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Clinically vulnerable and face to face Job Centre appointments, advice appreciated.


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Posted (edited)

First time here and would appreciate some advice.

 

I'm a type 2 diabetic and therefore clinically vulnerable re covid.  I have been on Universal Credit since my job became too much of a risk covid wise a few months ago.  The DWP to be fair have been very supportive and recently have accepted that I apply for work from home jobs until I receive my second vaccination and all appointments have been by phone.

 

However today I received a text saying next weeks appointment has been cancelled and been replaced by a face to face appointment at the job centre.  I'm a bit baffled by this as I say above they have been pretty understanding re my circumstances until I get the second jab, which I am hoping for end of May, early June/just awaiting the text from my surgery.  I have messaged my work coach to ask if they can continue with telephone appointments until I am fully vaccinated but as yet have not received a reply.

 

Just wondering if I can do anything here or do I have to go in?  Also if I were to contract covid and become seriously ill whose responsibility would that be in this situation?  

 

Thank you.

 

 

Edited by Jeff1969
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Yes Job Centres are now wanting some appointments on a face to face basis. 

 

See how the Job Centre Work Coach replies.  You can raise a complaint with DWP,  if they continue to insist on face to face and you feel it is unsafe.  But do send a journal message explaining reasons for non attendance and that you have raised a complaint.

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions/about/complaints-procedure

 

 

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Thank you for the reply. 

 

I think that the difficulty I may have is that the government had us diabetics down as clinically vulnerable and not clinically extremely vulnerable despite a high number of those who have died being diabetic.  I'll see what the work coach says

 

but it is just very frustrating considering I am just trying to old out for that second vaccine (which shouldn't be too far off) before I actually go anywhere.  Especially with this Indian Variant by all accounts putting people who have had just one vaccination in hospital.

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Have the phone appointments been voice or video?

if voice, could you ask for a video (Zoom or Teams) appointment??

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Thank you all. 

 

Remarkably have received a message this morning that says my work coach has changed it back to a phone appointment for me.  Surprising but pleasing.  Just very odd because they have been really good to be fair and allowed me to claim despite leaving my job voluntarily due to the covid risks.  I worked in a small school where masks weren't mandatory for pupils.. 

 

I've only been claiming since December and we have been pretty much in lockdown for that time and I have had two very good previous coaches who were very understanding especially as I have a little bit of furlough coming through from a second job so not claiming the full amount, and that I couldn't apply for my usual jobs until vaccinations.  My old school even wants me to apply again once things are safer.

 

 However my work coach changed yet again a few weeks ago and he seems to be a bit more "by the book" so  to speak.  I think he is fairly new to the job but he keeps asking for updates on my vaccine and pushing things where the others didn't. Has changed it anyway so that's a relief.

 
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All JCP's have been ordered to get 'customers' in for F2F meetings now. however work coaches are very aware that one cap doesn't fit all and there are some who won't be able to attend the F2F meetings.

 

As you have already done, it's a simple case of contacting your work coach informing them that you won't attend F2F meetings due to the ongoing crisis and you will continue to engage with them via phone and email.

 

What they are doing, at least in the JCP I work in, is contacting their customers and inviting them in for a F2F if they fail to attend and fail to engage over the phone then they are closing down the case so that the ''customer'' then has to reapply for UC.

 

Of all the places I got employed, it was doing security in a JC working for the DWP, oh the irony!:spy:

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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Thank you all you have been very helpful.  I've heard that is easier to sanction "customers" at F2F meetings although I should maybe put an "allegedly" in there.  It is bizarre though. 

 

I was booked a phone meeting with the Careers Service re help with my CV a month ago.  It didn't need much help but thought I better just go with the flow if they suggested something.  Careers Service never called and despite a couple of journal messages from me pointing that out I never received any reply. 

 

Had two texts the day before, one from DWP and one from NCS "reminding" me but never got the call.  I remember thinking that if it had been me not taking the call I would have probably got sanctioned.  I've rebooked so will be interesting to see if they call this time!

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@Bazooka Boo  "Of all the places I got employed, it was doing security in a JC working for the DWP, oh the irony!  "

 

This is hilarious !  😃

 

Next step is that you will apply for a job as a Work Coach. 

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Will BB have to amend the banner (footer?) they have attached to their posts?

"Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre?" :)

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1 hour ago, unclebulgaria67 said:

@Bazooka Boo  "Of all the places I got employed, it was doing security in a JC working for the DWP, oh the irony!  "

 

This is hilarious !  😃

 

Next step is that you will apply for a job as a Work Coach. 

 

The irony of that is that I personally did apply!  Didn't even get through the online test.  Wasn't nasty enough apparently!!🤣

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There is no clinicaly vulnerable anymore or extremely clinically vulnerable, according to the government, as anybody in those catagories should have been vaccinated.

Staff feel the same as the OP, especially those with similar health conditions.

 

Staff should currently only be asking people who would benefit from a face to face appointment into the ofice, however the steer from on high, is to bring everybody back into the office. The current priority is 18 - 24 for kickstart.

