Fibromyalgia Action UK
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Hi I am after some advice and clarification please about ESA support groups

My wife was a nurse and damaged her back. After operations on her back which were not successful, she was medically retied from work in 1984 and she received Incapacity benefit from this point. After ten years on this she was sent a letter saying she was now cured and could go back to work. So we appealed this and won at tribunal so she went back onto the Incapacity benefit. 19 years after winning her tribunal appeal we were sent a letter saying this was all changing to ESA now and she had to go to an interview with ATOS. The report they compiled after the 20 minute interview concluded that she was not eligible for ESA. We appealed. She was given a 10 min phone interview after that which also declined ESA. We went to tribunal and after 10 minutes with a judge and doctor she went from 6 points to 21 (in the 30 odd years since her initial award, she has gained some other medical issues). The tribunal concluded that she now scored 21 points and further that is was the tribunals recommendation that the department does not reassess her again for 24 months.

This had taken 6 months of stress and anxiety but at least we thought this was all over for 2 years. Since then she has also been awarded a blue badge. So all is back to normal (or so I thought).

On Saturday she received a letter telling her that in May her payments stop as this is the 365 day limit being up. This was a shock as we now thought this was all behind us. Now, maybe we have not read or understood the changes but I assumed that as she was on a benefit, it was taken away, we applied and won, therefor we were back to the way it was.

She had a follow-up letter from Jobcentre plus for a ‘Work-focused interview for employment and support allowance claimants (personal advisor interview)’. Because of her condition he carried out the interview over the phone so that she did not need to come into the office. After which he said he would call her again after about 6 months and that we thought was that.

So now my question is, how do I know if she was put into a support group or not? I don’t have any documents says she is but at the same time the tribunal recommended no reassessment for two years? Can anyone help me clear this up please?

13 Replies

as she she had a follow up work related interveiw and you have recieved the 365 day letter she was put in wrag group and not the support group

Check tribunral letter to see if this states what group she should be in, the only other help i can suggest is to get some proffesonal advice



Im so pleased for u im the same awaiting a long standing ESA has now stopped do u mind me asking you if u have OA ? x


thanks I checked the tribunal letter it said the following

Decision Notice

1. The appeal is allowed

2. The decision made on 22.04.2013 is set aside

3. She is entitled to ESA with work related activity component

4 the Tribunal recommends that the dept does not reassess within 24 hours.

So if no. 3 means she is in the work related group (we did not know what that meant) then what is the point of saying she should not be reassessed for 2 years if she can only get 6 more months from the 'victory' before we lose the payments?


Hi kevinlee

I sincerely hope that you and your wife are as well as can possibly be expected? I can see that you have been given some really good answers to your question, but I have pasted you a link to the NHS Choices section relating to ESA, and I really hope that you find this useful.

I would like to wish you and your wife all the best of luck.



MPs have said its all wrong people that have won their appeals should be made to go through it all after 12 or 24 months , this government as made a point of treating all claimants on benefits as fraudsters , im so sorry what these uncaring people have done to your wife , but she's lucky they increased her points to 21 , I increased mine from 0 to 9 , even though two doctors have said ill never work again , I hate being political , but when it comes to voting remember this , conservatives preaching the big society , libdems preaching a caring society and labour saying they will keep the policies of the coalition , im giving another party my support , because to be disabled doesn't mean we are lepers and non entities .

1 like

On the gov site it says somewhere that if you get ESA your partner can only earn £20 or have I dreamt this? Hugs x


Thanks for all the reply's To TheAuthor. Thank you for the link but it does not help as it does not tell me anything about support groups and work related we have ESA but only now till MAy. Thanks anyway. reply.


Another sad turn of events was that when we went through all this (I live just outside Reading in Berkshire) we were given the information of the Reading Community Welfare rights unit who were great and invaluable in giving us the will to go on with it. I phone them up this morning to run this all by them and got the most amazing reply. It seems 6 months ago Reading Council will no longer let them help non reading tax payers (we are 3 miles outside reading but pay tax to Wokingham). Who says Paranoia is not real:-)


Hi there im an ex nurse and the same has happened to me. I was put in the WRAG group and just this week had my benefit stopped after 365 days, this is because my husband works and he is expected to keep me. I have now taken this to the treibunal and am awaiting my date.. I also went for a work related interview which tbh was a waste of time, it doesn't change which group ur in!!


Hi there, i know what you are going through. my husband was in the support group but following his latest medical he has been moved over to the wrag group. he to is only allowed 356 days of benefits at rate of £101 but at the end of this time it drops down to £1.63p. this is because i am claiming IB and have not yet migrated over to ESA.This

is classed as contrabution rate but if you are placed in the Support group it does not matter if your other half has an income you will receive normal rate as long as you are in the Support group. so difficult to understand, if you are claiming other beneffits such as housing/council tax these will be stopped even though your money has gone down.

I am now getting well fed up being classed as the lowest of the low just because we have disbilities/illnesses that stop us from going out to work, rest assured many would like the chance.

kind regards



Hi Kevin

I'm really sorry to hear all these problems. I'm wondering whether your wife could re-apply for ESA and get into the Support Group on the grounds that her condition has worsened, though I don't know whether they will be able to backdate her claim. I would strongly advice you to get advice. There are a couple of really good sites. This one is totally free:

The other is Benefits& Work:

They charge a small fee (about £15 per annum) but that is for their manuals and access to their forums and they are 100 per cent bona fide and they know all the latest on welfare, even though they are not legal advisers. Some sites, such as this Fibro site, are also members and can provide you with the manuals for no charge. I became a member of B&W myself though as I find having access to the forums and being able to ask questions as you are doing now invaluable. Their newsletter is free.

Best of luck.


Hi, Kevin,

My interpretation would be that your wife's in the WRAG group (same as me) which means she's too ill to work but well enough for work related activities. My Jobcentre advisor told me that work-rel activities can simply be having a telephone interview w. the Jobcentre. She gets ESA for 1 yr, but the 2nd yr is income-based only.

Sorry, cant type anymore today.


Hi spiro do u know whts meant by work related activities, I have had me ESA stopped after 365 days and when asked about it I was told if ur too ill to work u cant gt jobseekers allowance which leaves me wth no benefit at all Thanking you


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