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Increase of ESA people being “mandated” to the WP…

 

Martin Williams
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Welfare Rights Advisor, CPAG, London

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This story is interesting:

http://www.rightsnet.org.uk/news/story/increase-in-number-of-esa-claimants-mandated-to-work-programme/

Effectively, where it says “additionally….” in the quote below, the State admits that the destiny of sick claimants is now not just about what is good for them: it is about what is good for the contractors. Claimants are the raw material of the work programme factory…

‘In the year to March 2012, the number of ESA claimants mandated to the Work Programme was significantly lower than expected. As a result, DWP is concerned that not enough claimants are getting the support they need. Additionally, providers have raised concerns about how their business models and supply chains are being affected by the low number of participants. Therefore, the Department is increasing the number of ESA claimants who can access the Work Programme by making referral mandatory for specific income-related ESA claimants in the work related activity group.’

We now have policy being made in order to service the work programme industry. Marvellous.

     
nevip
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welfare rights adviser, sefton council, liverpool

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The context of Fritz Lang’s 1927 film Metropolis is as follows.

“In the somewhat distant future (some editions say the year 2000, others place it in 2026, and, still others—including the original Paramount U.S. release—in 3000 A.D.) the city of Metropolis, with its huge towers and vast wealth, is a playground to a ruling class living in luxury and decadence. They, and the city, are sustained by a much larger population of workers who labour as virtual slaves in the machine halls, moving from their miserable, tenement-like homes to their grim, back-breaking ten-hour shifts and back again.”  Sound familiar.  A little overstated perhaps but prescient nontheless.  And, a warning.

     
splurge
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welfare officer, peabody, london

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Welcome to ConDem Nation!

     
disgustedofbridport
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Dorchester CAB

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I have a client who has Aspergers - we’ve appealed her being in the WRAG and tried to get her into the Support Group. Apparently, inter-group appeals are taking 6 months just to be looked at at the moment, and unfortunately for this client it was too late… she was already on the Work Programme because she was only considered to have LCW for 6 months, and until her appeal’s decided (of which we’ve heard literally nothing, 4 months and counting), she has to continue on the Work Programme, despite letters from her doctors and therapists etc. saying she can’t be expected to sit in a room with people she doesn’t know. The client starts crying just recalling the last time she had to go to a session under the Work Programme. What a wonderful system!

     
Martin Williams
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Welfare Rights Advisor, CPAG, London

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The ESA(WRA) Regs 2011 (SI 2011 No. 1349) are online here: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/a13-5651.pdf

For the case you describe (someone accepted to have LCW and with a pending appeal concerning LCWRA who also has a GP letter stating that it is bad for her health to have to take part in the WRA that she is being sent on) then there is an issue as to whether or not the SSWP’s decision to impose a WRA requirement on her is lawful.

The relevant bits of the regs are as follows:

3.—(1) The Secretary of State may require a person who satisfies the requirements in paragraph (2) to undertake work-related activity(a) as a condition of continuing to be entitled to the full amount of employment and support allowance payable to that person.

(2) [not relevant here]

(3)A requirement to undertake work-related activity ceases to have effect if the person becomes a member of the support group.

(4) A requirement imposed under paragraph (1)–
(a) must be reasonable in the view of the Secretary of State, having regard to the person’s circumstances; and
[not relevant here]


Requirement to undertake work-related activity at a particular time not to apply
6. The Secretary of State may determine that a requirement as to the time at or by
which work-related activity is to be undertaken is not to apply, or is to be treated as
not having applied, if in the view of the Secretary of State it would be, or would have
been, unreasonable to require the person to undertake the activity at or by that time.

So it is for the SSWP to decide whether it is reasonable in all the circumstances to impose this requirement on this claimant.

The claimant has a right to request that the action plan setting out her WRA requirements should be modified and the SSWP has a duty to reconsider it when requested to do so:

Reconsideration of action plans
7.—(1) A person may request reconsideration of an action plan.
(2) On receipt of a request the Secretary of State must reconsider the action plan.
(3) A decision of the Secretary of State following a request must be in writing and
given to the person.

So write to the SSWP and ask for the reconsideration allowed for under Reg 7 -shove in all the evidence you have.