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Given the recent rise in covid cases in some areas of the UK, if a claimant with health conditions does not feel safe in travelling to a Job Centre, they should be sending journal messages to register their concerns about safety.

 

The health conditions should be reported on the benefit claims anyway, so claimants should ask the Job Centre to take this into account, together with travel arrangements. If the claimant need to use public transport and/or has a long journey they should mention this.   Also if the claimant needs to attend the Job Centre with anyone accompanying them, the Job Centres needs to be made aware of this, as there is a social distancing overall capacity limit on the number of people allowed into Job Centres.

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

There has been a rumour around my way that there is some possibility of industrial action from workers at our local JCP due to the staff feeling unsafe.  Not sure if it is just a local rumour of national.  

Edited by Max1968
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I have my second vaccine now scheduled for this Friday so within two or three weeks from the vaccine I should be fully covered, or as covered as you can be.  Will ask the nurse if it's two or three weeks it takes to kick in as I can't find a definitive answer online. 

 

I have however now got another problem that I could do with advice for.  I suffer with metatarsalgia which the consultant is now concerned has developed into morton's neuroma.  It's pain at the ball of the foot which can progress to the toes and despite many an exercise and prescribed insoles it's not getting any better. 

 

It looks like my only option may be an operation and recovery is anything between six and eight weeks.  Obviously it doesn't affect my ability to continue to look for work from home jobs, of which are unfortunately rare with my skill set, but it would mean anything to do with walking/driving will be out for a while.  Wondering if it is worth discussing this with my work coach and whether a temporary move to ESA is a possibility if the worst happens?  Thank you.

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You may be able to do a dual claim to ESA, if you meet the elgibility criteria. If not, just report a health condition on UC and they health journey/work capability process should start for you.

Exactly the same thing, but you just stay with UC.

Not much difference other then stamp paid.

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Well they have changed it again!  Apparently decision was made last Friday that all appointments are now face to face and if you don't attend it's  a sanction.  Ridiculous that they are asking anyone, let alone those vulnerable to this virus to attend face to face appointments before they have had both vaccinations.

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If you believe that the appointment represents an unnecessary risk to your health, then I would suggest that you register a complaint on your journal and to follow that up by completing the DWP complaints form online.

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions/about/complaints-procedure

 

 

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I don't think so as I'm down in Sussex.  Not having been indoors anywhere though for months bar my own home and with my second vaccine coming up this Friday it seems a ridiculous risk to take after staying safe for months just for the sake of three weeks from Friday for the vaccine to give as much protection as it can.  I've just rang the UC Hotline to ask whose responsibility it is if I were to contract Covid and got seriously ill but they just said I had to speak to my work coach!

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Ah well seemed to have sorted it without using the complaint facility.  I asked work coach if he could ask his Team Leader to apply a little common sense and said by the time the "next meeting" came around I would be fully vaccinated so why waste a year of me not going anywhere to possibly fall at the last hurdle.  Asked if the Team Leader would take responsibility if I were to contract it and fall ill and ten minutes later they have changed it back again to a phone appointment and all future ones will be face to face which is fine, although I'll obviously be wearing a mask AND visor!  Why don't these people have any common sense?!  Change from phone, to FTF, back to phone, back to FTF then back to phone again.  Totally unnecessary!

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Hmm I would say your are being lied too. Current guidance is based on a ladder approach of current priorities.

 

Top of the ladder is 18 - 24 and then filters down to 25+ caseloads.

 

Our jobcentre is inviting people for a face to face, but then changing it if we get a request for a phone appointment etc. Video calls are now a thing as well, but slow rollout and not too many work coaches want to do them.

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Interesting.  Must confess I wouldn't have known if it hadn't been a message from my work coach saying the decision to make them all FTF appointments were made last Friday after I messaged him about something else.  I then saw lower down on my journal that my phone appt had been cancelled but had received no text notification.  Then suddenly a message appeared saying I had a FTF appointment which had obviously been done in a hurry.  If I hadn't signed in to complete another part of the journal and messaged my work coach I wouldn't have known.  GP appointments are still by phone, Employment Agencies are still doing interviews via zoom, a lot of job interviews are still via zoom and yet JCP pulls everyone back in regardless of their situation?!  Can you imagine F2F appointments in say Bolton where the Indian variant is, it would be deemed a health and safety issue anywhere else!

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Remember, it's not your work coach doing this, it comes from ministers and work coaches have to do as directed on a national level.

 

Most work coaches agree that telephone appointments are just as effective as face to face appointment, but the higher ups won't hear of it.

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1 minute ago, tomtom256 said:

Remember, it's not your work coach doing this, it comes from ministers and work coaches have to do as directed on a national level.

 

Most work coaches agree that telephone appointments are just as effective as face to face appointment, but the higher ups won't hear of it.

 

Oh indeed I certainly don't blame them they have a tough job.  That's why I asked him to have a word with the Team Leader.  I suspect the Work Coaches could do their jobs as well from home as well.  The Government doesn't help itself asking the public not to go mad and be sensible but they forget their own advice time and time again!

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