I've had another 'invitation' to attend a work focused meeting on June 4th. I'm already stressing!! This will be my second interview. Will it be any different to the first? I've been told to appeal to be put in the support group, but I don't know where to start. I don't have any written back up re my condition. I'm in a bad, deep hole right now too, but I don't know why. My concentration is nil - I had to rewind the TV umpteen times last night cos I couldn't remember what had been said a few seconds before. I know I'm a wimp, but that's just me!! Some soothing words would be nice folks.............XX

23 Replies

  • Firstly I have never been in this situation so I can sympathise but can't actually offer any advice.. Hopefully someone will appear who knows exactly what you should do

    So all I can do is just say how sorry I am that you are being called in again and hope you feel better soon

    Just before I go, have you been to your GP about this as its obviously causing you stress which is so bad for fibro.... Perhaps he could write a letter to support you appealing to be put into the support group

    VG xx

  • I'll try that VG, my GP is very caring and listens to what I have to say. She's lovely. I'll certainly try that. Thanx XXX

  • People in WRAG must attend 5 WF interviews in total, and that's the end of it. Just tell them you can't work, end of.

    If you did not appeal within 1 month of the decision to put you in WRAG, you are stuck with it for the duration.

  • NOT TRUE - I had one then second one 6 months later and she said there would be no need for any more as by the time i am up for the 3rd one (giving me the longest time apart appointments she was allowed to do) that my benefit would be stopped as my year in contribution based would have tobe sopped.

  • Its very true i'm afraid, the rules are there to be seen if you want to look them up. Obviously some course providers avoid seeing people they can't find work for, they can fiddle the system like that when it suits them, as long as the course provider submits the paperwork to the JC, nobody is any the wiser.

  • in the WRAG they are looking to help you be well enough for work - my assessor could see i was too ill and told me to appeal etc as I should be in the support group - shame they dont seem to agree with 4 specialists and the job centre!

  • Exactly, even though they are paid to help you, they will not waste any time with people who they can clearly see are to ill to work. But there are people who's illness is not so easy to see on the surface, and they make sure they attend all the WFI's as per the contract.

  • That's another thing that's stressing me, what do I do when my contribution based ESA needs to move to income based? The letter I got telling me I was in the WRAG also said that when my contribution based runs out I will receive £??? on the income based ESA!! Can they do this, and did this mean I would not have to re-apply?? XX

  • The DWP have said I can appeal, in writing, but I just don't know where to start! XX

  • Put all your details on a sheet of paper, DOB, NINO etc, then say what you want to appeal about. Send it to the address on the letter you got placing you in WRAG, job done.

  • you can still appeal against the decision. explain to the person who is giving you the interview that you think you are in the wrong group, and ask if they can help. when i was put in this group i was told by someone on a helpline that i will be called in once and wouldn't need to go for another year, but it was different when i went to the interview. i arrived with me in my wheelchair, with my daughter pushing, and i explained everything to them and the lady that gave me the interview, helped me. she cancelled interviews and gave me her number so i could quote her number. it took a year for the fight to end, but i got put in the other group and got a rebate of a year.

    does that help?

  • The 2nd interview isn't much different to the first. You will be asked what support you need in order to return to work. I replied "a new body would be a good start". You may be lucky and find someone who can see you aren't fit to work, and will just go through the motions and check the boxes. Then again you could get someone who tries to pressure you into signing a contract to help you back into work.

    Just remember that in the WRAG group, no matter how much pressure they put on you, you do not have to take a job unless or until you are ready, and never sign ANYTHING, or agree to anything, you don't have to.

    Your ESA has a supplement which is paid so long as you attend these interviews, so if you can get to them go along, and just do what you have to when you attend. I simply tell them I am still not ft for work, they tick a few boxes, then send me home.

    Good luck with it, but don't panic or let it upset you.

    Em x

  • Thanks em, it's a terribly stressful time isn't it? XX

  • Try not to let it stress you Sue. Most Job Centre staff tend to realise your limitations, but they are being pushed from a higher level. As Westerby states, most are just as fed up of all this as we are. My advisor has become really stressed by all the changes herself, and the things she is supposed to do to the sick and disabled, like sanctioning payments etc. You will always get the odd one who has had an empathy bypass, but most are fine. At my last interview we chatted about many things, but none of them were work or health related :)

  • yes I am 400% worse whilst I have been awaiting my tribunal and after 35 weeks of waiting i am none the wiser on the date yet!

  • Hi sue32,

    Don't worry, I believe most of the people doing these interviews are just as fed up, confused and downright sick to death of the whole farce as we are. You might get the odd little jobsworth or control freak, but most are just ordinary working folk stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    I only had 2 "interviews" in 18 months, I suffer with agoraphobia and the only thing they asked me to "TRY" to do was go out a few times on my own. I was unable to go far, just went to my neighbour for 10 mins and only managed that once. The lady at the jobcentre said I had done fine and that was that! Both interviews were a complete waste of time and achieved nothing.

    Just turn up, be honest and polite, agree to try and do something (should they ask you to) and you will be fine.

    best wishes


  • Thanks Norma....I hope I get someone sympathetic to my situation XX

  • Hi again Sue,

    Just seen your question about when your contribution based ESA ends. You will receive this for 365 days the DWP SHOULD inform you, by letter, well in advance of the date. If I were you I would make a note of when it is due to end because the DWP letters do not always get sent out when they should.

    Aprrox 8 weeks before the end date ring the DWP and tell them you want to apply for income based ESA. because your contributions based is due to end. You do not have to have another assessment or anything like that.

    You will be sent a form where you will have to give details of any money coming into your household ( private pensions, work pensions etc) Some types of income are not counted, DLA for example. Any money you have coming in which does count will be deducted pound for pound from your ESA. For example if you get £100pw ESA but you have a private pension of £50pw, £50 will be deducted from your ESA and you will only receive £50 ESApw.

    A partner's wages can affect what you get if they work over a certain number of hours or earn over a certain amount, but I do not know how many hours or how much they can earn as this did not apply to me. I am sure you can google it or ask the DWP for the figures.

    If you receive income based ESA you should be eligible for full housing benefit (unless you are affected by the "bedroom tax" fiasco!) You should also receive help with council tax benefit, the amount, of course, will depend upon where you live as all local authorities have their own schemes now.

    Good luck!


  • Thanks Norma, that's really helpful. I thought I'd have to have another assessment. I have no other money coming in apart from DLA and ESA. That's put my mind at rest now. XX

  • I just want to say a really big THANK YOU to all of you for your great advice and words of comfort. It's so nice to know there are people like you out there who have the knowledge I don't have. You are all a great inspiration!! XXXX

  • Hi there kind of late with this just logged in but when all is down there's always citizens advice they can be a real knowledgeable support to you and know the loop wholes , Fibro friend

  • Sue, do you know how long you've been placed in the WRAG? If you are still within the appeal time you can always appeal and say it is making your health worse. Regs 29 and 35 are there to protect you and to get into he SG if your GP could write something along the lines that it will (or is having) have a substantial risk to your health if you are not placed in the Support Group.

    Benefits&Work is a great site (although there is a small charge it is well worth it).

    Or you could try mylegal which is free and another excellent site.


    Good luck. xx

  • I was told I CAN still appeal, I just don't know where to start Kirby! I get all flustered and stressed when I even think about it!! Am currently registering on the site you mentione. Thanks chuck!! XX

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