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TOPIC: ESA Tribunal Hearing - what to expect?

ESA Tribunal Hearing - what to expect? 7 years 9 months ago #13740

My ESA Hearing is 3 days before Christmas. I am extremely anxious about it, (suffering from anxiety/depression as it is!) and I think it would help me to have a few examples of the type of questions they may ask - for example, are they based around the points system, or not? (I have had some help from a benefits paralegal, who unfortunately is currently off sick. I am hoping to be accompanied by someone from Rethink on the day, but she does not have ESA Hearing experience specifically.)

I understand that they base their decision on how someone was when the benefit was stopped, not on how they are now - is this right? So is there any point in sending the Tribunal Service a GP's recent referral letter?

I got 9 points at the medical, on one sub-section only, no points for related sub-sections. I have worked in the past for many years, and know that I am currently unable to sustain a job, whatever they decide.

Any advice gratefully received!

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Re:ESA Tribunal Hearing - what to expect? 7 years 9 months ago #13742

Hi A,

Based on my experience of attending tribunals as my husband's carer when he was a tribunal member, albeit on DLA tribunals, a tribunal can only consider evidence up to the day the DWP Decision Maker (DM) made their decision.

However, your tribunal may be able to accept a letter from your GP if it just an update on your condition as you were when the decision was reached. It cannot take account of any new conditions that have arisen since the DM reached their decision.

Before the regulations were changed quite a few years ago, tribunals were allowed to consider evidence, including evidence of worsening or new conditions down to the date of the tribunal hearing.

The fact that tribunals are no longer able to do this, is as frustrating for the tribunal panel as it is for the appellant.

I wouldn't be too concerned that your representative doesn't have specific experience of ESA tribunals, not many reps have as ESA is a fairly new benefit and not a great deal of case law available on it yet.

Good luck.


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Re:ESA Tribunal Hearing - what to expect? 7 years 9 months ago #13751

  • lavenderlady
Hi A

I am so glad to hear that you are certain, convinced that you are unable to sustain a job. This will help you enormously as you go on this little journey.

Wavering is never a good idea.

If you appear uncertain whether your fit enough to work, they'll put you to work anyway. Knowing your own mind is a great thing, all you need to do is find the appropriate words to convey your situation convincinegly.

You have time enough to read and re-read info on this website. You might be feeling anxious now, but I'm sure once you've spent time reading, re-reading and thinking you'll begin to feel stronger and better equipped.

People can ask the oddest questions!

One DWP doctor asked me when applying for care DLA how I ate fish and chips? I couldn't use a knife so how did I cope?
Then she proceeded to ask how I coped in a restaurant with eating and cutting up food.I was dumbfounded to say the least!

When people ask odd questions, try and keep calm, focus your eyes on an object in the room and concentrate. Don't worry about the long silence. Think. If they try and rush you for an answer tell them you find it hard to think quickly, then concentrate, think, and only open your mouth when you know exactly what your going to say.

Always keep your answers, short, consise and to the point.

Don't chatter on because your feeling nervous or the persons seems kind and understanding.Something will pop out that is wisest not to say.

You must be quite clear in your mind what you can and cannot do.

Think minimum. If you go maximum you'll become sicker. Your duty is to protect yourself, your heath mental and physical.

Don't allow yourself to be persauded that you can do something when you know you can't.

A current letter from your GP is always a help in this situation. Also if you go to a church/mosque a letter from the leader will help, because this is from a person of professional standing in the community. It will help and show that you are credible, that what you say is true.

I would advise you not to admit to watching television/watching videos or spending time on the Internet.

The DWP view in common with society believes that people who do these things are lazy, unmotivated, anti-social, etc...

They will also think if you can sit in a chair and watch a film you can sit in a chair and do a job.

Remember your goal in all the answers you give is to protect your health.

Do not say anything that will lead anyone to take a decision that will cause your health to deteriate.

In my view it is not wrong to say I don't watch television in order to preserve my health. If admitting that I watch television in the day means that I could be forced to work, when working could cause my health to severely deteriate, then I will say I don't watch television in the day.

When governments set up systems that are devillishy unjust, then we the poor in health have to be wise and careful what we say in order to preserve the little health we have.

It is useful to write down all the difficulties, the care and mobilty needs you have. Study the list. Remember it. This is who you are. Keep the words firmly in your mind.

Don't rush filling in forms. Think first, then write very slowly, carefully. Often less can be more if you can come up with the right words.

Don't get dolled up for your interview. You are sick, so dress dowdy, no make-up, no fancy hair do. Dress down every day. yes I know you look the worst,but this is you, the REAL you.People associate looking good with health.

I hope I haven't inadvertently made you more anxious!

I'm sure you'll cope with the interview.
Best Wishes

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Re:ESA Tribunal Hearing - what to expect? 7 years 9 months ago #13759

Thanks for your replies - duly noted!

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