ESA to JSA without a WCA

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ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by Absolut on Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:11 am

I've read a lot online about people going from ESA to JSA following a failed WCA but there isn't much information about a claimant going back to JSA following the end of their fit note, before a date for a WCA was ever sent.

When my fit note runs out in a couple of weeks I will have been on ESA for over 16 weeks with no date for a WCA ever having been sent to me. I don't plan to renew my fit note as I feel I could to return to work in 2 weeks if a DWP work roach accepts that I still need reasonable adjustments to be made concerning my job search (ie travel distance and my inability to stand all day). Although I would most definitely fail a WCA at this stage, in total it takes 6 months to fully heal from the op I had (which would be the end of December). This is not my opinion, it's simply a fact. Any fit note I got would be one with "restricted duties" on it.  

The paperwork dished out to DWP lackeys dealing with an ESA to JSA Transition fails to mention anything about a fit note running out and the claimant switching back to JSA at that point. It simply assumes that the claimant has failed a WCA, whereas in reality it could be that Maximus failed to ever send the ESA claimant a date for a WCA at any time.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/205501/response/509206/attach/4/annex%204.pdf

In the above document it pretty much states that the claimant who is moving from ESA back to JSA has failed their WCA.

Claimants moving from Employment and Support Allowance or Incapacity Benefit to Jobseeker’s Allowance following the result of their Work Capability Assessment, have been assessed as capable of work or some form of work.

Erm, assessed by whom? When (and if) I return to claiming JSA I won't have been "assessed" by anyone other than my own surgeon.  All that will have happened is that my fit note ran out and I didn't ask a GP for another one.

It is important to remember that claimants do not ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ their Work Capability Assessment. They have been assessed by a medical expert and other evidence of capability is considered by a Decision Maker before being directed to the most suitable benefit.

Again, which medical expert are they referring to if not their own? My surgeon told me to walk carefully for 4 weeks (i.e until my fit note runs out) and then he doesn't need to see me again unless I have any further problems, not their sub-contracted "medical expert".

If the claimant questions whether they are fit enough to work, it should be explained to them that while claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, they have to be actively seeking and available for work.  If they do not feel that they can meet either of these requirements, or cannot agree the types of jobs they will look for and the activities they will undertake to do so, the claim cannot be continued.

Utterly false as pointed out in section 36 -
The New Jobseeker Interview is conducted as normal, taking account of any health condition they may have.

One final question - after having been on JSA for some considerable time (years) and then being on ESA for 4 months before claiming JSA again will it be classed as a new claim seeing as my old claim was completely closed and my partner was sent a P45?
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by Caker on Tue Aug 29, 2017 2:34 pm

I can only speak from experience. If you have not been sent a WCA date then that is not your fault. You have nothing to lose by continuing with ESA for as long as possible.

Since ESA and JSA are the same amount, no one is 'defrauding' the public purse and you will benefit from not having to come into contact with the JC staff. I would continue getting the sick notes for longer and sit tight if possible.

If your GP will only write 'restricted duties' then that is different and you may have to go back to JSA. However, I believe that a 'kind' GP would probably write 'not fit for work' if they understood the situation, particularly that there is no advantage to you coming under more DWP scrutiny, and no fiscal benefit (to the public purse).

If you get a job before you get a WCA date then that is a bonus.

It is really about playing the game more so than doing what you feel obliged to do. Wink
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by helping_hand on Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:57 am

Absolut wrote:I've read a lot online about people going from ESA to JSA following a failed WCA but there isn't much information about a claimant going back to JSA following the end of their fit note, before a date for a WCA was ever sent.

When my fit note runs out in a couple of weeks I will have been on ESA for over 16 weeks with no date for a WCA ever having been sent to me. I don't plan to renew my fit note as I feel I could to return to work in 2 weeks if a DWP work roach accepts that I still need reasonable adjustments to be made concerning my job search (ie travel distance and my inability to stand all day). Although I would most definitely fail a WCA at this stage, in total it takes 6 months to fully heal from the op I had (which would be the end of December). This is not my opinion, it's simply a fact. Any fit note I got would be one with "restricted duties" on it.  

The paperwork dished out to DWP lackeys dealing with an ESA to JSA Transition fails to mention anything about a fit note running out and the claimant switching back to JSA at that point. It simply assumes that the claimant has failed a WCA, whereas in reality it could be that Maximus failed to ever send the ESA claimant a date for a WCA at any time.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/205501/response/509206/attach/4/annex%204.pdf

In the above document it pretty much states that the claimant who is moving from ESA back to JSA has failed their WCA.

