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Thread: Permitted Work 52 week time limit REMOVED for those in ESA WRAG

  1. #1

    Permitted Work 52 week time limit REMOVED for those in ESA WRAG

    Well, they've actually done it! From the 3rd April.

    Of course, it'll only last until Universal Credit comes in, for Income-related ESA claimants, but it's a welcome change. Will help some people anyway.

  2. #2
    Hi izzy,

    On first glance, anyone would think this is a positive, some recent change that will benefit claimants. The reality is that this was being planned last year as part of the supporting framework to enable the implementation of the improving lives:work and health white paper. The aim is to get more disabled people into it full time, part time (16+), or permitted (-16_

    So the big question is why did they remove the limit - what's the bigger plan?

    1- WRAG claimants likely to be fit for work in the future. They gain financially from the wages and benefit - the carrot to get people to do permitted work. However, could they be found fit for work sooner having managed to do hours nearer the top end of the limit, or managed to do the work for many months without problems ?

    2- whats to stop WRAG claimants benefiting financially, but limit the potential to be found fit for work? The government. Permitted work is voluntary. For WRAG claimants, you can volunteer for the work programme, but once part of your claimant commitment it becomes mandatory. What's to stop permitted work becoming part of the claimant commitment - and once volunteered for, becomes mandatory? Maybe its all good - you gain wage on top of benefits and can stop the permitted work if it becomes too much and you cant do it. Rapid reclaim already exists for trying out work and coming off ESA, so maybe there will be a period in which you can try out permitted work. But what happens if you try permitted work and have problems. Will you need fit notes for non attendance to avoid sanctions? if you have to give up permitted work will this trigger a reassessment (which could be a positive and a move into the support group).

    The removal of the 52 week limit benefits the claimant if permitted work remains voluntary and outside of the claimant commitment (if its on the commitment its mandatory). In theory, someone could be better off than they are now with the extra wages for years, until UC kicks in. The question to ask, is the government that generous....or is there an ulterior motive?

    The removal of the 52 week limit disadvantages the claimant, if elements of mandation and sanction creep in. If that was in existence, the longest you could be potentially mandated for would be a year as your forced to stop the permitted work. With its removal the claimant could potentially be mandated to do permitted work indefinitely under the sanction regieme.

    3- universal credit. No such thing as permitted work. ESA claimants get transferred over. So is there potential for them to financially benefit from continuing to do permitted work? There may be no element of choice. Stopping permitted work could be seen as a change of circumstance that could remove the financial transitional protection. You could lose wage and benefits may be reduced. You continue permitted work, but they may consider it work related activity and is mandated indefinitely =you have created your own work programme. Or your considered as doing work (because permitted work doesn't exist). You will be in a conditionality group according to your circumstances, and may be liable for sanctions if deemed not earning enough.

    Unlimited permitted work....a short term benefit for some to increase income....or a long term disadvantage to enforce work or work related activity. The more you look at the evidence of the bigger plan, the more obvious the answer.

    Last edited by brightonbelle; 13-03-17 at 12:54.

  3. #3
    I realise this was announced last year by the government, but it was not actually certain that the new lot of ministers would go through with it. It was part of a Green Paper, which is a consultation document.

    Of course, for the government, it's all about "work incentives", but it could also be seen as a stepping stone for some people, in cases where the 52 weeks was just not enough.

    Actually, to my knowledge, Permitted Work is not something that can be mandated, so potential sanctions are not relevant here. Someone correct me if I'm wrong!

    Yes, if someone does Permitted Work if would demonstrate some level of capacity to work, but I'm not sure that would mean they would be forced by the conditionality rules of UC to earn more money than they were able. Some people are doing only a few hours and earning very little.

    It depends on how well the Permitted Work goes for them and now people have more time to try things out and see how they fare. The essential point is people will now have more TIME, as well as financially benefiting, for the moment.

  4. #4
    Izzy, I edited my post because I needed to make it clearer. me bad. I wish to make it clear, permitted work is not mandatory or sanctionable. It remains a voluntary activity outside of the ESA and UC claimant commitments. You are right to make the point that if someone wants to try out permitted work, now is the time to do it...and for the foreseeable future. However, I alert people to be cautious for the future.

    Firstly, no one knows when we will start to be transferred over to UC. Some WRAG claimants may want to be doing permitted work for the financial benefit, and the security of transitional protection. They may be willing to take the risk that as permitted work doesn't exist under UC, that they could be placed in either of the two work conditionality groups that allow for limited ability to work.

