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Universal Credit and signed off sick

Barrylad1957Barrylad1957 Posts: 100Member Talkative
edited August 2017 in Universal Credit
Hello everyone, I hope youre all getting along as well as you possibly can. I'm 60, and claiming UC, but signed off sick, due to neurological pain, and depression/anxiety. I've worked all my life up to October last year, when, after my medication and condition was brought to my employer's attention, I was 'managed out' of my job, and ended up having to sign on. In January of this year, I was signed off sick by my GP, and have been submitting 'fit notes' ever since. I still havent been for a Work Capability Assessment, (despite having completed and returned the form they sent to me in April this year); most of the people I talk to tell me that, at the assessment, I will be found 'fit to work' no matter what is actually wrong with me; does anybody have any real, factual feedback or info they could share? I'm still having to attend face to face meetings with my work coach at the Jc every two to three weeks, even though I've made it clear to them that one aspect of my illness makes it extremely difficult to go out or to travel. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Baz

Replies

  • steve51steve51 Posts: 3,224Member, Community champion Chatterbox

    Hi @Barrylad1957.

    It is great to meet you I hope that we can be off service to you ????

    We have got lots off info on our home page which might be helpful ???

    There is also
    a Benefit Advisor who would help you benefit wise.

    We have also got a Benefit Calculator where you can check what you should be able to claim.

    There is also a number off groups who are based around your current condition where you can meet & great fellow suffers .
  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 5,690Administrator Scope community team
    Hi @Barrylad1957 welcome to the community.

    @Debbie_Scope can you help?
  • Barrylad1957Barrylad1957 Posts: 100Member Talkative
    Hello @Sam_Scope and @steve51, thanks for the welcome, and the offer of help. Its great to finally find somewhere where the members arent filling the forums with nonsense info. I took my life in my hands today, and actually rang the medical assessors; they told me that, they had received my form months ago, and had also received the form from my GP "a while back"... They said that they had decided to get me in for a face to face Work Capability Assessment, that it would be at Birkenhead Jobcentre, but that they "..couldnt confidently say when it would be". There's a huge backlog, it seems. The work coach I see at the jobcentre told me that it would definitely be within 13 weeks of me submitting my first 'fit' note, and here we are in week 31. I've also been told that, even though I've been claiming since the start of the year, because my assessment will fall well after the April deadline, that I wouldnt qualify for the extra income if found to have LCW. Any help that anyone can give me will be really appreciated, and I'll do whatever I can to help in return x

  • MatildaMatilda Posts: 2,371Member Brian Blessed
    @Barrylad1957

    Did you check with ACAS whether yours was unfair dismissal?  It can still be unfair dismissal even if it's not blatant.  ACAS have a helpline.
  • steve51steve51 Posts: 3,224Member, Community champion Chatterbox
    Hi @Barrylad1957.
    That's no problem anytime my friend !!!!!!
    I am so sorry to hear how things are with you !!!!
    Please let me know how things go ??????
    I have moved you to the experts I hope you don't mind ??????

    Hi @BenefitsTrainingCo
    Can you please help my friend ????
  • Barrylad1957Barrylad1957 Posts: 100Member Talkative
    @steve51, no, I dont mind at all and I am extremely grateful mate. I will keep you posted on how it goes, and will post my experiences on here for people to read and use, should they need them as reference. I have noted recently that there is very little online info regarding the circumstances of my ongoing claim, so it may be useful to someone in the future.
    @Matilda, I was a nightwatchman, and worked for the same family over 3 different incarnations of the same firm for two decades; security firms are full of oubliettes and escape routes, so managing me out was relatively easy - to be fair to them, there was little else they could do with me, all things considered; when youre meant to be working 14 and 15 hour nightshifts, 60mg per day of amitriptyline doesnt really help your cause. One of my colleagues who felt he had been unfairly dismissed last year went to acas, and it has to be said, they werent much help. Its been ten months now, and Ive realised myself that it was absolutely the wrong work for someone my age in my present condition, when you factor in the risk factors involved. I thought I'd be feeling better by now, but hey, that just goes to show how wrong I can be x

  • steve51steve51 Posts: 3,224Member, Community champion Chatterbox
    Hi @Barrylad1957

    Hi that's great it will be good to know how things are going.

    That's great mate please let me know if I can help you again.
  • Debbie_ScopeDebbie_Scope Posts: 943Member, Helpline, Community advisor Chatterbox
    Hi @Barrylad1957,

    Welcome to the community :)

    Thanks for sharing your experience of Universal Credit with us. It's not going to be easy providing a simple answer because there's a few complicating factors here. 

