Friday 29 November 2013

Mandatory Reconsideration - A Little Hope?

Apologies, someone emailed this news report and I don't know who to credit it to, but felt the information was worth sharing with you all.

It's not much, but at least a little "softening" from Esther McVey

Straightforward ESA mandatory reconsiderations expected to take ‘around 14 days’, says Esther McVey

Employment Minister also confirms that claim for JSA during reconsideration period will have no bearing on outcome

26 November, 2013

The DWP would expect a straightforward employment and support (ESA) mandatory reconsideration to take 'around 14 days', according to Employment Minister Esther McVey.

Responding to questions on mandatory reconsideration of ESA decisions in parliament yesterday, Ms McVey said -

'If no further information is needed and the case is straightforward, the mandatory reconsideration process for employment and support allowance could be completed relatively quickly. We would usually expect this to take around 14 days, but it could take longer. For example, if further information is needed, the law states that DWP have to give people one month to provide it and this may be extended further at the decision maker's discretion, so cases like this may take longer.'

In addition, in response to a question on whether a claim for jobseeker's allowance (JSA) during the mandatory reconsideration period would prejudice or influence its outcome, Ms McVey said -

'The DWP decision maker’s decision at the mandatory reconsideration stage for employment and support allowance is intended to be an independent step in the process, therefore, whether the claimant has claimed jobseeker's allowance or not in the intervening period, this will have no bearing on the mandatory reconsideration decision. Work Capability Assessment decisions are binding—a jobseeker's allowance decision maker cannot decide that a claimant is too ill to work if this contradicts the ESA decision maker's decision. However, the claimant must agree to the jobseeker's agreement/claimant commitment to be eligible.'

Ms McVey's written answers are available from Hansard.


  1. That's keeping in line with the current timeframe of reconsideration by the DWP. I've done tonnes of them and the longest I've had was 6 weeks, but then again I always used it as an appeal shortcut and don't know how much other people used it when ESA came in.

    Those 6 weeks were pre 2008 when you got no money on appeal and they tried to take back an 'overpayment' of a fortnight's money that went out before they wrote to me. Had to explain it wouldn't be overpaid if I won the appeal. Could hear the penny drop, so be aware of that one too.

    I have also had good results getting results overturned at MR, including at ESA. Hope it continues. Good luck everyone!

  2. It's the last bit that worries me. ESA Decision Maker rules you fit for work, JSA Decision Maker then can't overrule that, and you have to agree to whatever is in Jobseeker's Agreement. So anyone for whom work is actually dangerous is stuck between a rock and a hard place, potentially for several months. Will they even acknowledge a Sick Note if you present one? I remember having to fight to get my disability acknowledged in my JSA jobseeker's agreement and that was back in 2009.

    We could see people sanctioned while on JSA waiting for ESA reconsideration because their jobseeker's agreement mandates them to do something they can't do for disability reasons, perhaps even something they can't safely do.

  3. Reforming the welfare culture is one thing, but attacking disabled people is another. How is that in any way fair? Did disabled people create the financial collapse? So why are the being cruelly treated? Why is the media almost totally silent about this?

    Some of the people making these very cruel and harsh decisions may do well to think about their eternal futures.

    '9 'Yahweh Sabaoth says this.) He said, "Apply the law fairly, and show faithful love and compassion towards one another.

    10 Do not oppress the widow and the orphan, the foreigner and the poor, and do not secretly plan evil against one another."' (Zecharia 7:9-10)

  4. As I understand it, an ESA appeal strictly concerns your capability for work as at the time of your ATOS medical. Thus a new claim may be in point if your condition as worsened or there is a new condition. Is this correct? Your medical condition should be taken into account in preparing a Job Seekers Agreement. Any recent experiences of this?

