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Inmysparetime

1st WRAG interview today

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Hi everyone

 

I am accompanying someone this afternoon to their first interview with the Job Centre - he should be in the Support Group - GP has said there is no way this person can work.

 

Is anyone able to tell me what to expect from today? The claimant suffers with mental health issues - reason I am accompanying is to attempt to keep him calm, be there to understand what is expected of him and because he will not go to unfamiliar places alone and the location of the Job Centre he has been sent to is unfamiliar and a half hour drive away.

 

Also, last week, he received another assessment form to complete - he only won at tribunal in September having been awarded nil points by ATOS. Any thoughts on this also will be greatly appreciated.

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Hi Inmysparetime. Just registered with CAG so my first post & hope it's of help to you & the person you're supporting.

 

There are two regulations re; ESA fit for work tests that apply to your friend & many others being wrongly found fit for work. Regs 29 & 35:

 

Apparently, as a newbie I can't post links yet but the info quotes are all here.

From government website:

 

Exceptional circumstances29.—(1) A claimant who does not have limited capability for work as determined in accordance with the limited capability for work assessment is to be treated as having limited capability for work if paragraph (2) applies to the claimant.

(2) This paragraph applies if—

(a)the claimant is suffering from a life threatening disease in relation to which—

(i)there is medical evidence that the disease is uncontrollable, or uncontrolled, by a recognised therapeutic procedure; and

(ii)in the case of a disease that is uncontrolled, there is a reasonable cause for it not to be controlled by a recognised therapeutic procedure; or

(b)the claimant suffers from some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement and, by reasons of such disease or disablement, there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if the claimant were found not to have limited capability for work.

 

 

Certain claimants to be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity35.—(1) A claimant is to be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity if—

(a)the claimant is terminally ill;

(b)the claimant is—

(i)receiving treatment by way of intravenous, intraperitoneal or intrathecal chemotherapy; or

(ii)recovering from that treatment and the Secretary of State is satisfied that the claimant should be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity; or

©in the case of a woman, she is pregnant and there is a serious risk of damage to her health or to the health of her unborn child if she does not refrain from work-related activity.

(2) A claimant who does not have limited capability for work-related activity as determined in accordance with regulation 34(1) is to be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity if—

(a)the claimant suffers from some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement; and

(b)by reasons of such disease or disablement, there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if the claimant were found not to have limited capability for work-related activity.

 

Dr Stephen Carty is Medical Advisor to the Black Triangle Campaign, who along with DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) are campaigning a mass take-up of these regulations.

Black Triangle sought Senior Counsel Statutory Interpretation of ESA regulatiuons 29 & 35:

 

Legal advice – Statutory Interpretation of the Regulations

The Black Triangle Campaign has consulted with Senior Counsel regarding the statutory interpretation of these regulations.

“Substantial” or “Serious”

Regulation 29 (2) (b) and Regulation 35 (2) (a) & (b)

These terms both apply to the word ‘risk’ and not to a patient’s ‘disease’ or ‘disablement’ (illness(es) or imparment(s). )

Therefore, the question before the General Practitioner is:

“If, as a result of the DWP/Atos Work Capability Assessment, your patient was found either ‘fit for work’ or to have possessed ‘limited capability for work’ (and placed in the Work-Related Activity Group) is it more likely than not that harm would result?”

Counsel has advised the exemptions must be applied to all cases where harm is likely .

Counsel further explained that, as the first duty of any doctor is to “do no harm”; in relation to any question regarding whether or not the ‘harm’ caused would be sufficiently ‘serious’:

- all that is required of the doctor is to make a simple clinical judgment as to whether or not ANY harm or deterioration to the patient’s condition would occur as a result of being found fit for work or placed in the WRAG.

To recap:

Any harm is itself sufficiently ‘serious’ or ‘substantial’ to warrant applying Regulations 29 or 35 in the correct statutory interpretation of this law because both words apply only to the word “risk

With regard to the degree of harm it need only be “more likely than not” that harm to the patient would result from being found either ‘fit for work’ or having ‘limited capability for work’.

