Summons for ESA assessment clearly discriminatory

This shocking letter (Discriminatory ESA appointment letter) was sent to a severely disabled man demanding his attendance at an unsuitable venue at short notice.  The DWP was in full possession of the facts of his circumstances when instructing the agent ("Maximus" acting under the banner of "Health Assessment Advisory Service") to call him in.  You'll note the threat "If you don't attend, your benefit may be affected". 

Nowhere in this letter does it say how the claimant can request a reasonable adjustment, or even that any alternatives are available.  In fact they shouldn't even have to request one as the DWP, and any agents acting on its behalf, has an anticipatory duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people.  This means, as the DWP is already in full possession of the facts that this claimant has long-term chronic health conditions and severe disability, they shouldn't be even considering a face-to-face appointment anyway.  They can simply review the file and have now been told that.

Thousands of claimants get these ridiculous letters every day - being set-up for benefits removal when appointments cannot be reached.  You'll see from the instructions that the venue is clearly not accessible to many claimants.

Where claimants have their benefits removed because of being set up in this way - i.e. being given an appointment they cannot reasonably be expected to get to and then having their money stopped when they don't go - there is a case for a disability discrimination claim for breach of the Equality Act 2010.

Universal Credit Legal Challenge

Lawyers at Leigh Day attended a group I was a founder member of called the Strategic Casework Group and are doing this - UC challenge .

The judicial review is against the government's use of the Universal Credit (UC) regime to remove a means-tested allowance called the severe disability premium.

Many people are not getting the severe disability premium (SDP) who are entitled to it.  SDP is available in ESA, JSA and income support, but not UC. 

If the following applies to you then you are entitled to SDP

  • Getting Disability Living Allowance (DLA) middle or higher rate care component, or
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) standard or enhanced rate daily living component, and

 Live without any other non-dependent adults in your household, and

 Have nobody claiming carers' allowance for looking after you.

It's just a call to the DWP department paying your means-tested benefits to get it sorted out.