  5. I don't have any experience of trying to claim JSA while awaiting ESA reconsideration (as yet) but McVey states in her answer to Mr Godsiff, furthr down in Hansard, that for someone to qualify for JSA they will have to be able and available for work -

    "Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which benefits employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants will be able to apply for during the period when their ESA is undergoing mandatory reconsideration; and what the criteria of eligibility is for each such benefit. [175984]

    Esther McVey: A person's eligibility for alternative benefits will depend upon their individual circumstances, however, as employment and support allowance will not be payable during the mandatory reconsideration period, the claimant may choose to claim jobseeker's allowance or income support if they satisfy the entitlement criteria:

    To qualify for jobseeker's allowance (JSA) someone will usually have to be 18 or over (but below state pension age) and able and available for work."

    "Able and available"...I can't see how you could differentiate someone who is ill and claiming JSA from someone who is 'able' and claiming, (and unfortunately therefore subject to sanctions etc etc) within DWP rules. Or is that covered by the Jobseekers Agreement?

    I am rather befuddled and as I say, don't know enough about it to comment on what she said, but it seems like she is contradicting herself?

    1. I can shed a little light on the ESA to JSA situation. I'm currently on the WRAG group for ESA at present due to epilepsy which I developed following a sudden illness 3 years ago. I had to be resuscitated by paramedics and have suffered with grand mal seizures on an almost daily basis ever since.

      I have undergone the Atos work capability assessment four times since and have had to overturn three of them. I applied for JSA this summer when I was pushed off ESA. I asked to be considered at the assessment rate and was refused. I filled in the claim form for JSA and even went to sign on at the jobcentre in order to fulfil the conditions of my mortgage protection). When I saw the advisor he immediately raised a doubt on my claim as I was unfit and not able to work. I was then directed to reapply for ESA. It was only when I asked Citizens advice that I actually got my payments reinstated and backdated. I can only imagine what it must be like now the Government have removed the right to claim while appealing.

  6. Reconsideration I have been waiting over two months for one with no money and it looks like I going to have to keep waiting. Something has gone wrong with this badly concived idea. I am now totally broke living on hand to mouth..

  7. I have just waited over 6 weeks for my mandatory reconsideration and had to claim JSA in the meantime. Today I received a letter saying they have changed the decision and I am in the ESA wrag. But I've absolutely no idea what happens now.

    1. hi did you have to aply for jobs and show proof will on job seekers awaiting outcome ?

  8. I'm waiting for mine. The DWP say ithey should reach a desicion on Wednesday. I'm guessing they'll say no so I'm going to get a sick note ASAP....

  9. Im also waiting for a decision for ESA, after scoring only 9 points for needing someone to accompany me to familiar places , Im severely deaf in both ears and wear an hearing aid but scored nothing on hearing I have to take my son in law to sign on, now being made to look for work (can I take him to work)lol...In reality though its made me 100% worse off ive cried buckets I'm agoraphobic and suffer anxiety and panic attacks and im physically sick on day ive to sign on, if I don't go I wont get my rent paid, ive sighned on twice I cant work so wont be signing on much longer .

    1. Iv had similar symptoms,Mental illness.Got medically terminated from a well paid job,Appealed and fought for it through my union even though in truth I don't think I could have worked if I won appeal.Im 41 and have suffered mental health for years and not surprisingly after this big company terminated me.I was with a care worker guy that comes with me.Out of the blue I started suffering agoraphobia just before I seen the dr (who knows me and my life so well,NOT) This is 8 weeks later and Iv only been out to take my rubbish out.It could end up getting out of hand.Iv always had GAD and depression but it 5 x worse now.They said we'll go down and sign for job seekers until you hear back.I said I suffer agoraphobia and you want me to go to the job centre because a dr that seen me for £45 mins?!!! To top it off I'm £50,000 in debt,My fault but it comes with the OCD and depression.So much needed psychotherapy Iv been told I can't have yet because my mind will be stressed about that instead of thinking about therapy.So I'm prob going to have to wait 2 years Iv been told.To top it off my mum had mental health problems and every council department new it,They evicted her,She ended up sleeping at a squatters and 3 Weeks later she was dead.This is 10 years on and those bastards are still the same.

    2. I tell you one thing though il mop the floor with them! Hope you have a disibility freedom pass? You send drs notes with correct forms.

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