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Thread: If on ESA assessment rate awaiting a tribunal, is Work Programme still mandatory ?

  1. #1
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    If on ESA assessment rate awaiting a tribunal, is Work Programme still mandatory ?

    Whilst signing on last Friday, the Jobcentre adviser has referred me onto the Work Programme. He said that I should receive a letter from Ingeus in the next week or so.
    I'm currently awaiting an ESA tribunal date. Tomorrow I am seeing my GP and I hope to get a sick/fit note so I can then phone the ESA number and ask them to switch me from JSA to ESA assessment rate whilst I await that tribunal.

    Assuming that all goes ahead okay, will I still have to take part in the Work Programme ?
    I don't think that will do my mental health any good.

    regards

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by ss0115 View Post
    Whilst signing on last Friday, the Jobcentre adviser has referred me onto the Work Programme. He said that I should receive a letter from Ingeus in the next week or so.
    I'm currently awaiting an ESA tribunal date. Tomorrow I am seeing my GP and I hope to get a sick/fit note so I can then phone the ESA number and ask them to switch me from JSA to ESA assessment rate whilst I await that tribunal.

    Assuming that all goes ahead okay, will I still have to take part in the Work Programme ?
    I don't think that will do my mental health any good.

    regards
    As you are on JSA the work programme will be cancelled once your current JSA is closed down, it will not apply to ESA you can ignore any letters from ingeus should you get any when back on ESA

  3. #3
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    That is not correct tom34.

    Your Work Programme does not get cancelled at all, in any circumstances.
    Once you are on it then you are on it for the full 2 years - even if you switch benefits, or go back to work.

    Once on Work Programme if you switch from JSA to ESA you are still on the Work Programme, but they cannot mandate you to apply for jobs, do work placements, etc.

    Even if you go back to work you are still enroled in the WP for the 2 years, you just don't go.

    Work Programme is not just for JSA, it is also Mandatory for ESA (IR) WRAG, but with ESA they do have some leeway about when/if they make you start it.

    ss0115,
    Does your letter say that attendance is 'Mandatory' or that 'Your benefits may be affected if you dont attend'?
    If it does than you have to go to the WP induction meeting.

    If it doesn't say this then you can refuse to go.
    Double check with your work coach if this referal is mandatory.

    There are rules about when they can make it mandatory, and when they can only ask you to volunteer.
    How long you have been claiming JSA, your age, and a few other factors determine just when they can make the WP referal mandatory for JSA claimants.

    There are different WP mandation rules for ESA (IR) WRAG, mainly depending on your prognosis. They get quite complicated as usual.
    For example if you are on ESA (CB) WRAG they cannot mandate you to WP but you can volunteer. However if you do volunteer then attendance and participation becomes mandatory.

    It may seem unusual that they are refering you to Work Programme whilst you are awaiting appeal, but as long as you fit the other JSA mandation rules then they can do this. BUT-

    Once on the WP what they can do depends if you are appealing a fit-for-work decision, or if you are appealing to get from WRAG to support group.
    From the Work Programme provider Guidance:
    Where an ESA WRAG participant feels they should be in the Support Group and disagrees with the outcome of their WCA, they can appeal. During the appeal process and until it is concluded, they will remain on Work Programme and can be mandated to undertake Work Programme activity.
    Where an ESA participant has been found fit for work as a result of their WCA they can appeal against that decision. During the appeal process and until it is concluded, they will remain on Work Programme but they cannot be mandated during the appeal period.
    If you win your appeal then just what they can mandate you to do depends on what decision you get, eg if you get Support Group then the Work Programme becomes voluntary not mandatory - but you are still on the Work Programme for the full 2 years.

    Just to add -
    New referals to the Work Programme will stop as from 31 March 2017.
    Those refered to WP before then will still have to complete the full 2 years.
    Last edited by nukecad; 27-02-17 at 14:51.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nukecad View Post

    ss0115,
    Does your letter say that attendance is 'Mandatory' or that 'Your benefits may be affected if you dont attend'?
    If it does than you have to go to the WP induction meeting.

    If it doesn't say this then you can refuse to go.
    Double check with your work coach if this referal is mandatory.
    I haven't received a letter yet but on Friday the work coach showed me his computer screen and it did say Mandatory.
    Obviously at this stage I am still on JSA.
    This is the same work coach who told me a couple of weeks ago that I couldn't go back onto ESA whilst appealing.
    I posted on the forum about this and it seems he was wrong to tell me that.

    I won a tribunal in 2013 and am currently appealing after being found fit for work by the DWP following a re-assessment.
    So I understand from your reply that once I'm back on ESA then I would remain on the work programme but cannot be mandated during the appeal period.

    Presumably I would still need to attend the work programme induction meeting ?

  5. #5
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Thats correct, once on the WP you stay on it for 2 years, but what they can mandate you to do depends on which benefit your are claiming.
    And if you change benefit then the rules about what they can mandate change, but you are still on WP.

    The above quotes about appeal come from the current Work Programme Provider Guidance.
    Chapter 2, bottom of page 7 top of page 8. (see link below).

    If you win your appeal then what they can mandate depends on which group you are awarded.

    I'm not entirely sure what would happen if you go back onto ESA before your induction meeting.
    Technically you have not started WP until that meeting, but you have been refered.
    So it would be a bit of a grey area, but I doubt you would avoid it once refered.
    The WPP guide or memos probably cover it somewhere.

