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Thread: failed esa medical and now being forced to claim job seekers allowance

  1. #1

    failed esa medical and now being forced to claim job seekers allowance

    I had been claiming ESA but failed the medical so now i'm appealing, and i've been told that the only
    money I can get is Job seekers allowance until my appeal.

    (I have migraine vertigo and at least 5 or 6 times a week I am so dizzy and lightheaded, lose my
    balance, have slurred speech and blurry vision. I also have anxiety and take panic attacks.)

    Anyways So i went to a work focused interview yesterday at Job centre and I took my mum because I can't
    go anywhere myself because of my illness, but she wasn't even allowed to wait inside the job centre
    for me so I ended up taking a huge panic attack during my work focused interview and was sick
    in front of the staff but I was still made to go through with the interview alone.

    I thought that because of my illness my advisor at Job centre would make some allowances for me
    because I can't work. But instead, he is treating me like everyone else. I got made to sign a form
    saying that I will attend the job centre every week, and look for work every single day, and I will
    apply for jobs even if it means working more than 40 hours per week and I have also to look for work
    that's 2 hours away from my home. If i fail to do this then my payments will be stopped.

    I am physically unable to do this, but I can't go months without an income.

    I feel so stressed out and it's making me feel so much worse every day.

    Is there anything else that I can do? Or will I just have to agree to all of this and do what the job
    centre tell me (even though it is affecting my health) until my appeal which probably won't be for
    6 or 7 months.

    Thank you to anyone who reads this and to anyone who replies

  2. #2
    Senior Member deebee's Avatar
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    If you tell them you have an appeal pending(ESA) they have to make allowances for you
    I only know this from reading it on a thread earlier about similar circumstances, I do not have either any personal or professional knowledge and I hope someone with either will be along soon to advise you,, I just wanted to give you a bit of an answer in the meanwhile in the hope it may reassure you a little

  3. #3
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Hi Hayes,
    A few things jump out from your post.

    First of all it is now normal to have to claim JSA whilst awaiting a Mandatory Reconsideration decision.
    You HAVE asked for a MR haven't you? (It's not clear from your post).
    I'll explain how it works below.

    Your Jobseekers commitment looks harsh for somebody awaiting MR.
    You did tell them you are appealing the ESA decision when you signed on?

    In particular you say that you are being asked to look for work that is 2 hours from home.
    They are NOT allowed to mandate you to do this.
    The maximum travel time they are allowed to mandate is 90 mins. by public transport.
    This applies to travel to jobs, job interviews, job experience placements, work programme placements, and even appointments at the jobcentre itself.
    They are issued guidance about this that tells them that even if you volunteer that you will travel for longer they can only put 90 mins on your jobseekers commitment.
    (I will try to find a link to this if I get time).

    How Mandatory Reconsideration and Having to claim Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) works.

    Mandatory Reconsideration-

    Your first step is to start by following the instructions in that letter you've received to request a Mandatory Reconsideration.
    You only have a month from the date on the letter to do this so don't hang about.
    (From now on keep notes of all phone calls and copies of all letters sent, get at least proof of posting for all letters).

    You should do this by first phoning them, saying that you want a MR and that you will be making a written submission.
    While on the phone request from them your Assessment Report (ESA85) and the Decision Makers report (LT54), these will help you to see why you were refused and what to concentrate on to try and get your points score increased.

    Use this information to write a letter explaining why you think the original decision was wrong.
    Just explain why you think you qualify for the points on the relevant descriptors.

    Don't go into things like "what the assessor wrote was I lie, I never said that". That is for a complaint not a MR.
    You are having another chance here to influence a Decision Maker with the facts, arguing with what the assessor wrote will not help.

    Claiming JSA whilst awaiting MR-

    Whilst you are waiting for the MR you will have to claim Jobseekers Allowance if you want to keep receiving benefit.
    If it then goes to appeal after MR you go back onto assessment rate ESA until the tribunal decision.

    The Jobcentres are aware of this strange situation, when you sign onto JSA you tell them you are doing so because of an ESA MR and they don't give you the same claimant commitments as a regular jobseeker.

    The fact that you are having to claim JSA in this situation has no bearing whatsoever on your MR (or your tribunal appeal if needed).
    The MR (and tribunal) can only consider the circumstances at the date of your original claim, not what has happened since then.

    If they try to give you commitments that are too difficult for you all you can do is remind them that you are awaiting a ESA reconsideration because you have ill health.
    Try to point out how you condition affects your ability to do the commitments they ask for.
    For example, they may ask you to do so many hours searching for jobs. As most of this is done on a computer these days say that you can do this at home but cannot manage to go to the Jobcentre multiple times a week.

    Unfortunately the current government stance is that having been refused your initial ESA claim you have been found fit-for-work and so have to claim JSA until found not-capabale-of-work at MR (or until you appeal to tribunal).

    Housing Benefit and Council Tax-

    You should let your Council know what is happening, for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Relief reasons.
    They have probably already been informed by the DWP that your ESA has stopped.

    Again they are used to this situation with MRs now and as long as they know you should have no problems; or at least less problems than if you don't tell them.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

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