What is ESA?
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is a benefit designed to provide financial support if you’re unable to work due to long term ill-health or disability. There are currently two types of ESA, Income Related and Contributory.
Income Related is a means-tested benefit and provides financial assistance to those on low incomes.
Contributory is based on whether you have paid enough National Insurance (NI) contributions.
However, with the introduction of Universal Credit (UC), these benefits will be changing. You can find out more about Universal Credit here.
What is PIP?
Personal Independence Payments (PIP) is designed to help with the extra costs caused by long term ill-health or disability for those aged 16 to 64.
If you are below the age of 16, you can apply for Disability Living Allowance (DLA). (https://www.gov.uk/disability-living-allowance-children)
If you are over the age of 64, you can apply for Attendance Allowance (https://www.gov.uk/attendance-allowance)
To make a claim for PIP, you can apply by phone. If you find it difficult to use the telephone, you can claim by post or by using a text relay or video relay service. Please advise the PIP enquiry line if you need your forms in an alternative format such as braille, large print or audio CD.
DWP - PIP claims
Telephone: 0800 917 2222
Textphone: 0800 917 7777
Calling from abroad: +44 191 218 7766
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
If you disagree with a decision
If you disagree with a decision regarding your PIP or ESA claim, you can request this decision is looked at again by the DWP. This is called a Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) and must be submitted within one month of the date of the decision. If you do not agree with the outcome of the MR, you can register an appeal with the tribunal service.
Mandatory Reconsideration Process
Mandatory Reconsiderations must be submitted within one month of the date of the decision regarding your claim. However, you may request an MR outside of this time limit if there are exceptional circumstances. I would strongly encourage anyone with concerns to contact the DWP direct to see if they can request an MR outside of this timescale.
If you are requesting a reconsideration of your claim, I would encourage you to submit additional medical supporting evidence. This could be a letter from your GP, Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist or any other medical professional involved in your care. If you need a few weeks to gather the appropriate evidence, I would strongly recommend you submit your MR request within the one month timeframe and advise the DWP you will be sending further medical supporting evidence once you have this available.
Once your claim has been looked at again, you will receive a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice (MRN). If you do not agree with the outcome of the MRN, this letter should provide detail on how to submit an appeal to Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS).
Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) is independent from the DWP. If you would like to appeal a decision you will need to have received a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice (MRN) and a copy of this must be submitted with your appeal. Your appeal to HMCTS must be submitted within one month of the date of your MRN. However, your appeal can be submitted up to 13 months after this date if the reason it is late is due to exceptional circumstances. I would encourage you to discuss this direct with HMCTS if you have any concerns.
To submit an appeal to HMCTS regarding your claim for PIP or ESA, you will need to complete an appeal form and send this to the tribunal service. I would recommend you include detail on why you disagree with the decision and provide any appropriate medical supporting evidence. I would also encourage you, if possible, to take copies of your appeal forms and any evidence you send in for reference.
More information about registering an appeal with HMCTS is available via:
Additional Services and Support
Citizens Advice can provide assistance with completing appeals forms for PIP and ESA, as well as representation at tribunal hearings (https://www.citizensadvicecornwall.org.uk/)
Citizens Advice also have online guides for welfare benefits (https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/)
C-App provide assistance and online guides for applying for PIP and ESA (http://c-app.org.uk/)
Welfare Rights Team
A more comprehensive list of local support services is available here.
Should anyone living within the St Austell and Newquay constituency encounter difficulties with their claim for ESA or PIP, then I will be happy to help by looking at cases and making representations to the Department for Work and Pensions if appropriate. My constituency office is open to the public Monday – Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm (no appointment necessary) or contact me on either 01726 829379 or email@example.com
Office of Steve Double MP
3 Fore Street
Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at: www.stevedouble.org.uk/events