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Scared of new ESA

A

Amor's_Tears

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Nov 4, 2008
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Location
Cambridge, UK
I don't know whether anyone knows much about ESA (Employment Support Allowance) which has now come into force.

I am on Incapacity Benefit at the moment and all I know is that at some point in the near future they are going to move me and everyone else on IB over to ESA.

I've heard this will involve up to six work-focused interviews. I have no idea what sorts of questions they will ask but I feel ill even thinking about it. I don't even feel up to going to these interviews let alone getting a paid job.

Any suggestions, hints, etc would be most welcome. I've been worried about it for some time.
 
A

Amor's_Tears

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Thanks for your reply Libra1. That looks like a good website.

Robert :)
 
L

lisajones

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Dec 6, 2008
Messages
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I don't like this new system. I don't think it is thought out properly and will be very hard on people with schizophrenia.

I am supporting the Compass campaign to ask the government to rethink the ESA and how it works. The campaign is getting lots of support so have a look and see if you want to add your name to it.

http://www.compassonline.org.uk/campaigns/campaign.asp?n=3451
 
A

Amor's_Tears

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Cambridge, UK
Hello Lisa,

Thanks for your reply. I came across the Compass campaign a few days ago actually, but haven't added my name yet. I think I might do so.

Robert :)
 
D

Dollit

Guest
I've talked this over with my consultant and he has said that no one with serious mental health problems should be considered for the move from one benefit to the other. I'm quite high functioning and do some voluntary work but it is well catalogued that once I go beyond 6 hours a week my home life disintegrates, I forget to feed myself, I don't look after the cats very well and it's all down hill. It's important to rally support from you medical team if you have to face this as not everyone will or should have to face this.
 
R

ramboghettouk

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Looking on the bright side, theres all these people on benefits who look down on me and patronise me, if they're so cool, i look forward to the benefit lot finding out and giving them benefits accordingly

Unfortunately i suspect it'll be business as usual with them patronising me whilst getting a higher rate
 
L

lisajones

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Messages
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I've talked this over with my consultant and he has said that no one with serious mental health problems should be considered for the move from one benefit to the other. I'm quite high functioning and do some voluntary work but it is well catalogued that once I go beyond 6 hours a week my home life disintegrates, I forget to feed myself, I don't look after the cats very well and it's all down hill. It's important to rally support from you medical team if you have to face this as not everyone will or should have to face this.
Thanks so much for that Dollit. It's really helped us. My son has schizophrenia and he does six hours a week work which is right for him. He works for a family friend who is very understanding. He has been worried that if he tries to keep this work they will get over enthusiastic and put him on the 'conditionality benefit' and start making him try to work more and he can't cope with more.

We'll definitely take your advice and get the psychiatrist to support him. I couldn't quite see how he could make the case for doing a little work but not being pushed to do more but that's the reality of his life and now I see how you made the case I'll encourage him to just stick to it and tell them that that is how life is for him.

But it doesn't change my mind that these changes are wrong. They are too stressful and stress is the last think people with mental health issues need. All the decisions are in the hands of the officials and that makes it stressful. I hope the Compass campaign continues to grow in strength and everyone joins together and takes the government on on this and gets some big changes. I hope Rethink will be active in this. If you want to support - probably not for everyone - sign the Compass statement and get all your friends to sign too. Give comments and explain to them what the reality of mental health issues is really like. Time mental health came out in to the light.
 
R

ramboghettouk

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I've talked this over with my consultant and he has said that no one with serious mental health problems should be considered for the move from one benefit to the other.

From what i gather people with serious mental health problems have been taken from one benefit and put on esa, i was signing prescriptions as on income support i'm now signing the esa box, either that or pay for prescriptions

Rumour is income support will disapear
 
L

lisajones

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Messages
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I've talked this over with my consultant and he has said that no one with serious mental health problems should be considered for the move from one benefit to the other.

From what i gather people with serious mental health problems have been taken from one benefit and put on esa, i was signing prescriptions as on income support i'm now signing the esa box, either that or pay for prescriptions

Rumour is income support will disapear
As far as I can see everyone will go over to ESA. New applicants go straight on to it but existing claimants won't be moved until 2010. However if you fill in a form to make some changes to your benefit in th emean time you get moved now.

This is the problem my son is having because his year of permitted work ends in March and he wants to keep working his six hours for another year and if he goes along and asks for this in March he may get moved over to ESA in March.

There is a very good flow chart on the rethink site in the ESA fact sheet that shows you how it will work. You are right that most people with schizophrenia will probably qualify to go the nice 'support' route and not be subjected to 'conditionality'. 'Conditionality' is where they use sticks and carrots to make you do things to get in to work. I think the tests (on the disability alliance site) are really silly and all dressed up with tick boxes and scores to look scientific but for mental health it is really a subjective judgement made to look scientific.

