Ask CPAG Online - How is your ESA restored on appeal?

In certain circumstances, you can be paid employment and support allowance (ESA) pending an appeal against a decision that you do not have limited capability for work (see Benefit Pending a Mandatory Reconsideration). In addition, payment can be backdated to cover the period of the MR. There is no requirement for you to make a claim, as benefit is awarded automatically,1 but you will first need to relinquish any claim you might have made for jobseeker’s allowance in the meantime.

There are often long delays, however, in getting your ESA reinstated because HMCTS (the tribunal service) first processes and registers your appeal and then sends notification of the appeal to the DWP by post. The DWP then check the appeal and eventually send it through to a section responsible for restoring your ESA payments. The whole process can take several weeks.

In fact, you are legally entitled to payment as soon as you have made, and are pursuing, an appeal against a relevant limited capability for work decision. You can speed up the process by making it clear on the appeal form SSCS1 (or in a covering letter) that you are in financial hardship and need to have your ESA payments restored quickly. This should prompt HMCTS to email an acknowledgment of your appeal to the DWP.

You could also speed up the process by:

  • sending your appeal to HMCS by recorded delivery and obtaining proof of delivery using the online Royal Mail tracker system;
  • sending copies of your appeal and the proof of delivery to the DWP
  • sending a covering letter or email explaining the urgency and quoting the law confirming entitlement to ESA without a claim, on the basis that you have made, and are pursuing, an appeal.