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    Thread: Placed in the ESA WRAG - advice needed!

    1. #1
      Active Member shytom's Avatar
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      Question Placed in the ESA WRAG - advice needed!

      Hi all, this is my first proper post on here and just need to ask some questions about ESA WRAG.

      I had been claiming IB since 2004 due to severe Depression (which causes me to self-harm and has result in suicide attempts) and Anxiety (which means I rarely leave my flat alone - maybe once or twice a year alone - other times I will always have someone I know really well), although I have had Depression and Anxiety for the last 20 years FYI.

      Well in July I got notified about the changeover from IB to ESA and was sent the ESA50 form which I filled in with the help of my girlfriend although it worried the hell out of me I saw this forum and reading the posts some people had made I knew what to expect.
      Yesterday I got a phone call from DWP to tell me that I was placed into the ESA Work Related Activity Group which I felt was good since I hadn't needed to go for a medical assessment and today I got the letter confirming it, but have a few questions about being placed into the ESA Work Related Activity Group.

      1 - In the letter on the final page it outlines the amounts I will be getting but at the bottom of it, it says: The amounts on this page apply from 28 September 2011 to 29 November 2011.
      Does that mean the 29th will be my review date?

      2 - My last few jobs before claiming IB were as a delivery driver but because of my illnesses I failed to renew my license photograph and also update the address when I moved back in 2007 and the medication I am now on has been advised to me by my GP that I should not drive at all and warned me that I would need to inform the DVLA of the medications I am taking.
      Is being in the WRAG like Job Seekers with regards to having to find a job that I did before I claimed IB or do they help with re-training for something different even if it included funding and has anybody here gone through this process?

      3 - I am kind of thinking about appealing but next week I see my Doctor which I will ask if she thinks I have been placed in the wrong group.
      If I appealed since I am already entitled to ESA WRAG amounts would I still get that or would I be placed in the reduced assessment phase until it had been re-looked at?

      One last question - Has anybody on the forum been placed in the WRAG only to be moved over to the Support Group on a normal review (not by appealing or asking to have the decision looked at again)?


      Thanks for looking and reading, any help or advice is gratefully received

    2. #2
      Senior Member Pixie37's Avatar
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      yes i would speak to your doctor before deciding whether to appeal or not. Being in the work related group isn't strict like being on JSA. You Just have meetings with an advisor once a month. They can retrain you in another field of work, you may want to do volunteer work or go to college but there is no pressure.
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      Senior Member ally41's Avatar
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      Yes, I was in wrag and I appealed to support group without tribunal. If you're not fit for work then you should be in the support group in my opinion. I think wrag only exists as an excuse to give us less money and just serves to put those with MH issues under stress we can ill afford that ends us making us worse. Appeal immediately as you only have 30 days to complete the appeal and this involves sending a couple of forms and making sure that they have recieved them ok. You will need supplementary evidence from you usual mental health professional. I strongly advise you to go to the CAB and get a benefits advisor. Good luck.
      Thanks maxitab gave thanks for this post

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      Senior Member ally41's Avatar
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      You will continue to get wrag rate whilst you appeal.

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      well what a web the conservatives weave, get ur appeal in ASAP, may take them 7-9 months to process but your benfit will continue and ul not have to goto the job centre. When i phoned the benefits agency to see what was going on i was also put in the wrag. I was told that noone with mental health problems would be put in the support group. Been a trusting indiviudal or perhaps naive lol i believed the guy. My cpn told me that she has clients in the support group. Oh how i wish i had recoreded that call. So i know im repeating some info. But appeal everytime if u know u cant work, if things change then take it from there. Im not work shy and when im settled on my meds again i will try and work, if i ever get settled on my meds. I was told that in the wrag u have a maximum of two years to get ready for work. If the job centre deem u able to work before this as i understand u can be placed in the fit for work group. My advisor was very sympathetic and understanding unfortunately if u dont get someone like this then that could be potentially not good.

