New Style ESA - interview upcoming

Options
Hi,

I received a letter today from local jobcentre plus. I've been on ESA for years and haven't dealt with them face-to-face or over phone for a long time. But i've been told i will have a telephone interview with them next week and will need to 'agree to do certain things to get new style ESA'. It's described as 'claimant commitment'. 

I Googled and it seems this is a newish thing. I just wondered if anybody has had such an interview and what happens?

I'm concerned what i say will be misconstrued or used against me. For example, i am agoraphobic and have generalised anxiety disorder, but i am able to go out but only using my car and parking close to wherever i need to go. I don't walk anywhere (certainly no more than say 30 metres). So technically i could attend the jobcentre in person or work as long as i can park within 30 metres. However, this says nothing about the intrusive thoughts i get that have affected me for over a decade, or the fact i have panic attacks regularly which affect my ability to do the things i want to (and have been increasing in volume and intensity recently because of a multitude of issues). I also do volunteer work once a week (again, i park right outside the building).

As i've found in ESA/PIP interviews throughout the years, anything i say could be used against me even if what i've said is both true and makes sense in respect to my actual disability. 

So just wondering what i should expect.

Thanks!

Comments

  • Spoonie_Turtle
    Options
    Which group are you in for ESA?

    I'm in the Support Group and had one of these phone calls a while ago.  The claimant commitment is literally just to inform them if there are any changes that affect my claim.
    Ah, found the thread from October 2021 https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6307846/random-uc-phone-appointment
  • londonerryan
    Options
    Which group are you in for ESA?

    I'm in the Support Group and had one of these phone calls a while ago.  The claimant commitment is literally just to inform them if there are any changes that affect my claim.
    Ah, found the thread from October 2021 https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6307846/random-uc-phone-appointment
    I believe i'm in the 'work group' and have been this whole time (10 years). I remember calling them once, years ago, and the person told me i should be in the support group but wasn't. I informed them that i hadn't been to the jobcentre etc in years, wasn't expect to look for work, and was basically deemed 'disabled'. They said that for me to be put in the support group i'd need another assessment and i said i didn't want to deal with all that again. As far as i'm concerned the less interaction i have with DWP the better. So i *should* be in support group, as far as i can tell - similar people to me that i know are in the support group - but i'm not. I don't really know what the difference is to be honest. I'm just always wary of saying too much, such as that i volunteer for charity etc, because it could be deemed 'capable of work' despite vast differences between the two.
  • Spoonie_Turtle
    Spoonie_Turtle Posts: 8,525 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    edited 31 January 2023 at 7:46PM
    Options
    In that case I've no idea how much they may want you to do being in the Work-Related Activity Group.

    Are you aware that if you were reassessed ans put into the Support Group your payments would increase?  Depending on what they want you to do for your claimant commitment you might feel the hassle of a reassessment would be worth it*, if it meant not having to attend Jobcentre appointments or do other activities. 

    They can't make you look for work though.

    *If you definitely meet any of the SG criteria, that is.  They are here (scroll down) https://www.entitledto.co.uk/help/esa_criteria
    Edit: better link here https://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/universal-credit-uc/uc-faq/limited-capability-for-work-related-activity  (hat tip to poppy12345 posting it in another thread)

    One thing I will say is that if this is for the Claimant Commitment, this is NOT a reassessment and you don't need to volunteer any information, just answer the questions they ask.  Be truthful, but also try not to overexplain because as you say, very often nondisabled people either misinterpret what we try to explain, or just don't understand.  If they ask a relevant question it may be helpful for them to know that your conditions affect your daily life even at home and make getting through the day a full-time job without anything else to have to do on top, if that is true for you.  Or if the prospect of attending appointments increases your anxiety to the point it interferes even more with daily living, that would be something to tell them if they suggest appointments. 

    But really the only surefire way of not having to do things that cause you extra anxiety would be to be reassessed and put into the Support Group.
  • londonerryan
    Options

    But really the only surefire way of not having to do things that cause you extra anxiety would be to be reassessed and put into the Support Group.
    Thanks for the info.

    My friend told me i should have asked to be placed in the support group years ago and i said what i told them, that i can't be bothered with all the hassle. I prefer to live 'under the radar' so to speak as i always think as long as i'm not appearing in their list, i'll be left alone for a while. Tonight she reiterated the same thing. Tbh, when i spoke to the person years ago she never really told me what the financial benefits were, only that i'd have to be reassessed and that she found it odd i was still in the work related group. Surely it's up to them to decide whether i should be on support group or work group and thus should have told me i should be moved? Could i mention this to them in their phone call next week? Seems like i've probably been underpaid for years with no real explanation why i was in work group but treated as though i was in support group. 
  • Spoonie_Turtle
    Options

    But really the only surefire way of not having to do things that cause you extra anxiety would be to be reassessed and put into the Support Group.
    Thanks for the info.

