In this blog, we will cover how to win ESA appeal for anxiety and other mental wellness issues such as loneliness and depression.
Some people consider ESA to stand for emotional support animal whilst to others it refers to employment support and allowance.
In this blog, we will be talking about how to win an appeal for employment support and allowance.
What is ESA (employment and support allowance)?
ESA (employment and support allowance) is a type of financial benefit given to people if they are unable to work due to an illness or disability.
This illness can also be a mental illness.
ESA (employment and support allowance) will look to provide financial support if you are unable to work and personalised support to help you work if you can work.
You can apply for ESA (employment and support allowance) if you are employed, unemployed or self-employed.
When you apply for ESA you will be placed into one of two groups.
The first group is a workgroup where you will have regular meetings an interviews with an adviser.
The second group will have no interviews or activities.
The amount you can get from ESA (employment and support allowance) will depend on your ability to work, your illness, your income, what stage you are in the ESA (employment and support allowance) process and the type of ESA (employment and support allowance) you are claiming for.
Eligibility for ESA (employment and support allowance)
You will be able to claim ESA (employment and support allowance) if you have an illness (including mental illness) that affects your ability to work.
You will also need to be:
Under the UK state pension age
Not receiving any statutory pay or maternity leave benefits
Not be currently working or returning to work
Not receiving any jobseekers allowance
How to win an ESA appeal for anxiety?
The ESA (employment and support allowance) appeal success rate is usually around 40% and as mental health is now less taboo you may find that winning an ESA appeal for anxiety may be much easier than you first thought.
The good news is that if you are currently receiving ESA for anxiety and this gets taken away from you you will continue to receive your ESA for anxiety at the assessment rate throughout the appeal process at the ESA appeal tribunal.
Your ESA for anxiety may be stopped after you have gone through an ATOS work medical assessment where they have stated that you can now go back to work.
You may find that during your ESA appeal for anxiety other benefits which you may have received through your council may have been placed on hold.
This will include benefits such as housing benefits or council tax benefits.
This happens because the DWP informs the council that you are no longer receiving ESA for your anxiety.
Your other benefits won’t stop immediately though, there will be a delay (usually a few weeks) between when you receive the decision that your ESA for anxiety will be ceased by DWP when you send in your ESA appeal for anxiety and hearing back that your ESA appeal for anxiety has been accepted.
Due to the fact that most of the other benefits you may receive will be based on your income, you will need to fil in a change of circumstance form and send back stating evidence of your new income and any savings you may have to your council.
If you don’t provide this change of circumstance form to prove you are still eligible for all the other benefits you may be receiving then you will likely see that these payments have been stopped.
Once you start the ESA appeal for anxiety process at the tribunal you will need to continue providing your GP certificate throughout the process.
Ensure you don’t miss out on this as it could potentially affect your ESA appeal for anxiety.
A note of advice to anyone posting things to the DWP or ATOS.
You should always ensure you fax these documents to prevent these departments from claiming they never received them.
You should also call these departments and ask for a confirmation number to prove they have received your documents before then posting the same documents by recorded delivery to avoid them stating otherwise.
Get a letter from your doctor or GP to win an ESA appeal for anxiety
You can get a letter from your doctor or GP which disproves the statements made int eh ATOS medical work assessment sheet and send this to the DWP to prove that you cant work.
You should also attach this in the documents that you send with your appeal form and make this available for the ESA appeal tribunal.
The DWP will usually ask you to go to a pathways work interview for further assessment
Get a third party specialist opinion to win an ESA appeal for anxiety
Getting a third party specialist opinion may be one way to win your ESA appeal for anxiety.
A clinical therapist or psychologist may be able to write an expert opinion for you.
You can get multiple third party specialist opinions so the tribunal feels there is less bias coming from the expert.
Go through your medical report for your inaccuracies and lies
You should go through the medical report you have been given for any inaccuracies and lies.
The inaccuracies could be from things you said that were inaccurately taken down.
You may be able to win your ESA appeal for anxiety on this basis alone.
To win an ESA appeal for anxiety you will really need to prepare properly, this is the key to winning.
You should look to tackle every point mentioned on the ATOS medical work assessment report by submitting statements or reports from experts, you should also give specific examples of how you fulfil the descriptors, provide a doctors statement and if you are still unsure then seek some advice.
You should ensure you stick to your talking points and do not start going off on a tangent by talking about how you want to work sometimes etc.
If you are suffering from depression or anxiety then having someone with you at the ESAP appeal for anxiety will let the tribunal know that you need support rather than if you were alone, which may indicate that you are more than capable in dealing with difficult situations by yourself.
How to win an ESA appeal for anxiety by preparation?
Preparation is key and regardless of your circumstances if you prepare your ESA appeal for anxiety well then you should have a strong case for your ESA appeal for anxiety which you may win.
So pull off all of your information and follow the steps below.
