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Hi, on the 13th August I was referred to Ingeus by my JSA Advisor and told to expect a call off them. On the 15th August I had a severe epileptic seizure caused by stress and was given a sicknote for 12 weeks by my doctor. He thinks, due to me being severely depressed and prone to more seizures, that I should be on ESA.

 

I closed my claim for JSA on the 17th and opened my claim for ESA on the same day. Later that day I had a letter from Ingeus telling me to attend on the 27th. There were no mentions of sanctions or anything like that, but it caused me to become very agitated.

 

I called the number on the letter (their general enquiry number I think) and the man, without asking for any details, told me I still had to attend.

 

Is this correct? My JSA claim is now closed and my ESA claim is being processed. I've never met nor spoken to Ingeus before, so do I still need to go? I'm very ill at the moment and this might make me worse I fear. Obviously in 13 weeks if they put me in WRAG, that's a different situation but right now I am very ill.

 

Any info on this would be very very appreciated!

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According to Chapter 5, Paragraph 25 of the Work Programme Provider Guidance Notes dated 21st March 2013, where the provider is

“notified that a mandatory JSA participant has ceased their JSA to claim ESA, they remain attached with the provider and their participation requirements should be treated as the same as those of a Voluntary ESA participant until the outcome of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA).”

 

That being said ... A voluntary participant is not required to take part in the Work Programme and their participation remains on an entirely voluntary basis. Work Programme providers may not mandate voluntary participants to undertake activity.

 

Whether a provider contacts a claimant between an ESA claim and the WCA is at the discretion of the provider.

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I would write to Ingeus with a copy to DWP saying you are not well enough to attend at the moment.


RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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When writing to Ingeus, instruct them to read Chapter 5 of the guidance notes issued to them by the DWP. Suggest to them that if they have difficulties in understanding the requirements of the guidance notes, consult their Third Party Contracts manager at the DWP for clarification.

 

As an ESA claimant on assessment phase, you can not be mandated to attend any activity or appointment made by Ingeus.

 

Edit: Although Kati quoted the guidance correctly, it is paragraph 62 on page 12 that is relevant. Latest guidance was issued on 19/05/2015.


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Thanks for the advice!

 

My mum managed to get through to them today whilst I was seeing my Neurologist at the hospital. Woman on the phone said it was fine but she wanted to see a scan of the sicknote - is that something they can force me to give them?

 

I'm not really sure I want my personal medical details on file with them.

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No, they are not entitled to see a scan of your sicknote, nor to demand a copy to keep on their files. If they want to verify your status as an ESA Assessment Phase claimant and voluntary participant in the Work Programme they can contact the DWP to get confirmation - they should not harass you any further, nor demand that you supply them with any proof of your condition.


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If they want to verify your status as an ESA Assessment Phase claimant and voluntary participant in the Work Programme they can contact the DWP to get confirmation

 

They should have been notified of the change in claim by the DWP. If the DWP has failed in their duty in informing the provider, then an official complaint may be in order.

 

Feel free to take antone's advice and tell them where to go for the information should they ask again. If they refuse to take the hint, instruct them to read Chapter 5 again.


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Hi,

 

I've been (as of 14th October) been placed in the WRAG of ESA after going for a medical, and I'll receive the payments from 17th November. My fit note from my Doctor runs out on the 10th November.

 

My question is - after this has run out, do I need to submit another fit/sick note now that I've been placed into a group after having the assessment?

 

Thanks in advance.

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I believe you must continue to do so


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The SabreSheep, All information is offered on good faith and based on mine and others experiences. I am not a qualified legal professional and you should always seek legal advice if you are unsure of your position.

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That's good to know. Seen some conflicting advice though - some saying that you don't need one once you've been placed into a group and some saying you do. It does strike me as strange though. Why, after finding I have *limited* capability for work, would they need more fit notes themselves to basically say the same thing?

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Admittedly im not the expert, sure it will be confirmed or corrected tomorrow :) I too am seeing conflicted advice.


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The SabreSheep, All information is offered on good faith and based on mine and others experiences. I am not a qualified legal professional and you should always seek legal advice if you are unsure of your position.

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Former ESA processor here. You do not need sick notes after you have been placed in the WRAG. However, until the medical (WCA) decision is entered into the computer system you should still submit the notes. Because this can take a few weeks, I would advise you to consider requesting one more sick note from your doctor. You may not need it - hopefully your claim will be updated before 10th November - but better safe than sorry.


