Monday 11 November 2013

Is DWP Harassing ESA Support Group Claimants?

I am not being starved by this contemptuous ConDem government's callous actions towards chronically sick &/or disabled folk due to being sanctioned. But I run the risk of being potentially sanctioned due to DWP incompetence, negligence or possibly harassment (if one believes the DWP are actually in control). The DWP appears to have a complete inability to deal with British citizens as individuals, but only as cases to be dealt with as quickly and as superficially as possible. The ConDems launched wide-ranging and extensive social security (they say 'welfare') reforms at the same time as cutting the number of workers able to deal with all the changes. The result unsurprisingly appears to be chaos. Folk are not waiting weeks for decisions and responses, but quite literally months. The DWP standard response is that they did not receive a letter - hence I send everything recorded, so know full well that they have received all my communications.

The latest instalment of my ongoing ESA50 saga follows. Today I finished drafting my response to a DWP letter which can be found below.

Dear Sir/Madam [I am unable to address this letter correctly as you failed to advise me as to by whom the letter was issued],

I was shocked, dismayed and then angry at receiving your letter dated 5th November on Friday 9th inst. in relation to a “Work-focused interview for Employment and Support Allowance claimants” as you caused me to have a full-blown panic-attack yet again and yet again I am presuming totally unnecsesarily.

My last communication from DWP in respect to ESA was ***’s letter of 4th April 2013, a copy of which is appended, in which he states, penultimate paragraph:

“You have been placed in the support group because your illness or disability restricts the possibility of working. This means you do not have to take part in any work-related activity…”

Nowhere in your current letter does it state, nor even imply, that this work-related interview is voluntary.

In the circumstances, I expect a full explanation as to why I am being harassed, given my health issues. Alternatively, if there has been a change of policy, please provide me with a copy of the relevant regulations as I have not seen nor heard anything about such a change. I can then take the matter up with Graham Brady MP.

I also append a copy of my letter of 10th - 27th April 2013 to *** Benefit Centre, which to date has remained unanswered. Perhaps you would be kind enough to provide me with the information I requested.

You should also be fully aware after all these years that I do NOT use the telephone due to disabilities. You failed to provide a reasonable alternative, i.e. an email address, and so are also in breach of disability legislation. You should review this matter urgently especially given that the Secretary of State desires that folk deal with benefit claims on-line.

Please ensure that your records are updated and confirm in writing that you have done so.

Given the number of failings by DWP and its agents in less than a year, I have to assume incompetency or negligence or deliberate harassment. If they continue I shall pursue all avenues open to me.

Yours faithfully,

Here are the scans of the DWP's letter:

If you would like to lend your support to those disabled &/or chronically sick folk, their carers and supporters who are fighting for a review of the way DWP treats individuals, please sign WoWpetition via or via the official government epetition website. If you are a young carer or a child with a disability, you also can sign as long as you have your own email address and are a UK citizen.


  1. Would you be willing to be interviewed for my PhD research on the real lives of ESA claimants?

    1. Dustybin, follow me on twitter - @criquaer - and then DM me. %)

  2. Whenever I have some free time, I visit blogs to get some useful info. Today, I found your blog with the help of Google. Believe me; I found it one of the most informative blog. esa letter online

    1. Thanks, Susan. Good luck with your claim! %))