    I'll address the length of your waiting time for the WCA first though. Although it should be carried out within three months (13 weeks for ESA), they aren't always completed in this time frame. The waiting time can vary from weeks to months. A lot depends on what capacity the assessors providers and DWP are working at in your local area.
    I've not aware so far that WCA's are coming through quicker on Universal Credit than on ESA. If I find anything which suggests otherwise I'll update you. What we're hearing on the front line to date is that there is a lot of confusion around Universal Credit. It has become much more complex to work out and find definitive answers.

    With regards to the LCW element, this was removed for new UC claims from 3rd April this 2017. 
    Revenuebenefits.org.uk has really good information about Universal Credit  and the following text is taken from their site. Please do click the link above to see the full page and lots of other UC related information.

    Limited capability for work element (LCW)

    The LCW element was abolished from 3 April 2017. From that date, anyone making a new claim for UC on grounds of a health condition and who is determined as having limited capability for work would be affected by the change. Existing UC claimants whose circumstances change after 3 April 2017 so that they are determined as having limited capability for work will not receive the additional element.

    However, some claimants receive protection from the change and will continue to receive the LCW for work element including:

    • Those who are already receiving the limited capability for work element
    • Those who have or are treated as having made their claim for UC before 3 April 2017;
    • Those who have made their claim before 3 April 2017 and who have appealed against their decision that they are fit for work and as a result found to have limited capability for work.
    It appears to me from what you've told us, that if you're assessed as having LCW you will be awarded the LCW element. You made your claim for UC before the 3rd April 2017 so it seems to be the case that you're not affected by this change. Let us know if this is not the case.

    If you're assessed as having LCWWRA you will be awarded that element, you can't have both elements together. 

    I'd love to work with you some more and follow your journey. Universal Credit is going to affect everyone on means-tested benefits at some point in the future and our community is a great way of sharing information and tips. We're putting extra work in at the helpline to keep fully up to date with the roll-out. We're seeing an increase in the volume of UC queries we're receiving. We need to prepare for the changes ahead and we can do this together. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Best wishes
    Debbie
  • Barrylad1957Barrylad1957 Posts: 100Member Talkative
    @Debbie_Scope, thank you so much for your response, the details you have provided me with here are far more explanatory than anything I've been able to find online myself, and are a huge help. The information available re UC is, I've found, sketchy, repetitive and limited to 'how to claim' and 'what to do if you're sanctioned', stuff like that. Even the staff at the jobcentre don't seem to be much help, but I don't know whether that is by design or because the obviously flawed system is leaving they themselves with few clues as to how the 'benefit' and its rules are applied. I would be more than happy to post past and future experiences, if its a help to others; the stories of UC being a 'lobster pot' seem to be true, from what I've experienced so far; there appears to be a policy of ignoring claimant's illness or disability, and forging ahead with the 'work makes you free' thang. As I've said, even though signed off with 3 separate conditions, I've been compelled to attend regular jobcentre appointments, and a few 'health-related' groups in my area, all of which appear to be programmes of trying to convince me I am fit for work (when I'm not) - I watched a video the other day about something called 'psychocompulsion' , a tool allegedly used by the dwp to remove the reasons for a claimant being unable to work, and realised that that is whats been happening to me (and to some others I've met at the groups who are far, far worse off health-wise than I am). I'll keep posting what I learn as I progress through the system, Debbie. If it helps others, I'd be more than happy to. I've noticed when I've tried to find help online for, for instance, info about what happens at a UC related WCA, and been unable to find anyone else who has had one specifically for UC, so I am very grateful for the info youve given me here. Bless you 
    Baz

  • Debbie_ScopeDebbie_Scope Posts: 943Member, Helpline, Community advisor Chatterbox
    Hi @Barrylad1957,

    It was my pleasure to be able to help and you're right about the lack of information available. UC is designed to simplify the welfare benefits system but people's circumstances aren't always so simple and straightforward and this is where a lot of the difficulties arise. I'm committed to learning all I can about UC and hope that the information we share can go a long way to helping people through the process.

    It's really kind of you to agree to share your journey with us. I'm interested to know what the 'health related' groups are and what's involved with these. I'm sure others are as just as interested to learn what might be expected of them if they apply for UC as a new claim or if they migrate naturally onto UC or when the managed migration starts.

