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Thread: Need help in regards to ESA and "fit" notes.

  1. #1
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    Smile Need help in regards to ESA and "fit" notes.

    To cut a very long story short, my SSP ended over two weeks ago and I have applied for ESA. I have my SSP1 form and sick notes covering all dates, but I have two questions which I can't seem to find the answer to and would appreciate any information

    1. Will my ESA, more than likely, be backdated to the time my ssp stopped? (I'm going to add that my employer sent notification of my ssp ending and ssp1 form over a week after it ended and to my old address, so I didn't get it until a few days ago. I'm panicking about making ends meet. I know I should have probably been more organised myself, unfortunately I struggle with this aspect of life

    2. My employer sent me back my sick note with the ssp1 form, they wrote notes/dates on it, will this void my note with the DWP? They've not written anything over the important information, it's on a blank part and it's a different colour ink. ( I know this is a random one but I have severe anxiety and I am worried this will hinder the process)

    3. I am still employed and need to send sick notes to my employer and DWP. I've been told before by my employer that they need an original copy and it is not a viable option for me to travel for them to copy it as I work/ed in a huge place which makes it a far from simple task, it's also quite far out and I don't drive. As you probably already know of don't give for notes in advance so to keep payments from being late, it's a case of sending the DWP the sick note straight away. Is there a procedure for this situation? Will the GP issue two duplicate notes?

    Any input or advice is greatly appreciated, my brain is completely fried from trying to figure the answers to these questions out.

    Regards

  2. #2
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    I was in a similar situation myself a few years back.

    1. If you send the DWP the SSP1 and your sicknote(s) then as long as they cover you up until you made the ESA claim (and going on from then) the transition from SSP to ESA assessment rate will be seamless.
      You should get SSP paid by the DWP up until the claim date and ESA assessment rate from that date.
    2. The fact that the employers have written notes in a blank part of the sicknote should make no difference.
    3. As you are no longer entitled to be paid SSP by your employer then they do not need the original sicknotes.
      Send the originals to the DWP to support your ESA claim. Send the employer copies if they want them, maybe with a covering note saying the original has been sent to the DWP.
      (If you send the employer the original then they just have to send it back to you with another SSP1; but as you have put in a claim for ESA you no longer need further SSP1's).



    The DWP will send you reminders when your current sicknote is running out, don't worry too much about sending in new sicknotes a few days late, just send them as soon as you can.
    As long as there are no gaps between the dates on the notes ESA assessment rate will continue to be paid.
    Remember it is paid 2 weeks in arrears which gives plenty of time to get the sicknotes in once you have got them.

    You don't say whether you expect to be going back to work for this employer at any time?

    I would prepare yourself for the probability that the employer will now want to terminate your contract.

    They will suggest that you resign - DON'T RESIGN, it can affect your ESA claim if you do.
    Make them go through the process and terminate your contract due to ill health; it can be stressful to go through but I would be surprised if the process has not already started.
    (Meetings with the HR team to 'discuss your illness', 'discuss any workplace adaptions', 'discuss reduced duties or hours', etc. Sound familiar?)

    It can be hard adjusting to the fact that you are no longer able to work, especially the financial side of things, but it does eventually get less stressful.
    When I went through this it took me a while to adjust, but after a few months the realisation that I was no longer having to deal with stress from my ex-employer and with the struggle to keep my job was a huge burden off my mind.

    Good luck with your journey onto ESA, do come back with any more questions.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

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  3. #3
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    Genuinely thank you for your in depth reply, I feel like a weight has been lifted.

    I am going through the the process with my employer for a while, I'm currently waiting for an occupational health meeting to see if there are any reasonable adjustments or positions available to me but 95% are physical, due to it being in a warehouse working nights. If say I'm fully prepared to be terminated at this point, I am at the stage where I feel ridiculous trying to hang on to a job I can't do. I'm suffering with both my physical and mental health and the two are just crippling my grip on "normal" life.

    I do have a few more questions, if you wouldn't mind?

