Work related activity - just how demanding can it get?
I have just looked over two appeal submissions where the appellant has been moved from the Support Group to the Work Related Activity Group following a further WCA. One person has Epilepsy, the other Anxiety and Depression.
In the MR decisions for both are virtually the same paragraph -
“I consider that you should, without risk to your health, be capable of attending a wide range of WRA offered. the least demanding would be getting up and dressed by a certain time each day, and keeping a log to chart progress. The most demanding would be having a telephony based review of your health condition with signposting to local services beneficial to your wellbeing, and these activities would improve your motivation”
The only difference was that for the person with epilepsy, the words “least” and “most” were swopped. Understandably, the client with epilepsy was not sure why he needed motivation or how getting washed and dressed (which he does) improves his chances of getting work. I haven’t seen the other appellant yet.
Is this a paragraph familiar to anyone else? I am worried that it is a stock paragraph that is being used simply to try and show claimants and tribunals that WRA is so light touch as to present no real risk to anyone.
MR letter on my desk now:
“the least demanding would be getting up and dressed by a certain time each day, and keeping a log to chart progress. The most demanding type of WRA could be continuing to engage with X and X regarding your alcohol misuse. This may be the most demanding as your typical day shows that you have been doing this for the past year and that it is helping you address your alcohol misuse.”
Think I will mention the meaning of “could” and “may” in my submission, amongst other things…
I have seen similar kinds of stock phrases before - writing a list of things that you enjoy doing, being one that sticks in the memory. I have never yet come across a client actually asked to do these things though. The least demanding type of WRA round here seems to be an initial appt at the Jbc then a phone call from the WC every 6 months to ask how they are, if anything has changed and then set a date and time for another call in 6 months time.
Obviously our WRA is more certain around here, using “would”!!
It is at least vaguely approaching compliance with IM; nearly three years after the decision-
104. It will be apparent from what we have said above that, at least while the legislation is administered in the current fashion, the First-tier Tribunal needs to know not only what the least demanding types of work-related activity are but also what the most demanding types are in the area where the claimant lives. As Judge Jacobs pointed out in AH, that information can come only from the Secretary of State.
105. As indicated above, we accept the Secretary of State’s submission that, on an appeal in which regulation 35(2) is in issue, he cannot be expected to anticipate exactly what work-related activity a particular claimant would in fact be required to do. This is axiomatic.
106. But what the Secretary of State can and should provide is evidence of the types of work-related activity available in each area and by reference thereto what the particular claimant may be required to undertake and those which he considers it would be reasonable for the provider to require the claimant to undertake. The First-tier Tribunal would then be in a position to assess the relevant risks.
‘...most demanding example of work-related activity is researching self-help centres / support groups appropriate to your health condition (through library, internet, and Yellow Pages etc.). Keep a log of any research you do, or contact you make. A less demanding example of work-related activity is making a list of your hobbies, things you enjoy doing, or things you used to enjoy doing. You can do both of these activities without risk to your health from the comfort of your house.’
I am not sure how you visit the library ‘from the comfort of your house’?
And making a list of things you used to enjoy doing? That sounds less than fun.[ Edited: 19 May 2017 at 09:59 am by robverco ]
IM Paragraph 106 reports that they ‘can and should provide is evidence of the types of work-related activity available in each area.’ Indeed paragraph 107 states ‘it should not be beyond the wit of the Department and providers to produce and maintain a list, perhaps for each of the regions into which the First-tier Tribunal is organised.’
The quote from the MR can and does appear in submissions along with a phrase that they are not aware what WRA is available but that he DWP is sure it has not changed since 2011 for some reason. They also then list types of WRA at the back of the submission. This often contradicts the submission, can be from companies that no longer exist, and in areas over 100 miles from the appellant . Case law suggest the journey to and from WRA is important so AA Route planner might be useful.