    Thanks so much and have a great day!

    Best wishes
    Debbie
  • Barrylad1957Barrylad1957 Posts: 100Member Talkative
    Hi again @Debbie_Scope
    You've probably already got/seen these, but if you havent. they might be of some use perhaps? My daughter found them and forwarded them to me last week apparently - damn my lack of computer savvy!  :/
  • Debbie_ScopeDebbie_Scope Posts: 943Member, Helpline, Community advisor Chatterbox
    Hi @Barrylad1957,

    Yes I do have these but thanks for sharing them, I'm sure others will find them helpful. The WCA Handbook is quite a long read but it's worthwhile investing some time to go through it to get a better understanding of the assessment process.

    Many thanks
    Debbie
  • Barrylad1957Barrylad1957 Posts: 100Member Talkative
    @Debbie_Scope,
    Only just realised that one of the attachments I sent you is the exact same as the link which you had already given me in your reply  :)
    What a dunderhead I am *dons pointed hat and stands in corner facing wall*  :)
  • Cherryo112Cherryo112 Posts: 2Member Listener
    Hi , I saw this and thought I would add my experience so far, as I am actually at the final stages of getting a dicission for wra or the other one .
  • Barrylad1957Barrylad1957 Posts: 100Member Talkative
    @Cherryo112
    Hello, great to hear from someone at the same sort of stage of the process as me. I've got my WCA assessment early in October; have you had yours already and are waiting to find out where youre up to, or are you awaiting assessment?
  • Cherryo112Cherryo112 Posts: 2Member Listener
    Hi ya,
    yes ive been to my assesment, first week of August , and still no discission yet . It's so frustrating , but anytime I call up to see what's going on , they just tell me there's a back log. No one has a contact number for this discission maker, and they say they can put a 'task' on it to speed things up, but no change. The uc advisors dnt seem to know what to say and how to advise on the changes or even process of the ins and outs of UC. I do try and be understanding somehow to the advisors, but the only part they are confident in telling you, is how to get sanctiond
  • Barrylad1957Barrylad1957 Posts: 100Member Talkative
    I've been waiting for my assessment for eleven months, and finally got my date after being forced to go and see my MP (who got me my date the same day after I had seen her). To be honest, I think that the reason the advisors dont seem to know anything when you call is because theyre not actually dwp staff; I suspect they may be call centre staff, and thus only have limited access to our account details. 'Work coaches' at the jobcentre will, I reckon, always try and let on that they know nothing - their job is to get us back into some sort of work, not give benefits advice, and, if we've got a good one (which I have, now) we are very lucky. In my local area, it seems, from what I've learnt, that the wca is merely a procedure before being declared 'fit for work' or, at best, to be found to have 'Limited capacity' - I do not know of one new claimant (ie, not transferring over from other benefit) who has been found to have LCW&WRA, and some of the people I have spoken to have been quite unwell, one way or the other. Still; I found at my pip assessment that a lot of what I had been told by fellow claimants in my locality was utter rubbish - I cannot understand why they do that, but they do, almost as if they want everyone else to be as worried as they themselves were - but the vast majority of the advice I've received on here has been accurate, and valuable. Good luck with yours, anyway, I hope it goes in your favour. Let us know what happens
  • Tracey1967Tracey1967 Posts: 2Member Listener
    Hi, I just found this site and joined you as I have a query.
    I have been claiming UC for 16 months now, almost exactly a year ago I got a swollen hand and my doctor said I could not use it until they found out the problem and gave me a sick note (old term I know) My advisor at the job centre told me I still had to look for work and prove it with my Universal Jobmatch account. The reason, she claimed, was that I could find a job that did not require me to use that hand.
    After 4 months of exploration by the doctor no reason could be found for the pain and swelling and I received a capability assessment form to fill out. Due to my frustration of trying to find work for a one handed person and the doctors inability to find the problem, I did not fill it in and instead carried on as if I was okay. Luckily the problem resolved itself and I have been doing normal job searches since then, but now it has come back.
    As it started Christmas eve I have yet to see a doctor and I know they will say I can't work again as it is actually worse this time. Now all the background is covered .... can they force me to look for work while I am unable to use my hand? Last time I saw a second advisor and he made allowances for my pain and had me note on jobmatch when I had problems, but I still had to look for work. When I saw the first advisor again she was not happy with this at all. I have serious misgivings with the capability assessment as I have had a bad experience with ESA, DLA and PIP that a family member was put through the wringer for. If someone with a life long illness (Myasthenia Gravis) can be turned down for any form of disability benefit repeatedly what chance do I have with a swollen hand? Just in case you are wondering I am left handed for writing, but my right hand is my dominant hand and this is the problem hand.
    Any help or advise would be gratefully accepted, thank you.

