ESA Work-focused interview help

Hello people

I have an urgent question that I was hoping some of you might be able to help. I had qualified for ESA (EMPLOYMENT AND SUPPORT ALLOWANCE) and It was supposed to go on until April 2015. I received a letter yesterday in which it states that an interview has been arranged for me with a personal adviser and attend a Work-focused interview for ESA. I suspect they wish to move me to a Work Related Activity Group and out of Support groups. The issue is since last year my medical condition has worsened as I have been additionally suffering from lower back related problems. I had not sent them any information since I had been receiving ESA and there seemed no reason that I should update them with my new problems. My questions are:

Can/Should I send in my new medical updates to them before my meeting or should I wait and hand them in when I attend the interview?

Do they generally even look at letters from GPs / therapists?

What do they generally ask?

I'm feeling much worse than when I first applied for ESA and now i'm quite scared of what this going to lead to. What do they need to be convinced that I am not fir to attend work-related activity groups.

I'd really appreciate it if you could answer as soon as possible as I 'd need to make arrangements before attending the interview.


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42 Replies

  • Sorry I thought work focused interviews came after a medical assessment thats how muddled I get.

  • Hiya,

    My situation has changed loads since I first got put on ESA from income support (incapacity) 2 years ago and I was put on the WRAG group. Load of crap. Anyhow in October this year I had major spine problems and phoned ESA stating I couldn't walk let alone attend interviews etc and would be having spine surgery in November. The ESA advisor on the phone was really helpful and advised to send doctors/hospital/consultant letters to prove the changes and to state my request to be put into the Support group. Silly me forgot to send recorded delivery and the first lot went missing.....usually I am so careful but being in so much pain etched it didn't occur for me to ask my daughter to post recorded delivery. However the second lot I sent after my operation was sent recorded delivery and, I have checked, has been signed for so now I am playing the waiting game while they assess and allow. But if I were you I would do the same. I didn't realise we are able to update them at any time with medical proof if our circumstances change. Obviously they aren't going to readily promote that fact!! Anyway good luck and send it all of recorded delivery asap.

    Al xxx

  • thanks very much

  • They have took no notice of all my info sent to them asking to be put into support group which is saying I want a supersession docs letters state all health probs and medication taking and saying doing the work programme is detramentál to my health and doesn't wNt me taking part in them they have ignored all that from March and have now told me go for medical on 19th why ????

  • Hi a2000

    As far as I am aware (but i could be wrong), if you check with your award letters it usually states that your claim can be looked at at any time? ''Maybe'' this is the case here? I would collate a portfolio of new and up to date medical information and reports and take it with you and go through everything.

    I genuinely want to wish you all the bets of luck.

    All my hopes and dreams for you


  • Ken this worries me a lot. I no longer have to see my specialists despite being told they couldn't do anything for me, other than my GP (who incident ly has now retired) I only have proof of my medical notes that I used 3 years ago when diagnosed. What can I do about it?

  • Hi again

    I have been giving this some thought and I would suggest that you contact your GP surgery and ask for a copy of your medical records (which everyone is entitled to do but there may be a small fee?). You can use the information from these toward your claim. There is probably a lot of useful information in your records and no doubt, contact details of the departments that dealt with your treatment.

    You could contact these departments and explain your situation and ask if they could be contacted by the DWP and ask if they would help on your behalf (with the relevant medical information) since they have the details and the consultants and / or doctors are gone?

    Another thought that I had was to visit a GP at your surgery and ask for a complete physical and explain why you need this? This may also work to your advantage, as the GP will either do this and write in your medical notes that you are unfit for work or they may say that there is no point as they cannot do anything to help you, either way, this will also be written in your medical notes which you could request.

    I have also pasted you a link to a very worthwhile website called benefits and work it is well worth a visit and a read:

    Benefits and Work:

    I sincerely want to wish you all the best of luck with this, and I genuinely hope that you can get this situation sorted.

    All my hopes and dreams for you


  • thanks for the website. Do you reckon sick notes would do, or is it best to get a report? The thing is i'm not sure how helpful my GP is to be honest. she's always in a rush and she responds to everything by saying, there's probably no need for that and to be honest I find it really exhausting begging for things that she would almost definitely disagree with

  • I would get both sick notes and reports as you cannot have too much evidence in your favour. I would shop around with the GP's if possible to try and find one at your surgery that is a little more sympathetic.

