Workfare

I came down with R.A.in 2001 at the age of 44,Since then I have had a Heart attack (2008) and I suffer from Depression (I attempted suicide in 2005 ).

The recent benefit changes have placed me in the "Work related activity group".

Even though my Rheumatologist has written a very supportive letter,the DWP still maintain that I am fit for work (this is ridiculous as some days I cannot get off the Settee ).

I tried to appeal their decision,but I received a legal notice stating in their "Statement of Facts" that I had undergone a medical examination and had been found fit for work.I tried to ring them but they were not answering their phone,so I Emailed the DWP to tell them that their "Statement of facts" were incorrect as I have never been asked to attend a Medical Examination (other than the usual ones with my Rhumatologist).Within 10 minutes I had a telephone call from the DWP,and they told me that the only people in the "Support Group" were the Terminally ill,so I cancelled my appeal.

I have been placed with "Remploy" and am on the Work Programme,I am very frightened as I know that I will not be able to carry out a days work,and I may/will lose benefits unless I comply. I really don't know what to do.

20 Replies

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  • Hi Didja, sorry to hear that the person who answered your enquiry turned out to be an idiot,obviously their village must be missing them.You do not have to be terminally ill to be in the support group.My advice is to appeal straight away,do not be put off.do get advice either from the C.A.B, or any other organisation. I personally have found the website (benifits and work) extremely helpfull. although the is a fee for joining of around £20 they are brilliant.It seems the norm that A.T.O.S who carry out these assessments have a habit of getting it wrong causing disabled people a lot of distress.I hope i have been some help on this matter.

  • Dear Bluebell

    Read with interest your reply, it fits my circumstances and experience. After the year of receiving contributory ESA , I managed to get a job working 1.5 hrs a day at lunch time in a school. 6 months in and my health went down rapidly, so I'm back onto ESA again. Back to those humiliating medicals with ATOS. At least this time I know what to expect as I found it so upsetting first time round. Doesn't make how we are treated right, does it? Waiting for my tribunal date for DLA as I write. Bring it on I say, I'll let them know how life truly is for me (and others), would they like to swap places with us. Perhaps instead of financially penalising us for remaining married, they may like to give our loved ones a bonus for being there, supporting us. There's a thought!

  • Oops, forget to mention, not quite 60- I'm 42 but sometimes it feels like 60, or even 70, 80!!

  • Hi Bluebell, in my initial medical I scored 24. Just reinforces that being married may indeed affect category you're put into. You can ask for a fuller report after ATOS undertake initial medical. Good luck. Do u have a date for your appeal? Please let me know how u get on. I'm wondering about appealing if they put me back into wrag this time round. All the best

  • Hi bluebell, you're welcome! I believe I requested the fuller report from DWP after I'd received the response putting me into wrag. I've gone onto the 'benefit and work' website which has been mentioned on this blog before. I'm going to give them a try if I get put into wrag this time round. Fortunately I've got all the evidence from my dla appeal to support me for ESA claim. It's so frustrating having to go through all this, it's not our fault we have this awful debilitating condition. I'm sure like me, you'd love to be well enough to work. We went to a beer festival , our local unsupportive conservative mp was there. Carl wanted to give him a piece of his mind!! Keep up the fight & take care. ??

  • Sorry I hit question marks by mistake! Flipping fingers!

  • Hi, you've been through the mill like me and I have just sent my appeal off and now await the date for me to go to the Liverpool appeal centre, I'm in the work related group also but I haven't been allocated to go anywhere to work because like you it would be so stressing, the thing is there are disabled people and there are sick and disabled and that's the catogree we fit into but these bstards have no sense, no heart , no pain, no compassion, please put your appeal in as soon as you can and if you get in a tizzy give the Samaritans a ring and have a good cry an tell them your worries because they care, can't give advice though but they are worth their weight in gold when feeling crap like we all do no and then, I call them often, nothing to be embarrassed about cos they don't know who calls no names. Like murto says, the benefits and works website is a good place for advice too.

    I hope things are sorted out very soon for you.

    Philip

  • Thanks for your advice Murto and Philip,I have already been to the C.A.B.who just said" if they stop you money come back here",and as for putting an appeal in,I have been told that there is a time limit of one month after the decision has been made,unless your circumstances change.That one month has long gone.

    Currently I am classed as "Mandatory" on the work programme with Remploy,although I have not been sent anywhere to do any work yet.My next appoinment is on the 1st August.

    I am having an M.R.I. scan on the 24th July regarding possible hardening of the arteries,I wonder if this could be classed as "a change of circumstances".

    I am disgusted with the treatment that I have received,particularly as I have been Lied to,both on "Legal paperwork" (which I have kept ) and verbally by an official. I hope that I do not get to the point where I need to contact the Samaritans,but I do appreciate your advice and will bear it in mind.

    Still,look on the bright side,If you earn over 150k,you have a tax cut,and the Mp's are after a huge pay rise !!!!!!!