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Hi,

 

I was awarded ESA in the WRAG in November and attended my first appointment with Ingeus in December. I found this hugely stressful and when attending my next appointment in January, I couldn't eat for two days due to worry.

 

I'm epileptic and have depression and anxiety. I've been having lots of seizures and the doctor has upped my medication, which makes me drowsy (sleeping for around 15 hours) and irritable. The doctor at the specialist centre offered me a sick note if I needed it, which I didn't think I did.

 

Now however, Ingeus want me to attend an "anxiety management" course (despite seeing my own practice nurse, who I'm comfortable with, regarding this) and I just know this is going to make my condition worse.

 

My question is - if I get a sick note from my doctor, will this exempt me from Work Related Activity for that length of time?

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I would imagine, although I couldn't say for sure, that a sick note from the doctor would prevent you from work related activity for the time stipulated by your doctor,


Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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Now however, Ingeus want me to attend an "anxiety management" course (despite seeing my own practice nurse, who I'm comfortable with, regarding this) and I just know this is going to make my condition worse.

 

If you have been mandated to attend this "course", you need to formally demand a mandatory reconsideration of the activity by Ingeus. State your reasons as to why this "course" is inappropriate to your needs and circumstances.

 

If it is just the "adviser" suggesting that you attend, politely decline and point out that you already have a qualified professional assisting you with the problem.

 

Tip: If you find these appointments stressful, ask a family member or friend to accompany you for moral support. You should also ask for a private room which Ingeus are obliged to provide. Having a companion with you in a private room will put them at a disadvantage and may help to reduce the stress levels.


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If you have been mandated to attend this "course", you need to formally demand a mandatory reconsideration of the activity by Ingeus. State your reasons as to why this "course" is inappropriate to your needs and circumstances.

 

If it is just the "adviser" suggesting that you attend, politely decline and point out that you already have a qualified professional assisting you with the problem.

 

Tip: If you find these appointments stressful, ask a family member or friend to accompany you for moral support. You should also ask for a private room which Ingeus are obliged to provide. Having a companion with you in a private room will put them at a disadvantage and may help to reduce the stress levels.

 

I'm supposed to attend a meeting with them this afternoon but my doctor has given me this sick note declaring me unfit for work for 13 weeks. Will I still need to attend ingeus during this period? I assumed my doctor signing me off would mean no WRA.

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If your condition has worsened, have you checked if you meet the criteria for the support group? You then won't have to do anything.

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Hi,

 

I'm not sure if I would qualify as I'm currently only "worsening" whilst they try various different medications to try and get my epilepsy under control. I do find the depression very hard though and am in the process of changing anti-depressants.

 

I'm not sure of the process of re-assessment either. Will I stop getting ESA whilst they reconsider my claim?

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The anxiety is very bad for me also. I hate being forced to attend things which I know aren't helping me. My adviser at Ingeus is very pushy (she kept going on about ESA isn't permanent, and how she knows plenty of epileptics who work.) I felt like telling her I want to work, but considering my consultants (I'm currently seeing the top Neurologist in the country) have no idea what causes my epilepsy (other than that it seems to be worsened by stress) it's very difficult for me.

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she knows plenty of epileptics who work

 

And? I know one who works too. But unlike you, his is controlled very well.

 

You'll get ESA whilst asking for it to be looked at. You need to write a letter (the address you write is on the letters you get from about your ESA) stating that your condition has worsened and the criteria you now meet. The criteria is here You will also need to send evidence.

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Thanks for that. I'll be contacting Ingeus later to see if my sick note exempts me from WRA. I'm presuming it does for the time specified by my doctor.

 

It really is laughable that they want me to attend these sessions even though I have a counsellor for my depression and am sleeping 16 hours a day due to this new medication. It's almost as if they just assume you're lying and trying it on.

 

When she said "I know plenty of epileptics at work" I really had to bite my tongue. The new medication I'm on makes me quite short-tempered unfortunately, and people like this don't help. I'll be contacting them as soon as they open or at least my mother will, as she deals with all correspondence for me. I get confused and mixed-up very easily, especially on the phone, but they haven't taken this into account really.

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On your sick note, your GP may have written that your disabilities mean you can't do certain things or that you need certain adjustments. The work activity must follow this.

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Well, I've spoke to Ingeus and... "Nope, it makes no difference, you still have to do WRA" apparently. This is despite my doctor saying "No, you need these 12 weeks and possibly longer whilst your medication is in transition,"

 

However, Ingeus have re-arranged today's appointment for in 4 weeks time' and recommended I contact DWP to report a worsening of my condition, so that's what I'm doing now.

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