What is an ESA decision phone call?

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In this article we will discuss what is discussed during the ESA deison call as well as when you can expect the call to happen. 

We will also discuss what is ESA and what are the eligibility criteria to avail ESA and the process of application.

What is an ESA decision phone call?

According to Adams, in their 2012 report on Decision making on Employment and Support Allowance claims for the Department of Work and pensions, a ESA decision phone call is an additional step in the decision-making process.

This particular phone call involves a decision maker’s attempt to contact claimants to cross check details as well as to advise them of the likely outcome for their claim for ESA via phone call before the final decision is made. 

Usually, there are no ESA decision phone calls made, however it is done in the likelihood that a claimant’s application is lacking in some way that could lead to disallowance of the claim for ESA.

It is during this phone call where additional information or evidence required by the Decision maker is expired so as to help people strengthen their claim to the ESA.

When the ESA decision process is going on and the decision maker or the department of work and pensions call you, it is not something to worry or cause alarm since his particular call is simply a way to help ensure that you get your ESA. 

It is a step in ensuring this by giving you an opportunity to provide documents or evidence that you may not have included before or that your claim is currently lacking.

What is discussed during the ESA decision call?

The phone calls from the decision makers at the Department of Work and pensions can include various issues of concern to be discussed. 

The issues that is discussed can include the following

  • They might call to enquire about any missing documents or evidence that you might have missed out on that could play a vital role in your ESA claim. 
  • They might call you if they suspect that your medical assessment or your ESA assessment- which also includes the questionnaire- has not been properly or satisfactorily filled out or done. 
  • They might call you to confirm your eligibility for ESA claim or lack of. 
  • They might also call you to explain how they have come to the decision regarding your claim and also explain the reasoning behind their decision.
  • Though not all Benefit Centres have introduced the calls to claimants to inform them of the likely outcome of their claim, it is possible that some decision makers would call to inform you of your standing in the assessment and outcome. 
  • They can also give you a call to give you the opportunity to provide additional evidence at the time of the research towards your claim and obtain any previously undisclosed evidence.
  • The phone calls also serve as verbal evidence and what is discussed is taken into account while making further decisions. 
  • These phone calls also provide you the space to verbally mention any evidence of claimants that they were too embarrassed to disclose to the Work Capability Assessment.

When is the ESA decision phone call expected?

You can expect the ESA decision phone call from a decision maker at the Department of work and pensions during the process of decision making which occurs within  4-6 weeks after you have filed a claim. 

This particular time period is the usual time when a decision maker will reach out to you for additional evidence and to update you of your likely outcome if needed, and usually will happen after your assessment- both questionnaire and medical assessment is done. 

How are the ESA decisions conveyed?

You might be wondering if the ESA decision phone call does not necessarily include the decision of your ESA claims, then how does the DWP inform you of your claims and eligibility?

You are most likely to receive the decision made on your claims via mail in a letter. The letter sent by the decision maker will confirm what group you have been placed in if you have passed the assessment and also should contain a summary of the healthcare professional’s report and a summary of the points you scored.

In case you disagree with the assessment and the decision made, you can request a reconsideration of the decision so that you can explore the eligibility criteria that deterines the status of your claims. 

What are the Eligibility criteria to join the ESA Support Group?

The eligibility criteria for availing ESA includes the following. These criteria have been referred from the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Gov.UK website.

You can apply for ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you’re under State Pension age and you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work.

You also need to have both:

  • worked as an employee or have been self-employed
  • paid enough National Insurance contributions, usually in the last 2 to 3 years – National Insurance credits also count

You are eligible if you get Universal Credit, you could get ‘new style’ ESA at the same time however, you get both benefits, your Universal Credit payment is reduced by the amount you get for ‘new style’ ESA.

You can apply for ‘new style’ ESA up to 3 months before your SSP ends. You’ll start getting ‘new style’ ESA as soon as your SSP ends.

You can apply whether you’re in or out of work. There are conditions to working while claiming ESA.

