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Thread: ESA , WRAG , work related activity question?

  1. #1
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    ESA , WRAG , work related activity question?

    Apologies I'm new here and though I'd join and ask my question, I have been unfortunately not deemed able to work due to physical and mental health problems that have been long standing and very debilitating, I have been on ESA for around 16 months and had my second medical which confirmed what the first medical did.
    Around 3 months ago I Had my first Work related interview at the job centre, I found this a very distressing experience and quite traumatic, I have also severe anxiety related issues which are currently not improved, I was told by the lady that I would receive a telephone call for my second WRI which was yesterday.
    The lady who phoned me really didn't seem to look into my case file deeply as she was saying totally one way traffic to be honest, saying " your in the Work related Activity group , therefore we need to start an action plan to get you back on the road to employment , but you don't need to work currently as your not well enough , we ain't forcing you to work. But we need to start a program to address your issues so you can get back to work". I really did find this conversation upsetting, I told the lady that my doctor was trying to help me ( unsuccessfully sadly at the moment ) , and that I feel I ain't in way way capable of work related activity due to my severe and debilitating anxiety and panic issues. She then said she would refer me to

    http://bootstrap.org.uk

    To see if they can offer advice, I haven't slept I told her I wasn't well enough, and that I needed time to think about things. I have phoned this morning and spoke to another lady who said "it's sad you are I'll but unfortunately we have to do these things to start you back on the road to work".
    I feel as if I'm being forced into doing something I'm not ready for.

    Please help.

  2. #2
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    You're being referred to the Work Programme, which is not really my area of expertise. DWP are making increasing use of the Work Programme for those on ESA.


    The obvious step is to challenge the referral to the Work Programme under Regulation 3(4)(a) of The Employment and Support Allowance (Work-Related Activity) Regulations 2011 (SI 2011/349) on the basis that the referral to the Work Programme is not reasonable in the circumstances considering the state of your mental health. A supporting letter from your GP confirming that the Work Programme is inappropriate for you at the moment will assist in this application.

    It also seems worth attempting to get yourself moved to the Support Group, possibly on the basis that the Work-Related Activity proposed represents a substantial risk to your mental health (i.e. a Regulation 35 argument). This is something that you would be best getting help from a local advice provider with, such as Citizen's Advice. If you're still within the reconsideration period after your recent assessment, you could do this via the reconsideration route. If not, you can do this via the change of circumstances route. (I'm sorry - I know this is not a step by step answer, but Googling for ESA Regulation 35 will likely help).


    My apologies for a somewhat vague and incomplete answer, but it's the best I can manage today.

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    Are you participating in any CBT counselling course or similar at the moment? If you are then you could suggest the WP referral would interfere with this course?

    It seems with MH conditions the DWP want to see the person in WRAG is taking steps to improve their condition so that they will at some point be ready to re engage with the workforce. Ap present the government is trialling 3 different approaches with approximately 3000 random WRAG claimants to see which is most effective. Eg various WP providers, access and referrals to various therapies and also job centre staff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seriouslyfedup View Post
    Are you participating in any CBT counselling course or similar at the moment? If you are then you could suggest the WP referral would interfere with this course?

    It seems with MH conditions the DWP want to see the person in WRAG is taking steps to improve their condition so that they will at some point be ready to re engage with the workforce. Ap present the government is trialling 3 different approaches with approximately 3000 random WRAG claimants to see which is most effective. Eg various WP providers, access and referrals to various therapies and also job centre staff.
    Hello I have been seeing a consultant psychologist until recently once per week, he had to temporarily stop my weekly visits as he thought my problems were so severe that the therapy was in fact having a detrimental rather than positive effect on me, to consult your problems and difficulties you have to look back to your earlier life and evaluate it , and to me that was very difficult , so much so that it was increasing my anxiety.

    I don't know what to do, it seems as if the People who are doing this have no regard for how I am at all.

