Appealing an ESA decision
Less than 50% of ESA claims are successful initally, but about 40% of appeals are successful. Where the claimant is represented, that figure rises to 60%. If you think that the decision about your benefit claim is wrong, it is well worth appealing.
You have one month from the date of the decision to ask for it to be explained or reconsidered or to appeal against it.
How to appeal
Fill in form GLA24 at the back of the leaflet 'If you think our decision is wrong' - you should get a copy of this with your decision letter.
Ask for a copy of the report from your assessment, and an explanation from the office who made the decision.
Make sure you ask for your ESA to be paid in the interim (as this does not always happen automatically).
Check the medical report carefully:
- Has everything you said been put down? Has anything been misrepresented?
- Is anything in the report inconsistent or wrong?
- How long did the medical take? Did you get the opportunity to say everything you needed to?
- Do you think you have been awarded the correct number of points for all of the descriptors?
Ask your healthcare professionals (GP, MS nurse, neurologist or OT) to write a letter to support your appeal, explaining how you meet the descriptors and where you should have been awarded more points.
Write a statement saying which descriptors you think apply and how many points you should score. Link to any medical evidence if you can. Send this and your evidence in to the DWP, again, keeping copies of everything.
If your appeal goes to tribunal, take a friend, family member, or independent advocate with you if possible. The following organisations can help you find an advocate:
- your local MS Society branch
- Action for Advocacy
- your local Citizen's Advice Bureau
- The National Centre for Independent Living
- Community Legal Advice
Talk to someone who's been through the process: visit the MS Society's online discussion forum, or call our Helpline on 0808 800 8000.
How to make a complaint
- During the assessment - you can complain to the approved healthcare professional at the time. If they cannot resolve the problem, they should give you a brochure explaining the formal complaints procedure
- After the assessment - to file a complaint contact ATOS (the healthcare agency who carry out the assessments)
For information on how to complain, visit the ATOS website.
Note: ATOS will not record your first complaint as ‘official’. You need to complain again to get it recorded as an official complaint.