Successful IB to ESA transfer without having a medical
Got the dreaded brown envelope this morning, and it was an even worse feeling than waiting for exam results! But after a couple of mugs of coffee I managed to get up the courage to open it, and I appear to have got into the WRAG group WITHOUT having to have a medical!

I was one of the early transfers from IB to ESA (it started in March for me) and had already had 3 Atos medicals for IB so I was dreading yet another visit to that particular nightmare.

I couldn't have managed to complete my form as well without all the advice on this forum and the fantastic guides from benefitsandwork, in fact I couldn't even manage to look at the form, let alone complete it, until I had the guides to "hold my hand" through each question.

How 1 point becomes 15 in bogus medicals

When we set out last week to write a relatively brief guide to being moved from incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance (ESA), we knew that we would be highlighting big differences between the two medical tests.

We also knew that we would be revealing a big drop in the number of opportunities to score points for physical health conditions – though we weren’t expecting it to be quite so huge.

For incapacity benefit, the personal capability assessment (PCA) had 14 physical activities with 70 point scoring descriptors and a total of 786 points.  Under the work capability assessment (WCA) for ESA there are now just 10 physical activities with 30 descriptors and a total of 330 points. 

That’s an almost 60% cut in the number of points available. 

But what we didn’t expect to find was that for mental health there are at least three descriptors in the PCA that scored just 1 point, but under the new WCA  they are potentially worth 15 points, depending on the severity of your condition.

We had to ask ourselves how it could be that one day the way your mental health affects you could be worth just a single point and yet, the following day, the same effect could be regarded as so incapacitating that you should score 15 points and be awarded benefits as unable to work.

We also had to wonder how it could be that 60% of the points awarded under the physical health test for incapacity benefit turn out to have been over-generous errors.

The truth, of course, is that both the PCA and the WCA are bogus pseudo-science created largely by  organisations with vested interests in the outcome.  They have nothing whatsoever to do with the reality of the effects of long-term health conditions or disabilities.

We can’t change that truth, but we can at least do our best to ensure that if you are an IB claimant you have all the information needed to get every point you are entitled to under the WCA.

Our 24 page ‘Being Transferred from IB to ESA’ guide  includes:

Answers to the most common questions about being transferred from IB to ESA.

The text of the letter you will receive when the process begins.

A first-hand account from a member of the phone call you will receive from a decision maker – who, as it turns out, could almost have been reading aloud from one of our guides.

A comparison, where it’s possible, of the physical health tests for IB and for ESA  - highlighting the ways in which the tests have changed.

Suggestions as to which mental health points for incapacity benefit may be relevant to ESA – the tests are too different for direct comparison.

A comparison of the exemptions and exceptional circumstances for IB and for ESA

Combined with our step-by-step guides to completing the ESA questionnaire and attending a medical, our new guide to the transfer process should ensure that you are as well prepared as it’s possible to be for the process you will be obliged to undergo.

If you are a subscribing member, you can download our new guide from the ESA section of the Benefits and Work members area now.

In our last newsletter we wrote about the possibility of becoming self-employed as a way of escaping the treadmill of ESA medicals.

We received lots of comments in response and this highly cautionary tale from one member threatened with prosecution and homelessness for being self-employed.

Former athlete Steve Cram has also become homeless, at least on Facebook, after agreeing to become the Atos ambassador for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.   His Facebook page appears to have been taken down after it was filled with howls of anger and outrage from sick and disabled claimants.  (We were going to give you a link to his page but, obviously, that’s not currently possible)

There are further howls of protest, this time at the BBC, following its decision to close the BBC Ouch Forum next month.  The forum is described by the BBC itself as the ‘beating heart’ of Ouch, the BBC’s disability website.  Users are now being advised by the BBC to go to Facebook and Twitter instead, a suggestion which is being met with fury because of the lack of anonymity and protection from harassment on those platforms.

No outrage, however from Professor Malcolm Harrington.  The government’s independent reviewer of the WCA describes himself in an interim report  as ‘pleased and gratified’ at the progress made by the DWP in making the work capability assessment fairer and more responsive.

Sadly, but perhaps not surprisingly, Harrington does not detail any consultation with claimants, admits that charities have not reported any improvements and entirely ignores the effects of the new, harsher work capability assessment.

Another man with a talent for ignoring large chunks of reality is Chris Grayling, employment minister.  Grayling has shamelessly denied that the government bears any responsibility for the current media hatred campaign against sick and disabled claimants

"Sometimes stories run in a way that completely bemuse me," he told the work and pensions committee, adding, however, that "I don't control... the editorial tone of the newspapers." 

Which doesn’t mean, of course, that he doesn’t privately delight in it or know very well what effect his press releases are likely to have.

Meanwhile, Grayling launched the new work programme last week.  500 charities are now fighting over the scraps the huge private sector providers who won all the big contracts are being obliged to toss to them.  You can download a full list of the charities involved.

There’s more snippets in our Stop Press News section, which we’re hoping to expand and improve over the next few weeks.  More on that in the next newsletter. 

Harking back momentarily to the last newsletter, we’ve been asked by the After Atos website we mentioned there to point out that they have an anonymous  survey which people who have had an Atos ESA  medical can complete.  The results are published for use by campaigners.

Finally, as ever, we finish on a cheerier note with some positive feedback from the forum

From 0 to 33 points on ESA appeal

Higher rate mobility and middle rate care backdated for two years

Successful IB to ESA transfer without medical

Won ESA tribunal

Successful ESA appeal

Higher rate mobility for chronic fatigue syndrome

Higher rate care and higher rate mobility on initial claim

DLA tribunal wins ESA appeal

ESA support group with no medical

Higher rate care and higher rate mobility on renewal without medical

6 points to 18 points on ESA appeal

Please forward this newsletter to anyone you think might be interested. You are also welcome to reproduce this newsletter on your blog, website, forum or newsletter.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
Company registration No.  5962666

If you’re not already a member, find out how to subscribe to Benefits and Work and give yourself the best possible chance of getting the right decision.


Write comments...
or post as a guest
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.

Be the first to comment.

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.