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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Income support, JSA and tax credits  →  Thread

JSA and 13 week sick

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LJF
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Benefits caseworker - Manchester Citizens Advice Bureau

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does anybody know much about this or can post a link -
if someone claims JSA can they put a sick note in straight away and get paid for 13 weeks. or do you have to have been on JSA for so long before you can be paid sick. I am getting lots of clients wanting to claim JSA whilst waiting for an ESA MR but wanting to put a sicknote in straight away and get JSA for 13 weeks.
cheers

Benny Fitzpatrick
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Hi Linzi!

Are you talking about a sick note based on the same medical condition(s)? I suspect this would not be accepted by DWP due to the WCA determination. If the client has a sicknote with a new condition, then would a new ESA claim be more appropriate?

LJF
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yea a sicknote with same condition - would this not be accepted for 13 weeks sick on a new JSA claim - any links to guidance?

seand
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Hi

I have a client on JSA while awaiting a MR decision on his ESA. He tried to hand in a sick line at an appointment about two weeks ago and the adviser was very reluctant to take it. The sick line then went missing and he was told to make a new claim for ESA (which would have gone no where)

He had a further appointment earlier this week, when they accepted a replacement sick line, and gave him a letter that said his next appointment will be 31 July. Looks like he has to do nothing until then, although I see the guidance says that there may still be conditionality applied

I’ve wondered about what happens if someone just gives in a sick line right at the start, but the guidance is quiet on this…

Guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/419036/m-9-15.pdf

Benny Fitzpatrick
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What is the client’s intention in submitting the sicknote? Are they saying that they are not available for work, in which case they should be directed to claim ESA as they do not meet the qualifying criteria for JSA (available for and actively seeking work etc). Obviously, a new claim for ESA could not be paid following a negative WCA based on the same health conditions.

My understanding is that although the client may be able to place restrictions on their jobseeking activities, under JSA they cannot claim that they are unable to seek work at all due to health problems. The only way to avoid jobseeking conditions would surely be a new claim for ESA based on a new or changed condition.

Brian JB
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A person can be treated as capable of work, or of not having limited capability for work, during the extended sickness period (regulation 55ZA of the JSA Regs) and the sick note is required evidence. They will be treated as available for work during that period, and will not be required to take steps to actively seek work unless they can reasonably be expected to.

The regulation only applies where someone has been awarded JSA, which may preclude a person simply turning up and claiming JSA with a sick note in their hand. That said, I am aware of cases around here where the Jobcentre has done exactly that-  advised the claimant to claim JSA and put them on a 13 week period of sickness straight away, pending MR/Appeal outcomes

Paul_Treloar_CPAG
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On a very quick reading of the JSA regs, I think I’d agree with Brian that timing is all.

Provided the client has been awarded JSA, then submitting relevant medical evidence does appear to allow either reg.55 (2 weeks) or reg.55ZA (13 weeks) to kick in, according to the length of sign-off on the medical certificate, or Fit Note as I still can’t get used to calling them. Note the exemption around having been in receipt of SSP during the previous 8 weeks also applies.

See p.711 Welfare Benefits Handbook 2015/16 for fuller summary than above.

Jon (CHDCA)
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Can anyone see a problem with a JSA claimant continuing to do a few hours declared work during a 13 week period of extended sickness? JCP staff don’t seem happy with the idea.

Welfare Rights Adviser
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There are two issues:
1)  If a claimant has been found fit for work and is challenging this decision, they can claim JSA pending their MR but have to be available and actively seeking work - they can place reasonable restrictions on what is expected of them - but they have to agree that they are capable of work.  If they don’t agree that they are capable of work, or place such limited restrictions they can be found not to be available for or actively seeking and therefore remove themselves from entitlement to JSA. 

If the claimant’s restricitons are reasonable and they can continue to get JSA as long as they continue to meet their claimant commitment during the MR stage.  Once their ESA decision has been revised - if the decision has not changed they can lodge an appeal against this decision and ESA can be reinstated.

2)  A claimant can claim JSA for up to 13 weeks during a period of being temporarily sick (extended period of sickness).  In this case they can be treated as available and actively seeking work, however the Job Centre can still expect them to take reasonable steps to continue to work search.  A claimant cannot make a new claim for ESA during the extended period of sickness.

SocSec
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I have been told today that the rules have changed and only claimants who have a new medial condition can get the 13 week extended sickness for JSA any information on this please, seems rules chsnged about 2 weeks ago according to jobcentre

Jon (CHDCA)
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Related discussion in November:
http://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/10490/

I should add, we had essentially the same query today. I don’t know if some new JCP guidance has gone out.

[ Edited: 12 Jan 2017 at 02:14 pm by Jon (CHDCA) ]
SocSec
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thanks Jon, I smell a rat here as my local jcp says they have nothing in writing, it came to them from handsworth benefit centre [  in a plain brown envelope ]  I had sent a client round to claim the eps and luckily he phoned me from the job centre while he was with the disability advisor who gave the info on eps while also telling me that disability advisors are now all being laid off and a new watered down post is being created to do the job.

Benny Fitzpatrick
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Which shows the true level of Govt/DWP commitment to tackling the disability employment gap.

SocSec
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Indeed, to be truthful the disability advisor at jcp was pretty hacked off with the changes and said as much, she is trying to use her position in her new post to ‘encourage’ work coaches to be lenient with esa appeals cases but I fear she is a lone voice in a howling desert , no wonder many of the dwp old timers who actually want to help are taking the money and running

Robbie Spence
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seand - 03 June 2015 12:02 PM

I’ve wondered about what happens if someone just gives in a sick line right at the start, but the guidance is quiet on this…
Guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/419036/m-9-15.pdf

That link does not work anymore - a link to the Guidance in question is here

Jon (CHDCA) - 12 January 2017 01:52 PM

Related discussion in November:
http://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/10490/

and it points to https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/470857/v4am47.pdf - and it states:

Extended period of sickness
20972 In addition to the two short periods of sickness (see DMG 20961), a claimant can
also be treated as capable of work/not having LCW for an extended period of
sickness of up to 13 weeks.
20973 This extended period of sickness applies to a person who
1.  has been awarded JSA
2.  proves to the DM that they are unable to work because of some specific
disease or disablement and
3. either
3.1 declares that they have been unable to work or expects to be unable to
work for more than 2 weeks but does not expect to be unable to work
because of that disease or disablement for more than 13 weeks or
3.2 is a person who has already had 2 short periods of sickness within the
current JSP or 12 months where the JSP exceeds 12 months
4. during this period, satisfies the requirements for entitlement to JSA other than
those to be available for and actively seeking employment and capable of
work or not having LCW and
5. has not stated in writing that they propose to claim or have claimed ESA or
UC for that period.

Sounds you can claim JSA and be on an EPS if you are in MR period, during which time, by definition, you cannot be an ESA claimant.

[ Edited: 19 Jan 2017 at 05:10 pm by Robbie Spence ]
Jon (CHDCA)
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That’s Memo DMG 9/15, archived here.