Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) appeals

I had my ESA tribunal, yesterday, after 13 months. I am happy to say that I have been placed in the Support Group. I want to thank all the moderators for their patient answering of my many questions. I also want to thank the forum members for their support.

Zero points to Support Group at appeal

Read more forum feedback


Appeal and the odds are on your side

As our members so often prove, just because you’ve been found capable of work and given no points by the DWP, that doesn’t mean you can’t get employment and support allowance (ESA) on appeal. And just because you've been placed in the work-related activity group (WRAG), that doesn't mean you can't be moved into the support group.

The reality is that an extraordinary 74% of ESA claimants currently win their appeal, according to the Tribunal Services own statistics. So, appealing to a tribunal about your ESA is DEFINITELY NOT a waste of time.

Members Only Guides


ESA appeals guide cover

0 to 28 points at ESA appeal
"Thanks to your succinct guides and quick helpful answers from Gordon"

ESA appeal won, moved from WRAG to Support Group
"although I had my local welfare rights team support me. The guides on here and the advice from others here was far more useful."

Successful ESA appeal, 0 to 18 points
"I would like to thank this site for the assistance the manuals and other comments provided"

Won at ESA appeal tribunal, moved from WRAG to Support Group for ME/CFS
"I'm not sure I would have felt the confidence to do this if it weren't for the B&W guides"

Successful ESA appeal, moved from WRAG to Support Group

"The stress has been immense but we could not have managed without your wonderful site. Thank you."

Read more feedback from the forum


Improve your chances at your ESA appeal mandatory reconsideration and appeal

For all ESA decisions made from 28th October 2013, appealing has become much more difficult because you have to have a mandatory reconsideration before you can actually appeal. This means that the decision is looked at by another decision maker before you can lodge an appeal.

Our guides take you through the whole mandatory reconsideration process and explain the importance of being prepared for the phone call you will receive from the decision maker if they are not going to change their decision in your favour. And there are many things you can do to improve your chances of success at your appeal hearing, if your mandatory reconsideration is not successful. For example:

  • Ask for an oral hearing – the success rate at paper hearings is very low indeed. If you choose an oral hearing a tribunal judge will make a provisional decision if they think that you should win your appeal. If neither you or the DWP object, then this becomes the final decision. Otherwise, it will proceed to a hearing which will be conducted by phone or video link. It is still much better than choosing a paper hearing.
  • Make sure you know all the appeal deadlines and don’t miss any of them.
  • Go through every point scoring descriptor in the test using our guides, to decide if there are any points you could ask the tribunal for that you didn’t realise might apply when you filled out your questionnaire.
  • Look at the safety-net ‘exceptional circumstances’ regulations and decide whether any of them might apply to you.
  • Submit supporting medical and non-medical evidence for your ESA appeal.
  • Watch a hearing before attending yours, so you know exactly what happens at a tribunal first-hand.
  • Be aware of the importance of issues like how you travel to the appeal hearing and the clothes you wear.

Our unique, highly detailed guides will take you step-by-step through the entire process of appealing to a tribunal and ensure that you give yourself the best possible chance of getting the correct decision.


Join Benefits and Work

Even if you have been turned down for ESA, don’t despair. Become a Benefits and Work annual subscriber and get instant access to all the information you need to make an effective appeal. And remember, our 7 day money back guarantee means there’s no risk involved.

Join Now


ESA appeal from WRAG to Support Group
"just to let you all at b and w know that after my tribunal this morning I have been placed in the support group… keep up the great work that you all do at b and w."

ESA Support Group at appeal
"Many thanks to B and W, I have successfully had the decision for ESA over turned, the tribunal [put] me into the support group, I was in shock and its taken a few days for it to finally sink in. Yours Over Joyed"

ESA appeal
"Thank you , just won appeal and placed in the support group!!!! I'm so relieved my anxiety has been in overdrive. This is an amzing site !!!! thank you soooooooo much x"

From WRAG to Support for 2 years - thanks so much
"Hi had tribunal yesterday, won, the panel was great, went from wrag, to support group, for 2 years.
well pleased could not have done it without this site thanks you so much."

ESA Tribunal success
"Today I have been to my husbands tribunal today to offer support, (appealing against being in WRAG), we walked in and were told nearly before we sat down that the appeal had been allowed. We are over the moon….Can I say a big thank you we went in there today as prepared as we could be with the help of your guides etc…Thank you once again."

Read more forum feedback


Free factsheet for your GP if you are appealing a decision that you are capable of work

We have created the fact sheet because GPs are no longer being told by the DWP that they should issue fit notes to ESA claimants who have lodged an appeal against a finding that they are capable of work. This is causing enormous hardship to some claimants.

The factsheet explains clearly that fit notes should be issued in these circumstances.

Because all the information in the factsheet is supported by links to verifiable information on government websites, no GP who receives a copy could subsequently argue that they were unaware of their duty to issue fit notes.


Complaint letter

The letter of complaint is for you to use if your GP still refuses to issue you with a fit note even after being given the factsheet.

Making a complaint about your GP can be a very daunting thing to do and, in the end, you may decide it is nota course of action you wish to follow.

But if you are prepared to make a complaint, we would suggest you take one copy of the factsheet to give to your GP and include another copy in an envelope with your formal letter of complaint.

If your GP refuses to give you a fit note because the DWP have told them not to, explain that this does not apply once you have lodged an appeal.

Tell them that you have a factsheet that explains in more detail and give them a copy.

If they still refuse, point out that you will either be left without income or you will be forced to claim benefit as capable of work when this is not the case and could lead to you being sanctioned.

If your GP still refuses then, if you feel able, tell them that unfortunately, given the potentially grave effect their refusal may have, you have no choice but to make a formal complaint and you will be doing so in writing immediately.

Whether you tell the GP or not, we suggest you hand a copy of your formal letter of complaint together with another copy of the factsheet to the receptionist in an envelope marked ‘Formal complaint’.

Make sure your contact details and the date are included in your letter.

Ask for a copy of the practice’s complaints procedure, so that you know how soon your complaint should be acknowledged and how soon you should receive a response.

There are more details about how to make a complaint about your GP here.



Download the factsheet in .pdf format

Download a sample letter of complaint in Word format

Free PIP, ESA & UC Updates!

Delivered Fortnightly

Over 110,000 claimants and professionals subscribe to the UK's leading source of benefits news.

We use cookies

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.