousands upon thousands of claimants remain ‘stuck’ in what the DWP term the ‘assessment phase’ of an allowance which seems to be getting its claimants no support at all in to employment.  

Read more about the DWP’s ‘customer journey to nowhere’  The DWP’s most up to date figures for May 2012 (the figures for August 2012 are apparently ‘delayed’) show that an astonishing 455,860 claimants are either waiting for their Work Capability Assessment to be completed or waiting for an appeal against a decision they believe to be wrong.  What is totally unacceptable is how a programme which is meant to be helping people back to work is seeing no less than 77,820 claimants waiting a year or more for their assessment or appeal to lead to any kind of proper decision! – in nearly 30,000 cases it’s over 2 years!

This is nothing short of a National outrage which the mainstream media have a duty to publish.

Here’s the official DWP figures…. 

Assessment Phase  


Up to 3 months 

3 to 6 months 

6 months to 1 year  

1 to 2 years

2 to 5 years

May 2012







February 2012







Change (+/-) +31,390 

– 8,290

+ 14,250

+ 16,450

+ 4,300

+ 4,970


DWPs ESA Process in Chaos?

You can check them against the official DWP tables here….

DWP figures for May 2012

DWP figures for February 2012

With thanks to the brilliant Nick at Mylegal for more from Nick see

Twitter: @Mylegalforum


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  5 Responses to “DWP’s ESA Process in Chaos?”

  1. please can anyone tell me why my esa assessment as not taken place??? Had the appointmant letter from atos in november asked for my examination to be recorded after two further appointmant,s where cancelled by ATOS .I recieved a third in JANUARY this one i attended only to be told my name was not on the list and i could not be seen and that another appointment would be sent. it is now MARCH 28th and still not heard. IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD KNOW?? DO THEY HAVE A REASON FOR THIS?? i would thank you for any info you have………. kind regards.

  2. I think disability activists should try push for an investigation into manslaughter regarding deaths where a person is found ‘fit to work’ by the WCA.

    I wrote to Rethink Mental Illness to ask if they would consider contacting the police on behalf of disabled people to request that an investigation be launched into possible crimes being committed. My email to them is below. There is also another site talking about possible Gross Negligence Manslaughter (link below). I also include a petition that calls for an investigation into manslaughter if anyone can please sign it, and the WOW petition link, which also calls for an investigation into the deaths. I hope one day someone is held responsible for all these terrible unnecessary deaths, and the possible hundreds or thousands still to come.

    (my email to Rethink Mental Illness)

    Please would your charity consider making a formal request to the police to open an investigation into serious criminal offences being possibly carried out against vulnerable disabled people. There is much evidence of this and I believe much more would come out if an investigation is initiated.

    I believe that anyone can report a crime to the police even if they are not the victim, and your charity does have special involvement in this area, such as commissioning the survey of GPs last year which I believe is a vital piece of evidence of these potential crimes.

    There are good grounds for the police to launch a criminal investigation into possible harassment and manslaughter, which is ongoing still, and has been for possibly several years. I also believe that the police have an obligation to at least start an investigation, given the serious nature of the crimes.
    The three sources of information that could be used immediately for initiating an investigation can be found online and are:

    1) The Freedom of Information request of 2012 showing that 1,100 people died between January and August 2011, after the controversial WCA test found them ‘fit for work’. When this piece of information is added to your own survey, which shows that the test is causing great distress, suicide attempts, even suicides, then there is grounds to investigate, in the public interest, whether any of these 1,100 people were also subject to this level of distress, and how may committed suicide as a result.

    2) The Rethink survey of GPs, as mentioned in my last point, shows that the WCA has been the contributing factor in the distress and even the death of many people.

    3) The British Medical Association’s call for the WCA test to be scrapped last year. Not only have the government ignored the warnings of the BMA and many other charities, organisations and other experts, but in January 2013 they made alterations to the test to make it even harder to pass and creating many more potential suicide victims. It was reckless of the government to continue using this test in the first place in the face of such evidence, but to go the other way and make the test even harder to pass is, I believe, clearly criminally negligent.

