ESA appeal letter example

In this article, you will find ESA appeal letter examples and a framework that you can use as guidance when appealing a DWP’s decision. 

ESA appeal letter example

ESA appeal letter example – framework 

Below you will find a framework from Benefits and Works guides, that you can use for creating a written submission.

You don’t have to follow this layout and you can change and adapt it to suit your purposes, but it does give you a starting place for writing your submission.

  1.  Your details

It’s worth including all the details below at the start of your submission so that you can be sure it gets to the right people.

The date of the decision being challenged is useful to include because it helps remind you and the tribunal about the relevant date – if your condition changed after this date that won’t be relevant to this appeal. 

Name Tribunal 

Ref No:

 NINO: 

Hearing: 

Date and Time Venue:

Date of decision being challenged:

  1. Introduction
  2. Potted history – optional 
  3. Undisputed scores 

Any points awarded that you think are correct 

  1. Each disputed activity in detail 

Explain in detail why you think the decision is wrong and what the right decision is for a disputed activity by using steps 5a-e below.

Then repeat 5 a-e for each additional activity you want to dispute. 

5a – Descriptor you think is incorrect. 

5b – What you think the correct descriptor is

5c – What error the HP or DM has made 

5d – What evidence is in the papers to support you 

5e – Any further evidence you want to add including any Upper Tribunal decisions relevant to this activity you wish to quote. 

  1.  Any general points about the evidence 
  2. Conclusion

ESA appeal letter example 1

It’s worth including all the details below at the start of your submission so that you can be sure it gets to the right people.

The date of the decision being challenged is useful to include because it helps remind you and the tribunal about the relevant date – if your condition changed after this date that won’t be relevant to this appeal. 

Name Tribunal 

Ref No:

 NINO: 

Hearing: 

Date and Time Venue:

Date of decision being challenged:

Introduction 

Following a medical assessment, I have been found capable of work and am now appealing against that decision. I was awarded 6 points

Potted history 

I am 58 years old. I suffer from arthritis in my arms, legs, and spine. I have worked all my adult life.

For the last 10 years I have worked in a national trust shop. But I finally had to stop this year as I was taking so much time off sick and my doctor agreed that I could no longer continue. 

Undisputed scores

I was awarded 6 points for cannot raise either arm above head height as if to reach for something. I consider this to be the correct score for this activity

Each disputed activity in detail 

Mobilizing:  I was awarded 0 points for mobilizing. I believe that the correct descriptor is 1(a) (i) Cannot mobilize more than 50 meters on level ground without stopping in order to avoid significant discomfort or exhaustion which scores 15 points. 

The HP has based their assessment of my walking ability on what I can manage around the home and at a supermarket without asking me how I actually manage.

In fact, I actually lean on a trolley and stop three times down each aisle to rest and do not cover the whole supermarket in one trip.

I explained the difficulties I had with walking in the claim pack, on pages 35-37 of the appeal papers, and this made it clear that I could only walk 20 meters without stopping and that I am in pain all the time when I walk.

 I am also enclosing a letter from my consultant which states that my arthritis is not well controlled by drugs and that I am likely to be insignificant pain when walking. 

Any general points about the evidence 

The person who carried out my medical was with me for only 20 minutes. They are a generalist nurse with no specialist knowledge of arthritis.

My GP and my consultant, who both support my claim, have known me for at least 20 years. 

Conclusion 

I believe that I should have been awarded 21 points and that I should have been placed in the support group because descriptor 1(i) of the support group activities applies.

I further believe that finding me fit for work poses a substantial risk to my physical health, in that I experience such high levels of pain following any walking activity (which would be required for any job) that I have to rest for long periods of time afterward. 

I believe that there are no “reasonable adjustments” that could be made that would relieve me of this risk to my health.

I additionally request that the tribunal considers whether, as a consequence of such activity, I satisfy the conditions of entitlement to ESA under Regulation 31. 

I submit that I should be placed into the Support Group because there would be a substantial risk to my health if I were found not to have a limited capability for work-related activity. 

ESA appeal letter example 2

It’s worth including all the details below at the start of your submission so that you can be sure it gets to the right people.

The date of the decision being challenged is useful to include because it helps remind you and the tribunal about the relevant date – if your condition changed after this date that won’t be relevant to this appeal. 

Name Tribunal 

Ref No:

 NINO: 

Hearing: 

Date and Time Venue:

Date of decision being challenged:

Introduction 

I have been found capable of work and I wish to appeal against that decision. I was awarded 6 points for my problems with starting and finishing tasks, however my mental health conditions cause me many more problems than this.

The medical assessment on which the decision is based is not complete or accurate and therefore the decision-maker has been unable to reach a correct decision.

 Potted history 

I am 27 years old. I suffer from anxiety and depression and for much of the time I am agoraphobic and cannot leave the house alone.