    I recall we had someone recently who was put on the WP but found work after 3 or four months. They then claimed ESA six months later. Because they were still in the 2 years period they had to go straight back onto the WP.

    If you like a lot of confusing reading you can find all the WPP guides here:
    https://www.gov.uk/government/public...vider-guidance
    These are what the providers are supposed to work to, I doubt that any of the advisors have tried to read them though.

    You may also be intrested in my experiences of the WP on ESA from a couple of yeas ago.
    http://www.youreable.com/forums/show...Work-Programme
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    Thanks for the info. I will post an update on this when it gets sorted

  7. #7
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    I said above:
    I'm not entirely sure what would happen if you go back onto ESA before your induction meeting.
    Technically you have not started WP until that meeting, but you have been refered.
    Reading back through that thread of mine I see that when it came to my WP end date it was 2 years after the date on which I was refered, not the date of my first WP appointment.
    This post.

    That would indicate that they take the referal date as the start date of your WP.

    Which would mean that you are already on the WP, even though you have not attended yet.

    Just one more thing; how long have you been on JSA?

    It's supposed to be at least 3 months on JSA, (though more usually 9 months for under 25's & 12 months for over 25's), before a WP referal becomes mandatory.
    WPP guidance again: chapter 2, pages 4 & 5. "Entry/Access Point" in that chart.

    Check exactly what your letter says, when it comes, about this being a mandatory WP referal.
    (They could be trying to trick you into volunteering for WP before the March 31 deadline).
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nukecad View Post

    Just one more thing; how long have you been on JSA?

    It's supposed to be at least 3 months on JSA, (though more usually 9 months for under 25's & 12 months for over 25's), before a WP referal becomes mandatory.
    WPP guidance again: chapter 2, pages 4 & 5. "Entry/Access Point" in that chart.

    Check exactly what your letter says, when it comes, about this being a mandatory WP referal.
    (They could be trying to trick you into volunteering for WP before the March 31 deadline).
    I've been on JSA for 4 months. As I'm over 25 I did say to the work coach that I thought that I had to be on JSA for 12 months before being referred to the work programme. He told me that I'd been on ESA WRAG for a while so was still eligible for it.

    I've just received a call on my mobile which I didn't answer, checked out the number on the internet and it was Ingeus.
    I don't answer to unknown callers, they can write to me instead cos that's what the work coach told me they would do.

    I've just obtained a sick/fit note from my GP for 3 months.
    Tomorrow I need to ask DWP to put me back onto ESA whilst awaiting appeal.
    Not sure which number to ring or what order to do things, close JSA first, take sicknote to Jobcentre or ring ESA first ????

    I'm reluctant to take it to the Jobcentre because its the same lot who have told me incorrectly that I cannot go back on ESA whilst appealing.
    Last edited by ss0115; 28-02-17 at 17:49.

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    UPDATE
    My JSA claim has now been closed from 27 Feb and soon I should have my ESA (assessment rate) re-instated from 28 Feb, the date that my sick note started.
    Meanwhile the work programme provider Ingeus have sent me a letter dated 28 Feb informing me of my 1st appointment due tomorrow 7 March.

    This morning I phoned them and spoke to a lady. I told her that I am no longer claiming JSA and I'm in the process of getting basic ESA reinstated pending my appeal tribunal. I reminded her that I was now no longer mandated to take part in any work related activity.
    She told me that I was still required to attend the appointment because they had not yet received a "change of circumstances" form from the DWP. At first she said it could take 2-4 weeks for the DWP to electronically send them that information, although later in the conversation she said it could take 6-8 weeks !!!!!
    I explained that I suffer from social anxiety and cannot use public transport so it will take me an hour to walk to the appointment and an hour to get back home again.
    She then decided that it would be best to rearrange my appointment for 17 March and that would allow 10 more days for the DWP to send Ingeus that change of circumstances form. On the morning of 17 March I have been advised to phone Ingeus again to see if they've received the relevant information and if they haven't then they will "probably" rearrange my appointment again for a later date.

    Unfortunately, the lady at Ingeus was unable to confirm whether or not I would still be mandated to attend the 1st appointment once they'd received notification of my change of circumstances.

    Since when did it take so long to send information electronically ?
    It only took a few seconds and a few clicks on a computer screen for my jobcentre work coach to refer me on to the work programme in the first place.
    I'm not happy with the DWP, so quick when they're stopping your benefits though.

  10. #10
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    At least you have got the inducton appointment delayed.

    If you are lucky they can/will keep delaying it until your appeal is heard?
    (Which may be working in your favour as the DWP seem to take the referal date as the start date).

    It's an odd one, normally you would not be refered to WP before your tribunal, (although you could have been already on it before claiming ESA).
    Technically until your tribunal decision you are now again classed as having Limited Capability for Work (WRAG).
    Having been refered to WP you have technically now started WP, even though you haven't been yet.
    They could now mandate you to attend WP (with ESA conditionality).
    As its an unusual circumstance they may decide to make it voluntary until the tribunal is heard.

    What eventually happens is going to depend on the appeal decision.
    Fit-for-work - Back on JSA (or UC) and mandatory full participion in WP.
    WRAG - Mandatory partial participation in WP. (No job applications or work experience / community work placements).
    Support Group - Voluntary participation in WP. (You're still on it but don't have to go unless you want to).

    Best of luck for your tribunal.
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