 

There are sample letters on BT's site that willing GP's can write for their patients either to send with ESA forms or for appeal purposes. Sounds like your friends GP would be willing to do this & I'm sure many others will do so considering the BMA has called for an immediate end to the WCA.

 

Good luck!

 

PS. As I can't post links I'll do another post with sample GP letters.

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Sample letters from Black Triangle Campaign website:

 

ESA letter for claimant to be submitted with ESA50 form or presented to the DWP/Atos WCA Assessor

To whom it may concern

Following this Work Capability Assessment I may be found

fit for work

or

placed in the WRAG (work related activity group)

In my opinion this will be contradiction of my own General Medical Practitioner’s knowledge of me over time, clinical assessment and medical certification.

My General Medical Practitioner is the custodian of my primary medical record which has been accumulated during my lifetime in the UK

My Past Medical History and current problems include:

1

2

3

4

5

I am of the opinion that exceptional circumstances Regulation 29 may apply:

‘Because of your physical or mental health condition or disability, there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person, including you, if you were found not to have limited capability for work.’

Or with regard to the WRAG group decision that regulation 35 may apply:

‘Because of your physical or mental health condition or disability there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person, including you, if you were found not to have limited capability for work-related activity.’

I am of the opinion that substantial risk exists because:

Yours sincerely

(Patient’s name)

 

ESA Appeal Letter to be completed by the Patient’s GP for submission to the DWP AND the Tribunals Service

To whom it may concern

I am this patient’s General Medical Practitioner and the custodian of the primary medical records they have accumulated during their lifetime in the UK.

Following a recent Work Capability Assessment this patient, in contradiction of my own knowledge of the patient over time, clinical assessment and medical certification was found:

fit for work

or

was deemed to have limited capability for work and was placed in the WRAG (Work Related Activity Group)

The patient’s Past Medical History and current problems include:

1

2

3

4

5

Although this person has been deemed “fit for work” I am of the opinion that exceptional circumstances Regulation 29 applies:

‘Because of your physical or mental health condition or disability, there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person, including you, if you were found not to have limited capability for work.’

Or

With regard to the limited capability for work (WRAG Group decision) that regulation 35 applies:

‘Because of your physical or mental health condition or disability there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person, including you, if you were found not to have limited capability for work-related activity.’

I am of this opinion because:

I disagree with the outcome of your assessment and support my patient in their appeal against your decision.

Yours sincerely

On BT's website there are several articles on this campaign. If you find the one dated 16th November 2012 you'll find explanatory notes (as well as the above letters) for the GP & the claimant if you want to print them up.

 

 

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OP, it will depend on the length of award that your friend received as to what they will expect. The fact that another claim form came ESA50 is through already means it might be a short award.

 

Ideally, the interview today should be no pressure, advice on ways to move towards work even if it is reading, home study or whatever, and it should only be advice, not a request to.

 

I would concentrate on completing the new ESA50 remembering descriptors. Imo there needs to be more help out there for people with depression and anxiety, CBT for instance, because unless you tackle the problem you aren't going to achieve the aim.

 

Let us know how it goes.

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Hello everyone who has kindly responded... I am very grateful.

 

I ended up having to ring the Job Centre to explain that my friend was unable to get out of bed - he kept himself awake until gone 9am this morning worrying about today. I spoke to the advisor who was due to meet him today - she was very understanding and offered to telephone him another day instead.

 

Kayd - thank you very much for the information you have provided - I shall read this in more detail this evening :-)

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abc123def wrote:

Ideally, the interview today should be no pressure, advice on ways to move towards work even if it is reading, home study or whatever, and it should only be advice, not a request to.

 

I would concentrate on completing the new ESA50 remembering descriptors.

 

Maybe no pressure at this stage but at some point the choice becomes work or be sanctioned & lose some of your ESA as Mandatory Work is now under way.

