If someone is on the highest level of DLA can they be expected to look for work ?

My Son has had Bipolar Disorder for over ten years, during that time he has developed Psoriatic arthritis and severe psoriasis, he has attempted suicide several times and spent time in the secure wing of our local Hospital........he is 37 years old and lives on his own with family support.

The main concern is his Bipolar .Disorder,,,,he is unable to go out on his own due to extreme anxiety,,,,,,,,,,,,,,he is on medication prescribed by his psychiatrist.

Today he had to visit the Job Centre and was told he had to look for work,,,,,,,,,,,and had to set up an email address,,,,,,,(which he does not have a clue about )

I don't know the full story of what went on as he does not take things in to well and he would not allow me to go in with him !

He has been up all night with worry over this and I know it will set him back in a big way,,,,,,,,,he is unfit for work both mentally and physically in my opinion , and he can't be away from his flat for any length of time as he becomes very stressed!

So back to my question,,,,,,,,,,can they make him get a job ? are they allowed to cause him so much stress,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,not to mention the worry it has now put on my shoulders !

I suffer with Fibro. and have day's where I find it hard to cope so it's an added stress I can do without !

Really need some advice on this and quickly,,,,,,,,,,,,,,thank you

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17 Replies

  • This cant be right. You need to get professional advice either from citizens advice or DWP.

    Good luck.


  • Thanks for your opinion Golfer,,,,,,,,,think the CAB is where I need to go,,,,,,,,,,

  • Hello, and I am so sorry to hear of your son's experience. Some people on this site and many people on the fibro and pain sites have had terrible trouble with this benefits system. They are telling people they are fit to work when they are not and it is causing an untold amount of stress to the people concerned and to their families.

    It sounds like your son is either signing on (which he should not be if he is that ill) or more likely that they have put him on Employment Support Allowance and in the " work related activity group" which means he will have regular interviews with a jobs advisor; as you have pointed out he should not be in this group as he is not well enough to work.

    If he has a support worker, social worker or CPN they may be able to contact welfare rights or CAB on his behalf; sometimes in some places an advisor from CAB or welfare rights does a weekly "surgery" at the local mental health unit. If not you need to go to CAB yourself with him,and you will need to take any paper work he has. Ask to see the welfare benefits advisor for vulnerable people as your son is vulnerable . Basically if they have put him in the work related activity group you will need to appeal this decision;otherwise if he does not attend regular meetings with a job advisor and apply for jobs they will stop his benefit. The fact he is on highest rate of DLA is a good start because this is evidence he has care needs.

    ( Please bear in mind though that this benefit will also be changing soon to Personal Independence Payment and he will have to reapply even if he has indefinate award for DLA but they will write to him about this so you do not need to do anything now. )

    I feel so angry reading about this sort of thing; as if being bipolar and having all the problems he already has is not enough. Stress is known to make all these conditions worse. I myself became very suicidal when having to deal with this sort of thing so you/he really does have my sympathies.

    Best of luck with this. Gemmalouise

  • Thank you ST for the detailed reply, it is just such a shame my Son did not allow me to go in with him,,,,,,,,,,,which I understand as supporting him to be independent is imperative as I won't be around forever.

    I will get in touch with with the local health unit and see what they can do, putting in an appeal asap is the main thing ,,,,,,,,,

    Once again,,,,,,,,,thanks

  • What you said sounds like he has been refused ESA and has to sign on. I am afraid from what I have been reading people with serious mental illness are being forced to look for work. These are the people that David Cameron said before he got in, he would protect, but he lied.My partner suffers from Bipolar and there is no way he could possibly work. He is in a constant state of anxiety and agitation. What this government is doing to the sick and disabled is barbaric for better words. There is also Welfare Rights if your council has one. They are trained to deal with form filling and appeals. They won me my appeal for the Support Group. Most people with mental health problems can not cope with these forms and the ESA process and appeals. It is extremely stressful, even with help.

  • Thank you for your reply, since his diagnoses my Son has alway's claimed the high rate of DLA,

    I don't actualy know what ESA is so will have to start researching all of this benifit stuff ! I did not know about welfare rights at the council so thank you for that information !

