Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

£19.99 + £1.50 (P&P)

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  1. #1
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    Default JSA to ESA?

    Ive been claiming JSA for just over a year....currently on Work Programme.

    After suffering with a multitude of symptoms for over 3 years, I have recently been diagnosed with a growth on my spinal cord which will require surgery at some point in the very near future.

    Im totally at a loss with how to proceed benefits wise.....when should I change over to ESA if at all? I have no idea how long recuperation will take after surgery, with my Dr providing me with a " you will either be fine and continue with life as normal, or we teach you to walk again..." answer

    Also as I am part of the Work Programme on JSA, does this mean I continue on it when

    claiming ESA?


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    Default Re: JSA to ESA?

    You should claim ESA at the point where you cannot honestly describe yourself as "fit for, available for, and actively seeking work." Those are the requirements for JSA and if you don't meet them you shouldn't claim it. So I suppose it's up to you, with input from your doctors. You'll need medical certificates from your GP or other doctor to claim ESA, in which he or she will have to say that you're not able to work.

    You will not continue on the Work Programme when you claim ESA - this only applies to those on JSA.

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    I can't give advice by PM - please post on the forums. I do advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer or Welfare Rights Adviser. If you wish to check my advice against other independent sources, please do.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: JSA to ESA?

    Quote Originally Posted by antone View Post
    You should claim ESA at the point where you cannot honestly describe yourself as "fit for, available for, and actively seeking work." Those are the requirements for JSA and if you don't meet them you shouldn't claim it. So I suppose it's up to you, with input from your doctors. You'll need medical certificates from your GP or other doctor to claim ESA, in which he or she will have to say that you're not able to work.

    You will not continue on the Work Programme when you claim ESA - this only applies to those on JSA.
    I was on the work programme when I stopped claiming JSA and made a new claim for ESA currently on the assesment rate and I am still on the Work Programme and unless I go into the support group which is highly unlikely I believe I will stay in the work programme. I am myself unsure if this is standard practice although my work programme provider has made out as though it is and as far as I am aware the dwp has sent my wp provider letters informing them of my benefit changes. i.e. JSA to ESA.

    I am really not sure how it works as the Work Programme technically lasts 2 years so that even if you are on JSA and then find work you are still technically on the "programme" until your two years is up and your work programme provider can keep tabs on you and call up your employer etc and potentially interfere if it looked like you might lose your job inside of those two years as this would potntially affect the bounty they could collect from the government on you.

    As for the switch to ESA I am not sure, I think once your on the programme your on it however if anyone know different please let us know. I for one feel it is rather unfair to be going though what I am with my health at the moment being on ESA and getting medical treatment and still being issued random mandatory work activity my my work programme advisor which I am not even sure he s allowed to do when I am claiming ESA. It's some thing that needs to be cleared up really.

    Best thing is to speak to your GP and see what he thinks if he wants to go ahead with treatment and is happy to write you say a 6 month line then I would apply for esa then cancel your JSA after and start the process. You may fail but you can I believe always appeal and reapply. In your case I believe timing will be key so speak to your GP in the first instance.

    Good luck!


  4. #4
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    Default Re: JSA to ESA?

    I was on the work programme when I stopped claiming JSA and made a new claim for ESA currently on the assesment rate and I am still on the Work Programme and unless I go into the support group which is highly unlikely I believe I will stay in the work programme. I am myself unsure if this is standard practice although my work programme provider has made out as though it is and as far as I am aware the dwp has sent my wp provider letters informing them of my benefit changes. i.e. JSA to ESA.
    This is not correct. The Work Programme does not exist for ESA. You are not required to participate in the Work Programme while claiming ESA.

    As for the switch to ESA I am not sure, I think once your on the programme your on it however if anyone know different please let us know. I for one feel it is rather unfair to be going though what I am with my health at the moment being on ESA and getting medical treatment and still being issued random mandatory work activity my my work programme advisor which I am not even sure he s allowed to do when I am claiming ESA. It's some thing that needs to be cleared up really.
    Your work programme adviser is not allowed to issue mandatory work activity while you are on ESA. It doesn't need "cleared up" - the law is already clear. You need to take action about this, and I'd start by contacting the DWP (not your provider) and explaining the situation.

    The initial mystery that attends any journey is: how did the traveller reach his starting point in the first place?
    ---Louise Bogan, Journey Around my Room

    I can't give advice by PM - please post on the forums. I do advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer or Welfare Rights Adviser. If you wish to check my advice against other independent sources, please do.

