I don’t think I need to add anything more to the following from Johnny Void (although it is my emphasis)…
From October this year [Employment Support Allowance] claimants will not be able to appeal against a ‘fit for work’ decision until they have first requested a ‘mandatory reconsideration’ by a DWP decision maker. Only if the claimant disagrees with this decision will they be able to take an appeal to a benefit tribunal. This process is likely to take months.
A recent response to an FOI request (PDF) confirms that claimants will not be able to claim ESA whilst waiting for this process to be completed. The DWP say that claimants will instead have the: “option of applying for alternative benefits, such as Jobseekers Allowance, however they must meet the conditions of entitlement”.
One of the key conditions of entitlement for Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) – the benefit for those unemployed not unwell – is that the claimants is able to work.
This will mean that those appealing an ESA decision and claiming Jobseekers Allowance will be placed in a potentially fraudulent position. They will be appealing an ESA decision based on the fact they do not believe themselves able to work, and will be claiming JSA based on a claim that they are able to work.