1) Opening statement- Drafting your opening statement for your ESA appeal for anxiety with a summary of all your key points and your main headling points which are key to your appeal.
You could also provide any supporting documents stating why you have anxiety and why whatever tests which were conducted weren’t fit for purpose.
2) Provide a brief history of your anxiety and how it is much harder for you to work given your anxiety.
You can provide any other supporting information and special reports which prove your claim.
3) If you have a written letter from your GP, then provide it and state why your GP is a speciality on the issue of anxiety.
Your GP note must include reasons why you need ESA due to your anxiety.
4) Now, you should focus your time disproving every point made on the ATOS medical report and pointing out any errors.
It is also useful to point out when there is no information to adequately assess the descriptors you’re relying on.
5) Go through every one of the descriptors you fulfil, mention the descriptor and state why you fulfil it with examples from your day to day life.
Include anything you may see as relevant.
6) At this point, you want to focus on how your anxiety makes it impossible for you to work and could worsen your mental health.
You want to state how ESA is for your daily life.
Don’t be afraid to be raw at this stage and make the real-world consequences of having your ESA taken away.
7) At the last stage, you should then request that the tribunal away you the number of points you need in the limited capability for work test and allow your ESA appeal for anxiety.
If you have won your ESA appeal for anxiety then, unfortunately, this may not be the end of it.
The DWP may still appeal the decision.
You can find further guidance on how to win your ESA appeal for anxiety here. and here.
Can I get ESA for anxiety?
Yes, you can get ESA for anxiety as mental illness is finally being given the respect it deserves and people can finally get ESA for anxiety.
You will need an expert opinion when you make your ESA claim but don’t be surprised if you are rejected.
This is simply due to the fact that 1 in 4 people suffer from some sort of mental illness issue and ESA will usually be allocated to those with the most pressing issues.
You may be able to win an ESA appeal for anxiety if your ESA claim is denied.
A recent member of an ESA appeals time wrote the below
“I sit on Employment and Support Allowance appeals.
The criteria for ESA are VERY much stricter than for Incapacity Benefit, which it replaces.
Although the Department for Work and Pensions talks about the test defining the claimant’s ability to work, it does no such thing.
You have to pass the test ((score 15 points) to claim the benefit. If you don’t you have to claim Job Seekers Allowance.
This does not necessarily mean that you are fit for work or employable.
It is likely that nearly all applicants will appeal as you continue to get ESA until your appeal is determined.
If the appeal panel hears a case and thinks it would be helped by further medical evidence it can adjourn the case and ask for a GP report or for a copy of the records. The Tribunals Service will pay for these, not a very high rate but better than nothing. The practice does not, therefore, disadvantage a patient if it declines to do a report for at the patient’s request before the appeal
Can you get ESA paid pending an appeal?
If you are appealing against an ESA decision then you are entitled to receive the ESA payments pending any appeal.
You can only receive ESA pending an appeal if:
the first decision you have received stating that you do not have limited capability for work or
the first decision following a previous decision by the DWP, a tribunal or a court that you do have limited capability for work.
You won’t be able to get ESA pending a mandatory consideration if any of the below applies:
You cannot get ESA pending an appeal against a decision that you are not entitled to ESA because
you failed to submit an ESA50 questionnaire
You failed to attend a Maximus medical without good cause, or
You are not entitled to ESA and didn’t score enough points at your medical
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.
What can I do if my ESA has been stopped?
If your ESA has been stopped because you failed a medical assessment then you will either need to make an appeal or apply for job seekers allowance.
You cannot make an ESA appeal without having a mandatory consideration on your ESA.
You will not receive any ESA while you are waiting for the mandatory reconsideration decision but you can claim Job seekers allowance instead.
Once the DWP have made their mandatory reconsideration decision you can then appeal if the decision is not in your favour.
Your ESA can be started again while waiting for the appeal to be heard and payments will be backdated to the date your ESA stopped, but if you have been claiming JSA while waiting for the mandatory reconsideration this will have to stop before your ESA can restart
How do I know if I have anxiety?
Is anxiety an emotional disability?
Yes, anxiety is an emotional disability as it can be so severe that you are essentially disabled and unable to function properly.
What is an ESA tribunal?
An ESA tribunal is where ESA appeal cases are head.
Will I get paid during ESA appeal?
Yes, you will usually continue getting paid the undisputed part of the ESA during an appeal. You may also be able to reclaim ESA during the appeal process if you are suffering from a new or worsening condition. Note that if you live in a Universal Credit ‘full-service area, you cannot make a new claim for income-related ESA or income-based Jobseekers allowance
If you find that you are struggling with your mental wellbeing and you are under 18 then CAMHS, an NHS run programme may just be the answer for your mental health struggles.
You should look to see if you meet the CAMHS referral criteria and then fill in the CAMHS referral form.