 

If anyone should be in the Support Group please ask your GP to write a letter invoking regulations 29 & 35 to include with ESA50 or for appeals. Those regulations are there to protect against harm & imo, if more people had known about them considerable suffering could have been avoided & perhaps some lives could have been saved.

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Hi Kayd

 

In this case the claimant was awarded nil points by ATOS at his medical in November 2011. Appeal won September 2012 with a score of 21 points. The tribunal panel were uncertain whether to place him in Support or WRAG - unfortunately for him they went with WRAG.

 

He is on contribution based ESA.

 

He now has received another Limited Capability for Work Questionnaire - I know the outcome of this will another dreaded medical with ATOS, nil points and the whole appeal proceedure again.

 

Are you recommending the GP letter be submitted along with the Limited Capability for Work Questionnaire? Claimant's GP is very knowledgeable of his condition and was super supportive when information needed for appeal so I am sure gaining this letter will be no problem - I just wanted to clarify I have the right idea with your advice with regards to where to send the letter and when.

 

Thank you :-)

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Inmysparetime wrote:

Hello everyone who has kindly responded... I am very grateful.

 

I ended up having to ring the Job Centre to explain that my friend was unable to get out of bed - he kept himself awake until gone 9am this morning worrying about today. I spoke to the advisor who was due to meet him today - she was very understanding and offered to telephone him another day instead.

 

Kayd - thank you very much for the information you have provided - I shall read this in more detail this evening :-)

 

You're welcome! My son is disabled & I'm disgusted & saddened by what's been happening these past few years, so the more people that know about this the better. As far as I (& many others) are concerned, the whole ATOS/UNUM/ DWP scandal needs to have serious light shed on it by the media. People deserve the truth.

instead of the propoganda they're being drip-fed. Propoganda that has resulted in an increase in disability hate crime.

 

Jobcentre staff. I think a lot of them are also appalled at what's happening tbh& I'm glad you managed to speak with an understanding one.

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Sorry! Posted before I saw your last post....

 

Yes, submit it with Limited Capability for Work Questionaire. Make sure you have a photocopy of it in case your friend still has to attend another medical (as is sometimes the case) then it can be presented to the examining Atos doctor.

 

Sometimes the letter is enough, sometimes not...like many things depends whose dealing with it, if their knowledge of rules is up to par or they're so busy it gets overlooked. If a person has to undergo the test & is found fit for work or put in WRAG, you can ask DWP to review the decision & they may overturn it at that stage. Others have had to appeal then receive letters that the appeal is not necessary as decision has been overturned & claimant has been put into Support Group.

 

Apologies for not being clearer on that earlier...The info is all out there but I wasn't allowed to put the links in for you.

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He now has received another Limited Capability for Work Questionnaire - I know the outcome of this will another dreaded medical with ATOS, nil points and the whole appeal proceedure again.

 

Inmysparetime, I was awarded 0 points at my first ATOS face to face and I went to Tribunal and was placed in the wrag.

 

When I was sent another ESA50 I completed this and sent it off, had another ATOS face to face and was placed in the support group. Since then I have been sent another ESA50 and was placed again in the support group without a face to face.

 

I say this because you assume that when the ESA50 is filled in the results will be 0 points, not necessarily I say.

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Hello everyone who has kindly responded... I am very grateful.

 

I ended up having to ring the Job Centre to explain that my friend was unable to get out of bed - he kept himself awake until gone 9am this morning worrying about today. I spoke to the advisor who was due to meet him today - she was very understanding and offered to telephone him another day instead.

 

Kayd - thank you very much for the information you have provided - I shall read this in more detail this evening :-)

 

interesting, the advisor I got was adament that phone interviews are out of the question and made it clear if I dont turn up I will be sanctioned.

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Hi Kayd

 

Just thought I'd let you know I visited my friend's doctor with him today. I showed this template letter to him in the hope he'd be happy to write his own version for me. Unfortunately he was not prepared to do it as he thought it looked like a letter prepared by a solicitor! I think he's just not familiar with the regulations quoted so didn't feel comfortable issuing it from himself. On the flip side he has offered his ongoing support should we have to visit ATOS again and, of course, should we end up in the same cycle as we did before.

