Ask CPAG Online - Have you failed to submit an ESA50 questionnaire?

Have you failed to submit an ESA50 questionnaire?

You are normally required to submit an ESA50 form after you have claimed ESA, as part of the LCW assessment process. The questionnaire is an assessment of how your illness or disability affects you with reference to the activities tested under the WCA.

You must be given at least 4 weeks to return the ESA50, and at least a further week following a second repeat request. If you fail to complete and return the questionnaire without good cause, you are treated as not having LCW and cannot get ESA.1

Problems can arise if you fail to return the ESA50 (e.g. because you were too ill), or you did not receive the ESA50 and reminder, or you sent it but DWP say they have not received it. If this happens, you should send another ESA50 as soon as possible (one you have, a duplicate or copy, or a requested replacement), explaining why it was not previously sent. This should allow your claim to proceed and payment to begin (if you are entitled to ESA pending assessment) by stopping you from being treated as not having LCW.2

Alternatively, it may be possible to persuade the DWP to decide that you have LCW without an ESA50, where, for example, there is strong evidence that you score 15 points in the work capability assessment, or that there would be a significant risk to your health if you were found not to have LCW. If the DWP has sufficient information to determine that you have LCW, it cannot require you to submit an ESA50.3

If you have mental health problems, the DWP has a policy of referring your case to Maximus for consideration if you have not returned the ESA50, rather than automatically refusing your claim. 

If you have already received a decision that you are not entitled to ESA because you have failed to submit an ESA50, you can challenge the decision by requesting a mandatory reconsideration and appeal. Your grounds could include that you did submit an ESA50 (e.g. by providing proof of posting), or the DWP failed to send two requests separated by at least 4 weeks, or you had ‘good cause’ for the failure (eg it was due to your illness or non-receipt of the requests).

Note that this is only worth doing if you were eligible for payment pending a decision on your ESA claim, or to allow you to reclaim ESA within 6 months and get paid pending assessment (see Can you get paid ESA while waiting for a decision?).