Claimants moving from Employment and Support Allowance or Incapacity Benefit to Jobseeker’s Allowance following the result of their Work Capability Assessment, have been assessed as capable of work or some form of work.

Erm, assessed by whom? When (and if) I return to claiming JSA I won't have been "assessed" by anyone other than my own surgeon.  All that will have happened is that my fit note ran out and I didn't ask a GP for another one.

It is important to remember that claimants do not ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ their Work Capability Assessment. They have been assessed by a medical expert and other evidence of capability is considered by a Decision Maker before being directed to the most suitable benefit.

Again, which medical expert are they referring to if not their own? My surgeon told me to walk carefully for 4 weeks (i.e until my fit note runs out) and then he doesn't need to see me again unless I have any further problems, not their sub-contracted "medical expert".

If the claimant questions whether they are fit enough to work, it should be explained to them that while claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, they have to be actively seeking and available for work.  If they do not feel that they can meet either of these requirements, or cannot agree the types of jobs they will look for and the activities they will undertake to do so, the claim cannot be continued.

Utterly false as pointed out in section 36 -
The New Jobseeker Interview is conducted as normal, taking account of any health condition they may have.

One final question - after having been on JSA for some considerable time (years) and then being on ESA for 4 months before claiming JSA again will it be classed as a new claim seeing as my old claim was completely closed and my partner was sent a P45?

Information about the assessment process:

http://www.lawcentreni.org/EoR/benefits-and-tax-credits/employment-and-support-allowance.html

ESA has two phases: first, an assessment phase during which Jobcentre Plus assess your capability for work. Secondly, a main phase when you receive the full rate of ESA - depending on which group you are put into.

ESA has a medical test, called the Work Capability Assessment, that is broken into two parts: the first determines if you are entitled to ESA at all and looks at your ability to carry out everyday activities. If you are blind or partially sighted, the most relevant activities within the Work Capability Assessment are about your ability to get around out of doors independently and communicate with other people. The second part of the medical test determines which group you will be put into.

http://www.rnib.org.uk/information-everyday-living-benefits-and-concessions-benefits-people-working-age/employment-and

You have not failed a medical assessment so you can re-claim ESA with the same condition and would remain in the assessment period until you attend a medical.  

New claimant status:

You have broken your JSA claim for more than 12 weeks, so you will be a new claimant.  However, JCP willl still treat you as a long term unemployed.  

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/no_longer_long_term_unemployed#incoming-535819

You can make a rapid re-claim to JSA within 6 months providing you do not meet the UC criteria.

https://www.gov.uk/jobseekers-allowance/how-to-claim
http://revenuebenefits.org.uk/universal-credit/guidance/who-can-claim-universal-credit/live-service-areas/
https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit/eligibility.

If you decide to sign off ESA you will need to inform DWP to close your claim when you submit your final fit note.

Make sure DWP does not impose a 7 day waiting period, this is quite common.


Last edited by helping_hand on Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:17 am; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : 12 week linking rule.)
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by Absolut on Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:33 am

Since ESA and JSA are the same amount, no one is 'defrauding' the public purse

Under JSA there is a part time earnings disregard of £10. Under ESA it's £20, so there is a difference between ESA and JSA for claimants with an income coming in.

If your GP will only write 'restricted duties' then that is different and you may have to go back to JSA. However, I believe that a 'kind' GP would probably write 'not fit for work' if they understood the situation

The GP would follow the instructions sent to my practice by my surgeon, following my last consultaiton, so no GP would give me a fit note based on that letter. If I was working then a "restricted duties" fit note would be appropriate and so under JSA I feel I would be within my rights to ask for at least some reasonable adjustments to be made while my foot is still healing.  

particularly that there is no advantage to you coming under more DWP scrutiny

Well, there is never any advantage to anyone coming under DWP scrutiny that is based on an erroneous belief that anyone claiming benefits is a work-shy fraudster.  Mad
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by Absolut on Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:44 am

helping_hand wrote:Information about the assessment process:

Thank you HH. Very useful info.

You have broken your JSA claim for more than 13 weeks, so you will be a new claimant.  However, JCP willl still treat you as a long term unemployed.  

In that case I will have to look up how long it would be before they could send us both back onto the work programme again. It was a complete waste of time the first time round and I'm not sure I will be as tolerant as I was for a second time Sad They actively attempted to sanction my working hubby 7 times.  