    With both work and the esa, I am off due to a physical impairment involving my back. I've had an mri, seen a physio and now I've been referred to pain management. It's not a severe problem but it does affect my everyday life due to the pain which with develops from doing too much of something for too long, even sitting hurts which I don't think anyone I explain it too even takes that seriously. (Not meaning to moan but it seems I am doing...) Anyway, I am also being seen by a specialist for another problem which includes having an mri on my brain to rule some semi serious stuff out. I also suffer, I'd say moderately to badly (some days) with anxiety/ocd and depression, which I have taken medication for, for about 5 or 6 years now. My question is, should I divulge all of this to the DWP? My sick note is literally for just my back problem so I didn't want to complicate things.

    Also, I received a text from the DWP stating they'd received my application and were awaiting "fit" notes. The person who processes my claim said I'd receive a prepaid envelope etc but I did ask her for an address so I could get them sent asap, it's a Freepost address but I am worried it's not the right one as she was rushing me and not the most competent. These are my questions:

    1. Can I send it recorded delivery even though it's a freepost address? Is fiery class recorded the best delivery option? I will be making copies of everything before I send them.

    2. Do I need a cover letter inside of the envelope saying what I'm sending them for? I'm worried about just putting my fit notes in there and hoping for the best. I'm also worried they'll get lost (Anxiety at play).

    3. Do I put my SSP1 form in with my sick notes? Or does it go somewhere else?

    I'm sorry for all the questions, I realise I'm overthinking a lot of aspects, I just want to make sure everything I'm doing is right.

    Thank you in advance

  4. #4
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    The first thing to remember is that when you claim ESA you have to convince the DWP that you are not capable of working because of your conditions/illness.

    They are not that interested in what your actual conditions are, just how they affect your ability to work (any work).
    Any and all medical evidence you can send them helps to back up what you are saying about being unable to work.
    But you don't get ESA just for having a certain condition (except terminal cancer), the same condition can affect different people differently.

    So yes, tell them everything about everything that affects your ability to work.
    And, if you can, back this up with reports, leters, etc. from your doctor or specialists.
    There is no such thing as too much evidence for an ESA or PIP claim.

    To your specific questions:

    If I want to have proof that I have sent something then I just ask for 'Proof of Posting' at the PO counter, it's free.
    You can pay for 'Signed For' (£1.74/£1.65) or 'Guaranteed' delivery (£6.45) if you feel more secure that way; http://www.royalmail.com/personal/sending-mail
    But it has been found that the DWP mail handling centres just sign for these by the sackful, or even the truckful.
    If you later try to rely on the signature to prove they have received a certain letter, they just deny that individual letters are signed for.
    So your paid for 'proof' ends up just proving you posted it - the same as the free 'Proof of Posting'.

    Always keep copies of everything that you send them.

    You don't need a cover letter, the fit note (sicknote) has your NI number on it and this is what the DWP use to identify your documents.
    (That's another tip, put your NI number on the top of the page of everything you send them).

    Yes, if you have an SSP1 then send it with the sicknote, they will sort out the SSP/ESA payment dates from that.
    If you don't send the SSP1 you may not get sickpay from the period between when the company last paid SSP until you made your ESA claim.


    Don't worry about asking questions, that's why most of us joined here in the first place - to ask our own questions when it was all new to us.
    Those of us who feel able to have learned more now, and stay around to help others for who it's all new or who have questions about some of the less known rules.

    You're doing everything right at the moment, (but it's always good to have a second opinion to confirm it).

    Just a quick word about what happens next.
    Once they have the sicknote, and SSP1, they will start paying you ESA at the assessment rate from the date you claimed, you should also get a bit of SSP backpaid.

    You will then receive a form ESA50 'Capability for Work Questionaire' which you need to fill in and send back to them.
    If you want to get a head start on this you can find one here- ESA50 Fillable
    You can fill this in on your compputer, and if you want to you can even print it off, sign it, and send it back instead of filling in by hand the one that they send you.
    If the boxes on the form aren't big enough, you can also provide more information on seperate sheets.

    You will probably then be asked to attend a 'Work Capability Assessment' where you see an assessor face to face to explain more and let them assess if what you said on the ESA50 is true.
    (You sometimes see this referred to as a medical, don't be fooled it is not a medical it is an assessment of your capability to work).

    The assessor then sends a report to the DWP, and the DWP decides from this and any evidence you supplied whether you qualify for ESA or not, and if you do then in which group you should be.
    (If they say you are still fit for work then you can appeal- but don't worry about that unless it happens).