    CAG exists because of your support, so if you feel able to help out by donating it would be welcome, but rest assured that our advice and support is free.

    "The idea that the poor should have leisure has always been shocking to the rich"
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: JSA to ESA?

    Quote Originally Posted by antone View Post
    This is not correct. The Work Programme does not exist for ESA. You are not required to participate in the Work Programme while claiming ESA.



    Your work programme adviser is not allowed to issue mandatory work activity while you are on ESA. It doesn't need "cleared up" - the law is already clear. You need to take action about this, and I'd start by contacting the DWP (not your provider) and explaining the situation.
    Okay, thanks for this I have obviously been misled by my work program provider about this. It is hard to know if they are deliberatly misleading people or if they just don't know what they are doing!


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    Default Re: JSA to ESA?

    The advisers for these companies are not benefit trained - when I worked for the DWP I would sometimes find that people had been given incorrect advice by these staff. It's not always their fault. Often, they are simply out of their depth.

    So call the DWP and ask for a callback, if necessary, from the ESA processing staff - the people who answer the phones are well-meaning, I'm sure, but aren't always benefit trained.

    The initial mystery that attends any journey is: how did the traveller reach his starting point in the first place?
    ---Louise Bogan, Journey Around my Room

    I can't give advice by PM - please post on the forums. I do advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer or Welfare Rights Adviser. If you wish to check my advice against other independent sources, please do.

    CAG exists because of your support, so if you feel able to help out by donating it would be welcome, but rest assured that our advice and support is free.

    "The idea that the poor should have leisure has always been shocking to the rich"
    --Bertrand Russell

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: JSA to ESA?

    Work Programme staff are contracted out staff in my area.

    I understand if you are on ESA you should not be subject to the Work Programme.

    If you complain to the DWP and local MP about the Work Programme 'intrusion' into your life then they sometimes back down.

    I've just been put onto this and am watching the threads about it.

    Week after week I have more than fulfilled my 'work criteria' and been 'told off' for applying for more jobs than I should, so now going onto the Work Programme I have highlighted to the adviser that I am more than capable of jobhunting unaided and in fact am actually qualified and experienced to do their job... so that is the outcome I want!

    As stated in this thread, it is all about tick box culture, 'checking up' on people in a way that is very much AGAINST their best interests - yes, some claimants will need a lot of support, others less, so why not work it on that basis - but - like everything else this government does, it works on the 'lowest common denominator' basis rather than the 'highest common factor', the HCF being 'there are very very few full time viable jobs available'.

    I too may be put onto ESA due to health reasons (arthritis, insomnia and thyroid problems) so any changes are relevant to me.

    If you want me to ask at my local 'Prospects' centre (which was the old Job centre at one time) about ESA rules I can do and see if there is a consistency in the advice generally given.


  8. #8
    Basic Account Holder Zarbafi Novitiate

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    Default Re: JSA to ESA?

    Quote Originally Posted by antone View Post
    The advisers for these companies are not benefit trained - when I worked for the DWP I would sometimes find that people had been given incorrect advice by these staff. It's not always their fault. Often, they are simply out of their depth.

    So call the DWP and ask for a callback, if necessary, from the ESA processing staff - the people who answer the phones are well-meaning, I'm sure, but aren't always benefit trained.
    I will need to try and find out what it is they can and cannot issue me with regarding "mandatory activity" I have been trying to find something definative online today but I can't.

    I have a letter from my work programme provider now in front of me sent out this week with the words mandatory work activity all over it stating that I have to give them evidence on my next appointment of what I have been doing to look for a job and on the state of my health. It states that if I fail to do these my benefits could be affected.

    Again the fact that I was on JSA and on the work programme when I applied for ESA may be confusing the issue for all involved making mine and the OP's case more unusual.

    It was in fact my WP advisor that encouraged me to apply for ESA when it became apparent that my health was very poor but now I feel that it is almost as if they expected to cut me some slack for a couple of weeks for me to get 100% in 2-4 weeks and now they seem to think even though I am still on ESA that I should be starting to look for fulltime work again. It's not possible I need some time to get better before I can go back to volunteering or part time work.

    I would like to wait to find out if I am successful in getting ESA before I contact the DWP or my WP provider on this however I am not sure what my position wll be if I fail and decide to appeal. Are they able to issue madatory work activity while I am appealing?