    Good luck


  • thank you for your suggestions, I could really do without all this at the moment but feel I must push myself to get some form of backup for my symptoms, especially as I will be applying for

    PIP next year. Am I correct in thinking I can request a copy of my ESA assessment report from DWP I was assessed in 2011 and placed in support group and a phone call to say I was unfit to work again?

  • As far as I am aware you can request copies of any DWP reports, it may come in handy to do so as to gauge where it was you have fallen down? Or appeared weak on evidence so you could strengthen this next time around?

    Good Luck


  • thanks very much

  • Thanks TheAuthor

  • I would send the additional information and have it with me.

    All the best with your claim and hope your health improves.

  • Thanks dear

  • Hello a2000, pleased to meet you, so to speak. I am in WRAG part and although I have been to 2 of these 'interviews' nothing has happen up to now. I did get a letter from some male trying to be helpful, and saying what help do I need to get me back to work???.

    My filing system is rubbish and every now and then I find it and read it and put it down again.

    My pension provider has awarded me Ill Health Pension Payments since 2011, as their doctors have said that I am unfit for work, so clash of opinion here. I did discuss this with the pension office and they said my pension is awarded on their voluntary doctors assessments, so if the DWP order me to start into the work place then my pension could/would be stopped and then DWP would have to pay me the full amount of ESA, in stead of the current amount of £7.53 per week paid fortnightly in arrears, less pay back loan of £5 per week, I get £2.53 per week paid to me.

    So as advised send copies of the updated information, and register it with the royal mail, and see what happens next. When the time nears and if you still cannot go/get to the interview with a somebody, then get them to do a home visit, maybe request it right away, and what and see.

    Never try to hard to do anything, so not possible as... go onto explain and see what happens next.

    I am just waiting to see what happens next with the little men in the DWP offices, and see who will open the argument with my pension provider?? but I will keep calm, excitement gives me a headache?!

    As April is a short time away, then things could change again, keep calm and wait to see, ttfn Karen

  • thanks very much

  • Hi. I agree with ken you need to provide them with as much info about you health as possible especially if it has got worse.

  • Thanks very much

  • Hi,

    Whilst I was awaiting assessment for ESA I received a letter stating a date and time for work related interview. This made no sense to me (aside of fact I'm not physically able to attend).

    I phoned and was told its something being sent out randomly to those receiving benefit, to help me get back into work. Madness... wish I could!

    I explained my situation and that was the end of that.

    I'm wondering if this is similar correspondence ?

    Just a thought.


  • The Dss send out letters to everyone every now and again.. mainly to prevent fraud- someone could be living in another country, come to claim then have a friend to do the deal over here whle enjoying our money over there.. It's well known to be honest- so Dss expects answers within 5 working days or money gets pulled..

  • yes I thought it might be random, but called them up and they told me that i've been placed in WRAG now and that it's mandatory to take part in the interview

  • Thanks very much

  • Hi

    I thought the same might have happened to me, but I called them up and they told me that it's mandatory to take part in the interview but they also said that I could send new updates in and/or take them with me to the interview.

  • Hi

    I thought it might be a similar case , but when I phoned them up I was told that I've been put in a WRAG and it's mandatory to attend.

  • You should keep them updated to any changes as soon as you can. As you seem to be in WRAG you are obliged to attend the interviews, unless you can supply a sick note from your doctor ( no longer than 3 months)

    It seems strange that you have not had another assessment and I would ask why this has not happened?

    If you need to send any info get a carer or yourself to book an appointment to send the information to the correct department at the JSC office. This is a logged appointment and they log were it was sent to so no "lost in the post! "that they come up with to often. The post office do not lose that much mail.

    I had them state that it was lost but once I told them the date it was signed for and by whom they suddenly found it?

    Good luck

  • Thanks very much

  • you're absolutely right. eventhough i've been told I can send new info in they also made it clear that it's mandatory to attend the interview nevertheless. would you think it's a good idea to take the letters in when I go to the interview? Or would it be best to get them posted to them?

