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Universal Credit-GP states not fit for work, JC contradicts this.


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Dear Cagger's,

 

I need your advice/guidance, as i am very mythed at todays "interview".

 

I was struck off ESA at beg Sept, after scoring zero points and declared 'fit for work' after an atos assessment. I have been advised to appeal under numerous points, one being the assessor falsely claiming she physically examined me, this is untrue. Also, stating that i showed no signs of respiratory or muscle wasting disease. I have never claimed to have had any of those illnesses and have a feeling my case was mixed up with another person. I have until 7th Oct to appeal this but have decided to apply for UC instead, as appealing will exhaust me, i just dont have the mental energy to do this.

 

Moving forward, i applied for UC and today had my first interview to commit to work and in order to get my initial payment processed. I produced a "fit for work statement", stating i am not fit for work for three months, due to inflammatory artheritis in most of my joints. My GP made this decision based on my rheumatology/specialist records.

 

The JC advisor informs me that 'its not worth the paper its written on' and i must seek employment or atleast 'prepare' for employment, maybe attend a college course or work maybe 5-10 hours per week, to show my 'commitment'.He said there is no way i will be 'left alone' for one month, let alone 3 months!

 

I was baffled! If i can attend college then i am capable of working,surely? My GP has certified me unable to work, but the advisor is ignoring this and stating i can work with 'limitations'.

 

Please, can someone advise me what i can do?

 

I am so scared that i am going to be sanctioned (rent then is unpaid, and i get evicted), or force myself (not sure how!) into a job and get the sack immediately or even make my condition worst. My rheumatologist is working so hard to get my inflammation under control, to then give me a fighting chance to get my life back in the working world, albeit, part-time to start with and build up.

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Basically you can't claim JSA (or UC as a jobseeker) if you're not fit for work. This is a problem that arises quite a lot: a person who is clearly unfit for work is nonetheless passed as fit by an ESA assessment, then claims JSA as it's the only option despite the fact that they can't realistically meet the "fit for, available for, and actively seeking work" requirements of that benefit.

 

I'd reconsider the matter of the appeal. I know it will be stressful and exhausting, but so will claiming benefits as a jobseeker when you're not in a fit condition to do so.

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Thank you for your reply. My postcode only allows me to apply for UC. I believe there are 4 groups within UC, and it seem's i must have been placed in #3 but shouldnt i be in #1 based on my health?

 

The 4 work-related activity groups are:

 

#1-'no work-related requirements group’ - you don’t have to do any activities to prepare or look for work

 

#2-'work-focused interview group’ - you have to go to regular interviews with your work coach at the Jobcentre to get support with preparing for work in the future. You won’t have to look for work, be available for work or prepare for work now

 

#3-'work preparation group’ - you have to do activities to prepare for work, eg attend training, do some work experience, write a CV, go to interviews with your work coach at the Jobcentre to help you find or stay in work. You won't have to actually search for work or be available for work

 

#4-‘all work-related requirements group’ - you have to do all you can to find a job or a higher paid job. This includes looking for jobs, applying for jobs, going to interviews, etc. You have to be ready and available to take up work straight away

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Well, group #3 (and some of #2) is, I think, the equivalent of the ESA WRAG. As far as I heard, though, the transfer of ESA claimants to UC was not supposed to begin until June 2018. That could have changed, of course, but until recently only those claiming JSA (or who would have claimed JSA under the old system) were being put on UC.

 

But in any case, you will be treated as being in group #4 for UC purposes because you have been found fit for work at your ESA assessment. The best way around this problem is to win an appeal, and if you did your ESA would be reinstated. As I said, this is a common problem and will remain so even as UC begins because you won't be placed in any of the "limited work related activity" groups of UC without being found unfit for work at the assessment.

 

Edit: Looks like it's more complicated than that, and in some areas people who become sick while claiming UC will stay on UC. None of this changes the basic point, though, which is that the only sure way to avoid the looking for work conditionality is to win an appeal. However, you could try to negotiate reasonable accommodations with your JC adviser, and if you and he can't agree, you can ask that a Decision Maker looks at the matter. I seem to recall that the whole "Claimant Commitment" thing can be reviewed that way if necessary.

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The idea that all politicians lie is music to the ears of the most egregious liars.

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With regard to your rent, If sanctioned you are still eligible for Housing Benefit, on the ground of Zero/Reduced income, so fill in a Change of Circumstances regarding your UC, so the council keep your HB claim live. This is important for a new claimant as well to do a separate HB claim on Zero income grounds as it can take a few weeks for monies to be paid.

We could do with some help from you.

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