    Like your partner my Son is in a constant state of anxiety and agitation which is one of the reason's he could not hold a job down and the only time he feels "safe" is when he is in his own home !

    I've been very lucky discovering this site,,,,,,,,,,thank you

  • What a terrible situation for your son to find himself in. The law is an ass. I agree that he should be in the support group of ESA and not the work group. My sister who has severe osteoarthritis and walks with a stick was put in the work group until she appealed. When she went down to sign on the Job centre staff said they could see she wasn't able to work so told her there was no point going in for further interviews or look for work. The problem is they cannot see mental health issues so are much less likely to say the same to people like your son. Incidentally DLA is a stand alone benefit which means that those in work and people on any benefits can claim it so it is not 'proof' that an individual can't work. You need to concentrate on the ESA issue rather than the DLA one. Good luck with it. x

  • Thank you for taking the time to reply

    I have so much to learn about all of this and of course educating myself will enable me to ask informed question's

    Thanks again

  • Just an update on my original post

    Have spoken to my Son and he now say's he is on the work group and is one point short of being on the support group,,,,,,,,,apparently the man he spoke to told him to appeal.......

    It's very hard to find out anything from him as he get's in such a state,,,,,,,,,,,.

    This morning he has had a letter from his psychiatrist asking him to go to see her on the 16th, he had only seen her two weeks ago and should not have to see her again for six months, (unless he needed to)

    I would imagine she is under pressure to get as many of her patients off benefit's as possible, I am hoping my Son will allow me to go with him and I can speak on his behalf,

    Thanks to this site at least I will have some idea what I'm talking about


  • If i was in the position that he was in I'd do what Gemmalouise says, & look into his rights because they won't tell you what they really are..The best piece of advice Iv'e heard, when dealing with this sort of thing is to say the following: "If I'm being forced to do it then i will, "but" i don't consent"..Iv'e been told by a DWP employee that if you refuse something they can sanction you straight away, so all you can do is say "I'll do it because your forcing me, but i don't consent", & tell them to put that on record..That puts the ball back in their court, & leaves them in a tricky situation as European Human Rights states clearly that no one can be "forced" to work in a particular job if they don't want to....For instance their telling people that the 8 weeks unpaid word for the unemployed is mandatory, but they don't tell people that if they don't like it they can leave after 1 week..(1 week cooling off period to change your mind)..That has been challenged at court, & is still on going..Also Iv'e been told on good authority but please do your own research on the net etc, is that your son is under no obligation to give the jobcentre a C.V an E-Mail address, or his phone number, & he doesn't have to tick the boxes giving them access to his jobsearch page....Google exactly what situation your son is in, & your'll find there's 1000's of other people in the same situation & they've got the advice you need..Your'll also find a few honest DWP advisers on the forums, that can tell you your sons actual rights....The way the government treats people in this country is a disgrace, & we all know that their corrupt..The big tip I'd give is to investigate into his actual rights but you won't find them on any government sites, you have to go online & visit the forums etc..Then go "armed" with your sons rights, & "never" lose your temper when talking with whoever you have to talk to..Let them see you as an "informed" person who isn't easily ruffled, & as someone not to mess with on the subject of rights..That may just make them rethink their position, as they usually go after easy prey which are the uninformed people.

  • That was so helpful Daveadam, there is so much to look into and I thank from the bottom of my heart for pointing the above out !

    My Son is already talking of ending it all,,,,,,,,,,so a very bad time for him and those of us that love him !

  • The pyschiatrist probably may have been contacted in order to help him, that is the most likely explanation of that and hopefully you will find that the psychiatrist is supportive and on his side as he/she will obviously be familiar with his mental health history. Yes I think it's a good idea you go with him as well .

    If the psychiatrist clearly states in a letter to them that it will actually harm his mental health to go into the work related activity group then

    they have to take notice of that, and do get them to record how this has made him deteriorate already.

    When you submit the appeal you need to say you want to appeal him being put in the work related activity group of employment support allowance and you wish him to be placed in the support group. The reason for the appeal is that it will actively harm his mental health to go in this group.

