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ESA Support Group

Discussion in 'Finances, Work, and Disability' started by Wonko, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member

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    Just got upgraded (?) from WRAG to support group, after failing reconsideration in November. Didnt have to go to appeal. No idea what thats about but not complaining!!

    So anyone in same position dont give up.

    Now just got to sort out DLA.
  2. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Pleased to hear you got some good news wonko - I'm moving from IB to ESA soon, and am not looking forward to the process.

    I'm currently reapplying for DLA too, but unfortunately I keep getting better. In a bit of a catch-22, the additional money from DLA has made managing my fatigue a lot easier and allowed some real improvements... so I think that I may now be inelligable. It was nice while it lasted though, and has given me more time to read up on CFS research and realise how dishonest a lot of the early advice I was given was, so I think that I'm in a better position to manage being poor and ill this time around.

    Good luck with your DLA, and the support group.

    PS: This is probably a stupid question, but was there anything useful about your WRAG meetings? From what I've seen of the DWP, I'm dreading them.
  3. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member

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    I only had 1 Esther, and that was a complete waste of time, they basically tried to get me to volenteer for the work programme for 20 minutes and then gave up saying they would contact me again in the new year to see if I had reconsidered. Of course they knew I was fit for work because the meeting took place upstairs in a building with no evident lifts.
  4. Bob

    Bob

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    Pleased to hear the good news for you Wonko.

    Does anyone know what the current rates are for the two different ESA groups?
  5. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member

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    Not sure if this is helpful as I was "transitionally" protected on transfer from IB to ESA WRAG but I was getting 96.35 a week in WRAG and am now getting 113.90 a week in SG.

    I would imagine these rates would be accurate for most people, only new claimants would get less as they wouldnt have transitional protection.
  6. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    thanks for the details wonko. I hope you enjoy your extra 20 a week - I know what a big difference that can make to life.
    Wonko likes this.
  7. Bob

    Bob

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    Thanks Wonko, yes that's very helpful, thank you.
  8. oceanblue

    oceanblue Senior Member

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    Thanks Wonko, and it's encouraging to hear some people with ME do get in the support group. I've finally had the letter today confirming I am about to be assessed for ESA. The main problem for me is that while I can't manage stairs etc the core reason I can't work is mental fatigue - and there are no points available for mental fatigue (also no jobs available for those with severe mental fatigue). Not managing stairs doesn't score any points either; I get the impression that if you can sit upright in a chair for half an hour (doing nothing) you count as employable.
  9. Bob

    Bob

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    Hi oceanblue,

    Make sure you get advice from the major ME organisations... They all have booklets and helplines to help with ESA forms.
    Something to remember when filling in these forms is that you should only say what you can do repeatedly, reliably and safely, otherwise you are considered unable to do that activity. And that's the official & legal position.
    So, for example, my understanding is that if you can sit upright in a chair for half an hour, but you can only do that once a day, then it doesn't count and you shouldn't say you can do it.

    Bob
    justy likes this.
  10. snowathlete

    snowathlete

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    That's good because from next month they are starting to kick people off ESA who are in the wrag group. I just went to the parliamentary ombudsman with my complaint as they didn't put me in the support group 18 months ago when I had my medical. This despite a more senior doctor saying I couldn't doo any work whatsoever.
    The govt don't give a damn about us. Or anyone else for that matter. So it's great you are in the support group, as you get some better protection from all the new none sense.
  11. oceanblue

    oceanblue Senior Member

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    Thanks, Bob, I'm in the process of doing that, and there's certainly going to be a lot of reading!
  12. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I'm just going through ESA, and have been pretty lazy with it. My contempt for them makes it difficult to engage with the process in the way which would be most beneficial for me.

    edit: looking back - this post seems bleaker than I'd intended. It's all meant with a joyous sense of humour of course... we need to be able to enjoy these DWP shenanigans...

    I have of course used the ME Associations guide, and been in touch with a local disability charity for advice - I've just not done much else to read up on things, or construct my own answers, so feel unusually passive. Normally when filling this forms in I've got a much firmer idea of what the criteria is, and why I think that I fulfil it. With ESA it all seems so arbitrary for conditions like CFS that I've ended up just being swept along by a process I have no respect for, but that has profound implications for my life.

    Actually, that is just quite bleak, isn't it?
  13. oceanblue

    oceanblue Senior Member

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    I similarly feel a sense of learned helplessness. As you say, it all seems so abritrary and they have almost total discretion so it can feel we have little influence. I think the best I can hope for is 12 months in the WRAG group, then the chop. But that would an astonishing result. Good luck with yours
  14. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    No, no, no. Don't you realise how empowering and good for your self-esteem the reformed disability benefits system is? Our top biopsychosocial experts have assured us that this is the affect it will have.
  15. oceanblue

    oceanblue Senior Member

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    ! You see how much I need their help.
  16. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    Imlosing my ESA soon. after 3 years in the WRAG. I didnt appeal for the support group as i didnt think i met the criteria at the time. Since then i have succesfully claimed DLA and get higher rate mobility and medium rate care. I imagine this could be enough to get me in the support group if i apply/appeal? but on the other hand, like Esther i am improving and will probably have to give up some of my DLA, if the improvements continue (which is good of course, but leaves me unable to work still and poorer but feeling slightly better)
    One of my problems is that i have an unusual type of reactive agoraphobia - basically due to feeling ill all the time i often panic if i go out alone as i feel so out of it it freaks me out. Also sometimes cant drive home as feel to ill and then panic. Consequently i havemt gone out alone for 3 years. They wont give me any help with this, but still expect me to be able to go out to work.

    Just wondering if anyone knows what the situation is with applying to go in the support group once you have already been in the WRAG group for a few years. Also do i have to wait until iu lose my ESA or appeal now? On what grounds have people managed to get into the Support group on? How sick do we have to be?
    I can do quite a lot more at home now with cooking, housework etc, but i can rest whenever i need to (lie down) and i often have weeks when i go right back to being bed boiund almost. If i added in working too i would go right over the top of my abilities.
    All the best, Justy.
  17. Bob

    Bob

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  18. oceanblue

    oceanblue Senior Member

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    I just called them today on a separate benefits issue. They were very knowledgable and very helpful.
  19. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member

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    People do need to take this seriously and put in as good an application as possible, as pwME need to be in the support group. Keep copies of everything as it's likely you will need to appeal to get this and to put it bluntly the DWP cant be trusted - in fact not trusting them should be your default position, tey are not their to help you, they are there to refuse help unless you can persuade them that they would lose at appeal.

    If you are put in the WRAG then six months before your scheduled reassessment you can be transfered to the work programme, and unlike people on JSA you can be sanctioned if you fail to complete placements successfully. If in the WRAG all it takes is for your advisor to be a git and your screwed, so really try for the support group.
  20. oceanblue

    oceanblue Senior Member

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