On Page 2 of the ESA Customer Statement, which I received on 16th Sept 2016, it clearly states that I’ve got until 8th October 2016 to contact the DWP with all the information & evidence documents requested.
But today, which is 10 whole days before their deadline, “A” phones me from Worcester Benefit Centre. He’s REFUSING my new ESA (6th) claim, because he doesn’t accept that anything I’ve said to him (or when I first made this new claim) indicates I would score any points in an ESA assessment!
I flicked through the ESA Customer Statement, & told him that Page 9 of it clearly lists my new health condition which I’d described over the phone when I’d made my new claim. But “A” said he couldn’t see that on his screen. I also described how one of my existing health conditions had been made significantly worse since losing my ESA Tribunal (5th Claim), as my Housing Benefit & Council Tax Benefit have been suspended, and my rent account is in arrears, which just piles on the stress, and the amount of crap I have to deal with. I politely told him he was ignorant of all the facts, and that I haven’t even been able to submit evidence yet. But his mind was already made up. His decision is backdated to 7th Sept 2016. “A” will send me a letter, it carries right of appeal. Clearly, it’s premature substandard decision-making like this that clogs up the Tribunals Service, & the DWP’s internal complaints process.
I still need to send in Med Cert & Medical Evidence if I intend to request a Mandatory Reconsideration. I told “A” I’d even had the courtesy yesterday to let the DWP know I’d be submitting Med Cert & Medical Evidence soon.
“A” advised me to claim JSA (Jobseekers Allowance), & ask for it to be backdated to 7th Sept 2016, & to tell JSA staff I’ve only been refused ESA (6th claim) today, but his decision is effective from 7th September 2016. “A” said he believes I’m capable of doing at least 16 hrs of work per week, & that JSA staff will have to take my health problems into account.
[Total call duration 44 minutes]