Hey all, my ESA50 is now finished and sent... a knackering couple of days filling it in and now I feel like I need to go back to bed!! I guess it's all in the hands of Atos now. :/
I did get some good advice over the past couple of days from Welfare Rights and CAB, and I just wanted to share one particular nugget from Welfare Rights:
The chap I spoke to said that if for any reason you are sending your form back a little late, or very close to the deadline, it's not enough just to phone the DWP and let them know - even if you have a valid reason. This is because Atos are still, in his experience, declaring that a form is not back on time on the day of the deadline regardless. He said they are very quick to do this, and it can lead to you being found fit for work.
His advice was to make a copy of the form (you should do one for yourself too) and send it to your local Jobcentre Plus address, which is different from the address on the return envelope from Atos. This is so that if Atos claim that the form hasn't been received, and tell the Jobcentre to find you fit for work, the Jobcentre can see that you actually have
sent the form in, and they will inform Atos of this. This is what I've just done for mine as the deadline is tomorrow.
Hope that's helpful.
Wish me luck!!!