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Thread: Esa Advice needed please

  1. #1
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    Esa Advice needed please

    Hello everyone I have just joined the forum. My situation is rather complicated.

    My age is 58 and I my conditons are osteoarthritis in my back and knees and lmphoedema in my legs and also psoriasis on my scalp. I used to be a fulltime carer to my father until he died in 1999.

    After my father died I claimed income support due to health and sickness problems and I continued to receive income support for some time. Then in 2014 due to the changes to income support I had to claim Esa. I didn't get any points so went to the citizens advice. Due to staffing problems and funding they would'nt support me to appeal.

    So in February 2015 I had no option but to claim jobseekers allowance. I had alot of restrictions put onto my agreement but I still had to apply for jobs. Then after a year they told I would have to go onto the work programme. I lasted for 3 months, it was the most horrendous thing I have every done. The adviser I had acutally said that my health conditons were causing her huge difficulties. She kept making me apply for jobs that I had no experience for. She updated my CV and made it seem as though I was an experienced secretary with years of experience, when due to caring for my dad and health problems I have just done some basic clerical work.

    Eventually after 3 months I decided to close my claim for jobseekers so I could leave the work programme. I didn't know if I would be able to claim Esa again but thankfully I was able to. I had my assessment last month and again got 0 points. I have done the mandatory reconsdieration and and I found the 0800 number for jobseekers. They gave me an appointment for tomorrow for a work focussed interview. But, yesterday I received and appointment for the work programme starting again on the 28th February. There is no way that I can possibly so back on the work programme. So I really don't know what to do about the jobseekers allowance now. If at tomorrows appointment I tell them that I won't go back onto the work programme they might not process the jobseekers claim.

    Also my gp gave me a 3 month sick note on the 6th January so I can't get another sick note.

    I don't know if anyone could advise me what to do about this appointment with the work programme I would be obliged.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    England
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    Hello Elizas

    I think I would be advisable for you to really try and get some advice about your situation.

    You could try Welfare Rights in your area, Citizens Advice again or even Age UK given you are over 50.

    Hopefully one of these organisations can help.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by elizas View Post
    Hello everyone I have just joined the forum. My situation is rather complicated.

    My age is 58 and I my conditons are osteoarthritis in my back and knees and lmphoedema in my legs and also psoriasis on my scalp. I used to be a fulltime carer to my father until he died in 1999.

    After my father died I claimed income support due to health and sickness problems and I continued to receive income support for some time. Then in 2014 due to the changes to income support I had to claim Esa. I didn't get any points so went to the citizens advice. Due to staffing problems and funding they would'nt support me to appeal.

    So in February 2015 I had no option but to claim jobseekers allowance. I had alot of restrictions put onto my agreement but I still had to apply for jobs. Then after a year they told I would have to go onto the work programme. I lasted for 3 months, it was the most horrendous thing I have every done. The adviser I had acutally said that my health conditons were causing her huge difficulties. She kept making me apply for jobs that I had no experience for. She updated my CV and made it seem as though I was an experienced secretary with years of experience, when due to caring for my dad and health problems I have just done some basic clerical work.

    Eventually after 3 months I decided to close my claim for jobseekers so I could leave the work programme. I didn't know if I would be able to claim Esa again but thankfully I was able to. I had my assessment last month and again got 0 points. I have done the mandatory reconsdieration and and I found the 0800 number for jobseekers. They gave me an appointment for tomorrow for a work focussed interview. But, yesterday I received and appointment for the work programme starting again on the 28th February. There is no way that I can possibly so back on the work programme. So I really don't know what to do about the jobseekers allowance now. If at tomorrows appointment I tell them that I won't go back onto the work programme they might not process the jobseekers claim.

    Also my gp gave me a 3 month sick note on the 6th January so I can't get another sick note.

    I don't know if anyone could advise me what to do about this appointment with the work programme I would be obliged.
    Did you rell them that you are waiting for the MR? also you could always try the Exrended period of sickness ,which you may or may not be successful at getting , you could go sick for 13 weeks for a new condition (stress) maybe if your GP will support you

  4. #4
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    You need to attend the first appointment for JSA tomorrow so that they can process your claim.

    Then, as already said, you need to produce a fit note from your doctor so that you can go onto an extended period of sickness which would mean that you would not have to attend the work programme.

    I would also agree that AgeUK would be a good organisation to ask for help as regards your ESA appeal.

  5. #5
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Hi elizas,

    Firstly the bad news;
    The Work Programme lasts for 2 years from the date you start it.
    Even if you go off benefits, and so don't have to attend, you are still technically on the Work Programme until that 2 years is up.
    (So if you started in Feb 2016 then you are on the Work Programme until Feb 2018, even if you were not actually going).

    As you have started claiming benefits again you are expected to 're-engage' with your Work Programme.
    But that does not restart the clock, it's still 2 years from when you first started it.

    With certain benefits attendance is mandatory, which means you can be sanctioned and your benefits stopped if you don't go to WP.
    JSA and ESA WRAG are two of these benefits. (But ESA WRAG don't have to apply for jobs, or do work experience).

    Unfortunately that is the law and if you don't attend your WP appointments then they can and will stop your benefit payments.


    Secondly, a few questions that will help us to advise on your ESA claim:
    1. When did you put in your reclaim for ESA, what date was it?
    2. Was this claim for a new condition or a serious worsening of an existing conditions?
    3. Have they been paying you ESA Assessment Rate? (The answer to this could be important as to what you can do next).
    4. You don't say where your mandatory reconsideration is up to. Have you ony just made it or have you had a decision?
    5. If you have had your MR decision then have you applied to appeal to the tribunal?