 

I'll keep everyone posted at the next stage.

 

Many thanks for all your help so far :-)

 

Sample letters.

 

 

On BT's website there are several articles on this campaign. If you find the one dated 16th November 2012 you'll find explanatory notes (as well as the above letters) for the GP & the claimant if you want to print them up.

 

 

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Hi Kayd

 

Just thought I'd let you know I visited my friend's doctor with him today. I showed this template letter to him in the hope he'd be happy to write his own version for me. Unfortunately he was not prepared to do it as he thought it looked like a letter prepared by a solicitor! I think he's just not familiar with the regulations quoted so didn't feel comfortable issuing it from himself. On the flip side he has offered his ongoing support should we have to visit ATOS again and, of course, should we end up in the same cycle as we did before.

 

I'll keep everyone posted at the next stage.

 

Many thanks for all your help so far :-)

 

I do think it is very difficult for Doctors at this moment as well as they are also facing pressure from all sides. My friend is a psychiatrist who says there is a lot of negative talk about giving "skivers" too much support or enabling people to stay in their comfort zone rather than getting back to a normal life and at the same time he sees people really struggling with the process and being pushed too soon. He is also mindful that his authority is eroded all the time when it comes to deciding what is best for a person with Mental Health issues by the ESA process and fears that soon even fit notes will be out of (real) doctors hands.

 

I would for one feel very awkward asking my GP to put his name to a letter I had prepared like that. I have so far not even asked for a medical report from either my GP or Consultant as it feels like a huge drain on there already over stretched resources and I don't want to make a nuisance of myself. However I know it would perhaps help my case or even prevent my needing to go to a face to face.

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Sorry to say it, but I don't think that template letter written as it is is of any use to anyone.And although I can appreciate the Black Triangle group think they're helping, I feel they're misdirecting people to rely on it, as a means to success. It would have to give a lot more detailed info in relation to the descriptors than what that template allows or asks for. eg exactly why it would be a risk etc. knowledge of the persons day to day life limitations..

 

I can't see many GP's signing it, due to words used like invoking regs 29 and 35 , instead of my patient meets the descriptor and can see it being ignored at Tribunals.. Most GP's won't have fully read through a wca assessors handbook on ESA descriptors so don't know enough about it.

 

I don't suffer from mental health problems ,but have read through both the assessors handbook and descriptors on behalf of others and they are very tough especially for the Support Group. Unless the person is under treatment from a physchiatrist or receiving a lot of ongoing help and support from a Community Mental health team, and can provide reprts from them..

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The problem with these sort of letters - irrespective of the subject matter - is that it doesn't take long for the recipient to say 'oh look, another template letter' and it loses what little effect it might have had in the very beginning. They should always be seen only as a loose guide and heavily re-written in your individual style.

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This was a non starter from the off.

 

I think they have forgotten that anything you write to a GP has to be recorded. The DWP has the right to ask the GP if that is their own view or if it has been suggested by the patient.

 

In fact GP's own guidance (if I remember rightly - it was 3-4 years ago I looked into this) strongly advises against this as a patient leading a GP undermines their independent authority.

 

I'm also pretty sure that the GP would have to declare the fact that this is the patients letter to the DWP.

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Hi everyone

 

Thanks again for all your thoughts.

 

I just want to make one point crystal clear. I wasn't expecting the GP to use the template letter as it reads currently. I asked for a 'version' of it. Although he wasn't prepared to issue his own version of this template letter he is prepared to assist later if my friend is called for assessment to the extent of telling ATOS he cannot attend any medical assessment. Problem here is that just leaves a home visit which my friend is against also (he doesn't want his neighbours to see the assessor entering his home).

 

I have a bunch of medical evidence gained for the appeal the first time around so I'll select the most recent stuff and submit with this new questionnaire along with the letter the GP wrote at that time.

 

Thanks again everyone for your thoughts/advice

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