    The two criminal offences I therefore believe need to be urgently investigated are:

    a) Ongoing and previous harassment of vulnerable people who have undergone or will soon undergo the WCA Fitness For Work assessment. I use the legal definition of harassment from the Protection from Harassment Act 1997: ‘to pursue a course of action which amounts to harassment of another individual’ (harassment is defined by the Act as ‘behaviour which causes alarm or distress’ . The Rethink GP survey shows possible evidence of this and I believe more evidence can be obtained by many charities, such as CAB, who deal with many cases every day in helping prepare appeals.

    b) Gross negligent manslaughter. Again, both ongoing and previous. The government have had evidence of the potential suicides that will occur as a result of the WCA, and while they have brought in many measures, they do not seem to be making enough impact and they should have halted tests until they were safe. And last year the three pieces of evidence above, plus a call to scrap the test by many MPs and the government’s own Committee of Public Accounts more recently have still not made the government stop the test. In fact they have done the opposite and made the test harder to pass, introducing changes to it in January 2013. I therefore believe that this reckless endangering of lives, past and present, could constitute gross negligent manslaughter.

    I would be very grateful if Rethink will consider requesting that the police start an investigation into these potential crimes. The request would probably need to be made centrally, to the Metropolitan Police, due to the nationwide scale of the matter.

    of Gross Negligence Manslaughter is as follows;
    …where the death is a result of a grossly negligent (though otherwise lawful) act or omission on the part of the defendant. The law in respect of this has been clarified to a four stage test (the Adomako Test) outlined by the House of Lords:
    a) the existence of a duty of care to the deceased;
    b) a breach of that duty of care which;
    c) causes (or significantly contributes) to the death of the victim; and
    d) the breach should be characterised as gross negligence, and therefore a crime.
    The government, the coalition, atos, Ian Duncan Smith in particular, and the labour party who introduced the new Work Capability Assessment are guilty of manslaughter. On a massive scale. Is 10,000 deaths, deliberate and premeditated on the part of the government, sufficient to call it genocide?


    To Investigate the DWP and connected MPs for corporate manslaughter. In relation to the WCA & Atos Healthcare
    Responsible department: Department for Work and Pensions
    To Investigate the DWP and connected MPs for corporate manslaughter.
    We have seen deaths rise of people on sickness benefit from 310 in 2010. To 10,600 in 9 months of 2011.
    In relation to the WCA & Atos Healthcare.

  3. Claimants could be left without any income replacement benefit at all when challenging a decision that they are fit for work, the government has confirmed. Once the new system of mandatory reconsiderations before appeals is introduced, employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants will lose their right to be paid the assessment rate when they first challenge a decision.
    Instead, they will have to try to sign on as available for work and claim Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or manage without either benefit until the reconsideration has been carried out. Only once an appeal has been lodged will they be able to reclaim ESA. The decision to refuse to pay ESA during the reconsideration period was confirmed by Lord Freud on 13 February, when he told the House of Lords:
    “I turn now to ESA. At the moment, if someone appeals a refusal of ESA, it can continue to be paid pending the appeal being heard; this is not changing. What is changing is that there can be no appeal until there has been a mandatory reconsideration. So there will be a gap in payment. In that period-and I repeat that applications will be dealt with quickly so that this is kept to a minimum-the claimant could claim jobseeker’s allowance or universal credit. Alternative sources of funds are available. Of course, he or she may choose to wait for the outcome of the application and then, if necessary, appeal and be paid ESA at that point.”
    However, there is no time-limit for how long the DWP can spend carrying out a mandatory reconsideration. Given the ever increasing workload and ever decreasing staff numbers, the probability of reconsiderations being carried out in weeks rather than months does not seem high.
    In addition, some people attempting to claim JSA may find Jobcentre Plus staff attempting to refuse to accept their claim on the grounds that, because of their health condition, they are not available for and actively seeking work. This may be particularly the case as claimants are likely to be required to continue submitting sick notes in relation to their ESA claim whilst presenting themselves as fit for work in relation to their JSA claim. Claimants may well find themselves in the nightmare scenario of being found too fit to claim ESA but too sick to claim JSA.
    Even the start date for the new mandatory reconsiderations for ESA is the subject of confusion. DWP and ministerial statements refer to a start date in April for PIP mandatory reconsiderations and October for ESA. The draft regulations, on the other hand, give a start date of 8th April for PIP and 29 April for ESA, JSA and universal credit mandatory reconsiderations.

  4. Is The Personal Capability Assessment replacing the Work Capability assessment as will still be same issue Atos not reading eveidence when asked the DWP are corrupt.

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