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WFI appt has arrived but given varying information by ESA - please help

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Hi

 

I did start a thread about the ATOS assessment under a different section but as it has moved forward I though I should now come to this section as the situation has moved on and appears to be getting worse where the Govt depts are concerned. Help is needed please.

 

The person I care for has lodged an appeal after being put into the WRAG. He, his doctor and myself as his carer all strongly feel that he should have been put into the support group. His written appeal was sent in together with a statement from me as his carer plus supporting statement from his doctor. His doctor wrote an indepth supporting statement and stated that any structured regime is completely unrealistic for him including the work focussed group and that he loses control of his bowel and bladder during seizures which is extremely distressing. She also wrote a lot more but we felt that these were the main points to tell you so you can see how crazy this situation is. I wrote in my supporting statment that during a Grand-Mal epilepsy seizure he loses complete control of his bowel and bladder, and after a seizure care is needed including changing his clothing, washing him and cleaning any mess which has gone on the floor - I am cutting a long story short here!

 

ATOS were asked on 3 or 4 different occasions to please send a copy of the DM report so I could see how the decision to put him into WRAG was made in order that appeal could be written but it was never sent. They sent a copy of the doctor's medical form instead. After this, they were called again but even now, after the appeal has been submitted, it has never been sent. We based his appeal on the doctors medical form which is full of contradictions, eg. she wrote on one page that he was incontenant during fits but then on the next page put that he is not. The report is full of this. We basically went through it and highlighted all these discrepancies and contradictions which was the basis of the appeal without the DM report - it's all we could do.

 

An appointment letter for WFI has now arrived. I phoned ESA who said that I was to call the number on the letter and tell them that the WRAG is being appealed as he, his doctor and his carer all feel strongly that he has been put into the wrong group and supporting evidence has been sent in with appeal. the ESA operator also said that the WFI appt could easily be deferred until after the appeal if it was all explained. I called the number on the letter to be spoken to by a really nasty woman. She wouldn't listen to anything I told her and spoke over me the whole way through the call. Even after I did get her to listen and told her of the situation, she said that he MUST attend this WFI appt even though he is appealing and said that ESA had given wrong information and it cannot be deferred. What is the truth?

 

She asked why he had been given a home visit for the assessment and agreed that ATOS deemed it as, if there was an emergency at the assessment centre, he couldnt go down all the stairs to get out and that the panic would induce a seizure. This woman said that if there was an emergency during the WFI appt, it would cause no problems as there are lifts in the jobcentre offices - she repeated this again after being told that if there is an emergency, you can't use lifts! She even said that it could be done on ground level probably. She stuck to her guns and said he MUST attend this WFI appt at 9.15 in the morning next week. I told her that he cannot go to any appts early morning as he has to get up very slowly and take his time as if he doesnt, he will have a seizure. She said she was going to send an email to someone in appts who is (allegedly) going to phone me tomorrow. She said that a telephone appt might be permitted but she isnt sure.

 

Can anything be done? If they insist he goes to the appt and he does go, it makes a mockery of his appeal and supporting evidence written by his doctor and will most certainly cause him to have more seizures that day - he has between 6 and 8 per week as it is! If he doesnt go, the nasty woman today said he would be in trouble for failing to keep their appt and his benefit would be affected.

 

My head is mush, he has had 2 extra seizures today because of all this.

 

Please if anyone can help quickly it would be appreciated as they are allegedly calling tomorrow.

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Are you sure this a formal WFI?

 

I was invited in while my appeal was ongoing. It turned out it was not obligatory. i.e. I did not have to go.

 

I have very limited experience here, but i have some.

 

Do you have a Tribunal date?

 

Blurred:)

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Yes it is a formal appt for WFI.

 

No the appeal has only got as far as the first stage i.e., the DM looks at it again and if it does not go right then we take it further and keep going to tribunal.

 

See part of the problem being experienced is that they are saying he is fit to attend the WFI as it was deemed so by their assessing doctor. My arguement to them on his behalf is that the doctor contradicted herself right through her report form. My arguement is also that his own doctor has said that he is not fit enough.