  • I would call them and state that you have additional information regarding your condition and when I come down will you send by fax or internal post to the department that is dealing with your case. That way it is logged and no "lost in the post?" If you have a sick note even though they say it is mandatory to attend I cannot see how if you have a sick note unless one of their independent doctors overrides your doctor.

    When you go to the interview make sure that the person is aware of all your conditions and that he/she is your permanent contact. My first question to him would be what do you know about Fibro. ? And go from there.

    I was claiming Contribution ESA and before the assessment and then appeal I did not attend one interview as I supplied sick notes. I won my appeal and was put in support group.

    Good luck

  • From my experience it is best to hand all of your medical evidence to them personally as the DWP has a habit of claiming to not have received documents especially those relating to moves to support groups etc.I personally sent 2 sets of the same documents and still they said they had not received them until they were finally faxed over by the job centre 3 months later than my original request to be moved into a support group.

    I would suggest that you obtain a very recent medical report from your Dr as this is always good evidence to support your claim but be aware that most Drs charge a fee for this. I paid £80 for my report but it was paramount towards my evidence on my request to be moved into the support group.

    All the best on your interview.

  • Thanks very much

  • See my recent post, yes you have to attend these interviews i am on my 8th, really bullying me to attend a 4 week work experience now, i have sent a letter to ask them to reassess my case to be put in support group, since my original assessment i have been awarded higher mobility rate, such ridiculous rules now, i hate every minute of that job centre, and how much experience do i need after 45 years of work. Tell them of your situation and get it updated , good luck xx

  • Thanks very much

  • It states in all letters to let them know if your illness get better, or worse- if you are told you have something else wrong with you by a Doctor, or specialist etc... during your time on any kind of Dss payment, you must send them a copy of the letter off your Hospital, doctor, specialist.. and please send by Recorded mail and if possible- by email too. But keep the original at home and take copies when going to the Job Centre..

  • that's good to know

  • Hi, I was in the WRAG initially and when attending one of the meetings it was the adviser who told me that it was obvious that I was not fit for the group. She contacted the powers that be and I also reported back on my experience and how disheartening and humiliating the whole experience had been. It turned out that I had been sent in error and that I should have been put in the support group. It took time for them to reassess me but now I am in the support group and they also paid arrears as the amount of benefit differs between the two groups. I supplied them with evidence of my condition and a printed off list from my GP detailing the significant events and consultations that had taken place during my care.

    I hope this is sorted for you soon and that the stress that goes with these things doesn't have too much of a negative effect on your health.

    Kindest regards,

    Gin :-)

  • Thanks very much

  • hi

    i'm glad it worked out well for you. yes you're absolutely right nothing matches the humiliation that you experience when you attend such groups. I'll try to get as much evidence that I can and take them with me on the interview day.

  • £80 for a report... that's mad. I'm very lucky then that my gp happily wrote without charge. Honestly, that is alot.

    I never thought of letters being send for checking people are who and where they say. Wouldn't enter my mind as a reason. Must be some dodge people out there. My letter was literally for a defined appointment though.

    Agree, your documents should go to your jib centre and they can process there & then. Keep a copy, ask for the staff name & to stamp it if they will. I can't ordinarily get to the job centre so a member of m family takes things for me. JC rings me whilst family there if want to.

    Shouldn't be this fiddle though xx

  • Thanks very much

  • I think you need to insist on a medical reassessment and put forward your medical case beforehand.

    Reason the way they are doing this is because if they can correctly, they could put everyone into WRAG, from support group, without any procedure.

    Hope it gets sorted xx

  • They av done the same with me I've got medical on 19th to try get into support group got letter from my doctor and friends and physio etc to take with me they have placed me now before my medical into post support work group and I have to see them on thurs which is b4 my medical on the 19th it's just another wY to try get us back to work as soon as they can but they don't realise it's just making us more ill I'm in real flare because I'm worried sick bout them both I'm at the end of my thether can't sleep or eat ando as ive just also been diagnosed boarder line diabetic need to make sure I eat story bout the rant I've worked since 15 in cotton mills then varied other jobs then upto 4 years ago wen laid of from my job with my health and being diagnosed f/m o/a costa cfs ibs asthma etc my left hand bad with o/a in base thumb and wrist how do thet expect me go back work xxxxx

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