I expect my son could turn up and say how bad he is on bad days and pass to go on 'support'. What he is worried about it that there is no facility on the nice 'support' route for permitted work and if he starts talking about keeping his six hours work he will get pushed down the nasty 'conditionality' route and bullied.

I don't think most people need to worry. It's just people like my son and Dorrit who want to do six hours who may fall between the nice and nasty categories and get pushed over.

But from what I have seen most people will want to go in the 'support' category but still want to benefit from all the back to work help and initiatives in a voluntary way without getting sucked over to the 'conditionality' group.

I think we should approach Rethink and ask them to negotiate terms and conditions for people with serious mental health problems that are designed properly for them instead of shoe horning them into this very primitive unthought out system where you get divided in to the two groups.
 
L

lisajones

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There is a short paragraph under Support Group which may help

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/esa/key-facts.asp
Thanx

Work-focused interviews
Most people claiming Employment and Support Allowance will be expected to take appropriate steps to help prepare for work, including attending a series of work-focused interviews with a personal adviser.

Support Group
Under Employment and Support Allowance, if people have an illness or disability that is too severe to undertake any form of work-related activity, they will get increased financial support and will not be expected to prepare for a return to work.


I think that sums up my son's dilemma. He is managing six hours of simple work with an understanding family friend and that is as much as he can do.

So he falls right through the middle.
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
Thanx

Work-focused interviews
Most people claiming Employment and Support Allowance will be expected to take appropriate steps to help prepare for work, including attending a series of work-focused interviews with a personal adviser.

Support Group
Under Employment and Support Allowance, if people have an illness or disability that is too severe to undertake any form of work-related activity, they will get increased financial support and will not be expected to prepare for a return to work.


I think that sums up my son's dilemma. He is managing six hours of simple work with an understanding family friend and that is as much as he can do.

So he falls right through the middle.
I have been worried & anxious about all this change within the benefit system. Things have a very fine balance in my life. I have a history of 20 years of severe mental illness. I have had very little orthodox support. Over the past 7 years I have been living alone & independently. I have seen a psychiatrist earlier this year who extolled the virtues of the therapeutic value of work - & he told me that people couldn't recover properly unless they were in work! I have been seeing a psychologist recently & they have gone on at me a lot about pursing a path which leads into work.

This is all very well, but it's been over 10 years since I have worked. I am put in another catch 22, as your son is Lisa. I don't have the support I need, I have never had the support I need. On the one hand; I have a long term dream/goal of being financially self supporting, but getting there would be very long term; & full of some very difficult challenges. On the other hand, if I play ball & actively look at a route into work - then my benefits will be reduced & jeopardised; & I'll be forced into certain activities. If I play the "sickness" card - then I'm suck in the same position with virtually no support. That's if they decide to leave me alone.

Most of my energies are focused on recovery & maintaining a life in which I have to cope on a daily basis. From the perspective of seeking work; of which I have no idea how I would manage, as even now I often feel exhausted & stressed with what I do have to cope with. How would I pay the bills? I live in a modest flat - the rent is £530 PM, then there's council tax, bills, food, travel expenses. I'm not going to be able to find a job that pays it all; let alone be able to get done everything that needs to be done, while being in full time work. It would end in severe illness - as has every job I have had in the past. After every period of employment I have ended up sectioned.

The government should be focusing on proper support for the mentally ill & genuine therapeutic assistance, affordable housing, & a whole gamut of measures to improve the lives of societies most unfortunate. This entire benefit change is solely motivated by politics - there is nothing about it to address the real issues. It will not help those that need help the most. It is quite simply an utterly ridiculous policy.

We are not all blessed with a good MH team; in fact the majority don't have the support they need.

The truth of the matter is - that a lot of people will be forced into a lot of activities that they do not wish to do, & the whole exercise is going to be counter productive to a whole range of people; especially the mentally ill.

All of this is yet another measure of control - that widens the gap yet further of those with money & power - to those with nothing.
 
L

lisajones

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Dec 6, 2008
Messages
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I'm surprised to be finding other people caught in the same trap between the two categories being offered. I thought my son was just a particular case but I'm begining to see that he isn't. Are there any more people who will find this change difficult?

I think we should collect up the responses from as many people as possible and then ask Rethink to make representations on behalf of people with mental health issues to the government to make changes to this system that will help and address the problems of service users through this.
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
I'm surprised to be finding other people caught in the same trap between the two categories being offered. I thought my son was just a particular case but I'm begining to see that he isn't. Are there any more people who will find this change difficult?

I think we should collect up the responses from as many people as possible and then ask Rethink to make representations on behalf of people with mental health issues to the government to make changes to this system that will help and address the problems of service users through this.
Your welcome to include any of my posts on the subject.
 
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