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PeoplePlus (Formerly A4E) Issues and worries.

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Hi there, I want to give as much information as possible so i'll be as detailed as i can and i ask of you that you please take the time to read it all as it would really help me.

 

I currently suffer from severe depression, anxiety and occasionally agoraphobia. This is mainly caused and triggered by stress and pressure and results in panic attacks and uncontrollable shaking and sweating.

 

Was on IB for around 5 years and moved to ESA.

 

After the inevitable but expected zero points on my ATOS/ESA assessment and a decision maker agreeing with ATOS my claim was sent to tribunal from which i was successful and placed in the ESA Wrag group. Don't have the exact dates but this would have been around March 2014. With a 12+ month prognosis.

 

Fast forward to around November 2014 and i was referred to PeoplePlus/A4E but as they didn't have an office near me any contact was done by phone. They have since opened a local office and i have been attending appointments from around May/June 2015.

 

So far it's been ok. I've completed one course which although it was difficult (health wise) i enjoyed it. Mainly due to the (3rd party) "teacher" being extremely pleasant and relaxed.

 

So far my advisor has been pleasant and appears to understand what my barriers are. Though one day they'll say " you're not ready for work yet" and the next day it's "I want you to start applying for jobs soon".

 

But now the pressure is being put on me and it's causing my health to be affected which i intend to address with them this week but first i need to get my facts and my (and there) rights correct. Ideally with the relevant DWP guidance provided. I'll try and keep it as organised as possible.

 

1.) The DWP guidance here (chapter 2, page 6) and here (item 44) both clearly state that a participant on ESA cannot be mandated to apply for jobs or take up work either paid or unpaid.

 

I've seen on CAG that they can't mandate you to do job search either but i've not found any proof or guidance about this. Can anyone point me in the right direction? I've not been asked to do this yet but in conversations with other claimants i've expressed my opinion that if you can't be mandated to apply for jobs and you're not yet ready for employment then surely doing job search is not of benefit to you.

 

I've also seen on both CAG and DWP guidelines that ESA Wrag claimants can be mandated to take up an unpaid community based placement. Yet there own guidelines state ESA claimants cannot be mandated to take up any unpaid work. Yes, i know it's meant to be confusing but can anyone advise on this? (i've not been asked to do this but it got me curious).

 

2.) How often should i be expected to attend "reviews"? Mine are called Employment Planning Reviews. They are mandated and at a frequency of around 1 per week. Some have been more often, i.e. One on a Friday and the next the following Wednesday. I've not had 2 in the same calendar week (i hope that makes sense). I've seen some information that says 6 in your two year period and some that say not more than one a month. I'd like to get some clarification on this.

 

3.) I'm being pressured into doing a course which appears to be ran by an employer i wont name but results in you applying to that company towards the end of the course. I've already said no twice but my advisor is adamant i should do it. I'm guessing i can be mandated to do the course but not mandated to submit an application. But the pressure and stress about this is already affecting my health and is causing me to feel worse.

 

4.) Is there any template someone can provide with which i can withdraw all phone call consent? I intend to address this vocally but would like something in writing in case i need it. I had an interview with my advisor last week during which he mentioned number 3.) above. I said no as i'm not ready yet. But. I still received a phone call yesterday (Friday) trying to pressure me into it, i said no again and they said we'll discuss it Monday. It's ruined my weekend which is now consisting of anxiety, stress and worry. Though i am quite happy to keep receiving the text message reminders of appointments.

 

Overall, i would like some clear guidelines of what they can and cannot do. I've been ok with it so far as going out once or twice a week is slowly helping me and making some new friends (other claimants) is helping me start socialisng again. But the pressure the're starting to put on me is making me ill again and i want to stop it before it starts. I'm having a crappy weekend full of anxiety, stress and worry because of it. I don't intend to have another one.

 

If you've made it this far, thank you! and i really appreciate any advice or experience you can provide!

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You can send them a short note stating that contact is made in writing only, but the danger is every time they send you a letter, it is for a mandatory activity. At least with phone calls and emails, they can not mandate you to do anything.

 

If you use a mobile phone, you could try blocking their number(s) and eventually they might get the hint. With a landline, it is not so easy unless you have caller ID enabled.

 

 

I have had dealings with A4e in the past, and when they made the mistake of telephoning me, I always responded with "In writing only. You can write can't you....". Two calls were sufficient for the message to sink in :madgrin:


PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

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Thankyou for the reply Mr.P, it's appreciated!

 

I know i can block there number with my mobile but i thought i would play nice and give them the opportunity to respect my wishes first. If i get one call from them after i've asked nicely then that's what i'll do.

 

Landline isn't an issue as it's never plugged in. The only reason i have a landline is because it's required for the internet.

 

I can deal with the phone calls issue quite easily. It's the other points i need guidelines and clarifications on really.

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It's the other points i need guidelines and clarifications on really.

 

I can't offer any advice about mandatory work placements for ESA claimant. I understand that this would be under another hairbrained DWP scheme, so as a Wrok Programme participant, it shouldn't apply to you (yet).

 

As for supervised job searches - It is a pointless exercise as you can not be mandated to apply for, or take up work (paid or unpaid). On that basis, you can insist on a reconsideration of the "activity" as being inappropriate in your circumstances and prevents a JSA claimant from benefiting from their resources while you are occupying the seat.

 

I'd suggest challenging the "adviser" each time he/she tells you that you have to do something and insisting that they justify the activity and what benefit it is to you. Use the guidance notes published by the DWP to support any objections you may have.

 

I suspect I had been labelled a disruptive influence and openly hostile. That may have been the reason I didn't get invited to participate in any of their "courses" or that many meetings. I did get shown a list of their "courses", to which I suggested that some of their staff would benefit from some of the basic literacy and writing courses (don't think that went down too well....).


PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 

Quote
No... you can't eat my brain just yet. I need it a little while longer.

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