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Thread: Initial ESA WRAG interview

  1. #1
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    Initial ESA WRAG interview

    My background: Was on Income Support with Disability Premium between 2007 and 2012, 'passed' a couple of the old PCA's in 2007 and 2010 on MH grounds by passing the 10 point threshold each time. My conditions are Depression and poorly controlled Type 1 diabetes. Was transferred to ESA Support group in 2012 after a WCA getting 27 points but regulation 35 applied to me.
    6 years had passed and earlier this year had another WCA but was given 0 points by a HCP, the decison maker upped it to 6 points because someone took me to the assessment. I appealed to tribunal and was awarded 21 points but only to WRAG for 24 months. I havent gone any further with this and accepted it despite the drop in Income from £254 per fortnight to £204.
    Anyway on Friday had my first WFI, I was very stressed and 'stuttery' (another condition I have is a severe stammer but that is not something that gets you points for esa), the lady was ok and asked if I was appealing to get back to SG, I said no as I had already appealed a ffw decision and was put in wrag from that. The whole thing was very brief only 8-10 minutes maximum nowhere near the up to an hour it said on the letter, I didnt have to sign anything - I thought some kind of action plan or claimant commitment had to be done? A couple of brief suggestions from her she stressed 'not now' but maybe 'sometime in the future' I could consider building my confidence by going to some local centre where they have some sort of confidence building sessions. I suggested I could go out more by going for a walk occasionally (I dont go out much at all). She smiled and said 'Thats all' I said thanks and off I went feeling very very relieved it was so short and overwith. I was under the impression I would have monthly meetings like this and that i'd get an appointment date or an idea of when my next one (If any) would be but wasnt given a date or of when i'd expect one. What are other peoples experiences of these wfi interviews, am I being 'parked' almost like being in the Support Group but with the big drop in money or can I expect more of these?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrindebt View Post
    My background: Was on Income Support with Disability Premium between 2007 and 2012, 'passed' a couple of the old PCA's in 2007 and 2010 on MH grounds by passing the 10 point threshold each time. My conditions are Depression and poorly controlled Type 1 diabetes. Was transferred to ESA Support group in 2012 after a WCA getting 27 points but regulation 35 applied to me.
    6 years had passed and earlier this year had another WCA but was given 0 points by a HCP, the decison maker upped it to 6 points because someone took me to the assessment. I appealed to tribunal and was awarded 21 points but only to WRAG for 24 months. I havent gone any further with this and accepted it despite the drop in Income from £254 per fortnight to £204.
    Anyway on Friday had my first WFI, I was very stressed and 'stuttery' (another condition I have is a severe stammer but that is not something that gets you points for esa), the lady was ok and asked if I was appealing to get back to SG, I said no as I had already appealed a ffw decision and was put in wrag from that. The whole thing was very brief only 8-10 minutes maximum nowhere near the up to an hour it said on the letter, I didnt have to sign anything - I thought some kind of action plan or claimant commitment had to be done? A couple of brief suggestions from her she stressed 'not now' but maybe 'sometime in the future' I could consider building my confidence by going to some local centre where they have some sort of confidence building sessions. I suggested I could go out more by going for a walk occasionally (I dont go out much at all). She smiled and said 'Thats all' I said thanks and off I went feeling very very relieved it was so short and overwith. I was under the impression I would have monthly meetings like this and that i'd get an appointment date or an idea of when my next one (If any) would be but wasnt given a date or of when i'd expect one. What are other peoples experiences of these wfi interviews, am I being 'parked' almost like being in the Support Group but with the big drop in money or can I expect more of these?
    This is not uncommon. Your work coach seems to have been very understanding of your problems.

    Since you took your ESA decision to tribunal then there is not much you can do about changing to the support group unless you have a new condition or any of your present conditions are significantly worse since you first applied for ESA.

    Are you receiving help with your diabetes condition to stabilise it? Do you have treatment for your stammer?

    I am also wondering whether you might meet some of the descriptors for PIP (Personal Independence Payments). This not a means tested benefit and is awarded for those with care and mobility needs ( a little more complicated than that!)

    Perhaps you could visit CAB and ask them to do a pre assessment for PIP? Take all your medical evidence with you and see what they say.
    I try my best

  3. #3
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Yes, this is quite common.