      My advice is dont risk your health, every time ive had a serious relapse luckily only had a couple my illness has got stronger. Get in the support group. keep us informed and at least here ul get support and understanding.

      all the best

    6. #6
      Active Member shytom's Avatar
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      Thanks for the replies Pixie37, ally41 and gandalfisback.

      Quote Originally Posted by Pixie37 View Post
      yes i would speak to your doctor before deciding whether to appeal or not. Being in the work related group isn't strict like being on JSA. You Just have meetings with an advisor once a month. They can retrain you in another field of work, you may want to do volunteer work or go to college but there is no pressure.
      Luckily I have a appointment with her next Thursday so will get her advice to whether she feels I am in the right group and if she says I should really be in the Support Group, then I will surely appeal.

      Quote Originally Posted by ally41 View Post
      Yes, I was in wrag and I appealed to support group without tribunal. If you're not fit for work then you should be in the support group in my opinion. I think wrag only exists as an excuse to give us less money and just serves to put those with MH issues under stress we can ill afford that ends us making us worse. Appeal immediately as you only have 30 days to complete the appeal and this involves sending a couple of forms and making sure that they have recieved them ok. You will need supplementary evidence from you usual mental health professional. I strongly advise you to go to the CAB and get a benefits advisor. Good luck.
      Quote Originally Posted by ally41 View Post
      You will continue to get wrag rate whilst you appeal.
      Seems to be that the DWP have a very different opinion of Fit For Work since ESA came in,
      I am quite lucky my Doctor has already told me that she will back me up when I told her about how my IB was being changed to ESA and they clearly didn't contact her either as she said she would give me a call if they did.

      I was also very surprised not to be called in for a medical assessment based on the 6 pages of additional information on how my Depression and Anxiety affects me doing daily activities which included:
      only leaving my flat on my own twice a year max,
      never answering the telephone or door,
      having a really bad sleep pattern which does result in me being awake for over 36 hours in a lot of cases or missing complete days because I've slept for over 24 hours,
      not being able to write because my hands shake too much which also makes me drop things all the time
      plus lots of other information which adds up into a big picture of my illnesses and how they affect me daily.
      Did also include a lot of information about the thoughts I get and how they make me become very distracted which is also another reason why I rarely leave my flat because I have walked out in front of cars and buses and have even stopped in the middle of a level crossing when the barriers have been coming down in the past because of the thoughts I get everyday even on medication.

      I don't mind being place in the WRAG Group if it meant that the DWP would provide additional health help and support as well as helping me find a way of working even with my illnesses but from what I read all over the Web I don't see that ever happening.

      Quote Originally Posted by gandalfisback View Post
      well what a web the conservatives weave, get ur appeal in ASAP, may take them 7-9 months to process but your benfit will continue and ul not have to goto the job centre. When i phoned the benefits agency to see what was going on i was also put in the wrag. I was told that noone with mental health problems would be put in the support group. Been a trusting indiviudal or perhaps naive lol i believed the guy. My cpn told me that she has clients in the support group. Oh how i wish i had recoreded that call. So i know im repeating some info. But appeal everytime if u know u cant work, if things change then take it from there. Im not work shy and when im settled on my meds again i will try and work, if i ever get settled on my meds. I was told that in the wrag u have a maximum of two years to get ready for work. If the job centre deem u able to work before this as i understand u can be placed in the fit for work group. My advisor was very sympathetic and understanding unfortunately if u dont get someone like this then that could be potentially not good.

      My advice is dont risk your health, every time ive had a serious relapse luckily only had a couple my illness has got stronger. Get in the support group. keep us informed and at least here ul get support and understanding.
      all the best
      Well the Labour government kicked off ESA and the Conservatives just took it to the next level by targeting the all the genuinely ill that they feel are too weak to fight back and putting peoples lives at risk just to save money.
      I'm not work shy either the DWP only have to look at my work history to see that I've done jobs in the past where I started off doing a normal working week only to end up doing 80 hours a week for months on end only to completely burn myself out and require admission to hospital.