    Sorry if this is hijaking the tread but I think it is relevent to the OP.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: JSA to ESA?

    It is likely that your provider has not been informed of your switch from JSA to ESA, and that's why you're still getting letters from them about the Work Programme. From a DWP processor's point of view, notifying the provider is an easy thing to forget. Not that that makes it OK, but it happens.

    While you are on ESA you can be asked to attend up to six Work Focused Interviews, unless you are placed in the Support Group, in which case attendance at these interviews is voluntary. You can't be forced to work or undertake training as a condition of receiving ESA. The only way these interviews can result in a loss of your benefit is if you fail to attend them.

    This also applies while you are waiting for any appeal outcome relating to ESA, unless, of course, you go back on JSA during that time.

    The initial mystery that attends any journey is: how did the traveller reach his starting point in the first place?
    ---Louise Bogan, Journey Around my Room

    I can't give advice by PM - please post on the forums. I do advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer or Welfare Rights Adviser. If you wish to check my advice against other independent sources, please do.

    CAG exists because of your support, so if you feel able to help out by donating it would be welcome, but rest assured that our advice and support is free.

    "The idea that the poor should have leisure has always been shocking to the rich"
    --Bertrand Russell

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  10. #10
    Basic Account Holder Zarbafi Novitiate

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    Default Re: JSA to ESA?

    Quote Originally Posted by antone View Post
    It is likely that your provider has not been informed of your switch from JSA to ESA, and that's why you're still getting letters from them about the Work Programme. From a DWP processor's point of view, notifying the provider is an easy thing to forget. Not that that makes it OK, but it happens.

    While you are on ESA you can be asked to attend up to six Work Focused Interviews, unless you are placed in the Support Group, in which case attendance at these interviews is voluntary. You can't be forced to work or undertake training as a condition of receiving ESA. The only way these interviews can result in a loss of your benefit is if you fail to attend them.

    This also applies while you are waiting for any appeal outcome relating to ESA, unless, of course, you go back on JSA during that time.
    In my case my it was an advisor from my work programme provider who advised me to apply for ESA and they then verbally confirmed to me that they had recieved a letter from the DWP that I was now getting ESA (Assesment) rather than JSA so they definetly know I am on ESA. I haven't had any call to go to the JCP for a work focused interview I guess because I am already at the Work programme.

    It is possible they just don't understand the rules on the different benefits. I am just concerned as I am not yet fit to be seeking work at all an yet I am concerned if I don't do as the letter instructs me I could lose my benefits which are the only money I have to live on however once I signal that I am prepared to look for work they could take that as a red light that I am ready to work when I am not.

    Thank you for clearing this up for me that I am not obliged to apply for work at the present time while on ESA.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: JSA to ESA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zarbafi View Post
    ... Thank you for clearing this up for me that I am not obliged to apply for work at the present time while on ESA.
    Just wanted to highlight that again ...


  12. #12
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    Default Re: JSA to ESA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zarbafi View Post
    I was on the work programme when I stopped claiming JSA and made a new claim for ESA currently on the assesment rate and I am still on the Work Programme and unless I go into the support group which is highly unlikely I believe I will stay in the work programme. I am myself unsure if this is standard practice although my work programme provider has made out as though it is and as far as I am aware the dwp has sent my wp provider letters informing them of my benefit changes. i.e. JSA to ESA.

    I am really not sure how it works as the Work Programme technically lasts 2 years so that even if you are on JSA and then find work you are still technically on the "programme" until your two years is up and your work programme provider can keep tabs on you and call up your employer etc and potentially interfere if it looked like you might lose your job inside of those two years as this would potntially affect the bounty they could collect from the government on you.

    As for the switch to ESA I am not sure, I think once your on the programme your on it however if anyone know different please let us know. I for one feel it is rather unfair to be going though what I am with my health at the moment being on ESA and getting medical treatment and still being issued random mandatory work activity my my work programme advisor which I am not even sure he s allowed to do when I am claiming ESA. It's some thing that needs to be cleared up really.

    Best thing is to speak to your GP and see what he thinks if he wants to go ahead with treatment and is happy to write you say a 6 month line then I would apply for esa then cancel your JSA after and start the process. You may fail but you can I believe always appeal and reapply. In your case I believe timing will be key so speak to your GP in the first instance.