    Then make sure you enclose the letter from the pyschiatrist with these very words if possible forming part of the letter. (Obviously be diplomatic as you can't make them write anything but these are the key words really so try and hint at it ) and do tell the psychiatrist that already this has made him suicidal.

    (Don't be fooled by the way that he can just get involved in "work related activity" as they say sometimes "Oh it doesn't mean you have to work". They say this and you think ok then I can manage couple of hours voluntary work a week on a good week, but then try and get people into a fulltime job as soon as possible; so you need to make sure you get him into the support group or he will be constantly pestered to find work and they really don't care if it is suitable or not; all the job centre people are under pressure to place people and have targets and so on; the whole thing is crazy :) )

    Gemmalouise X

    PS What Daveadam said is so true and if you think about it so cruel. Your son is lucky as he has you to fight for him. I am lucky as despite having severe emotional/ mood and also physical problems the rest of my brain doesn't work too badly at times in some ways and I had a support worker to help me with the worst of it and a compassionate psychiatrist. I remember it almost finishing me off but then I have a "perverse" or determined side that thought "I am not going to let you do this to me". Still I may have to go through it all again in a month as they review constantly ; I am determined for it not to affect me so much this time but the stress is bound to get to people; feeling we will be forced to go beyond what we know we can realistically manage (and there can be a very fine line believe me) and also in my case would mean I would lose my accomodation if not in this group.

    Sometimes I think of all those vulnerable people out there who are even easier targets. How tragic that our government attacks the weak and the vulnerable in this way and how many people have found it just "all too much". I am glad your son has you; you're a great mum by the sounds of it!

  • Thanks for your post ST, My Son's pyschiatrist is really good, in the early day's she was a great help to me,,,,,,,,,I am hoping she will support us in our appeal !

    It makes my blood boil when I see how little the government cares about it's vulnerable people, they really could not care less about any of us !

    My Son was just and I mean just on the cusp of recovering his confidence , that took him ten miserable years to do,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and now that ten years has just been wasted as he is back to square one again !

  • Oh "cheesedoff" that is so awful, I am so sorry to hear all this. I hope the pyschiatrist can help. My thoughts with you all X

  • Good advice again ST,,,,thanks x

  • Just to update all those that were good enough to reply to my original post.

    Golfer 15 was correct when he said "this can't be right"

    It took the best part of a week with all of us trying to work out what was really happening, of course the worry of my Son wanting to commit suicide was the main concern and stopped us being to pushy with him,

    We were trying to ask him if he had been given any paper work and he kept saying no,

    As the panic situation reduced I pushed him further yesterday and he said he had been given paper work but he had put it in the bin,,,,,,,,,,,,,I was told if he had to appeal he would have been given the paper work to so.

    I then pressed him to phone the DWP to ask them had he been given it and he was told no as there was nothing to appeal !

    He had got 29 points when he filled out the PIP form and he did not need to do anything !

    All this worry for us and the terrible time he had could have been avoided had he allowed me to attend the job centre with him,

    I am trying to persuade him to allow me see to all further dealing's with the DWP but that is difficult without taking away his privacy and independence but I really can't see any other way of avoiding what just happened.

    Also I strongly feel that the person at the job centre who is dealing with the mentally ill needs to be up skilled in doing so,all this could have been avoided if that had been the case.

    I have written complaining about this situation and hopefully they will act on it,

    Sorry for the long post but if nothing else it highlights the problems and stress caused by having a family member with Bipolar Disorder,

    I feel guilty at the anger and frustration I feel towards my Son as after ten years I should have come to accept he is doing his best !

    This forum has been an eye opener for me, looking at the amount of post's on depression and anxiety so many people suffering it is staggering, and I don't feel so much on my own any more,,,,,,,,,,

    I no longer look at "happy people" wishing I was one of them because I'm sure other's look at me feeling the same,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and it's all a front because we hide it all so well,

    So many helpful links across HealthUnlocked and so much good advice given and I thank you.

    Enjoy the sunshine if you can xx

  • PS

    I should add the appointment with the pyschiatrist will be concerning something else,,,,,,,,I think it may be to do with my Son's blood's but it is now another concern,,,,,,,,and of course he will not allow me to go in with him,,,,,,,,we will know on Tuesday ! xx