    Why I asked about if they had been paying you ESA Assessment Rate.
    Once the tribunal accept your appeal application then you might be able to go back onto ESA Assesment Rate (instead of JSA) until your appeal is heard.
    Your circumstances may be a bit unusual in this regard, with being an unsucessful transfer from IB and then claiming JSA for a while.
    I would have to double check the guidance.


    I think your best plan for now is-
    • Go and sign on for JSA tomorrow, try and get your claimant commitment restricted the way it was before.
    • DO NOT say that you will not engage with the work programme.
    • DO NOT say that you are too ill to do any work, (or that you will be going sick).
    • Wait until you receive your first JSA payment, in the meantime ask your GP for another copy of the sicknote if you don't already have a copy.
    • If you have to go to the first Work Programme appointment before you get the first JSA payment then do go.
    • Once you have the first payment then tell the jobcentre that you want to go on an "Extended Period of Sickness"(EPS) and give them a copy of the sicknote again.
    • Once they confirm that you are on the EPS tell the Work Programme provider that you are on an Extended Period of Sickness, and so will not be attending for a while.


    Some might say that that is a bit sneaky, and 'playing the system' - so what the DWP play the system all the time.

    All that should give you a bit of extra time (13 weeks Extended Sickness) to get help.
    Use this time wisely to get some advice from CAB, AGE UK, or some other welfare organisation local to you.
    Last edited by nukecad; 14-02-17 at 15:14.
    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.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by nukecad View Post
    Hi elizas,

    Firstly the bad news;
    The Work Programme lasts for 2 years from the date you start it.
    Even if you go off benefits, and so don't have to attend, you are still technically on the Work Programme until that 2 years is up.
    (So if you started in Feb 2016 then you are on the Work Programme until Feb 2018, even if you were not actually going).

    As you have started claiming benefits again you are expected to 're-engage' with your Work Programme.
    But that does not restart the clock, it's still 2 years from when you first started it.

    With certain benefits attendance is mandatory, which means you can be sanctioned and your benefits stopped if you don't go to WP.
    JSA and ESA WRAG are two of these benefits. (But ESA WRAG don't have to apply for jobs, or do work experience).

    Unfortunately that is the law and if you don't attend your WP appointments then they can and will stop your benefit payments.


    Secondly, a few questions that will help us to advise on your ESA claim:
    1. When did you put in your reclaim for ESA, what date was it?
    2. Was this claim for a new condition or a serious worsening of an existing conditions?
    3. Have they been paying you ESA Assessment Rate? (The answer to this could be important as to what you can do next).
    4. You don't say where your mandatory reconsideration is up to. Have you ony just made it or have you had a decision?
    5. If you have had your MR decision then have you applied to appeal to the tribunal?


    Why I asked about if they had been paying you ESA Assessment Rate.
    Once the tribunal accept your appeal application then you might be able to go back onto ESA Assesment Rate (instead of JSA) until your appeal is heard.
    Your circumstances may be a bit unusual in this regard, with being an unsucessful transfer from IB and then claiming JSA for a while.
    I would have to double check the guidance.


    I think your best plan for now is-
    • Go and sign on for JSA tomorrow, try and get your claimant commitment restricted the way it was before.
    • DO NOT say that you will not engage with the work programme.
    • DO NOT say that you are too ill to do any work, (or that you will be going sick).
    • Wait until you receive your first JSA payment, in the meantime ask your GP for another copy of the sicknote if you don't already have a copy.
    • If you have to go to the first Work Programme appointment before you get the first JSA payment then do go.
    • Once you have the first payment then tell the jobcentre that you want to go on an "Extended Period of Sickness"(EPS) and give them a copy of the sicknote again.
    • Once they confirm that you are on the EPS tell the Work Programme provider that you are on an Extended Period of Sickness, and so will not be attending for a while.


    Some might say that that is a bit sneaky, and 'playing the system' - so what the DWP play the system all the time.

    All that should give you a bit of extra time (13 weeks Extended Sickness) to get help.
    Use this time wisely to get some advice from CAB, AGE UK, or some other welfare organisation local to you.

    Thank you nukecad for your reply. My claim for Esa started on the 3rd June 2016 and I have been receiving the assessment rate since then. This is on the same conditions. I am sure that the benefit office has classed this as a new claim. I submitted the mandatory reconsideration on the 6th of February. I have been to see the North Bristol Advice Centre and they told me it would take approx 2 weeks for a decision on the mandatory reconsideration.

    I did see someone previously at age uk about the esa, but the person I saw I no knowledge of esa so was'nt very helpful. I am also unable to get the citizens advice now because of my mobility problems.

  7. #7
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    If you have already made contact with an advice centre then I would stick with them for further help, once you are on their books you'll probably get seen a bit quicker than a 'newbie'.

    From what you say I think that the DWP will class your claim as a 'reclaim after previously being found fit for work'.
    If they do then this means that they will not pay ESA assessment rate if/when you lodge an appeal.

    They may if you're lucky, because the front line advisers don't understand the rules properly so if you insist and sound knowledgeable they can cave in.
    (That's the trick they always try with you when they are not sure, so uuse it back on them).
    Last edited by nukecad; 14-02-17 at 19:08.
    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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