Incapacity Employment and Support Allowance Changeover (27/10/2009)

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

This is a new benefit that will replace incapacity benefit (IB) and income support (IS) paid on the grounds of ill-health or disability.  The introduction of ESA forms part of Governments welfare reform plans contained in the Welfare Reform Act. 

The IB50 form was sent out for members, and almost all of our group members will have encountered the IB50 form with perils and pitfalls.  The main complaint was that the questions asked for definite answers which for ME/CFS are never clear-cut and always variable.  This has caused many members confusion, benefit refusals, appeals and tribunals.  Always the questions had to be broadly interpreted and the nearest answer given, which in almost all cases could never be 100% true.  The ESA form does has one advantage, in almost all the questions there is a 'varies' options.  The mental health section rather than just being a blank box now has choices, and now also even have a varies option.

The ESA 50 will be scored, and as with the IB50, and 15 will grant the claim.  In order to demonstrate the differences between the two forms, we have a IB50 and ESA50 demonstrator Pdf files which are intended to help understanding for the points scoring system in both the old and new systems which are on the bottom of this page.  They should on no account be used to help fill out forms.  Our advice is that anyone with  IB50 or ESA50 form to fill out should seek the assistance of a welfare rights advisor, and not do the forms themselves.

Update: 23/10/2009

It is a deliberate government policy to tighten up the rules on sick pay, and get many of the people receiving Incapacity Benefit back to work.   The best cure is submit a strong claim in the first place.  Here is the Leger ME advice.

1) If you have ME/CFS, you need a diagnosis form your doctor, and a NHS hospital consultant or NHS ME/CFS Clinic.
2) You will be expected to show you are undergoing assessment or treatment.  If you have other health problems, they have to be included in all assessments, even if minor.
3) If you receive an ESA 50 form, draft it out first, a drafting form is available on the Leger ME Website. Check your points with the ESA demonstrator.
4) Before submission, have it checked by a welfare rights advisor. DO NOT OMIT THIS STAGE. Contact us for further information.
5) When you receive a summons to go to Crossgates House, take a chaperone with you preferably someone with welfare rights experience. Contact us for further information.
6) Remember that once you go near the vicinity of Crossgates House you are under scrutiny, even outside. That building is bugged with TV Cameras and everything is recorded.

Update: 25/5/2010

These are only to be used to help your understanding of ESA or under the direction of a Welfare Rights Advisor

IB50 demonstrator  ESA50 demonstrator ESA50 v2 draft tool Daily Log Form 

(The contents of these forms can be saved like a Word file using the 'Save as' command on the file menu)

Draft ESA50 (Do not use after 28/3/11)

 ESA50 version 2 (Use for drafting your response after 28/3/11)