I was working in a call center for more than 4 years, but following a relationship breakdown 2 years ago, I became more and more depressed and finally I was dismissed because of my sickness absence. 

Since then, I have been involved with mental health services and I am currently under the home treatment team, as I have attempted to take my own life on 3 occasions in the past 2 years.

The most recent time was 14 weeks ago when I was admitted to hospital as an emergency. 

Undisputed scores 

I was awarded 6 points for the problems I have with motivation and the inability to start and complete tasks.

This is correct, as I am frequently unable to prompt myself to get out of bed, to maintain my personal hygiene or to get dressed.

 Each disputed activity in detail 

AWARENESS OF HAZARDS I have been awarded no points for Awareness of everyday hazards (activity 12). 

I believe I should have been awarded 9 points for descriptor 12 (b), as I frequently need supervision to maintain my own and others’ safety.

I had clearly stated to the health professional that I have set fire to my kitchen twice in the last month. 

On one occasion, the fire service was called by a neighbor, as I had left a pan on the cooker and completely forgotten about it.

On several other occasions, I have lost my concentration and cut myself when preparing vegetables, as I explained in my claim form. 

My mind wanders and if I am not fully focused on the task, I am at risk of hurting myself and causing damage to my property (as well as my neighbor’s). 

I often burn myself when cooking too – I keep forgetting to use oven gloves and have caused myself some very painful injuries when taking hot dishes out of the oven.

My Community Mental Health nurse has explained these difficulties in the enclosed letter. 

As he knows me better than the HP who examined me, I believe his evidence should be taken into account when making a decision about my capability for work. 

Any general points about the evidence 

The person who carried out my medical was with me for only 20 minutes. They are a generalist nurse with no specialist knowledge of mental health problems.

My GP and my CMHN, who both support my claim, have known me for the past 2 years and are more knowledgeable about my conditions and the effects on my functional ability. 

The contents of the medical report are very sparse and incomplete; the HP has failed to include the details of my hospital admissions, which I feel are relevant.

I have weekly support from my CMHN, as well as more frequent phone contact with the “out of hours” mental health support team. 

None of this has been recorded in the report that was sent to the decision-maker. 

Conclusion 

I believe that I should have been awarded 15 points and that I should have been awarded ESA as I have a limited capability for work due to my mental health condition. 

I request that the tribunal considers whether Regulation 31 applies, as I believe that finding me fit for the work-related activity will pose a substantial risk to my mental health and my managed recovery. 

These examples are from the Benefits and Work guides. ESA appeal submissions, by Steve Donnison and Holiday Whitehead.

You can find the complete guide here

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Conclusions 

In this article, you found two ESA appeal letter examples and a framework that you can use as guidance when appealing a DWP’s decision.

We hope that these examples can help you outline an idea of how an ESA appeal letter should be.

Please feel free to share you experience with ESA and appealing the DWP’s decision, in the comments section below. 

FAQ about ESA appeal letter example

What do you write in an appeal letter?

In an appeal letter, you write about why you think the decision made by the DWP was wrong or unjust, and state what you hope the new outcome will be.

Your appeal letter is your chance to share your side of the situation.

The goal of an appeal letter is to have a decision reconsidered, and hopefully overturned.

How many ESA appeals are successful?

73% of ESA appeals are successful, with the claimant getting a better award than they originally received from the DWP.

How many pages should an appeal letter be?

It doesn’t matter how many pages your appeal letter has.

The appeal itself should be approached like a position paper.

Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to try and keep your letter to 1 or 2 pages.

Do you still get ESA when appealing?

You can get ESA when appealing if you asked to be moved to the work-related group.

However, you will not get ESA when appealing if you claimed another benefit during the reconsideration.

Instead you’ll stay on the other benefit unless you withdraw your claim for it. 

How long will my ESA appeal take?

Usually, an ESA appeal can take four to 11 weeks.

You will be sent a letter by the DWP stating that they are reconsidering the decision regarding your Employment Support Allowance and how much will it take. 

How many points do you need to be put in the ESA support group?

You need to score 15 points or more, to be put in the ESA support group.

If you have 15 points or more, you’re thought to have limited capability for work and are entitled to ESA.

Recommendations

  1. Employment and Support Allowance: A Guide to ESA for People with a Disability or Long Term Health Condition, Their Families, Carers and Advisors 
  2. Positive Behavior Supports for Adults with Disabilities in Employment, Community, and Residential Settings
  3. How to Write An Appeal Letter / Plan of Action 
  4. Social Security, Medicare and Government Pensions: Get the Most Out of Your Retirement and Medical Benefits
  5. Insider’s Guide to Government Benefits

References 

Benefits and Work

Gov.uk

Turn2us.org.uk

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