    My friend told me i should have asked to be placed in the support group years ago and i said what i told them, that i can't be bothered with all the hassle. I prefer to live 'under the radar' so to speak as i always think as long as i'm not appearing in their list, i'll be left alone for a while. Tonight she reiterated the same thing. Tbh, when i spoke to the person years ago she never really told me what the financial benefits were, only that i'd have to be reassessed and that she found it odd i was still in the work related group. Surely it's up to them to decide whether i should be on support group or work group and thus should have told me i should be moved? Could i mention this to them in their phone call next week? Seems like i've probably been underpaid for years with no real explanation why i was in work group but treated as though i was in support group. 
    No, as you refused a reassessment there wasn't a mechanism for them to refer your case for a new decision to be made.  The only people who can change your group are decision makers, they only look at cases referred to them (or if you ask for a reconsideration of a decision within 13 months) and they are completely separate from the work coaches from the Jobcentre or the call centre handlers you speak to when you phone ESA up.

    You've not been underpaid because you're officially in the WRAG, you could only be paid the Support Group rate if you were actually put into that group.  It would be accurate to say you've missed out on it though - I can understand wanting to stay below the radar, but it's a shame nobody explained the financial consequences of doing so for you to be able to make a fully informed decision.
  • wild666
    wild666 Posts: 2,126 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Options
    Which group are you in for ESA?

    I'm in the Support Group and had one of these phone calls a while ago.  The claimant commitment is literally just to inform them if there are any changes that affect my claim.
    Ah, found the thread from October 2021 https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6307846/random-uc-phone-appointment
    I believe i'm in the 'work group' and have been this whole time (10 years). I remember calling them once, years ago, and the person told me i should be in the support group but wasn't. I informed them that i hadn't been to the jobcentre etc in years, wasn't expect to look for work, and was basically deemed 'disabled'. They said that for me to be put in the support group i'd need another assessment and i said i didn't want to deal with all that again. As far as i'm concerned the less interaction i have with DWP the better. So i *should* be in support group, as far as i can tell - similar people to me that i know are in the support group - but i'm not. I don't really know what the difference is to be honest. I'm just always wary of saying too much, such as that i volunteer for charity etc, because it could be deemed 'capable of work' despite vast differences between the two.
    The difference can be £40.60 per week if you never got the WRAG payment which was £29.05. If you get WRAG it would be an extra £11.55 per week. The difference is that those getting WRAG never had it updated every year when the government said ESA for non support group new claimants would be just the same as UC/JSA. I forget what year they stopped WRAG for new claimants to non support group ESA.
    Someone please tell me what money is
  • poppy12345
    poppy12345 Posts: 18,087 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    edited 7 February 2023 at 6:46PM
    Options
    wild666 said:
    Which group are you in for ESA?

    I'm in the Support Group and had one of these phone calls a while ago.  The claimant commitment is literally just to inform them if there are any changes that affect my claim.
    Ah, found the thread from October 2021 https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6307846/random-uc-phone-appointment
    I believe i'm in the 'work group' and have been this whole time (10 years). I remember calling them once, years ago, and the person told me i should be in the support group but wasn't. I informed them that i hadn't been to the jobcentre etc in years, wasn't expect to look for work, and was basically deemed 'disabled'. They said that for me to be put in the support group i'd need another assessment and i said i didn't want to deal with all that again. As far as i'm concerned the less interaction i have with DWP the better. So i *should* be in support group, as far as i can tell - similar people to me that i know are in the support group - but i'm not. I don't really know what the difference is to be honest. I'm just always wary of saying too much, such as that i volunteer for charity etc, because it could be deemed 'capable of work' despite vast differences between the two.
      I forget what year they stopped WRAG for new claimants to non support group ESA.
    3rd April 2017 the changes took place, for new claims only. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/employment-and-support-allowance-changes-from-3-april-2017/employment-and-support-allowance-esa-changes-from-3-april-2017


Meet your Ambassadors

Categories

  • All Categories
  • 343.7K Banking & Borrowing
  • 250.3K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 450K Spending & Discounts
  • 235.9K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 609K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 173.4K Life & Family
  • 248.5K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards