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ESA Work Programme with Prospects. Complete nightmare! Help...


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Hi.

I had a medical last month with ATOS, and got a letter recently putting me in 'work related activity group' . I then got an appointment with the job centre which I went to last week.

It was basically a woman talking what to me, with what sounded like jibberish for 10 minutes before handing me a paper leaflet called 'work programme' , it didn't really have a lot of information on it.

 

Yesterday I got a phone call from another lady from a company called 'prospects' we were on the phone for about half an hour whilst she reeled off bizarre questions which had no relevance to my situation whatsoever, she also didn't really know why I was on ESA . and said I had been found fit for work which is why I'm on the work programme .

 

But if I had been found 'fit for work' then would I not be on JSA instead ?!

 

I have been told to expect a letter or a call next week from my 'new advisor' who will arrange an appointment with me.

 

I a!m ever so confused now.

 

Theres no way I can sit in any 'group inductions' or go off on any courses, not at the moment anyway.

 

I'm trying to remain calm but this has panicked me no end.

 

Am I suppose to be on a 'work programme' so soon? And what does it entail?

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Am I suppose to be on a 'work programme' so soon? And what does it entail?

 

What does it entail - A few rounds of pointless and worthless sessions filled with irrelevant gibberish. Unfortunately, if you do not attend these sessions without good reason, your benefits could be sanctioned.

On the bright side, because you are an ESA claimant, they can not make you apply for jobs, force you to undertake any medical treatment, or put you through the "voluntary" work experience/job placements.

 

You have the right to ask for a private room to discuss personal details, and if you are uncomfortable with any of the questions they ask, you do not have to answer. Any "group sessions" or courses must be appropriate to your circumstances - For example, if you have problems with groups of strangers, then this must be taken in to consideration before putting you through a group session.

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I have been told to expect a letter or a call next week from my 'new advisor' who will arrange an appointment with me.

As you are on ESA WRAG you can't be mandated to attend any appointments by phone or by txt, 'prospects' have to give you any appointments in writing.

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Hi.

I had a medical last month with ATOS, and got a letter recently putting me in 'work related activity group' . I then got an appointment with the job centre which I went to last week.

It was basically a woman talking what to me, with what sounded like jibberish for 10 minutes before handing me a paper leaflet called 'work programme' , it didn't really have a lot of information on it.

 

They are very good at talking a lot of crap putting that politely

 

Yesterday I got a phone call from another lady from a company called 'prospects' we were on the phone for about half an hour whilst she reeled off bizarre questions which had no relevance to my situation whatsoever, she also didn't really know why I was on ESA . and said I had been found fit for work which is why I'm on the work programme .

 

It's not up to her to know whether you are on esa or not the fact that you have not failed your medical and you are in the esa wrag mean you have score some high points, wrag activity doesn't mean you are 100% fit for work, my friend cathy is on esa wrag and was told by Ingeus it would take a very long time for her to be fit to participate into any work program, she's only had one appointment which was June 2013, I've stepped my foot down with them I did all the talking and insisted for a private room or the appointment will have to be cancel and re-schedule a new one when a private room is available so far they've done everything we've said of course she has proof of her illness which of course you have proof of yours too. May I ask what illness you are suffering with hope I am not being rude or anything but if you are suffering from mental illness perhaps I can be of help to you because that's what cathy is suffering with!

But if I had been found 'fit for work' then would I not be on JSA instead ?!

 

Exactly you have not been found fit for work 100% the wrag can be in many stages and the ball is in your court it's all depend of the severity of your ill health!

I have been told to expect a letter or a call next week from my 'new advisor' who will arrange an appointment with me.

 

Or they always say that but good job you are in this forum and I can say their are some great people on here who will give you valuable help, I've had plenty of that from this forum which has given me much confident to deal with the dwp and Ingeus I am very grateful for that.

 

I a!m ever so confused now.

 

Theres no way I can sit in any 'group inductions' or go off on any courses, not at the moment anyway.

 

Do you tell them straight away, one thing do not get caught up in their crap questions they'll talk ten to the dozen let them know straight away to speak slowly to you, better still always take someone with you and do ask for a private room right from the start cathy has never gone to any of her medical without me long before the benefit system changed that helps because they couldn't deny her a private room or saying she must do this and that, or she is exaggerating her mental illness. I gave them no chances.

 

Beware of them telling you talking is a skill that a person can never forget so you should be ok in a new job, I tackled that by telling them cathy was happy talking to her work colleagues but it doesn't mean in a new job she would be happy to talk to new people her circumstances has changed since with her mental illness she cannot and do not talk to anyone nor does she socialise.

I'm trying to remain calm but this has panicked me no end.

 

Good idea to take someone with you if you can and also get someone to speak on your behalf let the work provider know in advance you cannot speak because of panic attacks and that you will forget what been said to you. Make sure everything you tell them you write down or record it's important. I write notes or record most phone calls now do not trust them.

 

Am I suppose to be on a 'work programme' so soon? And what does it entail?

 

Not really but they do not care about you they only worry about themselves, you need to care for you and get as much help and advice so you know where you stand and what's your rights

 

Hope this helps. do feel free to pm me if you wish I am happy to help which ever way I can.

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Not really but they do not care about you they only worry about themselves, you need to care for you and get as much help and advice so you know where you stand and what's your rights

 

Hope this helps. do feel free to pm me if you wish I am happy to help which ever way I can.

 

hey, yeah thanks for that.

 

the condition is mental health, but its very much the physical side which affects me, where i can have days i am housebound because of vomiting.

or if im out i can completely out of nowhere have an anxiety attack where i feel sick and am sweating, cant talk etc etc.

ironically though, these attacks seem to be worse when someone is around me! im actually better off going out alone. apart from one time where i collapsed in wh smiths. its a good job i knew most of the people who work there, still embaressing though.

 

 

i have today received a letter about a GROUP induction for THIS friday morning! :!: so now i have to go through calling them and explaining my non attendance. :evil:

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I have today received a letter about a GROUP induction for THIS friday morning! :!: so now i have to go through calling them and explaining my non attendance. :evil:

 

A word of caution - Failing to attend a properly mandated session could result in a sanction. Seen it happen numerous times. A claimant rings up to rearrange an appointment and gets told "not a problem, we won't raise a doubt", only to find a sanction has been imposed a week or so later. Do not trust them.

 

Would advise email or letter rather than a phone call (unless you can record it), then you have a paper trail to prove what was/wasn't said.

 

As an "initial engagement activity", you could argue that a group induction is inappropriate in your circumstances - What might be appropriate for a JSA claimant is often unsuitable for an ESA client, especially if there are mental health issues. Feel free to berate them and insist that you require a private room.

 

Question: Does this letter say anything about JSA ?

If it does, please feel free to have a look at Chapter 3a of the Work Programme provider guidance - Annex 3 shows what a typical ESA mandation letter should look like.

 

Edit: After reading one of your other posts, another question:

Are you an ESA(ir) claimant with a 12 month or greater prognosis, or an ESA© claimant ?

If the answer is "yes", then access to the Work Programme is optional, but once signed up, participation is mandatory. Have you agreed to taking part ?

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am on ESA. And sent to the work programme with Prospects as after passing atos medical.

I could not go to any 'group inductions' which they OK with, even though it seems to have been a **** up in a brewery from the start as every week for the past month they would send me a letter for a 'group induction' and every time I would have to call them and they would say 'sorry its a mistake' .

 

I now have my first letter for a one to one appointment next week for 30 minutes.

What am I to expect from this?

 

I try to remain calm, but every time I get a letter I seem to have a mini panic attack, even though I prepare myself!

Edited by MrMinaj13
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Insist on a private room and take a friend with you for support if you can.

 

You have already commented that it has been little more than a p*** up in a brewery - Little reason to expect any better in any one to one meetings.

 

Remember: You do not have to sign anything, you can not be forced to hand over personal information, you are the "client" - I expect and demand to be addressed as Sir.

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No... you can't eat my brain just yet. I need it a little while longer.
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Yes, but I wonder how often I have to go to this place? And what they expect.

Its all rather confusing because I haven't been found 'fit for work' but fit to look for work is it??

I'm not really sure what a work programme is in the case of being am ESA claiment :!:

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I am at the end of my tether, where do I stand in demanding that my future few appointments are done over the 'phone' ?

I'll explain why.

 

I was called up by the work programme people 'prospects' after passing medical and being put in WRAG. I spoke to some loon who asked me a few questions to introduce me to the programme, she clearly didn't have a clue what ESA was. And she sounded like an automated robot .

I explained I would not be able to attend any GROUP inductions due to my anxiety. And she said I would receive a face to face appointment or phone appointment.

 

A week later I receive an appointment for a group induction :!:

I call up, they say sorry, we will arrange a one to one appointment for you soon.

 

One week later I get a text completely out of the blue saying 'don't forget your appointment at 10am tomorrow' , I call up asking what it's all about as I have had no pre warning or letter, they say 'sorry ignore that message'

 

A week later I do get a letter, and its for ANOTHER group induction :-x

I call up, get told they will take it up with head office , they are very sorry, will arrange a one to one etc etc.

 

So one week later, I get a letter, and its for a one to one appointment at 9:30am Thursday .(today)

I also get a text a day before reminding me of the appointment.

Fine.

 

I don't want to go, but I know I have to. (Jump through hoops and whatnot)

 

So today I turn up, 9:30am, and guess what, the advisor isnt there !!!! :mad2:

I speak to some gormless fool who is 'very sorry about this, we will re arrange the appointment some other time' I am speechless at this point and can feel my anxiety simmering to the surface, I could not even ask for my £7.80 taxi back. I just walked out.

 

So from now on I want at least my first couple of appointments to be by phone, I am not going there again, they are making me worse !!!

Can I do this?

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:MrMinaj13:

 

Despite Prospects apparent confusion over the issue, a very common scenario, you've been found to have limited capability for work which means you can't be mandated to apply for jobs or undertake work experience. (The only possible exception, if it's reasonable in your circumstances, is a short term community benefit work placement.)

 

As you haven't been found to have limited capability for work related activity, your referral to the work programme is to help you prepare for potential employment in the future. Initally, it involves an action plan of what you can do to improve your eventual chances of finding and keeping a job; update a curriculum vitae, training, voluntary work, etcetera.

 

Whether or not the appointments to draw up your action plan can be done via phone is at the discretion of your Prospects adviser. There's no harm in trying, but if you normally make it to your doctor, hospital/psychology appointments, etcetera , they'll probably say you need to attend unless you can show it's a particularly difficult journey to meet unfamiliar people in an unfamiliar place. Should you come to an impasse with Prospects, they'll refer you to Jobcentreplus for a decision maker to determine whether you've good cause for 'failure to participate'.

 

Do you have a copy of the ESA85 report of your assessment by Atos? If not, it's available on request from your benefit delivery centre. Prospects can't mandate you to do anything that's contraindicated by the reasons you were found to have limited capability for work.

 

Best wishes, Margaret. :panda:

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Mr Minja, you had 3 threads in respect of the one situation - they have now all been merged into one. It is far better for those who are trying to advise you, to have the whole history in one place.

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I speak to some gormless fool who is 'very sorry about this, we will re arrange the appointment some other time' I am speechless at this point and can feel my anxiety simmering to the surface, I could not even ask for my £7.80 taxi back. I just walked out.

 

If you kept the receipts for the taxi fares, photocopy them. Type up a blunt letter expressing your disgust at the inability of the staff to organise themselves and demand the travel expenses are refunded forthwith. Enclose the photocopy of the receipts and await their response. Should you have to visit their office again and the expenses are still outstanding, waive the original receipts under their noses and don't take "no" for an answer

 

Admittedly, if you are suffering from anxiety issues, making verbal demands may prove difficult - If you have a friend who could accompany you, you could try to get him/her to insist on the refunds.

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  • 8 months later...

what are they meant to do for you, and what does it achieve?

 

so far i am at a loss, and its done nothing for me other than bring on a few panic attacks.

 

i know it makes me sound crazy to have an attack over a letter dropping through the door, but it happens, if i knew how to stop it i would be cured by now!

 

basically i started this work programme thing back sometime in April of this year after one of those medicals deemed me unfit for work. (quick background: VERY depressed, but the main issue for me is the chronic anxiety - literally vomiting at the slightest thing.)

 

i had one appointment with the advisor, then from then on she started emailing me - and every month of so since i have just had to email back with 'updates' on where i am at with my health and what i am doing to get better.

 

now everything that i am doing, i have taken on myself. i have regular telephone appointments with a Therapist, i also do a weekly course of CBT - which is completed online. I also have occasional visits to the hospital and doctors. and i am also desperately seeking ways of getting financial help for home study - in a desperate bid to become self employed and get out of this ghastly world of benefits.

 

i should also mention i attempted a group therapy last week, unfortunately i had a anxiety flare up just before going into the room as there were about 30 people in there! :-x

 

i have done ALL of this off my own back, nothing to do with the ''work programme''.

 

now i am worried as i have had an email saying i now have a new 'advisor' and i recieved a letter today for an appointment with this adviser in a couple of weeks time. what could it be about? it has given me one of my sickness attacks. its probably nothing, but i just still after all these months do not know what the work programme is and what the purpose is of me going there. i am terrified they are going to force me into something.

 

i am lucky enough to live with my parents so dont need housing benefit or any such thing. incase the worst comes to the worst and i lose my benefits if i cannot complete what they ask of me.

this just gives me more stress!!!!

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A couple of things that may help to relieve the stress:

 

  • You are under no obligation to read or respond to any emails.
  • Unless a letter uses the word "mandatory" (along with a few other key phrases), they can be ignored.

Any letter (and it must be a letter, not SMS message, email, or telephone call) that mandates you to attend an appointment or undertake a specified activity has to comply with a format specified by the DWP.