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    Get back in touch with your psychologist and tell them what is happening and tell them you need help, they can at least write a letter for you, which you should send into the dwp, when they told you that you were in the wrag group the letter said that you can put in for a Mandatory Appeal, so that they could look at your case again, why don't you call them and tell them this is what you want to do, but get in touch first with your psychologist and tell them you are doing this and that you need some back up, and then send all the evidence into the people who carry out the appeal, good luck and take care x

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    Quote Originally Posted by Minuno View Post
    Hello I have been seeing a consultant psychologist until recently once per week, he had to temporarily stop my weekly visits as he thought my problems were so severe that the therapy was in fact having a detrimental rather than positive effect on me, to consult your problems and difficulties you have to look back to your earlier life and evaluate it , and to me that was very difficult , so much so that it was increasing my anxiety.

    I don't know what to do, it seems as if the People who are doing this have no regard for how I am at all.
    Would it be possible for you to re engage with the psychiatrist or get a referral to some CBT course? I think that would be a way to avoid this referral. Your GP isn't really the ideal person to deal with your condition other than arranging referrals or prescribing medication as they don't have the expertise.

    If your prognosis time in WRAG is 24 months I don't think you can be mandated onto a WP provider and it seems that is what Bootstrap are being used by WP providers. Unfortunately the days of being left alone without interference from the DWP as it used to be on Incapacity Benefit are gone if in the WRAG group.

    A lot seems to be left to the discretion of the advisors as to what course of action they decide is best suited for people in the WRAG group. It could be if you managed a single WFI meeting with the advisor he/she may see the best router would be to put you back onto phone interviews.

    Only guaranteed way to avoid all these things would be to make an appeal for the Support group as Ginger and Flymo have suggested.
    Hope you find a solution which works best for you.

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    I've looked into the law on referrals to the Work Programme in the past, though I can't find the thread easily from my mobile phone.

    It used to be the practice of DWP to exempt those in the WRAG assessed as not needing reassessment for at least 18 months from most Work Related Activity. However, there is no mandatory exemption for this group in law and DWP have stopped exempting them. Indeed, some Work Related Activity is now being deliberately targeted to this group.

    In other words, arguments based on the time to reassessment are now pointless. The ways to avoid the Work Programme are to be moved to the Support Group, demonstrate you fall into the exemptions for some carers or some lone parents, or, as I suggested earlier in the thread, show the Work Programme is inappropriate in the circumstances.

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    Hello apologies for taking so long I've been a little ill due to this, I have been started on medication which hasn't worked, the advisor phoned me ( telephone interview ) and u was sat in the doctors surgery awaiting being seen due to these issues , I have just been to see the advisor again and was practically ill there in front , I'm quite upset apparently my name was flashing on her screen and she has referred me to the work programme I'm confused by this

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    I told her I wasn't happy about this and that it was causing me a lot of anguish, she said I wasn't being asked it forced to look for work, just to attend an interview with the work programme people , I said I didn't feel at all able , and wished to be helped by my specialist, it didn't do any good.

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    As I said in my earlier reply, there's only two ways to defeat a referral to the Work Programme if you do not fall within the exemptions for certain carers or lone parents - either you appeal against the referral on the basis it is inappropriate in all the circumstances, or you get yourself moved to the Support Group.

    Stating that the referral causes you anguish will not be sufficient to show it is inappropriate. You will likely need a letter from your doctor or a mental health professional involved in your care stating that a referral to the Work Programme is inappropriate for you in your current state of health, together with some explanation of the reasons for that conclusion.


    If possible, it's best to get help from an advice provider. There may be some sort of welfare rights provision you can access via the local mental health services. Failing that, you might have a local authority welfare rights project, or there's always Citizen's Advice.


    An advice provider will be able to assist you with an application to be moved to the Support Group if you appear to meet the criteria for the Support Group. An intended referral to the Work Programme suggests Regulation 35(2)(b) might apply, which would move you to the Support Group. In essence, the argument is that Work Related Activity such as the Work Programme represents a substantial risk to your mental health. This is not an easy argument to make without help.

    If you are placed in the Support Group, you are exempt from Work Focused Interviews as well as Work Related Activity such as the Work Programme.

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