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It sounds to me like the usual mish mash of things happening as far as JCP goes.

 

I THINK you would be OK for your fiend not to attend (I was but I cannot remember if mine was a formal WFI), but, you really need an better answer than I can give.

 

I think the question you want answering is "Having made an appeal and had my decision referred to a DM, I have received a WFI letter. I have yet to receive a response from the DM. Am I obliged to attend the WFI?"

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Yes I think that's the easiest way of putting it. Sorry my head is like mashed potatoes at the moment

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Yes I think that's the easiest way of putting it. Sorry my head is like mashed potatoes at the moment

 

Hope it helps. Smetimes you just need someone to pick out the details. Don't worry about the mashed potatoes, I know all about them, don't worry. I say don't worry, what I mean is it affects everyone, and you are not alone. It's always easier to deal with a situation when you are not involved. It's true in real life, and it's true on the forums.

 

It might not be a bad idea to put a fresh, more more concise query up on the forum in the morning.

 

It might go "I recently had WCA, and I was placed in the WRAG. I have since lodged an appeal, as I feel I should be in the SG, and this has been referred to a DM. In the mean time, I have been invited to a WFI. The reality (and reason for my appeal) is that I have severe continence issues, and therefore cannot attend.Will my benefits be stopped if I fail to attend this WFI? Is there an alternative such as a WFI at home?"

 

Just a thought! I am off to bed, hope this helps!

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Update to the saga ....

 

I was supposed to be called today by the WFI person. No call so I called the same dept I called yesterday. Was told that I should have been called already and apologised. I was told another message was being sent requesting a call about the WFI appt and it would come in on monday. I told the operator i was worried as if no call comes on Monday, appt is first appt Tuesday morning. I was told if no call comes, then dont go to the appt as it's her job to contact me which she hasnt done. I was told that the line manager has been copied into todays message. I don't trust these ppl as they've given me wrong information already so if i don't go to the appt I could face problems from them yet I can't go to the appt they made for me

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Is there any way this appointment can be differed? I guess one way of looking at it is he goes down there, has a seizure, they see he's too ill to attend and leave him alone for a few months or so.

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I f you are booked for a WFI then you are not in the SG.

You can request that appointment is rebooked or considered for deferal.

The WFI appointments are now mandatory so I hope you manage to get it deferred until the appeal is heard at least and then with luck the WFI won't be needed.

It might only be an initial 1 month deferral though.

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Well that's what I'm hoping for -that they will defer the appt until the appeal is done with. He should be in the SG but they put him in WRAG. the woman I spoke to yesterday said appts cant be dererred until apeal is over and he must go. Am trying to get this phone call done with his advisor to see what she says though. Even the assessing ATOS doctor wrote that even in the long term a return to work is highly unlikely and that his condition is not going to improve. His GP wrote the same yet they put him into WRAG!

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Help needed please on a very similar situation, sorry for hijacking this thread but cant find how I start my own. I was placed in Wrag Contribution Based in November 2011. I sent in my appeal straight away as I feel I should be in the SG. The appeal only went to Tribunal in November 2012 at the same time as my Esa payments were stopped because of the 365 day rule, I do not qualify for the Income based Esa. Today I received a letter to attend a WFI early in February 2013, my question is, do I have to attend this appointment as my Esa has already stopped, or do I have to attend whilst I am appealing, thanks for any input guys.

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pipistrollers I know that they can't usually defer the appointment for too long as there are target dates that a customer needs be interviewed by. I would suggest asking to speak to the DEA adviser and asking for the appointment to either be a telehone interview or for a home visit, (if it is a home visit then they may be accompanied by a Compliance Officer that is standard practice for any officers to be accompanied in he event of home visits).

 

bladerunner it's the same answer, the WFI is mandatory, you can request the appointment is changed if it is inconvenient but you will required to attend.

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Flumps surely I dont have to attend???? I am no longer classed as an Esa benefit claimant, am I?? as I said before my payments stopped last November because of the 365 day rule. Seems a bit crazy to me that I never had to attend a WFI during the 365 days I was in Wrag, then 3 months after Esa stopped they want me in for a WFI. I dont qualify for any other benefits including Jsa as my partner works and we have savings above the threshold.