  • Hi Didja Please don't give up you need to appeal. I am going through the same myself at the moment. Is your gp writing you a sick note, my doctor has been great she has done me a lovely letter for my appeal the only people not responding to my request for one is my rheumatoid team. My gp gives me sick notes for 3 months at a time. Keep strong and yes C A B are very helpful so please go see them. Xx Alison

  • Thank you for your response Alison. when I first decided to appeal, I received a letter from my Rheumatoid Specialist which was great (and free !!) I also got a letter from my GP (which cost £15),The letter from my GP was only a list of my Medications (I was a bit Disappointed with this letter)

    I had not thought of getting a Sick note,Good idea :).(Who do I give the Sick Note to ?? Presumably Remploy !??).

    As far as an Appeal is concerned,I have been told that an Appeal has to be within one month of the Decision,unfortunately,that one month has long gone.

    I really do think that I should be in the Support Group rather than the W.R.A.G.

    As I said in my earlier post,I am having an M.R.I.scan on the 24th of this month,and I am thinking that this scan may be a "change in circumstances" and may allow me to put in another appeal.

    In the Mean time,I think I will give a copy of my Rheumatologists letter to Remploy for their files.

    Thank you again for your advice,it is nice to know that I am not alone in this nightmare.

  • Hi sorry late getting back to you, i am on low rate esa until my appeal i send mine to local benefits office. I think probably yes you would have to send it to remploy. Hope you get on ok. Xx Alison

  • Having had a bit of time to think about things,I think that I will give Remploy a copy of the letter from my Rheumatologist on the 1st of August, I will also go to the C.A.B. with the letter regarding my cancelled appeal which stated that I had been for a Medical (when I hadn't), and if that fails,I will go to my Doctor and ask for Sick notes.

    Thanks for all support /advice.

    This is such a sorry state of affairs.

  • Have you thought of going to see your MP about this at one of their constituency surgeries I wonder. I know very little about benefits although I am relatively low income but fortunately am self employed and my husband is a care worker so we get by between us ..just. But I live in a small place and have quite good access to my MP and MSP and they have been helpful and active for me and those I've lobbied for in the past. If those in power aren't brought face to face with the impacts of their policies by those most affected and most vulnerable then things will never be addressed. Make yours earn that pay rise and put 'em to work! Take care. X

  • Hello, as a fellow rheumatoid disease sufferer and chronic depressant too I can fully understand what you are going through. I am 63 now and have bee on low and medium rate DLA since my first breakdown (I have had two more episodes since then) and hospitalisation. Everyday I dread collecting the post as I am waiting for the letter from ATOS......how cold and heartless they are. The people who are doing this on my town stay in the best hotel in the town and have been seen in the best restaurants too, having a great time while they destroy people's lives from Mon-Fri.....like everyone else we know that there are people who have bleed the system dry......unfortunately we, and people like us, are paying the price for that dishonesty. I know the anger that you feel for this u fairness.......but the world can be very u nfair at times.

    I do understand the stress you are under, I really do. Are you not your own? Do you have family or partner around to help? Listen I know how awful life can be and how overwhelming it can all be at times.......that's the thing though, 'at times'.....are you on meds for your depression? Do you take them? Please get back to me with the information I asked you about. I have been where you are on many occasions and felt like I was at the end of the road......having rheumatoid disease on top of depression is just cruel, I do know. You seem down now and it is very difficult to see anything positive but it does ease off and you can cope .we are all on here to help you in any way we can......even if it is just to let off steam.....that release valve can be as good as any medication I have found.

    I'm sure there are many on here who suffer from rheumatoid and depression, you are not on your own. Stay with us and we will do everything we can to 'ease you through' the really bad times. What is your name? Stay with us please. Jean XXX

  • Hello again, Unfortunately I am on my own,I do have some very good friends who have helped me enormously,but I don't want to be a burden on them as they too are finding it hard at present.I am taking Venlafaxine for my Depression (150 mg Daily).My Meds for Rheumatoid are Methotrexate 30mgs weekly (Injected),Sulfasalazine 3 grams daily,Hydroxychloriquine 400mg Daily, Naproxen 500 mg Daily Folic Acid 15 mg Weekly.,and Co-codamol 8/500 as and when,and Omaprazole 20 mg daily.

    My name is Greg,and what infuriates me the most is the fact that the Medical staff who have examined me in the past have come to the conclusion that I am not fit for work,but I have been assessed as "Mandatory" without even being seen by DWP/ATOS.

    As far as my MP is concerned,his name is David Mowatt,and is a true blue Tory,and follows the party line,so I can't see him saying anything against this Money Saving adventure.

    Incidentally,I read last week that the top man at ATOS gave himself a £230k rise,giving him a salary of £2.3 Million per year.

    I am on DLA High Rate Mobility,and Medium Rate Care Component.

    I would like to thank everyone who has replied to this thread.

  • Hi, I'm so sorry you are going through all this, it must be causing you stress which you could well do without!

    I have joined a really great website for people on ESA/DLA. There is so much advise given from people who know all about this new welfare system.

    If you look it up, its called ESA/DLA. Its a closed group to maintain anonymity. You have to send a request to the group and you are invited to join.

    Good luck.

  • Thank you very much,I will look for it immediately.

  • I have typed ESA/DLA into my browser,and I cannot find the site anywhere.

  • I'm sorry its taken a while to get back to you, I've only just gone online!

    Apologies for incorrect link, not very good at this!

    If you try this link, hope it works.

    facebook.com/groups/1200677...

  • Thanks Vonnie,I found it and have sent the Request. :)

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