You can make a rapid re-claim to JSA within 6 months providing you do not meet the UC criteria.

UC isn't in my area for couples with an income coming in until next March Wink

If you decide to sign off ESA you will need to inform DWP to close your claim when you submit your final fit note.

There won't be a final submission of a fit note. They got a fit note on 13 July and it runs out in 2 weeks, which is when I plan to ring them up and switch to JSA.

Make sure DWP does not impose a 7 day waiting period, this is quite common.

I will expect them to do so and for me to then have to fight to get it back.

Thanks very much for taking the time to post all the links Smile
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by helping_hand on Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:53 am

You cannot be referred back to the work programme, but if you have a health condition recorded on your records you may be selected to attend the Health and Work Programme at some stage!
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by Absolut on Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:14 am

helping_hand wrote:but if you have a health condition recorded on your records you may be selected to attend the Health and Work Programme at some stage!

Yes, that's what I'm concerned about. As it will be a new claim for JSA with an improved and/or improving health condition but still classed as "long term unemployed" then I need to find out how long it would be before they could make the referral to the "new" health and work programme. I also need to find out if they will force my working hubby to attend along with me, just like last time, and which was a complete joke.
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by helping_hand on Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:28 am

Absolut wrote:
helping_hand wrote:but if you have a health condition recorded on your records you may be selected to attend the Health and Work Programme at some stage!

Yes, that's what I'm concerned about. As it will be a new claim for JSA with an improved and/or improving health condition but still classed as "long term unemployed" then I need to find out how long it would be before they could make the referral to the "new" health and work programme. I also need to find out if they will force my working hubby to attend along with me, just like last time, and which was a complete joke.

From what I have read here and elsewhere a mandatory referral is discretionary for the long term unemployed (JSA not UC) with a disability or health condition.

The best way to avoid any mandatory referral is to show you don't need the 'support'.  If absolutely necessary, you can do this by carrying out relevant activities that are free and often superior to what is on the DWP menu.


Last edited by helping_hand on Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:03 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by Caker on Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:42 am

Absolut wrote:Under JSA there is a part time earnings disregard of £10. Under ESA it's £20, so there is a difference between ESA and JSA for claimants with an income coming in.

I was not aware of that, so thanks for that information. Smile

My advice is only based upon personal experience, as I have no specialist knowledge in this area.

I have been extremely fortunate because my GP provides FN based upon my continuing self assessment (which I suspect is an unusual thing for a GP to do).

I feel ready for work and I could start tomorrow but I continue with the current situation because I suspect that returning to the JC (with the risk of further harassment) would soon set me back to the state that caused me to need to claim ESA in the first instance.

I don't want to go back to that dark situation; it has taken me a while to overcome and it is still a work in progress. I want to move forward not back. Being free of JC appointments has assisted my recovery. It might even be instrumental in helping me get a job (more time to prepare quality applications).

Sorry Absolut, for hijacking your thread.
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by Absolut on Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:19 am

Caker wrote:I feel ready for work and I could start tomorrow but I continue with the current situation because I suspect that returning to the JC (with the risk of further harassment) would soon set me back to the state that caused me to need to claim ESA in the first instance.

Indeed, I think it would.

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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by Caker on Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:23 am

....Yes, I appreciate your situation is different to mine.
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by Absolut on Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:31 am

Turns out I can stay on ESA under a restricted duties fit note as it is classed as limited capability for work.
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by Caker on Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:44 am

Oh, that is good to know. Does that mean that you just send in the 'restricted duties' FN and they treat it the same as 'not fit for work' note?

I am just curious as to whether this type of FN means that you become subject to some limited form of JC intervention. scratch
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by Absolut on Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:00 am

Caker wrote:Oh, that is good to know. Does that mean that you just send in the 'restricted duties' FN and they treat it the same as 'not fit for work' note?

It appears so. An active fit note is active under both categories. That is, limited capability is limited capability. Totally 'not fit for work' is "support" group and "restricted duties" is WRAG.

Caker wrote:I am just curious as to whether this type of FN means that you become subject to some limited form of JC intervention. scratch

Possibly the new WFI, but I think while in the assessment phase it would depend on the person's capability to get to and cope with that interview.
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by Caker on Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:03 am

......This is true. I have not been invited to anything at the JC while in the assessment phase.
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by Absolut on Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:12 am

This FOI is from 2014:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/202393/response/507967/attach/html/3/IR%20178%20reply.pdf.html

For Employment and Support Allowance a medical certificate which advises you that “you may be fit for work taking account of the following advice….” should be accepted in the same way as one that indicates a claimant is not fit for work.  