      At the moment I am only 75% decided on appealing to get placed into the Support Group but if my Doctor says I should be in it then that will go up to 100% straight away and I have already started looking into what other things to do, ie like contacting my local MP.

      Thanks for all the replies so far they have been very informative and encouraging to appeal, I will surely keep everyone informed of whats happening and how things are panning out, if anyone has other help, advice or experiences about being in the WRAG to add please feel free.

    7. #7
      Senior Member dib4uk's Avatar
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      to answer your original question shytom- yes you shall be reassessed in three months time, thats what happens to me all the time.

      BTW the jobcenter staff dont really know what they're talking about, i had a tribunial and was placed in the support group based soely on my mental health problems.

    8. #8
      Senior Member ally41's Avatar
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      Don't trust anyone at the DWP to put you in the right group, they are told to put everyone in wrag which basically means you being at the mercy of someone who has the unilateral right to reduce or even stop your benefits if they feel you are not doing enough to get back into work - so if they know nothing about MH, they might judge you as a malingerer and there'll be nothing you can do about it. It's not appropriate for someone in your situation - you SHOULD be in the support group and you need to fight for it, no-one down there is going to help you..... Also in wrag you get about 18 p/w week less money and someone told me that you only get wrag for 2 years and then it's automatic JSA after that - don't know if that's right but I bet it is....
      Thanks maxitab gave thanks for this post

    9. #9
      Active Member shytom's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by dib4uk View Post
      to answer your original question shytom- yes you shall be reassessed in three months time, thats what happens to me all the time.

      BTW the jobcenter staff dont really know what they're talking about, i had a tribunial and was placed in the support group based soely on my mental health problems.
      Thanks for that information, I thought that was the case but just needed to double check so I didn't get caught out by something even worst than a reassessment (although that is bad enough in its own right)

      Quote Originally Posted by ally41 View Post
      Don't trust anyone at the DWP to put you in the right group, they are told to put everyone in wrag which basically means you being at the mercy of someone who has the unilateral right to reduce or even stop your benefits if they feel you are not doing enough to get back into work - so if they know nothing about MH, they might judge you as a malingerer and there'll be nothing you can do about it. It's not appropriate for someone in your situation - you SHOULD be in the support group and you need to fight for it, no-one down there is going to help you..... Also in wrag you get about 18 p/w week less money and someone told me that you only get wrag for 2 years and then it's automatic JSA after that - don't know if that's right but I bet it is....
      After reading all the stuff all over the Web about the DWP in the last few months I don't trust them, still suspicious of being placed in the WRAG without a medical assessment from ATOS, was so expecting to attend one, still thinking that they are tricking me into relaxing about it only to find out that in a week or 2 I'll get a call from ATOS calling me in.

      Since my last post I looked over the ESA50 form which I had sent back and some of the information that I sent with it and that information SHOULD of meant that I was placed into the Support Group and that they clearly didn't read the additional information I had included or contacted my Doctor to confirm that.
      I found some information on another forum about Support Group Descriptors, think I may have also seen them on here but can't remember but looking through them there are a few straight out that I meet if they had just read all the information I put in the form.

      I can now say I have decided to Appeal, they have picked on the wrong person at the wrong time, they really should have done this before June when I didn't have any fight in me and would of just accepted it, but luckily at the moment I have so much fight in me I could get in the ring with David Haye's and give him a good beating
      Going to call Doctors Surgery tomorrow and see if I can get an appointment before and on top of Thursday's one.
      Also found out the details of my local MP so will be getting in contact with him don't know if he will help or do anything but worth a shot.

      Thanks for the replies so far, they have been very supportive and helpful.

    10. #10
      Senior Member dib4uk's Avatar
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      Dont fret about it, ive been in the WRAG group for about two years, they cant time limit health problems no matter what they say.
      Thanks frankiestine gave thanks for this post

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