    UC conditionality 4 groups.
    1- those unable to do LCWRA...same as support group. And for carers etc.
    2- work interviews only....for those with caring responsibilities ie young children

    3- work preparation group. For limited capability for work. Your in this group if your expected to prepare to move into work, or are in work and expected to get additional work or better paid work. Work related activity or the work programme will be mandatory. You will not be required to apply for or take up more work, you will be sanctioned for not taking part in work related activity or the work programme on top of any work. You will be given a higher level sanction if you voluntarily leave work (but not if you become sick or unable to work, where you may be reassessed).

    4-All work related requirements. Expected to look for full time work (35+) unless you have limited capacity for work. Then your claimant commitment can take into account ability to work (or ability to work with caring commitments). Thus reducing the amount you need to earn/the hours worked. If your part time work isnt' meeting the minimum income threshold, you will be expected to increase your income – higher paid work, or more hours, and will be liable to if you don't do enough work searches/applications etc.

    I agee with you Izzy, if anyones thinking of doing permitted work, now is the time to do it. If I was capable I'd go for it, especially before UC kicks in, and definitely before the new work programme starting at the end of this year. That programme has the potential for permitted work to be a work related activity and sanctionable. If you stop permitted work just lose nothing if it turns out they dont do it....just restart the permitted work again. Same actions for around UC transfer time...if you know when it will happen for you.

    The main points I'm making. Firstly we may have less time than we think about the benefits and pitfalls of permitted work. Secondly, permitted work may confirm or question limited capability dependent on the nature of the work and hours done. 15.75 hrs pw at tesco is going to be compared differently to 5 hours doing online transcription typing at home. Thirdly, the voluntary aspect of permitted work could become mandatory. Finally, if your in the WRAG now, in UC you can be in only one of two groups and both come with conditionality, sanctions, and mandation...not to make you do more permitted work, but to make you take action to gain more work. The question at that time will be the permitted work you are doing shows a level of capacity and a level of capability, so which group are you going to end up in?

    You could call me paranoid. Things may not happen the way I have described, it all might be just fine. People will be able to do permitted work and there will be no disadvantages, and they have more time to try things out. Maybe we have a government doing something positive for disabled claimants, and from April you can be better off by up to £100 odd a week. And someone there's a pig suffering air sickness. I wasn't paranoid before I took part in the green paper consultation process.

    Considering that in the same month they allow permitted work for an unlimited period, they cut the WRAG allowance for new claimants. So they take away benefit money, but let you keep wages.....nothing fishy going on there then!
    Last edited by brightonbelle; 13-03-17 at 16:06.

  5. #5
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    West Cumbria (Lake District)
    I have not seen any proposals, or even discussions, at all about making PW mandatory.
    For one thing where would all the mandatory jobs come from?

    The situation with whether doing some PW will affect your next reassessment has always been there, it's something you have to weigh up for yourself before doing any PW.

    The change is just to bring ESA PW more in line with the UC-LCW rules.

    As BB says there is no permitted work in UC, because UC benefits are meant to run hand-in-hand with doing work if you can.
    There are "Allowances" that you can earn without it reducing your UC, one of these is the Limited Capability for Work allowance.

    If you are doing PW when the transfer to UC-LCW (eventually) comes then it will just be some part time work that you are doing alongside your UC-LCW and the LCW allowance will apply.

    And a couple of PS's-
    There is no such thing as "Permitted Work" in law, its just a term that the DWP use to imply that you need their permission.
    The term in the legislation is "Exempt Work" i.e. work that is exempt from the general ESA legislation.
    You do not need permission to do Exempt Work.
    (The reason to inform the DWP is so that they know what you are doing, can check it comes under the exempt rules, and so don't investigate you later).

    The Work Programme was/is mandatory for most ESA WRAG, (but the jobcentre had some leeway as to when, or even if, they sent you taking your conditions into consideration).
    That doesn't realy matter much now as new referals to the Work Programme also finish at the end of this month.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

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  6. #6
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Jun 2014
    West Cumbria (Lake District)

    I think you have got a bit mixed up on the UC conditionality groups.