Edited by bladerunner22

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You are not receiving payment but for as long as you claim ESA and have your NI record updated then yes you are still required to attend. Although any sanctions wouldn't impact you now if your circumstances changed and you subsequently became entitled to Income Related ESA the sanctions would still be there iygwim?

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I have been searching the web for clarification at what you say Flumps, came across the Esa guidlines which looks like they were updated last November 2012. It states WFI"s are voluntary for

1. Support Group

2. Credits Only Claimants

3. Lone Parents with a child uner the age of 5.

So looks like I"m off the hook for the time being, think I will still phone DWP Monday though just to make sure/

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pipistrollers I know that they can't usually defer the appointment for too long as there are target dates that a customer needs be interviewed by. I would suggest asking to speak to the DEA adviser and asking for the appointment to either be a telehone interview or for a home visit, (if it is a home visit then they may be accompanied by a Compliance Officer that is standard practice for any officers to be accompanied in he event of home visits).

 

bladerunner it's the same answer, the WFI is mandatory, you can request the appointment is changed if it is inconvenient but you will required to attend.

 

Flumps that is what I am trying to do. There is a telephone number on the WFI appt letter to call if you can't make the appt. I called it and was told a message was being sent to the advisor who will be doing the WFI. She was to call within 24 hours which she didnt do. I called again after the 24 hours was up and was told that another message was being sent to contact him and myself on Monday. My worry is that I was told that if she doesn't contact on Monday I was told that he shouldn't go to the appt. as they are supposed to call back with 24 hours.

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It could be that the adviser who you are due to see is a full time worker and you called on their non working day, they could have been sick on leave, training, unable to attend work due another reason including the recent travel disruption due the weathere. Not all staff in an office will be aware of other working patterns.

 

Another explanantion is that the adviser was fully booked with other appointments all day and was working solidly until office closing or the end of their working day and the message was/wasn't picked up or have the time to reply.

Frustrating as it is unfortunate that these things happen.

I personally never put a time frame on any call back that a customer requests as unless I'm doing it for myself I can't guage how the other person will be to reply iygwim, and to have that done to me and then receive such an ear bashing if I don't call back within the time frame a colleague has promised because I wasn't in work or off working another job role isn't good customer service for the person expecting a reply or to me or a colleague.

 

I would not go to the appointment but call again on Monday to explain that you won't be attending as per the reasons already given and could you please have a call back to discuss further at the earliest convenient time that the adviser has if they are unable to transfer you directly.

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Hi flumps

 

Yes she is a full time WFI worker. I actually told the operator I spoke to yesterday when the call didnt come that perhaps she couldn't get into work because of the weather. He told me that if a staff member does not come into work then it shows at his end because of ppl like me calling which made sense. He confirmed that she was in work yesterday and should have called back.

 

Where not picking up the message or not having time to respond is concerned, it was the operator who told me that they have 24 hours in which to respond and the second operator yesterday told me that there is no reason that it was not done, admitted it was the WFI advisor's fault and apologised. I didn't put a timeframe on them, it was the operator who told me that they have 24 hours to respond. It works by caling the given number and they then send a message (i suppose by email) to the relevant person who then has 24 hours to get back to me. Thats what the DWP operator told me and I have also found this to be the case in other DWP departments.

Edited by pipistrollers
made mistake

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oh that isn't in place where I work as ther are two or three of us who are in position to answer the phones, we don't have a telephony team and the advisers phones hash through if not answered within 6 rings and then they are on a round robin of the 3 numbers answering calls, although recently we have been depleted in numbers and at times it has only been me on phones as well as all other jobs.

We are instructed by management not to give time frames and despite working there for years people change their work patterns, days off and training we can't keerp track of who is in and who isn't.

Don't even have time to walk around to find out who is in or not :o

 

not an excuse simply an explanation of how it works where I am, but definitely call Monday morning to inform tat you are not able to attend, just in case the operative you spoke to hasn't noted your records.

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The WFI advisor did call today. She is going to do the interview by phone tomorrow to hopefully it will all work itself out

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