You can apply for ‘new style’ ESA if you’re unable to claim Statutory Sick Pay and one of the following applies:

  • you or your child might have COVID-19 or you’re recovering from it
  • you or your child are self-isolating because you came into contact with someone who might have COVID-19
  • you’ve been advised by your doctor or healthcare professional to self-isolate before going into hospital for surgery
  • you’re quarantining due to rules about returning from abroad

If you’re claiming ESA because of COVID-19, you’ll need to give evidence to support your claim.

Note that You cannot get ‘new style’ ESA or is not eligible if you:

  • claim Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • claim Statutory Sick Pay

What is the process of  applying for ESA?

The process of applying for ESA follows the following steps:

You need to check for eligibility.

If you are eligible, you can start your claim by applying online via this link.

You will need the following documents:

  • Your National Insurance number
  • Bank account number and sort code
  • Name, address and phone number of your doctor
  • Details of income if working
  • The date your Statutory Sick Pay ends if you are claiming it

Next, you have to Attend the appointment with your work coach where you must form what is called the Claimant Commitment which details the actions you need to take to get payment. 

The Department of Work and Pensions include a medical assessment in the process of checking for the eligibility for ESA applicants. 

Some ESA assessment of mental health questions that are generally asked in the assessment interview include questions related to your medical condition such as:

  • What are your medical conditions?
  • How long have you had these conditions?
  • How do these conditions affect you?

Based on your assessment you will be assigned to two groups- 

A work-related activity group: This is to prepare employees who with some support are able to return to work.

A support group: This group is for people who are unable to return to work due to their illness of disability.

At times the DWP also do at-home assessments if the claimant’s illnesses or disability make it difficult for them to travel and move; however, they will ask individuals to provide information from a medical professional supporting their request for a home visit.

If you fail to attend an appointment for a medical assessment, they will investigate your reasons for not attending. If the reason is not a good cause, ESA will be disallowed and benefits stopped.

Then, you will get a letter telling you if you’ll get ‘new style’ ESA and how much.

Once you start getting your ESA, you will have to Give updates about your health and circumstances. 

Conclusion

In this article we have discussed what is discussed during the ESA deison call as well as when you can expect the call to happen. 

We have also discussed what is ESA and what are the eligibility criteria to avail ESA and the process of application.

References

Adams.L, Oldfield. K & Riley.C (2012)  Decision making on Employment and Support Allowance claims. Department of Work and Pensions. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/214575/rrep788.pdf

Getting your ESA decision after an assessment. CitizenAdvice. Retrieved on 4th Dec 2021. https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/employment-and-support-allowance/help-with-your-esa-claim/getting-your-esa-decision/

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Gov.UK. Retrieved on 4th Dec 2021. https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance/what-youll-get

What is an ESA assessment? Healthassured. Retrieved on 3rd dec 2021. 

https://www.healthassured.org/blog/employment-and-support-allowance-esa-assessment/

ESA Support Group: Eligibility and rates.homecare uk. Retrieved on 3rd dec 2021.https://www.homecare.co.uk/advice/esa-support-group-eligibility-and-rates


FAQ about ESA decision phone call

How long does it take to get a decision after ESA medical?

To get a decision after the ESA medical assessment, it can take several weeks or months for the DWP to make a decision.

If you haven’t heard anything after 8 weeks, you could contact them to ask why you haven’t had a decision letter yet.

Does DWP work Saturdays?

The DWP does work Saturdays, from 9 am to 5 pm. The full time working week for Jobcentre Plus is 37 hours.

Full-time hours are between 8 am and 8 pm, Monday to Friday. 

How long does an ESA face to face decision take?

ESA decisions can take 2-4 weeks after the face to face assessment (if one is required).

Does ESA get backdated after medical?

ESA can get backdated after medical for up to three months.

You will need to get a medical certificate (called a fit note) from your GP at the start of your claim.

After 13 weeks Jobcentre Plus will do their own medical test and you will no longer need fit notes.

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