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TOPIC: Backdating of WRAG Component - should EPS count?

Backdating of WRAG Component - should EPS count? 2 months 2 weeks ago #192884

Hello,

I've recently won an ESA appeal and been placed into the WRAG Category (going from 6 points to 24) I made my ESA claim in May 2016, but had been on an Extended Period of Sickness (EPS) on JSA for around six weeks prior to this (no gap)

I have received backdated WRAG payment from the date when I received the fit for work decision which has now been overturned, but I am in the process of querying with the DWP the date from which backdating should apply.

It's my understanding (I think!) that the original claim date should still be used even in cases where payment was stopped following the WCA - but I have read that the EPS may be taken into account as part of the Assessment Phase period. Not sure whether that means 'may' as in 'maybe/maybe not' or as in 'yes you MAY have all of these cakes' - if you see what I mean?

Any thoughts on whether I am right about both, either or neither of these things? All dates refer to income based benefit, btw.

Thanks in advance,

Wendy

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Backdating of WRAG Component - should EPS count? 2 months 2 weeks ago #192899

Wendy

If this was a new claim for ESA then the backdating should be from the beginning of week 14 of your claim, if it was a reassessment then it should be from the day after the Fit for Work Decision applied.

As you claimed JSA then any payments that you received will be deducted from the back payments, although ESA and JSA are separate benefits they are both classed as income replacement benefits. Also, if you received the ESA assessment Rate while waiting for your appeal, then this will also be deducted.

Gordon

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Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems

Backdating of WRAG Component - should EPS count? 2 months 2 weeks ago #192905

Thanks for replying Gordon - it's only the WRAG payment start date that I'm querying. I was on JSA for several years until I claimed ESA (first time I claimed any health-related out of work benefits) but I didn't claim JSA between the fit-for-work decision and reinstatement of Assessment rate ESA - the Assessment rate was all backdated OK. It's the date from which I should receive the WRAG component that seems off to me, it's only been backdated to December 2016, which is much longer than 13 weeks after my initial claim, and some sources indicate that the period on EPS may also be taken into account i.e. starting the ESA clock from the date I was certified not fit to work by my GP whilst still on JSA March 2016-May 2016.

Looking for guidance here before I approach the DWP again - looks as though this will be the third time they have failed to call me back on this issue (twice last week and again today) - if you don't know for sure, it's OK.

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Backdating of WRAG Component - should EPS count? 2 months 2 weeks ago #192907

Sorry Gordon, I see that you have answered part one of my question already as it is indeed my first claim - any thoughts on the EPS issue?

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Backdating of WRAG Component - should EPS count? 2 months 2 weeks ago #192909

Wendy

ESA cannot consider the Extended Period of Sickness as it is a JSA thing and not and ESA thing.

It's 14 weeks from the date that you made your ESA claim from, if you were certified as Unfit for Work before then it is not part of your ESA claim.

Gordon

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Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems

Backdating of WRAG Component - should EPS count? 2 months 2 weeks ago #192927

Gordon

A quick update, it looks as though the time on EPS is taken into account, it's just they see these circumstances rarely so it's a little known fact. The man calling from the DWP had to check with the Quality team.

In case this will be relevant to other members, this is the wording from an internal DWP staff guidance document for JSA, I came across it on one of many anxiety-related sleepless nights:

"Inform claimant if they decide to remain on JSA: ...
... there will be no risk of financial loss to the claimant, as a
result of staying on JSA using EPS should they subsequently
decide to claim ESA. If they are found to have limited
capability for work/or work related activity following a work
capability assessment, the ESA assessment phase period
will take account of the extended period of sickness"

I found it online in a Freedom of Information request from 2015, but it appears to still apply if like me, a JSA claimant thinks that they only need a limited period to get back to full strength but then have to acknowledge that they should apply for ESA as it is going to take a long time to get better or to make adjustments! Can supply the link if it is of interest.

Wendy

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