Cabinet Secretary ESA56B revision requirement issued 2014

The request was partially successful.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Under FOI Act I need a copy of what the Cabinet Secretary first issued in Nov 2014 to require revision of the ESA65B letter that Sarah Newton said exists in Written question – 142517

Employment and Support Allowance:Written question - 142517
Asked by Emma Dent Coad
Asked on: 09 May 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 21 March 2018 to Question 132726 on employment and support allowance, on what date the Cabinet Secretary issued the ministerial requirement that the wording of the ESA65B letters be revised.
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 16 May 2018

The Cabinet Secretary first issued the requirement to revise the ESA65B letter in November 2014.

The wording of the ESA65B was changed to emphasise the benefits of work and to ask GPs to encourage their patients in their efforts to return to some form of work.

The wording of the revised version includes the following link to guidance for GPs on issuing fit notes:

This includes a link to detailed guidance on the benefits system for GPs available at which includes guidance on when a claimant is appealing and where their condition worsens or they develop a new condition.

Claimants can be paid Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) whilst appealing a decision, the rate of which is equivalent to that of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). In order for someone to be paid ESA pending an appeal they need to provide the Department with fit notes in order to be treated as having Limited Capability for Work until the appeal is determined. However, this doesn’t apply where the claimant fails a second Work Capability Assessment. Where this is the case then ESA will not be paid pending the appeal and the claimant would need to claim JSA or Universal Credit (UC) (depending on where they lived).

If a claimant’s GP does not provide them with a fit note during the appeal period they cannot be paid ESA but are able to claim JSA or UC where eligible.

Yours sincerely,

Daphne Aitken

Yours faithfully,

Daphne Aitken

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been accepted by the DWP FoI mailbox.
By the next working day your request will be forwarded to the relevant
information owner within the Department who will respond to you direct. 
If your email is a Freedom of Information request you can normally
expect a response within 20 working days.
Should you have any further queries in connection with this request do
please contact us.
For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
please click on the link below.

show quoted sections


Visible links
1. on behalf of DWP Strategy Freedom of Information, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear Daphne Aitken,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 1st

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Frank Zola left an annotation ()

Update: ICO tells DWP to “stop” issuing the #ESA65B ‘fit-note’ letters

ICO forces DWP to require claimant consent (“opt-in”) before #ESA65B ‘fit-note’ letters can be sent to GPs