    Tracey.
  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Posts: 3,874Member, Community champion Brian Blessed
    Hi Tracey and welcome

    So sorry you are having trouble with your hand, you need to see your GP asap.
    Your work coach or advisor should make allowances for you when you have sick note

    PIP has been made deliberately hard to qualify for, A condition that affects functionality has to be in place for three months and likely to last for a further nine.

    There are also problems with the assessment process and your family member should reapply, but it is important to understand the difference between DLA and PIP

    Please do come back and ask any questions

    CR
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • Barrylad1957Barrylad1957 Posts: 100Member Talkative
    @Tracey1967,
    Hello and welcome to the forum. As CR has already stated here ^, if you get a fit note (aka sick note) from your gp, your work 'coach' should put limits on the length and depth of any 'jobsearch' you are required to do to receive Universal Credit; if he/she doesnt play ball, try 'phoning the DWP and explaining your situation to them directly, explaining the reason why your gp has seen fit to write you off sick in the first place, and the limits the swelling, accompanying pain and discomfort have on your day to day functionality, and the effects that any prescribed medications have on your cognitive ability. This should change your worksearch onto what the jobcentre call 'lite touch', which reduces the ridiculous amount of time you will be expected to spend looking for work online and physically. It worked for me, and a few others I've spoken to, but if you have no joy, go see your MP. A lot of it can depend on what sort of person your work 'coach' is; like I say in my post above, I had a right draconian monster when I first signed on, but was allocated the person I have now (who is sound with me and understands what is wrong with me, and what her job actually is) after calling the dwp regarding the amount of worksearch I was being asked to do even after submitting a lengthy fit note. Like I said earlier, I'm not sure that the Jobcentre staff themselves are up to speed with how this new system works, so its best to get a second opinion. Good luck with it though, I remember how stressful it all was for me at the outset, and I sympathise with anyone else being forced to go through the same thing, but be comforted by the fact that there is hope.

  • Tracey1967Tracey1967 Posts: 2Member Listener
    Thank you for your replies and I will follow your advice. Also CockneyRebel the family member did eventually get her claim for PIP sorted but not before a lot of heartache and tears. She got an at home assessment done because of her disability and one of the main things this woman put in the report was that since she could pick up and hold her pill bottle then she can use cutlery! I was incredulous since they take totally different methods of grasping to accomplish. as for my own issue I cannot understand the looking for work thing because who will take on a new starter that is sick? 
  • emmamc37emmamc37 Posts: 2Member Listener
    Hello everyone 

    I've been reading through this discussion and found some very useful info thank you 

    however ive still got a few questions if anyone can help 

    So this is a bit of background:I've been on long term sick since April 2017 and was finished up from Work in December 2017 due to it I've been off with Anxiety Depression and uncontrollable hypertension which has all been a direct result from my son who is going through the ADHD Autism process as I've had to come out of work 2/3 times a week every week because he's constantly being suspended. Now I've got all sick notes and a occupational health report which states at least another 6 months off work minimum but how will UC view this? I'm physically able to work as in I've not disability that effects that but not mentally I can't and physically can't as I'm constantly being called out of work to see to my son (I'm a single parent) will they conduct blood pressure measurement I'm just so worried that I'm going to fall into debt I've never been in a position like this 

    sorry for the long message and I hope you guys can understand it 

    thanks 

  • OutOfTheWorld99OutOfTheWorld99 Posts: 14Member Whisperer
    Hi Emmamc37,

    I am new here but think the UC system/dwp will have to take into account your overall medical conditions, and by the sound of your situation, there should be no reason for them to be difficult although they have been as difficult as can be with many despite people being in genuine dia circumstances.

    One day they are all saying they are taking mental health seriously, but when it comes down to it they haven't a clue and employ unqualified "specialists/provider companies " to make decisions which have serious repercussions for all concerned.

    Have you discussed this at some length with your Dr, request a letter/medical report submitted to the DWP as proof of your medical condition/circumstances ?

    You could also phone your local citizens advice office and explain your situation as i believe they are well up on all things Universal Credit related.

    Do update us all on your latest.
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