    Keep us posted, and ask anything else you need.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

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    Thank you so much for your thourough information, it really has helped me a lot and helped quench my anxiety.

    I scanned copies of everything and decided to pop into my local jobcentre. The lady I spoke to was really nice but unsure about scanning my ssp1 form over which sent my anxiety skyrocketing. I ended up asking three times if it would defintely be ok for her to scan it over because if not I would post it which made me feel embarrassed for needing the reassurance. In the end she took both of my sick notes and the ssp1 to scan and said they'd be scanned straight over as they had nothing else waiting. I am now worrying about the whole process, id read it was quicker to do it that way but her reluctance has made me doubt my decision and as they also kept the forms. Do you know what they do with them?

    Does this process have a quick turnaround? im worried about money and I'm worried they will reject my claim for whatever reason. Is this something that could happen?

    Also, my address is different on my sick notes (dads address, as it's been all of my life) to where I am living and have made the claim to. Do you know if this will affect anything? I did ask at the time I made the claim and she said no but I can't help but worry. Also, I know you said about them not caring about specific conditions but rather your capability for work but on my sick notes it literally just states back pain, is this ok? Over the phone I specified that it was a perforated disc in my back, will they link the two ok and will it only stating back pain on the note, be ok do you think?

    Thanks again for everything

  6. #6
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Scanning them at the JC+ is a quick way of getting them to where they need to be, but not all JCs will do this now so yours was a good one.

    If they have kept them then they will also send the originals by 'internal' post for you.

    Hopefully with being scanned across they will pay money soon.
    You could keep checking your bank balance once a day, it often goes in before you get a letter about it.

    Don't worry about the address too much, they go off your NI number, which is on the documents.
    You should get this changed at the doctors though to where you live now.

    The sick notes are OK saying 'back pain', what I was saying about 'capabilities not conditions' was for the ESA50 and assessment.
    Last edited by nukecad; 02-10-16 at 17:05.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nukecad View Post
    Scanning them at the JC+ is a quick way of getting them to where they need to be, but not all JCs will do this now so yours was a good one.

    If they have kept them then they will also send the originals by 'internal' post for you.

    Hopefully with being scanned across they will pay money soon.
    You could keep checking your bank balance once a day, it often goes in before you get a letter about it.

    Don't worry about the address too much, they go off your NI number, which is on the documents.
    You should get this changed at the doctors though to where you live now.

    The sick notes are OK saying 'back pain', what I was saying about 'capabilities not conditions' was for the ESA50 and assessment.

    I want to thank you for all your previous help I am successfuly im the assessment phase, having sent off my ESA50 form a few weeks ago. Do you know how long after sending in the form, I can send evidence off? All I had was copious amounts of hospital appointment letters which I was told not to send.

    Sorry, my actual question is about something you mentioned before, regarding my employer and not leaving but rather letting them let me go. I have just had my occupational health appointment and taking everything into consideration, they have advised that I will not be returning anytime soon. I now have a welfare meeting with my employer. The whole process is becoming very stressful and I hate having to go in and talk about things, knowing full well I won't be going back any time soon, if at all. There are limited reasonable adjustments that can be made as it's in a warehouse and I am physically/mentally, terrible. The thought of going back there makes me want to break down and every time I have to go in for a meeting I am left feeling like an inter failure

    What would happen if I left? Would it put me in bad stead? And would it affect my esa? I also have accrued holidays but I have no idea what to do with them either.

  8. #8
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    I'm not sure how any holiday pay or final salary would affect your ESA at this stage.

    I can only go off what happened to me which was slightly different.

    I had been off sick, used up all the company sick pay and company SSP so was being paid SSP by the DWP but has not yet claimed ESA.
    My contract was terminated for health reasons and I was given 2 months salary and some pay in lieu of holidays (less some deductions, that's another story).
    I put my ESA claim in the same day.
    The salary and holiday pay had no bearing and my ESA was paid from the claim date.

    Yours is a bit more awkward because your are claiming ESA whilst still employed, which is unusual.

    I'll have a look if I can find an example similar to yours in the DM guidance, may not be for a while though.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

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