Wednesday 13 April 2011


Today is the last day for submitting your evidence/experiences to the ESA enquiry.

-If you have experience of an ATOS Work Capability Assessment
-If you are currently on IB but will soon be assessed for ESA
-If you have experience of the Work Capability Group
-If you are concerned about Time Limiting or any other aspect of the changes, then

Please take a few moments to read the issues outlined in the enquiry below and if you feel one or more have affected you, I urge you to write a short statement. It might be a description of how unsuitable your assessment was, your experiences of ATOS, or how time limiting the benefit could affect your partner's ability to keep working. If you have been through the worry and fear of a tribunal, we need to explain how this fails too, or how hard it is to always be fighting.

Obviously, you can respond to all of the points if you feel you have personal experience to share. Contact details for sending in submissions can be found by clicking on "How to submit Written Evidence" at the bottom of the DWP quote.

However, I have set up a new email address, to enable anyone who wishes to, to write their feelings and thoughts and contributions without having to make their personal details available on my blog. It is vital that each submission is accompanied by a name address and telephone number to ensure that as many submissions can be made as possible.

You don't need to be a writer or a campaigner - far from it. It doesn't matter what you write or how. No submissions will be censored or altered. I will simply collect them together until the submission date. If you've never been actively involved before, I urge you to think about joining in. This is the best chance we, the public, have to be heard and hopefully, to change the most damaging aspects of ESA.

"Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) replaced incapacity benefits for people making new claims from October 2008. To be eligible for ESA, a person must usually undergo a Work Capability Assessment (WCA).
The introduction of ESA in 2008 was initially limited to new claimants. Existing incapacity benefit claimants are now being reassessed under the Work Capability Assessment. The process will last until 2014 with around 1.5 million people being reassessed.
Reassessment commenced on 11 October 2010 with a trial in Aberdeen and Burnley.  At the end of February, Jobcentre Plus began a limited introductory phase, and will move to full national reassessment of incapacity benefit claimants from April 2011.
In particular, the Inquiry will focus on the following issues:
  • The Department’s communications to customers going through the assessment and whether the information, guidance and advice provided by the Department and Jobcentre Plus is effective in supporting customers through the process.
  • The Work Capability Assessment including: the assessment criteria; the service provided by Atos staff; the suitability of assessment centres; and customers’ overall experience of the process.
  • The decision-making process and how it could be improved to ensure that customers are confident that the outcome of their assessment is a fair and transparent reflection of their capacity for work. 
  • The appeals process, including the time taken for the appeals process to be completed; and whether customers who decide to appeal the outcome of their assessment have all the necessary guidance, information and advice to support them through the process.
  • The outcome of the migration process and the different paths taken by the various client groups: those moved to Jobseeker’s Allowance, including the support provided to find work and theimpact of the labour market on employment prospects; those found fit for work who may be entitled to no further benefits; those placed in the Work Related Activity Group of the ESA, including the likely impact of the Department’s decision to time-limit contribution-based ESA to a year; and those placed in the Support Group.
  • The time-scale for the national roll-out for the migration process, including the Department’s capacity to introduce changes identified as necessary in the Aberdeen and Burnley trials.
Short submissions (no more than 3,000 words) are invited from interested organisations and individuals.
The deadline for submissions is 14 April 2011."
That last line is the link that gives details on how the submission should be presented. (just click on it) If you can follow the suggestions, please do, but if they daunt you, don't be put off, just send your story with name, address and telephone number to and I will attempt to put as many as I can in the format the inquiry requests. (always asking for your approval before submission.)

Most of all though, know that this is great news. It is an enormous achievement that this blog and hundreds of other blogs and campaign groups and charities have highlighted the faults of ESA so effectively that we now have a chance to make our views heard officially.

Please pass this on to anyone you know who might want to participate, and again, share as widely as possible to make sure that as many people are included in this process as possible. 

Once again, the email for submitting via this blog is


  1. Do think these committees will listen sue ?
    From my own ongoing experience over the years they never have and i don't think they ever will

    For them to be viable and have credibility you need to have safeguards built in like if someone who has been ill a long time for many years and then is told he's fit that in itself would cause a great deal of stress in trying to get it sorted out and could very easily lead to that persons death by having a heart attack especially if there in there fifties

    Or if someone who has a deep mental illness that person to could go on to take his own life or that of others

    Where are the safeguards that is the most important element of all

    There should at a minimum be a full legal support system in place which is dealt with by a fully qualified independent lawyer who acts for on the patients behalf paid for by the state this would insure that no stone was overlooked and that justice was fully seen to be done through the courts if necessary
    So that a proper judgment was made for that individual and all of their human rights have not been violated

  2. There have been many times over the years where my benefit has been stopped and only a lawyers intervention has got them started again because of errors made by the DWP

    Overall since 1980 the DWP in my case have performed terrible and wicked and if others across the country have suffered the same fate then it has been an absolute hell and at the end of the day the government should be held to account in the courts for crimes against it's vulnerable people

    I don't believe for one minute my life would have been worse if i had lived in the middle east and my wife from that region agrees with me such is my loathing for conservative / labour politics

    They have been politics of hell and left me with the body of a Japanese prisoner of war so do blog that if you think it will get you somewhere but as i say i know these types of people who run the system so well and along with the business that go with them and all they wont at the end of the day is your death and as always there'll dress it up us complete shock and there'll use the words how dreadful and surely not and I'll look in to it for you

    I have heard it all before with my experience over the years and cant ever see any change
    Even my mp as good as he is is way out of his depth when the DWP are concerned

    As always sue your doing a grand job and will probably be on the winning side i may even to with my way of fighting but my thoughts overall will always be with everyone else as for them it will be like a hell on earth and i just prey to god that the DWP will show mercy upon them and that their stress be minimal if at all

  3. Ok, done. It was the hardest bastard thing I've done in a very long time and now I'm terrified they'll "come looking for me", but what can you do? Mine concerned the massive detrimental effect of sanctions and time-limiting ESA on victims/survivors of sexual (and other) abuse, so if there's anyone in that position reading this, take heart, at least you know the case has been put. No-one seems to talk about it, yet it's probably the biggest single cause of mental health problems. Hmph.

    Thanks as always, Sue.

  4. Jan - I think you speak for many many people.

    Flor every submission I had, there are 5 or 6 people too frightened to make one. I've had many anonymous comments from people who felt like you with mental illness, those afraid of having a submission used against them, but apparently I can submit them too and I will.

    Thank you so much and do stay in touch for updates.