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Told I need a fit note for assessment

ZozylouZozylou Posts: 2Member Listener
edited March 2018 in Universal Credit
Please help! I have moved areas & my ESA & Hb is being changed to UC. I am in the Support group for ESA due to the severity of my illness with a payment , also a disability income guarantee payment.
After applying online as told - I have so far had 2 mandatory meetings at a Job ctr re them arranging the UC application. Then they've made a 3rd with a Work Coach yet I explained ive been put on minimim a year at a time on ESA non-work - also each year for 2 years has the ATOL (or is it ATOS) private assessment- who actually recc increasing my claim as i was more ill than on my application. 
My MAIN query is that the 2nd appointment out of the 3 in 2 weeks said I now need a fit note. Yet this seemed wrong as im long term sick & approved at a year each time by the Private company ATOL assessment. They seemed semi-sure i needed it & just said "get it for a date as long as its needed". 
Reluctantly i made GP appointment (im by this time severely ill, in agony physically, mentally worse, shaking, panic attacks increased etc. 
Gp today shook her head and said "this is so wrong - you are not meant to have a Fit note unless your working & temporarily off sick". "There is no end date as you are long term Mentally and physically sick ". She said i need to phone or go back & tell them. 
She showed me on my medical records ESA used to send annually a ESA113 form to them they completed and also the Psychiatric hospital completed one for them. 
She said they surely have a UC version of this. 

I am worried as the 1st advisor 2 weeks ago said its not possible to backdate a claim even though they made an error - another advisor overheard & said he was wrong. 
Another advisor last week said i still need to see the work coach next week - even though im not able to work and it was even confirmed on top of their own ATOL DWP assessment, my GP and hospital 
please help re asked for constant fit-notes - I am now so ill with worry & money ran out - they gave me a foodbank voucher but its not bill money and i struggle to keep waliking to th job centre 

Replies

  • JennysDadJennysDad Posts: 2,308Member Pioneering
    Hello @Zozylou and a warm welcome to the community. I am very sorry you've been kept waiting for a reply and think we must have been short of volunteers today.
    However, whilst I'm not a benefits advisor and can't tell you specifically what you need to do I have sent a message to our specialist advisors and they will be in touch with you as soon as possible. Please bear with us and whatever else you do, keep in touch. You matter here.
    Here and listening,
    Warmest best wishes to you
    Richard
  • ZozylouZozylou Posts: 2Member Listener
    Thank you so much for your kind message Richard. It made me feel a lot better just knowing there are people to talk to who know about what I am going through - i feel so alone & frightened re all this. 
    Update:
    I called Samaritans an hour ago as I wanted to commit suicide, its been in my head a lot since this started 3 weeks ago - I cannot explain the fear, anxiety, dread & upset its causing while already ill with C-PTSD, depression and GA Disorder. 
    I saw GP yesterday who said it sounds wrong re UC fit note request as they are only for those in employment or for short term sickness, not for years of mental and physical illness (3yrs so far). 
    She refused to do one and said she was very unhappy with UC for making her patients more ill. 

    I called UC this morning to explain re GP comments & refusal to do a fit note
    and 'politely' the additional mistakes made so far 2 of my 3 advisors (large ones which would have affected the application)
    and my concerns that a Fit note i was told to bring as its 'a computer tab requirement they cant tab past'. 

    Im told my case worker will call in the next 2 days ahead of my Work coach (which I shouldn't have as in signed off by ATOS & ESA & GP and hospital already 'not' to work. 

    The case worker will be the 5th separate person involved in their transition from ESA to USA in just 3weeks - 3 i have had to have hour+ appointments with face to face.

    i honestly dont think i can cope with any more appointments I struggle to walk to (2hr round trips) and the enormous panic attacks, palpitations and freezing cold anxiety fear shooting in my chest with each phonecall and appointment 

    if i cancel all this (i want to so much) ill be homeless as i have rent & bills & no family & cant eat - I honestly wish i wasnt here anymore 
  • JennysDadJennysDad Posts: 2,308Member Pioneering
    Hello @Zozylou and thank you so much for getting back to me.
    I am SO very glad you contacted the Samaritans - had I realized quite how bad you were feeling I would have recommended it myself, though, to be fair, I had my suspicions.
    You've been very brave so far, Zozylou, and I respect and admire you for that. Please, please, please go on being brave at least a little longer whilst we try to get you some support. 
    You matter to me, and to us here. You really do.
    Warmest best wishes to you,
    Richard x

    Tagging @PippaScope
  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Posts: 5,256Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    This is not right, you should have been placed in the LCWRA straight away, your ESA money should not have been stopped until UC was up and running

    19.—(1) This regulation applies where–
    (a) an award of universal credit is made to a claimant who was entitled to old
    style ESA on the date on which the claim for universal credit was made or
    treated as made (“the relevant date”); and
    (b) on or before the relevant date it had been determined that the claimant was
    entitled to the work-related activity component or to the support component.

    (2) Where, on or before the relevant date, it had been determined that the claimant
    was entitled to the work-related activity component–
    (a) regulation 27(3) of the Universal Credit Regulations (award to include LCW
    and LCWRA elements) does not apply; and
    (b) the claimant is to be treated as having limited capability for work for the
    purposes of regulation 27(1)(a) of those Regulations and section 21(1)(a) of
    the Act.

