The DWP issued a Press Release today, Employment and Support Allowance for claimants who challenge a decision containing the response to an FoI request.
The request was "We have confirmation that the DWP is actively considering axeing employment and support allowance (ESA) payments for claimants who challenge a decision that they are fit for work. Instead, claimants will have to try to sign on for jobseeker’s allowance, where they will face a harsh new regime which, from later this month, will include potential benefit sanctions of up to three years. Please clarify if any of these assertions are true?"
And the response was, in part, "Following the introduction of mandatory reconsideration, payment of ESA will cease once a decision is made that the claimant does not have limited capability for work. If the claimant wishes to dispute this decision they must request that the decision maker looks at it again (mandatory reconsideration). Whilst the decision maker is reconsidering the decision, ESA cannot be paid as there is no legal basis to do so. ...... During the mandatory reconsideration process, whilst ESA cannot be paid, claimants have the option of applying for alternative benefits, such as Jobseekers Allowance, however they must meet the conditions of entitlement."
The conditions for claiming and receiving JSA?
To qualify for JSA you usually have to be:
When you apply for JSA, you must go to an interview to complete your claim.
- 18 or over (but below State Pension age)
- able and available for work
To keep getting JSA you must go to a Jobcentre office (usually every 2 weeks or when asked) to show how you’ve been searching for a job. This is known as ‘signing on’.
So, perfectly clear then ... if you are challenging a decision on your claim for ESA or the reclassification of your Incapacity Benefit status, which has declared you "fit for work" you can't receive ESA, but you can claim for JSA, provided you can give an assurance that you are (1) able and (2) available for work, and (3) show evidence you are actively and conscientiously looking for work.
Joseph Heller, who he?