I should also add that entitlement to Employment and Support Allowance can be determined following a Work Capability Assessment where medical evidence from a GP is not sufficient to support immediate payment.

I will try to find a more recent document.
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by Absolut on Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:36 am

Unfortunately I can only find old information:

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?266295-ESA-doctors-FIT-note-help

"Fit" notes are accepted as evidence of limited capability for work regardless of whether the doctor has said "is not fit" or "may be fit subject to the following". The "may be fit" section is intended to provide guidance to employers, not benefit processors.

"May be fit" can be considered at a DWP work-focused interview, however it cannot be used to stop a person's benefit. It's intended to guide the adviser and the customer as to what sort of work they could realistically look for. The customer cannot be compelled or coerced into taking this advice. This applies to unfit for work benefits like ESA and IB, I don't know how it would work for JSA.

There is a part of the Med 3 form that states "I will/will not (delete as appropriate) need to assess your fitness for work again", or words to that effect. For arcane processing reasons, it will help the processor if the doctor states "I will need to assess...", and currently many doctors don't complete this section at all.

I will obtain a new note and take it from there.
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by Absolut on Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:02 pm

Due to closing my ESA claim today (no WCA) and then claiming JSA again I thought the following information may be of some use to someone who might find themselves in the same situation (before UC overwhelms us all).

I was told by a DWP employee today that a quick transition from ESA to JSA is not possible for me due to the fact that I have a working partner whose name doesn't appear on my ESA claim. I was also told that the 6 month "rapid reclaim" provisions do not apply to ESA claimants moving from ESA to JSA.

In order to claim JSA again I am to fill in a full JSA1 "clerical form" (i.e a new claim). I was informed that this is because they have no current details on their system regarding my non-ESA working partner, despite the fact that he's been going into the JC every month and getting them to send off his payslips to the local BDC. As his name doesn't appear on my ESA claim apparently he doesn't exist until I fill in a JSA1 again, even though the money he's earned has been knocked off my ESA for the last 23 weeks.

Oddly we are to be interviewed separately in 2 days' time in order to progress our joint claim, whereas when we claimed in 2013 we were both seen together.
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by Caker on Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:41 pm

......OMG! that is Kafkaesque. pale
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by Absolut on Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:30 am

Caker wrote:......OMG! that is Kafkaesque. pale

Yeah, pretty normal then for the DWP Wink
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by Absolut on Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:37 am

Another thing to watch out for: partner working and ESA to JSA claim = 7 day waiting period.

We've lost a week's money and they've then applied the entirety of October's wages to our claim, deducting £30 a week from the award from 8.11.17. Can they do that? Why haven't they ignored a week's wages in their calculations?









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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by helping_hand on Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:09 am

Absolut wrote:Another thing to watch out for: partner working and ESA to JSA claim = 7 day waiting period.

We've lost a week's money and they've then applied the entirety of October's wages to our claim, deducting £30 a week from the award from 8.11.17. Can they do that? Why haven't they ignored a week's wages in their calculations?

What a mess!  Mad


20903 Joint claim couples claiming JSA do not have to serve waiting days if1
1. they claimed JSA jointly within twelve weeks of either member of the couple
being entitled to JSA, IS, IB, ESA or C
A or
2. one of them is a young person who is only entitled to JSA because of a
Secretary of State severe hardship direction2 (see DMG Chapter 30) or
3. one member has already served waiting days in a JSP which is linked to the
JSP of the joint claim couple or
4. the member of a joint claim couple nominated to received payment is in
receipt of a training allowance.
1 JSA Regs, reg 46(1); 2 JS Act 95, s 3(1)(f)(ii) & 16(1)

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/597625/dmgch20.pdf

It seems DWP has applied UC rules to your partner's income.

A swift complaint via your MP?
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by Absolut on Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:01 am

Thanks HH I will take that with me this morning when I go to my local JC.
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by Absolut on Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:45 am

Ok sorted, but it's worth checking any award letter and making sure that they've not added any bogus waiting days.

In our case it turns out that what they'd done was subtracted the 3 day waiting period for JSA from a 7 day waiting period (?) for no apparent reason leaving 4 days money they weren't going to pay us. It's now been added back in.
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Re: ESA to JSA without a WCA

Post by Caker on Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:07 pm

Glad to read that it got sorted so efficiently Very Happy
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