Having been in receipt of an Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) since 2011, Jack had been making ends meet.
Until 2018, Jack thought that he had managed to get his life in the UK onto a relatively even keel, particularly as he has a muscular-skeletal condition and experiences PTSD. As Jack experiences chronic physical pain and struggles with crowds and noise, he was awarded 15 points for mobility when he was assessed for ESA in 2017.
But in 2018, Jack’s world seemed to have been turned upside down one more time. He was reassessed for ESA and was told he no longer qualified – he had been awarded 0 points for mobility and 0 points on mental health descriptors!
When we met Jack, he faced the prospect of losing everything and didn’t know where to turn for help. We advised Jack of his options and arranged for him to receive food bank vouchers. Together, we applied for a Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) of her most recent ESA assessment.
One of Jack’s additional options was to apply for Universal Credit, but he ran the risk of being disadvantaged going along this route, as it would not be possible to revert back to a legacy benefit and he could end up financially worse off.
When we learned that the Mandatory Reconsideration had upheld the original assessment, our advisor started to prepare a comprehensive formal Appeal on Jack’s behalf. A Tribunal upheld that Appeal and Jack was awarded ESA of £194 per week and assigned to a support group. The Tribunal also recommended that there should be no reassessment within 24 months of the hearing.
With further support from our team, Jack also made a successful appeal against the rejection of his Personal Independent Payment (PIP) application. He was awarded PIP at standard rate for both daily living and mobility, without further assessment for two years (until April 2021). In addition, Jack also received a backdated lump sum of £1500.
We are delighted for Jack and wish him well as he gets his life back on track. Achieving such positive outcomes for clients is what we are about, but it is worth reminding ourselves just how long the whole process took. Jack’s PIP case ran for 10 months (November 2018 to September 2019) and his ESA case ran from January to September 2019. Throughout that period, Jack was reliant on food bank vouchers and his financial and emotional outlook remained uncertain.