Backdating of employment and support allowance


The law only appears to provide for the payment of ESA pending an appeal (but not pending a MR) of a decision that a claimant does not have limited capability for work.1 The government has recently confirmed, however, that once a claimant has appealed, ESA can be backdated to cover the full period of the MR.2 It is, therefore, in a claimant’s interest that the MR is carried out as quickly as possible to enable ESA to be reinstated and any arrears paid, either as a result of a favourable MR, or the lodging of an appeal following an unfavourable MR.

The government has indicated that in straightforward cases, where no further information is needed, the MR of an ESA disallowance could be completed in about 14 days.3 In such a scenario, claimants could potentially have their ESA restored with little or no gap in payment (precluding the need to claim jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) – see below).

Lastly, how long does it take for the payment to be made once they've received my letter with medical info? (You can in some circumstances backdate the start of you claim which is what they are asking for medical proof of). Only after you have been assessed and found incapable of 'normal' working will you be actually awarded ESA benefit.

Whilst you are being assessed you will get a benefit payment that is the same as you would get for jobseekers allowance, but without the same conditions of having to apply for jobs, etc. At this point you will be put into either the Work Related Activities Group (WRAG) or the Support group and will then get the full amount of ESA benefit backdated to the 14th week of your claim (This waiting period is the same for everyone).

Whatever your doctor puts on the 'fit note' will not exempt you from assessment (ESA50 questionnaire, possible face to face assessment).