    (3) Unless the assessment phase applied and had not ended at the relevant date(a),
    in relation to a claimant who is treated as having limited capability for work under
    paragraph (2)–
    (a) regulation 28 of the Universal Credit Regulations (period for which the LCW
    or LCWRA element is not to be included) does not apply; and
    (b) the LCW element is (subject to the provisions of Part 4 of the Universal
    Credit Regulations) to be included in the award with effect from the beginning
    of the first assessment period.

    (4) Where, on or before the relevant date, it had been determined that the claimant
    was entitled to the support component–
    (a) regulation 27(3) of the Universal Credit Regulations does not apply; and
    (b) the claimant is to be treated as having limited capability for work and workrelated
    activity for the purposes of regulation 27(1)(b) of those Regulations
    and section 19(2)(a) of the Act.

    Can you access CAB or welfare rights for urgent F2F

    CR

    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 2,687Member Pioneering

    Zozylou
    Zozylou,

    Thanks for posting and I really hope we can sort this out. As CR has suggested, if you can, getting face to face advice would really help so that someone can make those phone calls for you & sort this out. CAB might be good, welfare rights if your local council has one, or a local disability information/advice centre. You can check on the Scope pages to see what is available locally. 

    Going back to your problem, the first thing I would check is whether you moved local authority areas when you moved (ie, you have a different council now)? If you did move councils, and you are now in what is called a 'full service' area, then the advice to claim Universal Credit was correct. You can check whether your current post code is in the 'full service' here. If it is, the website will tell you that UC is 'available' in your area.

    Going on to the problem with the sick notes, CR is quite right - if you're in the support group, the LCWRA element (limited capability for work element), which in ESA we call the support component, can be paid straight away. However, UC are really really bad at doing this. My practical advice would be to provide a sick note, if you can, as this will give them time to sort out what should be happening. The sick note confirms to them that you shouldn't be working or having to do anything in connection with work or work-related activity. Meanwhile, you can complain and remind them that the regulations say that you are ALREADY in the limited capability for work-related activity group, you have NO conditionality (don't have to do anything) and can get the extra element in your UC straight away. Providing the sick note shouldn't be necessary but it just helps this process along. You can explain it to your GP by saying it's because you are on a new benefit. However, technically, it's absolutely right that you shouldn't have to provide it! I just think it may make things easier if you can, whilst everything gets sorted.

    I would still complain - and consider getting help to do so, for example, from your MP. You could also remind the Jobcentre that the complex needs guidance for UC tells them that they should do everything possible not to cause disabled people further stress. For example, perhaps they should be offering to come to your home for any interviews that are required, not insisting you come to them, or perhaps they should be offering to do these by telephone (I know that will still be daunting, but at least you could avoid the long & difficult walk).

    Just a little bit about work coaches. Everyone who claims UC has a work coach, even people who don't have to do anything, so don't worry too much about the job title. Stick to your guns and explain that you are in the support group, and that decision should be carried over into UC, so that you're in the limited capability for work-related activity group and you don't have to do anything. You'll still have to sign a claimant commitment, but this shouldn't require you to do anything except to report changes of circumstances. 

    If your GP absolutely won't give you a fit note, and the DWP keep saying the computer won't let them continue without one (!!!) then I'd refer them to the regulations above (provided by CR). 

    As far as backdating is concerned, I'd say two things. One is that disability is a reason for backdating, and any errors here obviously relate to your disability, so backdating CAN and should happen. The other is that backdating only goes back one month. If this process takes longer, then any money you lose is the DWP's fault, but you might have to complain to get it back. For now though, I'd concentrate on getting your claim into payment. 

    You should be offered advance payments, as from what you've said, it should be pretty easy to work out your new UC award. The advance payments can help you to manage until your first UC pay day (usually this is around 5 weeks after you claim), but you do have to pay them back out of your regular UC payments, once they start. It's something I would suggest though, so that you don't have to wait to long to get some money coming in. When you pay them back, you do so gradually, so that you still have some income.

    Please don't cancel your claim - you are owed this money. Please do complain, and get help to do that if you can. Please tell UC about the problems you are having with each appointment and see if there is an alternative - emphasize that you are a disabled person. Please consider telling your MP about all this, if you can - they need to know what a mess UC is, and how it really isn't working and is making people more ill.

    Finally, once you start getting your regular payments of UC, if this is less than what you got before on ESA, it is worth getting in touch with an advice agency. A law firm is taking a judicial review for a disabled person who has lost money by moving to UC. If that happens to you too, it would be worth challenging.

    I'm sorry to throw all this at you when you are so stressed already. You are being very brave, & you matter to all of us on this forum. First steps first:

    • see if your GP will give you a sick note after all, as this will make things easier 
    • at the same time, complain to UC & remind them that you already have a decision about your limited capability for work-related activity - unfortunately lots of Jobcentre staff don't know the law, but you can still complain
    • see if the work coach can do your interview over the phone or at home
    • sign the claimant commitment - but it shouldn't require you to do anything except report changes of circumstances.
    Finally, in case it helps, here's the guidance which confirms the same thing as the regs CR was quoting (it's paragraph M6195). If the UC computers won't accept this then the computers are WRONG and the DWP have to find some manual way of submitting your information & getting your claim for UC up & running.

    Hope this helps!

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • JennysDadJennysDad Posts: 2,308Member Pioneering
    Just saying hi, @Zozylou, and that I'm glad you're getting some good advice here. Hope you are taking good care of yourself,
    Richard
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