Well nearly 6 weeks after sending ESA form back I got home from being out today to find a letter from DWP. Shaking like a leaf I opened it to find I have been placed on contribution-based ESA and also placed in the work-related activity group without a medical.
The letter is 5 pages long filled with information that is hard to get your head round I've read it numerous times now and still can't make much sense out of it. From what I can gather at the moment my money will still be the same amount as what my incapacity benefit was but instead of it being paid monthly it will now be paid fortnightly so will have to rework my budgets to take that into account now. The new payment method starts from the 18th November so they don't give much notice. If you want them to look at the decision again you have a month from the date of the letter.
My head is currently all over the place and I have a headache I am worried as the letter says I'm entitled to the contribution-based ESA but I'm worried as I think that maybe the one that is only paid for a year. Also it says I have to take part in work-focused interviews with an advisor who will help me take steps to prepare for work, if I don't attend these interviews then my ESA may be affected.
It goes on to say I may also be required to attend a work-focused health-related assessment to find out how I feel my illness/disability is stopping me from working and what help I need to start work in the future.
I've tried to speak to the welfare rights team that helped me fill out the form but the person I need to speak to is out of the office until next Thursday. So I have 4 weeks to ask for the claim to be looked at again but I lose a week because the welfare rights person isn't in the office until nearly the end of next week. From what I can gather if I still disagree with the decision after it has been looked at again I can then go to appeal.
I know there is never a good time to be doing this type of thing but the timing couldn't be worse as I have till the beginning of December to ask for it to be looked at a second time, go into hospital for surgery a few days after that and then no doubt have the Christmas break to get through before I get an answer as they are never quick with these things. Doesn't sound like it will be a Happy Christmas for me recovering from surgery and waiting for another response in the post, we all know the post goes haywire at Christmas and for awhile after. My partner has already said do we need to find the poor house and book ourselves space! I said we might have to if I haven't had a nervous breakdown first. Have an appointment with the GP next week to ask him to write a more detailed letter about the issues and problems my disability and other health issues create that stop me working. So I guess it's back on the merry go round and here we go again...