Hi everyone - a question please. Because I am still mourning the death of my mum I am in the process of changing from Job Seekers Allowance

to ESA. Will I still need to be looking for work on ESA even before I have had my assessment at ATOS? Anyone know who has been through this please? I rang Biddy at BLF and she said no but my work programme advisor said yes and that I will still have attend the work programme before my assessment. That would defeat the object as I need a break from the pressure of job searching for the meanwhile. I estimate I will be going back on JSA in a month or two anyway so the ATOS assessment will be irrelevant.


Bev x

24 Replies

  • So sorry to hear about your mum...my condolences.x I was under bein on ESA meant u didnt have to look for work...but im no expert.xx

  • You're applying for ESA because you are unable to work, the definition given on the GOV.UK website for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) starts out by saying

    If you’re ill or disabled, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) offers you:

    financial support if you’re unable to work

    personalised help so that you can work if you’re able to

    You can apply for ESA if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed.

    You apply by phone or at the JobCentre, they send you some forms out (ESA50) which you complete and send to ATOS. IF, and only if, they want to see you for a face to face interview they will make an appointment for one. I was just left in the dark with mine and finally got a letter on about week 11 to say I'd been put in the support group.

    You should only be required to attend on-going interviews if you are placed in the Work-Related Activity Group. As far as I am aware, you do not have to attend these until your case has been decided.

    You can only claim ESA if you are not getting sick pay and are not claiming JSA. It's not quite clear what the rules are about claiming ESA for a while then going back to JSA. I guess the JobCentre advisor would know more about this, or should do.

  • Hello Hypercat ...I am sending you a hug as I write.

    I had been on I.Support/ Incapacity but I believe it was still lumped under Job Seekers. Sorry to seem a bit vague on this.

    In Feb of this year Atos sent me out a form to fill in which I did and it was only a couple of weeks ago that I heard from them. This was to say that I'd been given ESA and placed in the Support Group.

    Am sorry to know that you have all this to cope with after losing your mum.

    What's your GP like...would it be worthwhile going to see him?

    Let us know how things go.....Lovelight xx

  • Hi Lovelight. I used to work for the Jobcentre and the Contact Centre and you were actually on ESA in the support group which meant you had to look for work but with support. Those on straight JSA are expected to be fully fit and not to need that level of support. Thats the difference between the two benefits!

    Bev x

  • Hate to disagree but... If you're in the ESA support group you don't have to look for work...? That's what it said on my paperwork anyway. You only have to go for the interviews if you're in the Work-Related Activity Group.

  • Oh I thought support group meant you had to look for work but with more support. If she had to look for work lovelight must have been on the ESA work part.

    Bev x

  • Thanks Gordon - not quite right though :d You apply over the phone at the Contact Centre and they usually do the ESA claim over the phone. They couldn't do it in my case because for some reason my last claim for ESA (about 3 and a half years ago) wasn't 'live' but was still on the system. So they had to do it clerically ie send me forms out to complete. The forms go back to the Jobcentre and you can self certify for 7 days after which time you need a medical certificate. As long as you have this your claim is live until you have the ATOS assessment (Biddy said usually about 13 weeks). Its at that point that they either a) kick you off it b) put you in the support group or c) put you in the no work group. That won't apply to me anyway as well before the 13 week assessment I will go back on JSA anyway. I just need a month or so away from that sort of pressure.

    From what you say though I shouldn't have to look for work and meet the criteria of JSA until an ATOS assessment is made. Thats good news. Thank you very much for that. So the Work Programme Advisor is wrong. I know that I will have to attend an interview at the Jobcentre even while claiming ESA so that should confirm that you are right. I was just wondering if anyone else had been in the same situation/

    Bev x

  • Oops, just put an answer in the previous message, hadn't got this far yet :) ATOS have to turn cases round quicker than that as the decision should be made before the end of week 13 to comply with the DWP's own criteria of being able to place you in a group by then. ATOS may, or may not, do an interview as part of their assessment, they didn't with me.

  • Lol. The last time I was on ESA they made the appointment by the 6th week! Biddy said that was early. I think they will do an interview with me but I hope to be off ESA by then anyway.

  • Hi Bev. I am too old to be able to help you with this one so I will just give you a quick cuddle as I pass through.

    Love and hugs from Bobby xxxx

  • Oooh lovely cuddly hugs from Bobby...thank you so much. Now have you got any Chocolate please - scrobbs was asking :) :p

    Cuddly huggily Bev xx

  • Not for Tubby Scrobby but you can have this big bar of Cadbury's Milk

    Bobby xxxx

  • I'm like a waif on crack cocaine - that's how thin I am - send that chocolate to stop me disappearing totally :O xx

  • That won't do scrobbs...you can have all my chocolate in future mate. What a friend I am :d

    Bev x

  • Yesssss plz. Can change my name to big bev then! :)

    Bev xx

  • Hi bev,

    I have been on esa for months! I haven't had any hastle to look for work!

    I appreciate you are still recovering after your loss!

    Take good care of yourself

    Best wishes

    Kevin xx

  • Oh thats good news Kevi. Should be the same for me then! Thank you :d

    Bev x

    PS Practising my :) :( :p :d so I don't forget them :)

  • I too have been on ESA for months, Bev. Just take care of yourself, you need a break to get your head around all that's happened, and be allowed to grieve. ((((((Bev)))))) take care of yourself :)

    Sandra x x x

  • Love ya Sandra. choc huggies.

    Bev x

    ps still not a lezzie :p

  • Totally agree with Sandra on her sentiments :) xxx Best of luck Bev and let us know if you feel you want to what happens.

  • Aw thanks scrobbs. You can definitiy have all my choc - will melt it and put it through the computer. Got it? :d

    Bev x

  • Just come through now and most grateful :) xx

  • Thanks for your replies everyone. It seems clear that until my ATOS assessment I will not be expected to look for work. What a relief :d

    Bev x

  • Very relieved for you Bev. Hope now that you can find some comfort and gather your strength for the coming weeks... Hugs

    Lovelight xx

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