    • The "All work related requirements" applies to jobseekers without any LCW or LCWRA. (equivalent of JSA).
    • The "Work preparation requirement" applies to those with LCW. (equivalent of WRAG).
    • The "No work related requirements" applies to those with LCWRA (equivalent of support group) and some other cases.
      there are also:
    • The "Work focused interview requirement" applies to those who are responsible for a child between the ages of one and under three or you are a foster carer for a child under 16, or 18 if the child has extra care needs.
    • and "in-work conditionality" applies to workers earning a low wage.

    Unlike the ESA regulations the UC regs actually set out just what activities are expected from each of these groups.

    You can find a fuller explanation of the conditionality groups here:
    Last edited by nukecad; 13-03-17 at 16:33.
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    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  7. #7
    Hey, nuke,
    There are no proposals out there, the responses of the consultation are not yet open to the public. The results will be summarised and put out there, just before the first draft of the white paper which will/may take into account the responses. How many white papers will it take to make it into legislation – who knows. I'm betting as many or less than universal credit took.

    The discussion in the consultation wasn't naming permitted work. The focus was on “supporting” claimants to undertake work related activity to prepare them for the work they have been assessed as capable of doing at some future point. The consultation was looking at a variety of options of how service providers and employers can play their part in that support. I recall the selling point of work experience being the ability for the claimant to gain skills, confidence and prepare them for future work.
    The same sentence used in the removing of the 52 week limit.
    The government cant afford the infrastructure to get the amount of people into “some form of work”. Not the same as some form of employment.
    Just over 100,000 work programme placements wont be enough. So there has to be a carrot to get people to try and work. It is not about permitted work being made mandatory. Its about changing the goalposts. Regardless of the terminology used to describe it now, in the consultation part time paid or unpaid work experience is to be “encouraged”” for those likely to return to work at some future point. Then you know the problem...once volunteered for, no backing out. The suggestions are that those WRAG claimants who are unlikely to return to work, but will be capable of work related activity there will be “supported work experience”.

    To answer your query....where would all the mandatory permitted work jobs come from? Well, its the same problem if it was to be voluntary or mandatory work experience....and the green paper proposes that employers and the voluntary sector do something. First, they will encourge them to become “disability friendly employers” within the next year. The onus will be on providing jobs (placements) that will accommodate the claimants limitations. G.P's will be able to provide fit notes stipulating what reasonable adjustments are needed. The employer will be encouraged to make them.

    I know! The employers don't want us now. Many do sod all to enable workers to stay. Some actively manage current employees out. You can weed out potential job applicants with terms in the essential criteria to include “good manual dexterity” or “ability to handle heavy or awkward items”.
    The obvious fly in the ointment. Mandating jobs is going to be a mare....mandating work experience may be less of a problem if they find it easier to create those placements.
    The work allowances in UC are £192 or £397 dependant on circumstances. Your permitted work becomes just part time work. Your liable to the rules.
    I know you like the correct terminology Nuke.....I just dont use the official stuff on here when I post. I forget that sometimes people need to know the official version. Me bad.
    The new work programme may have the same leeway as the old. Or not. What we get is what we get.
    I have every reason to be hopeful that the consultation will remove or negate some of the more controversial elements. However, the encouragement of permitted work is being done for a reason...its not relevant for UC, so the relevance has to be for ESA claimants between now and the transfer over. If doing “permitted work” will have no consequence why change it?

    nuke, im getting brain fogged so will have to look at the UC work groups again tomorrow...if I have put it down wrong will correct it.
    As it stands at the time of this prep is for limited capability for work. For those not working at all, for those working very part time and expected to be capable of more work in the future, or those working but not earning enough.
    The all work related group requires someone to look for work or more work. They wont have limited capability for work, but may have limited capacity for work ie their condition and limitations can be taken into account when working out their claimant commitment. They then have to work the hours necessary to achieve the earnings threshold and can be sanctioned if not taking action to improve their situation.
    So I thought I made it clear...all work related applies to people without LCW or LCWRA....and the work prep is for those with LCW.........apologies if I have got mixed up...will sort out...

  8. #8
    Hi Nuke,
    May I point out a couple of things.

    PW isn't being made mandatory - its the potential for it to be redefined into work related acitivity that would make it mandatory.

    The in work conditionality applies to workers not earning enough....not necessarily earning a low wage. They could be earning £20 an hour, but if not earning enough they wont meet the earnings threshold. For those without LCW it will be 35 hours at minimum wage. For those with caring responsibilities or physical or mental conditions that don't warrant limited capability to work, they may be considered for limited capacity - so their earnings threshold will be lower, based on working part time hours. This is to address the problem of tax credit claimants being transferred across.......some people can work but only part time. In work conditionality will apply if you don't meet earnings threshold.


