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Need support with a WCA at job centre

TeeDTeeD Posts: 4Member Listener
edited January 8 in Ask a benefits advisor
I am new to this, having to give up work in November 2017 due to Fibromyalgia following breast cancer.
i am looking for ant support, particularly with a WCA at job centre as I don’t feel I can cope with attending work related activities, and don’t have the strength to fight DWP.
any advice will be gratefully received 
Tee

Replies

  • steve51steve51 Posts: 4,203Member, Community champion Chatterbox
    Hi @TeeD

    It’s great to meet you this evening !!!!!

    I’m very very sorry to hear about your current situation.

    Please please let me know if I can help you in anyway???

    Many thanks.
  • TeeDTeeD Posts: 4Member Listener
    Hi steve
     I am not sure if you can help, but the situation is I applied for contributions based ESA as I had to give up my job and completed a questionnaire pack, but have now been called in to a WCA at job centre.
     Does this mean I have been placed in the WRAG, and if so will I need to attend the job centre regularly?
    I don’t think I can as the last couple of times I’ve tried to drive have been disaster and my lack of concentration and memory makes me a liability.
    any help appreciated 
    Tee
  • steve51steve51 Posts: 4,203Member, Community champion Chatterbox
    Hi @TeeD

    Many thanks for the reply!!!!

    Yes yes yes I would be more than happy to help you in anyway that I can????

    Please please let me know how you feel????

    Many thanks.
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 2,495Member, Community advisor Chatterbox
    Hi TeeD, 

    A WCA is a work capability assessment. This doesn't take place at a jobcentre but at the place of an assessment provider. They conduct a physical and/or mental health assessment and provide a report to the DWP. Based on the conclusions of this report, you will either be told that you fit for work and your ESA stopped, or you will be told that you are NOT fit for work and placed in one of two groups - work-related activity group (WRAG) or support group. Those in WRAG have to have contact with a personal adviser at a jobcentre who will discuss ways of getting ready for a return to work in the future and those in the support group get their ESA without having to attend the jobcentre.
    It's not clear from your text at which stage you are at, but if you could clarify it we can advise further. 

    Lee
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Lee Kempson
    Mary Shone
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • TeeDTeeD Posts: 4Member Listener
    I have been informed I am entitled to ESA and now have an appointment with an advisor at the job centre. I thought this was to see if I was going to be placed in support group or WRAG.
    i am very anxious about this appointment and have to take someone along with me for support.
    can I request support group at this appointment?
    i am awaiting head scan, more liver tests at present for on going symptoms.
    many thanks
    Tee
  • tommtomm Posts: 157Member Chatterbox
    edited January 13
    You should of recieveda benefits award letter from the dwp, which typically are headed:
    We have looked at your claim again  following a recent change

    And will tell you the new weekly rates of esathat you will be paid and when from,
    onthe last page it will usually tell youwhich group you are in and give a breakdown of how that is made up

    I'm assuming you have this, and can see that you have been awarded the WRAG component so found to have LCW only at the wca,

    The interview at the JC is likely to be a work focused interview , they cannot mandate you to take a job and there are other limitations on what they can require you to do, attending these WFI's without a good cause will see you sanctioned ,
    If you are not happy with the decision that found you to have LCW
    you have 1 month from the date of that decision to request a Mandatory reconsideration MR  where the DWP dm will review your case ,but the sucess rate is low
     if they do not revise that decision then you can take it to a tribunal ,  on appeal
    But there is always a risk that  the tribunal could decide you are fit for work in which case you would loose the WRAG entitlement  and your esa would stop
     but i belive that they are supposed to warn you in advance  if they feel that is a likley outcome, so you have the chance to abandon the appeal before they hear it
    The work coaches in the JC are not the best people to ask, as they often don't know, or will tell you lies ,  best to see your local CAB or welfare rights via your local council  they have benefits advisers ,  when you ask for a MR do so by letter  sent recorded delivery ,also request they send you the LT54 and ESA 85 so you can see how they arrived at the decision  and see what the HCP wrote in their report to the dwp about you , if you do go through with appeal you will need as much supporting eveidence of your conditions and how they impact your ability to fucntion day to day
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 2,495Member, Community advisor Chatterbox
    Hello TeeD

    The whole benefits procedure can be stressful and confusing. It is very unclear to you and me what is happening with your ESA.  As tomm states you should have received  a letter stating which group of ESA you have been placed in, but as Lee as posted this generally occurs after a medical though in some (rare) cases the DWP can decide without a medical assessment.  To clear matters up, if you do not have a letter from ESA clarifying what ESA group you are in, it maybe worth telephoning ESA and asking them directly if a decision has been made in regards to what ESA group you will are in. 

    It is also worth noting that (contributory based) ESA will only last 52 weeks if you are NOT in the support group. 

    If you have been placed in the work related activity group you can challenge this decision by requesting a Mandatory Reconsideration. This request must be made within 1 month of the decision letter, however, this time limit can be extended up to a maximum of 13 months (from the date of the decision letter) if the DWP are satisfied that there is a good reason why you lodged a late challenge.

    When you challenge a decision ESA are likely to also consider if you are entitled to ESA as well as which group you will be placed in, as such their is  a risk of losing your ESA entitlement. In my experience a reduction of an award is rare, it is just that we cannot guarantee that there will be no risk. 

    In addition to be placed in the support group you have also to satisfy at least one descriptor in the Limited Capability for Work test.  I have put a link to this test below which is detailed under Appendix 3:

    https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/work-capability-assessment

    Please post again to keep us up to date. 

    Maria

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Lee Kempson
    Mary Shone
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • TeeDTeeD Posts: 4Member Listener
    Thank you all.
    I went along to the meeting with JCP advisor and she confirmed I haven’t been placed in a group yet.
    she stated that she will not be calling on me to attend appts and if placed in WRAG we can do this over the telephone.
    I was extremely fortunate in that she was understanding, and had a relative who had gone through a similar situation as myself, ie diagnosed with BC and went on to develop fibromyalgia after treatment.
    i will await my health assessment and go armed with enough information hopefully to get into the support group.
    The JCP advisor also said I could apply for PIP but I will take it one step at a time for now, and will keep you all updated.
    many thanks for all your advice and support
    Tee
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