 

You do not have to discuss any personal issues with these (unqualified) people, including health. If you are already receiving help in overcoming depression & anxiety, you can instruct the WP "adviser" to go elsewhere.

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No... you can't eat my brain just yet. I need it a little while longer.
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A couple of things that may help to relieve the stress:

 

  • You are under no obligation to read or respond to any emails.
  • Unless a letter uses the word "mandatory" (along with a few other key phrases), they can be ignored.

Any letter (and it must be a letter, not SMS message, email, or telephone call) that mandates you to attend an appointment or undertake a specified activity has to comply with a format specified by the DWP.

 

You do not have to discuss any personal issues with these (unqualified) people, including health. If you are already receiving help in overcoming depression & anxiety, you can instruct the WP "adviser" to go elsewhere.

 

well its mainly what i have read - about people being forced into 'workshops' and group meetings and other such nonsense, with threats of sanctions etc. thats what worries me.

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What is the point in the 'ESA' Work Programme?

 

You have your title wrong - it should read: "What is the point of the work programme full stop?"

 

 

The answer being, none, it is pointless and offers NOTHING at all in the way of help or support. It is there as a money making tool for the advisers (laughs at adviser as they do not advise anything) to recieve bonuses and so the DWP can say "look at us, we are great, we are engaging with the unemployed" Hoorah for the Work Programme, hoorah!

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The point of the WP is to leech money into private company's hands, to penalise the unemployed and to sanction by hook or by crook

Every attendee brings in varying amounts of money for these people

They change advisers pretty easily in my experience for whatever reason so the change of adviser doesn't mean much overall

Good luck with the newbie and stand your ground

Edited by honeybee13
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I called up to rearrange the appointment as I found out it clashes with a hospital appointment.

So I have to go a week later instead, I spoke to the new 'advisor' and he said he couldn't understand why I had been given 'email' appointments and not proper one to ones and that the 'rules are changing' and all ESA claimants have to go to regular appointments on the premises.

 

So I am still again at a loss as to what exactly I am going there for and what they are supposed to do ???

I also think I should call back and ask for a private room for the appointment rather than the open space with all the workers and other clients there as it makes me nervous and i don't say what I need to say. Will they allow that ?

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"and that the 'rules are changing' and all ESA claimants have to go to regular appointments on the premises."

 

I would like this clarified as that is a worry (or they are making it up) I am on ESA Assessment phase and have no interest in going back to INGEUS for them to patronise me some more so my condition is made worse

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From experience, they don't always allow you to have a private room. I was told no and was labelled awkward and difficult because I then asked for telephone appointments if they weren't willing to give me a private room. No amount of quoting the Equalities Act 2010 worked. She even got her line manager to back her up and make me out to be difficult.

 

At the time, I'd just been diagnosed with a hearing disability (I am not deaf) and a learning disability. To which they said "it can't be that bad if you've just been diagnosed". The hearing disability isn't one you're always born with and my learning disability can often be mistaken for mental health issues, such as depression and OCD.

 

I am now on ESA support group which they didn't seem that happy about about. Oh well!

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"and that the 'rules are changing' and all ESA claimants have to go to regular appointments on the premises."

 

I would like this clarified as that is a worry (or they are making it up) I am on ESA Assessment phase and have no interest in going back to INGEUS for them to patronise me some more so my condition is made worse

 

i am guessing its just the rules within that company, or the guy was just making it up to suit him (which is what i think).

 

and yes patronize is the right word. i am dreading it. i sent my CV to my previous adviser as she requested it, and she emailed back saying it was the best she had seen while working there. i dont see why that matters, as i am not out of work because i choose to be or because i cant find a job, i am out of work because i literally cannot work or keep to a schedule! i could probably do their job with my eyes closed if i was mentally fit.

i absolutely hate this world of benefits and the constant feeling of bullying and pressure to come off them just so some pointless crappy company can grab some commission.

 

hence why i am doing everything in my power to get better myself. because they sure as hell arent helping!! just what was the governments trail of thought when coming up with this bizarre ESA idea.

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From experience, they don't always allow you to have a private room. I was told no and was labelled awkward and difficult because I then asked for telephone appointments if they weren't willing to give me a private room.

 

Although I can not locate anything in the current DWP issued Work Programme guidance, there are procedures in place within the JCP for providing private interview rooms. You may ask why this is relevant - Simple. WP providers are subcontractors to the DWP and they are required to follow "best practice". Where no specific WP guidance exists, they should refer to current JCP practices.

 

If your provider refuses to provide a private room, complain to the DWP.

 

I have also been branded "difficult", and still have the scars to show for it...:lol:

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