  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by brightonbelle View Post
    PW isn't being made mandatory - its the potential for it to be redefined into work related acitivity that would make it mandatory.
    I realise what you're saying brightonbelle. There's always a risk that taking on any work may possibly make them treat you differently in the future. But as nukecad says, it's something people have to weigh up for themselves. People have to ask themselves whether they think they might be capable of working more in the future. Perhaps, some people won't even know the answer to that, but it may become clearer if they try something small first.

    You may consider that's risking falling into some kind of trap, but I find myself thinking what someone said to me a while back. It may sound naive, but this person said, "They can't make you do, what you can't do - if you can't do it - then you can't." I think there's a lot of truth in that. There's also the old saying, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    As regards a massive programme of "forced labour", well, all I can say is, they have had very little success so far, with their first attempts at "helping" disabled people into work. Personally, I can't see owners of businesses taking on many people who have the significant health problems, no matter what the government says. OK, they're going to "encourage" employers more, but I don't think it'll work very well, to be honest. Just my opinion!

  10. #10
    Totally agree with you Izzy.

    some people will benefit from doing permitted. They choose what they want to do and when. Maybe its just the stepping stone they need to ease themselves towards potentially doing more hours etc. The system at the moment is supportive. Your benefits are not affected, you get to keep your wages (unlikely to earn enough to get taxed). No down sides.

    Just wanting to alert people that it will change in the future. Just be aware.

    Its just a struggle for a lot of people to jump through the hoops and prove their limitations to the DWP etc. Being aware of why they have done this is to avoid another hoop. If you time it right

    I hear you on the failure to get people into work, able and disabled alike. I ask you to consider that the old work programme (soon to RIP) was a massive failure in getting JSA into work. They did have some ESA WRAG claimants - but on the whole they targeted JSA because that's where the money was. Get someone into work, get paid. Took more effort to get ESA into work, so they cherry picked JSA.

    The new one is the work and health programme. The financial payment is the reverse, the money is in getting ESA towards work, not necessarily paid employment. If payments were like the old programme - get someone into a job and more money if they stay for any given time, then it would be doomed to fail from the start. If the focus was different, and it was on "a return to the labour market" then as long as they have got us ready, job done (excuse the pun). As far as the government is concerned, we will be ready for some kind of work and they have told the employers to employ us. What happens after that isn't going to be their concern. Well, you never know, nothing mentioned in the consultation - but maybe there could be some kind of incentive for employers to take on disabled employees? you can anticipate the cherry picking that will ensue.

    The focus is on addressing/supporting/supplying services (allegedly) to address health barriers into work. As I have posted elsewhere, April sees the contracts issued to the successful bidders seeking to provide said services. Job centres are employing 300 more disability employment advisors to support work coaches who will be deciding your claimant commitment and earnings threshold. The aim is to have the programme started by the end of this year, and up and running in full by spring 2018. The programme aims to focus on providing the support to those most likely to be able to work. From the link below, you can see that one such group suggested could be those already in some form of employment or seeking employment. They also suggested the removal of the wrag component......

    ]Is there going to be a plethora of decent full or part time jobs we can do? not a bloody chance! The employers will say they are disability friendly but they still wont touch the more "difficult to deal with disabilities" with a bargepole. It wont work at all for some, just my opinion . The potential problem is, that whilst it all falls down because the jobs wont be there, we will still continue to be pushed. The same as JSA claimants being pushed - if you live in a high unemployment black spot, sanctioning someone for not working or not earning enough isn't going to help. Doesn't stop 'em though. Like the JSA claimant that plays the game by applying for any job anywhere so that they can tick the box - we too can push back on the pressure.

    For all the great ideas and ambitions that they are all positive about, it comes down to one thing and one thing only. The government wants to reduce spending. If the DWP gave a rats bum about being disability friendly we wouldn't be assessed on the 4th floor of inner city buildings with no disabled toilet facilities or on site disabled parking. When I commented on the relevant part of the consultation I did suggest they start with themselves.

    I'm looking forward to the first draft of the white paper and see if they have ignored that, or they are going to ensure we get disability friendly assessments. That pig is still flying!


    edited to add.....just to show you how long its been going on (the aims of universal credit to target health and work) can see from this link that this discussion goes back to 2015.
    Last edited by brightonbelle; 15-03-17 at 07:55.

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