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DWP unable to place client in an ESA group based on telephone assessment

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Citizens Advice Rossendale and Hyndburn

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Hi, I wonder if anyone has dealt with this issue. My cl has mh difficulties. He had a telephone WCA but the DWP couldn’t decide which group to place him in based on this. They told him that they would contact him when they could offer him a face to face assessment. His cbESA is now ending and he has savings so won’t be able to get any income related benefits. Is there anything that I can do to help him? I think he should be keeping his claim open so that if he does get placed in the support group when eventually assessed his ESA will then go back into payment. Does he just need to wait? thanks, Claire

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Durham Welfare Rights

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Joined: 26 March 2020

This was posted on rightsnet on 21 Jan

Responding on the Secretary of State’s behalf yesterday, Mr Tomlinson said -
‘There are no plans to extend the time limit for people claiming contributory ESA who reach their 365-day limit and have not had a WCA.’
However, he added that -
‘... we now have a ring-fenced operational team in place to identify contributory ESA claims that we can progress in the absence of face-to-face assessments – for instance, those where further evidence might exist on other DWP benefit systems. If claimants have further evidence they think might help progress their claim, they should contact the Department.’
Mr Tomlinson’s written answer is available from

I think you should send in as much medical evidence as there is, and argue that other suitable evidence could be used by the decision maker, and that they should have made a decision before the 365 days ran out.  I’d probably be tempted to do this is a formal complaint, quoting the Minister, to make sure it gets to the right team, or through the MP if they are willing to help.