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Universal Credit

Glyn57Glyn57 Posts: 2Member Listener
edited July 2017 in Universal Credit
Hi -I need help and advice about my claiming Universal Credit please

Replies

  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 4,833Administrator Scope community team
    Hi @Glyn57 welcome to the community - what part do you need help with? 
  • Glyn57Glyn57 Posts: 2Member Listener
    I have just claimed for UC and been for an appt at a job centre. Have just moved on from a 5 yr relationship, been made homeless and have several medical problems including having a mini stroke recently!
    At the interview I was SO anxious about it all, couldn't think straight at all etc
    I told her I am suffering with Acute Anxiety and Depression, have Scoliosis ( huge curve in my Spine which gives me constant pain), also Dystonia which is a painful and debilitating condition.
    She put me in a 'limited ability work group' -and asked me to get a doctors note which I have. After crying whilst I was talking to GP ( She has been phoning me a lot to check on me recently) -she has now written a 'fit note' which says for the time being I am unfit for work.
    Can the case worker at job centre change the group I have been out in to when I see her again next week ( thats even more stress as it's Bedford and I need to see someone in Miltin Keynes -don't feel safe to drive just now!
    PLEASE HELP
  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 4,833Administrator Scope community team
    edited November 2017
    From the CAB website:

    You should be in the ‘work preparation group’ if you have an illness or disability that limits how much you can work, but you could still do some things to prepare for work, eg attend training. This is called having ‘limited capability for work’. This means you might have to carry out the following types of activities:
    • preparing for work, eg taking part in training or work experience - you won’t have to search for work or be available for work
    • going to one or more interviews with your work coach at the Jobcentre to help you find or stay in work
    You should be in the ‘no work-related requirements group’ if you have an illness or disability that limits how much you can work and you’ll struggle to do any activities to prepare or look for work. This is called having ‘limited capability for work and work-related activity’. This means you won’t have to do any work-related activities - you won’t be expected to prepare for work, look for work or get a job.

    If you have an illness or disability but it doesn’t limit your ability to look for work or get a job, you could be placed in the ‘all work-related activity group’. Make sure you tell your work coach what you can manage and what’s realistic and achievable for you.

    You can’t choose what group you’re in, but you can make sure that your work coach puts you in the right one. Don‘t be afraid to question your work coach if you think they’re putting you into the wrong group. This is really important, because if you get put into the wrong group and struggle with the activities, you could end up getting sanctioned (ie have some of your Universal Credit payment reduced temporarily).

    Contact the Universal Credit helpline as soon as you can and explain why you need your claimant commitment changed - let them know of any changes in your circumstances. Ask for an appointment with your work coach to talk about it.
    Universal Credit helpline
    Telephone: 0800 328 9344
    Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
    Calls to this number can cost up to 9p a minute from a landline, or between 8p and 40p a minute from a mobile (your phone supplier can tell you how much you’ll pay) - you can call and ask them to call you back.

    When you meet with your work coach, they should listen to you and consider your request, but they don’t have to agree to it.
    Before you speak to your work coach, think about what’s not working for you, why it’s not working and what you want to change.

    Ask yourself these questions. It may help to write your answers down so you don’t forget anything when you speak to your work coach:

    1. Have your personal circumstances changed? If so, how will this change your ability to carry out the work-related activities in your claimant commitment?

    2. Which of your work-related activities are you struggling to do at the moment? What’s making it difficult for you to do these things? For example, it might be problems with your physical or mental health. Or, you might be struggling because what you signed up to in the first place wasn’t realistic or achievable.

    3. What do you want to change? What can you manage to do? 
    Try to speak honestly with your work coach about what work-related activities are realistic and achievable for you. Don’t be afraid to say if you think something they’ve suggested won’t work for you. You’ll get money taken away from you if you don’t stick to the agreement so take time to make sure it works for you.

    Giving evidence

    You may have to show the Jobcentre evidence to show your change in circumstances or why it’s difficult for you to carry out your work-related activities. For example:
    • a letter from a doctor
    • documents that show you’ve moved house
    • a child’s birth certificate
    You’ll have to give them evidence within 14 days of signing the new claimant commitment. If you don’t know what evidence to provide, phone the Universal Credit helpline and ask them what will count as evidence.


    I hope this helps.

  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 2,081Member, Community advisor Chatterbox

    Hi @Glyn57

    I'm sorry to hear what's going on with you, and it sounds like a LOT!

    I'm kind of confused as to what point in the UC claim you're up to at present - if you've only just gone on to the benefit are you not still waiting for the Limited Capability for Work assessment?

    Bottom line is, it's not the Work Coach who decides whether you have Limited Capability for Work, or Limited Capability for Work-Related Activity (Support Group), it's the decision makers at the DWP who decide that. What the Work Coach CAN do, is excuse you from looking for work while this assessment is pending - do you think this might be what has happened?

    Alternatively if you have been migrated straight from ESA, a Decision Maker may have already placed you in the Work Related Activity Group?

    You need to find out the answer to this, as if a decision HAS already been made, this is appealable, if it has not, then the question is what to do until a decision has been made - in this case, the level to which you are excused from work-related activity is at the Work Coach's discretion, and if you feel they are not acting appropriately I would start with a complaint.

    You can ask your Work Coach to clarify this for you.

    As I said, it sounds like you have a lot on your plate at the moment - if you want to pick our brains on anything else please do - and please also let us know how you get on with this.

    Kind regards,

    Mary

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Will Hadwen
    Lee Kempson
    Mary Shone
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland

  • Barrylad1957Barrylad1957 Posts: 100Member Talkative
    @Glyn57 - sorry to hear youre having tribulations with the jobcentre, mate. When I first got 'fit notes' from my gp, the job centre would'nt take them, so I posted them to the dwp. I've since found out, that you can make what they call an 'evidence appointment' for immediately before or after your meetings with your work coach, and they copy them and give you the copy. It seems to me that different areas of the country have different ways of interpreting the universal credit rules, I had an awfully difficult time when I was first signed off sick, and I suspect a lot of it is because the work coaches themselves don't have a scooby about what theyre actually supposed to be doing, half the time. Like the advice you've had in the above comments says, speak up to your work coach if you feel youre in the wrong group; I was still prevailed upon to jobsearch and attend weekly (while sick), so I rang the DWP, and ended up with a different, more reasonable work coach, and a 'chat' with her every two weeks. Don't let them steamroll you, and good luck.

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