wrag - unreasonable demands

urgent reply needed from anyone who can help - i am 58 and have peripheral vascular disease and chronic back problems - i am unable to walk very far at all due to intense pain especially up hills or any incline - because of this i very rarely go out unless someone takes me - ive grown accustomed to the recluse life -i was placed in the wrag group in dec 2013 - when at home i tend to sit with my legs up as i find it the most comfortable - i had stents in may 2013 but wasnt successful - i was told bypass surgery was next - after attending a meeting with Avanta this morning i was informed i have to attend a 13 day full time course from next week! cruel!! have been told it is mandatory and failure to attend will lead to a sanction of benefits - i cannot and do not sit for any length of time - im worn out most of the time due to pain and medication - my good days are getting fewer and yet they expect me to attend daily for 13 days and stay for over 6 hours - surely to god this cant be acceptable?? they said if you cannot attend then you should apply to be in the support group but also state that any condition you already have will not be taken into consideration ! please tell me this cannot be right - thanks for any help/advice x

May i also add that this morning a lady in the group broke down due to panic attacks she was terrified ! mental illness such as this is rife - i felt so sorry for her.....

16 Replies

Hi. I wont address you by your "name" even though you chose it. I understand how you can get to that choice and deeply feel your desperation but there is hope.

I cannot believe, well of course I can, your treatment by Avanta. Heartless and soul destroying is. I feel for you. You must feel that someone has slammed shut the door called hope, but you have not actually been denied it just yet.

The first point of call should be your local Citizens advice centre. Welfare rights groups in your area are also becoming experts in this field unfortunately as the demand for their help soars. There must be an appeal proceedure you can use.

Generally, if a person is accused of a crime, they get their day in court to examine all the facts then a hopefully, unbiased jury decides their fate.

How daming is it that people who are ill be judged guilty before they even produce their case. Inhumane, is the least offensive name I can use.

Worry not, there people on this, oh so caring site who can give you the benefit of their experience and advice.

Try not to give in to the shock you are now feeling. Nothing has happened as yet. Remember stress is not good for you and may make you feel even worse(!) really.

I hope you have someone who can help you do the enquiries and any legwork for you.

Await experienced folk on here to help you, they will.

I am so sorry that our welfare state (ha) has seen to treat you this way. Also keep in mind that these situations are dealt with er people and that it may be the way this particular person chooses to deliver information. That also needs to be taken into account in your favour.

Please feel better. Please be gentle with yourself, even if this set of people aren't.

You have my profound good wishes though I am not in a better position to offer more than that. I just wanted to reach out to you to tell you that others are sharing this type of experience, in various ways. You are not alone, Hope.



thank you for your kind words - footygirl - as regards my chosen name haha after 4 attempts with usual user names alas already taken so rollondeath came to mind - im not suicidal lol - im usually the one that keeps others going - i just cannot get it into my head that Avanta and the government can treat humans this way - as you say inhumane - another young girl in my group today is suffering from arthritis and had a stick and lives on strong painkillers like myself - you dont sleep well most of the time - in a state of confusion but they are demanding you attend every day for 13 days from 9 till 4pm ! seriously detrimental to health - i take lots different meds to prevent strokes and heart attack - i think its just what these people want to happen - i know i cannot physically do what they are asking me to - what has happened to this country - thanks once again for you kind reply x


Hi Rollondeath

It is apalling what the DWP are expecting you to do with your health problems. You've had some good replies with advice but could I just add don't contact Avanta yourself on Monday but contact The Citizens Advice Bureau or another welfare organisation who will advise what you can do and if needed contact the DWP on your behalf. Good luckX


thank you for your reply im listening to what your saying x


I am so sorry that you are having to face this.

Please look up a wonderful resource Benefits and Work. Alternatively you should look up a group called Fightback4Justice, they operate a telephone help line and advocacy service which is free.

You should immediately inform Avanta that you are not attending the course, as you are too unwell, and that any sanctions imposed on you, will be appealed strongly. Make an appointment with your GP, and get him or her to write you a sick note, ensure you tell your GP that the stress of your dealings with Avanta and DWP are having a seriously detrimental effect on your health, this will then appear on your records.

And remember DWP and all their cronies, are not interested in you, nor particularly your conditions, it is how they affect you which is key.

And lastly, please write to your local MP and make him aware of your situation, if possible, let him or her have copies of all your recent hospital notes, detailing your conditions, unless people let their MP's see the reality of the cull on disabled and vulnerable people, they will keep on getting away with it.

And lastly, and this goes for anyone else dealing with DWP and their cronies, do not take telephone calls from them, do not call them, everything must be in writing, and always record your telephone conversations.