    You should have had a 'Work Related Activity Plan', called an ESA49, but she may have just done it on screen and not printed it off.
    To be honest there is not a lot that they can put on it anyway, because there's not a lot they have for you to do.

    I myself am in WRAG (just reassessed) and only have to visit the Jobcentre once every six months or so for a 10 minute 'chat'.
    I do have some Work Related Activities noted to do on an ESA49 - It says I should post on here when I can, which I'd be doing anyway.
    As long as your 'work coach' has something to tick the boxes on the forms on her screen then her job is done and everyones fairly happy.

    I have in the past had to do the 'Work Programme'; but this is now ending and nobody else is being made to do it.
    It has been replaced by the 'Health and Work Programme' but this is entirely voluntary for those on ESA, or UC-Limited Capability, they can ask if you want to do it but can't make you do it.
    (There are also very limited places which tend to get filled up by those who have been jobseekers for over a year, who have to do it).

    The Jobcentres don't realy have anything training wise in place for WRAG anymore, they contracted it all out to the Work Programme which as I say has now (almost) ended.

    So yes, for most people WRAG nowadays is almost the same as Support Group, but with less money and the occasional trip to the Jobcentre.

    Whether you have to go monthly or six monthly will probably depend on how busy your particular jobcentre is.
    They used to start you on monthly and then reduce it, but as you were previously in SG they'll probably go straight for six monthly.

    Have we been 'parked'? - yes, but at least we don't have to do any stupid training courses that are designed for fully-fit jobseekers and are never going to help us anyway.
    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.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies and sorry for waiting 18 months to get back to you.

    Yes it seems I was 'parked' until February of this year when I finally received an invitation to a sort of group meeting at the Jobcentre which was had in early March, 15 months after I posted here and just days before all the covid mayhem started. There was about 6 or 7 other people there and it was about building confidence and giving information leaflets about local groups that could help, I was there about 15 minutes and I didnt have to speak and the lady in charge was nice and asked me if I wanted to go outside, not quite as threatening as the letter inviting me made me feel - though i'm guessing i'd have been 'sanctioned' if I didnt turn up? Anyway they told the group to read the leaflets and think about the info in the leaflets and may be called back in 6 months which would be September (Which I can't see happening in the current climate to be honest).

    Since then the covid-19 crisis started and I received a letter from the NHS saying 'you have been identified as someone who is at risk of severe illness if you catch Coronavirus. This is based on information that is held on your GP records'. Apparantly i'm 'extremely clinically vulnerable' and have had to shield for at least 12 weeks (my lifestyle as such was basically shielding already!) from late March to late June which according to the media is likely to be extended. I suspect I was put into this group because of my poorly controlled Type 1 Diabetes (Moving a lot between high blood sugars and low (Hypo's) and Hypertension).

    It has just been reported that a third of deaths from Coronavirus have been Diabetic and that type 1 diabetics like me have 3.5x more chance of dying (2x for type 2) than non-diabetics. My next ESA review date should be this coming October. I don't want to rock the boat as they are leaving me alone at the moment but given the bad new information for poorly controlled diabetics which scares the **** out of me and the NHS telling me to shield and branding me 'extremely clinically vulnerable' what do people think of my chances of getting back in the Support group and should I instigate an earlier review? I don't see how I can be reasonably ordered to engage in any further WRA if asked until there's a reliable, working vaccine. Would there be grounds for reg.35?

    Once again I apologise for the late reply as I noticed a couple of you took the time to reply on the same day as I posted. Keep safe everyone.
    Last edited by mrindebt; 26-05-20 at 02:28.

  5. #5
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    No problem, we don't always expect (or get) any reply at all.

    I'd just let things carry on as they are for now.

    Even if you reported a change of circumstances they are not doing any ESA assessments/reassessments at the moment so it would just be parked until later.
    And TBH the NHS letter on it's own changes nothing as far as ESA is concerned.

    They will have to bring in new rules/guidance later about Covid risks from work related activity, and especially about Covid and Face to Face assessments but these could be done with PPE if necessary.

    Your reassessment in October will probably not happen now, once they start doing them again they will have a backlog of the reassessments that they are not doing at the moment to get through.

    It's not a problem and your ESA will continue to be paid as it is now.

    Just how they will handle these backlogs is anybodys guess at the moment.
    It will all depend on just how long reassessments are suspended for.

    You don't need to do anything other than wait until they contact you, again your ESA will continue to be paid as it is now.
    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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