ESA Appeals and Medical Evidence
As the rules tighten more people are losing their ability to claim. Many are likely to appeal and ask their GP to help in this appeal. This puts GPs into a difficult position as although this is not NHS work and is therefore chargeable, these patients often are in a difficult financial position. The following comes from an officer of another LMC who sits on ESA appeal panels:
“The criteria for ESA are much stricter than for Incapacity Benefit, which it replaced. Although the Department for Work and Pensions talks about the test defining the claimant’s ability to work, it does no such thing. You have to pass the test ((score 15 points) to claim the benefit. If you don't you have to claim Job Seekers Allowance. This does not necessarily mean that you are fit for work or employable.
It is likely that nearly all applicants will appeal as you continue to get ESA until your appeal is determined.
If the appeal panel hears a case and thinks it would be helped by further medical evidence it can adjourn the case and ask for a GP report or for a copy of the records. The Tribunals Service will pay for these, not a very high rate but better than nothing. The practice does not, therefore, disadvantage a patient if it declines to do a report for at the patient's request before the appeal."