    Good luck!
    you have been misled.
    you DEFINITELY do not need to attend ANY wp appoitment while you are on ASSESSMENT phase of ESA.
    the WP providers do not know this and might tell you otherwise but you can simply check with jobcentre plus.
    it does not matter whether you were on WP on your previous JSA claim or not.

    that being said;when your esa claim is finalized and if they put you on work related activity group,you can be referred to work programme,but it will be different than WP for people on JSA and you will not be asked to apply for a job.let alone asking you for attending mandatory work placements.

    if they put you on support group then you will not be referred to WP at all.

    I am %100 sure about what I said above.
    good luck.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: JSA to ESA?

    Quote Originally Posted by antone View Post
    This is not correct. The Work Programme does not exist for ESA. You are not required to participate in the Work Programme while claiming ESA.



    Your work programme adviser is not allowed to issue mandatory work activity while you are on ESA. It doesn't need "cleared up" - the law is already clear. You need to take action about this, and I'd start by contacting the DWP (not your provider) and explaining the situation.
    please read my post above.
    unfortunately work programme DOES exist for ESA.but not in this situation.(yet)
    ESA claimants are devided in two groups : either support group or work related activity group,those in support group will not be referred to wp,but those (majority) on work related activity group can be referred to WP.
    while a persons claim is being decided and they are receiving only the basic rate they Do not need to participate in WP.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: JSA to ESA?

    You are not required to attend the appointments at the work programme whilst you are no longer claiming JSA however you are "contracted" to the providers for a 2 year period, and during any time in that 2 year period that you are not in receipt/claiming JSA they are still able to keep in contact with you regardless of whether you have found work or claimed an alternative benefit.
    Eventually you may become part of the work programme again during a claim for ESA but this will only be considered if you are place in the WRAG.


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    Default Re: JSA to ESA?

    I think if you are in receipt of or have an underlying entitlement to carers allowance you do not have to attend work related interviews or do any work.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: JSA to ESA?

    Curren tly those in receipt of carers allowance or those with an underlying entitlement do not have to attend the Work Programme however of you were previously on JSA and part of te Work Programme they will still keep in contact for the duration of heor 2 year contract.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: JSA to ESA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Logi32 View Post
    you have been misled.
    you DEFINITELY do not need to attend ANY wp appoitment while you are on ASSESSMENT phase of ESA.
    the WP providers do not know this and might tell you otherwise but you can simply check with jobcentre plus.
    it does not matter whether you were on WP on your previous JSA claim or not.

    that being said;when your esa claim is finalized and if they put you on work related activity group,you can be referred to work programme,but it will be different than WP for people on JSA and you will not be asked to apply for a job.let alone asking you for attending mandatory work placements.

    if they put you on support group then you will not be referred to WP at all.

    I am %100 sure about what I said above.
    good luck.
    Thank you for your advice that is really helpful to me and to many others I am sure. I was placed in the Support Group for ESA for 6 months so I am no longer attending the work programme. However what I am unsure of is what will happen at the end of these 6 months? If when I am reassesed I am found fit to work and placed on JSA or on the WRAG portion of ESA will I automatically be entered back into the work programme? Or would if I applied for JSA would I have to wait for x amount of months until I was refered back to the programme?

    Thank again!


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    Default Re: JSA to ESA?

    No if you reclaim JSA at any time within 2 years of your original referral date you are referred directly back to them.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: JSA to ESA?

    Quote Originally Posted by flumps1976 View Post
    No if you reclaim JSA at any time within 2 years of your original referral date you are referred directly back to them.
    Hi thanks for this info, do you have any direct links to any policy documents or legislation which confirms this? I would like to have this cleared up as I was also told by a someone else that being moved to ESA support group meant that I was off the work programme and that if I do claim again for JSA at the end of my time on ESA SG as it is over 6 months since my last claim ended it would be treated as a new claim altogether.

    I am sure the documentation on this must be available to the public somewhere but I have no idea where to start looking!


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    Default Re: JSA to ESA?

    I'm not certain where to locate this information apart from at work sorry, but as an individual you are entered into a contract with the provider for a 2 year period, once you terminate the claim for JSA for what ever reason the providers will attempt to maintain contaxt with you for the duration of the 2 year contract. In the event that you are required to sign for JSA again within that 2 year period you are referred directly back to the workprogramme that you were originally referred to.
    http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/the-work-programme.pdf
    although this link to te leaflet refers to customers securing and remaining in employment it does cover the 2 year contract.



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