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ESA Work Program

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Hi everyone, hope you're all great.

 

I have a question about whether, in my specific circumstances, I am compelled to participate in the governments Work program.

 

My specific circumstances are as follows. I have been on the ESA (WRAG IR) due to long term mental health issues since 2009. In August 2012 I was given the option to voluntarily attend an information session at the local provider which I did. I was under the impression then that it was a voluntary commitment. A week or two after that I was informed that due to what I thought were extremely complex and unclear reasons, that I am a mandatory participant. I would prefer not to have to attend at the moment as firstly I think it has very little substantive value and secondly I am at a critical part of treatment and having to attend induces a lot of anxiety and stress that just retards the purpose of transitioning back to work.

 

I have contacted CAB and they were unhelpful and confused about the regs so I did my own digging. Prior to 10/9/12 (it has changed now) in the guidance for providers document there are 6 categories of supposed mandatory ESA claimants. The one which best related to me is the one below. Existing claimamnt being someone who's first WCA was decided before the 'Pathways to Work' had ceased.

 

'Existing ESA (IR) WRAG with 3 or 6 Month Prognosis.

Optional from WCA outcome

WP ESA (IR) WRAG 3/6Mth Stock

PG 5

Mandatory'

 

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wp-pg-chapter-2.pdf

 

This is the updated version.

 

To me this implies it is optional from WCA outcome but it's in the mandatory category. I see this as ambiguous.

My last WCA was in October and I haven't been informed of the prognosis estimate. I wanted to obtain some independent advice as I fear if I ask DWP directly they will fob me off or mis-interpret the convoluted regs anyway.

 

can anyone spread some light on whether I am a mandatory participant or not??

 

Many thanks in advance:wink:

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I may be wrong, but I think it is the changed requirements that you would fall under. If so, it is mandatory and Annexe A of the link you provided seems quite unambiguous about it ...

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Thanks or the reply Rae. I agree with your point if I'm treated under the new regs. However I have been contemplating the issue under the regs at the time I was placed on the WP which doesn't have the explicit mandatory criterion. I'm uncertain whether the new regs are retroactive.

 

Thanks a bunch for your input nonetheless.

 

Matt

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I believe they are and take precedence. I'm sure further comment / confirmation will be made in due course ...

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I believe they are and take precedence. I'm sure further comment / confirmation will be made in due course ...

 

Yeah. Unlike, say, signing a contract, retroactive changes in benefit law can be made. Doesn't always happen, but my understanding is that in this case, it has.

 

The other classic example of this phenomenon was the 365 day limit to ESA© - it didn't only apply to new claims made after the law was passed.


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