Good luck.



now im thinking i chose the right username - im absolutely angry as hell !! on 28th may i had a so called office appointment with Avanta it was at 3pm at 10 oclock that morning i emailed the office to say i was far too ill to attend and could i cancel - she said she couldnt cancel and would have to put me in for a sanction and the dwp would decide - i thought thats fine i could barely put one foot in front of the other as my back was in spasm surely i couldnt be sanctioned - today i got the letter from dwp to say i had one weeks sanction !!! this is beyond crazy -


Write to the DWP and explain why what happened did, and that you wish to appeal and have your sanction payment credited. This will not happen unless you provide information in writing, and also provide a sick note for the said time period. Again, copy your local MP in on all correspondence.

I know it is a right royal pain having to do all this, but unless you do, nothing will happen.

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thank you LupusKaren your reply is truly appreciated - i am going to wait until monday hopefully more replies and advice and then contact avanta - im just unable to endure those hours on a training course so im surely not going - its the sanction and how long it will last that worries me - i missed my very first appointment with avanta in dec 2013 i was sanctioned - i appealed and it took until feb this year to win my case and get backdated monies - i got into debt as i used my rent money to survive that period - my landlord would have thrown me out if i hadnt of been a good tenant for 5 years - out of debt now and back on track - i had to visit foodbanks which i felt embarrassed and ashamed - they do not care that their actions devastate lives - i live alone and have no other help - i also realise there are people a lot worse off than me and i am truly not one to moan i purely hate injustice....thanks again karen x


I'm sorry to hear you have been put in such a situation - and other people by the sounds of it. You really need some help with this. I found that 2 different providers of the Work programme struggled to deal with people who have health issues [physical and mental - of course many with both]. these demands are too much for someone who is unwell. I find it quite astonishing - I was never asked to attend anything so full on.

Lupus Karen has some very good advice.

All of these things are stressful so the more support you can find the better.

You could try writing to your Work Programme provider and spell out what you need to make it even possible to be with them for say 4 hours - what chairs and footrests can they provide. Are there facilities to lie down? etc But maybe speak to some sort of advocacy service such as Fightback4Justice first.

best wishes with this x


you raise some very good points which i intend to use - thank you very much x


Did I not say? Super replies.

I was reminded reading them, to be very very careful what you say. I knew someone with a debilitating condition who took a phone call and was judged fit to work in a call centre. True.

Take all the advice you can as others before you have inched appeals and won. Their experience is now our starting place.

So glad you name is ironic!

Very best wishes



What has become of our country, foodbanks, sending the really I'll to courses? What do they think they will achieve by cutting their benefit when they are too I'll yo attend. It just makes it mind numbing.

I too have peripheral nerve problems, I have pains in my lower back, from my hip to my toes. My knees are always painful like my back,from my knees to my toes and the soles of my feet. I do have good pain relief, but I'm still in pain

I so understand how you feel, I have also been asked to attend a course on the 29th, so I'm trying to rest as much as possible.

Please look after yourself, there's good advice on here, I hope it all goes your way


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thanks kay i still dont know whats best thing to do and how to handle it - hopefully when ive got over the shock a fresh look at it on monday xx


hope things are ok with you and you are able to make some progress now it is monday. x


thanks for your concern - i went to the doctors and explained the course i was expected to go on she gave me a doctors note for 1 month and she agreed it wasnt right to expect me to do it - i will still get sanctioned apparently but will have to fight it - so will be a month or so then my benefits will stop until its sorted - i went to the jobcentre also today and told them of the course Avanta is running - i asked if they ran courses like that and they said NO - i contacted fight4justice but havent had a reply as yet - regards me being sanctioned for not attending an appointment because i was ill - the jobcentre said its your punishment "its only a week" i cancelled the appt in plenty of time and told them i was too ill the DWP decided i should still be sanctioned as i didnt produce any medical evidence?? of course im going to be ill !! its all ridiculous - i wasnt asked for medical evidence? my doctor today couldnt backdate a sick note for that but she did do me a letter explaining my condition - am going to send that in and fingers crossed - its getting me so very down x

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if you have the energy and wherewithall I think this really is something your MP needs to know about. It must cost the government more money to sanction people then have that overruled. The language used is so wrong - punished for being unwell. And I wonder how many other people are going through this?

When I was on the Work Programme I wrote an anonymous blog of my experiences - partly for myself; someone from a disability organisation said it would probably help to do it - and I think it did. But I've not been sanctioned for not turning up at appointments. But like others I was asked to use a building full of stairs and steps - the only accessible entrance was to the reception desk and toilet.

I hope you are able to keep mind, spirit and body together. x


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