Sunday, 19 August 2012

Positive Experiences of "Back to Work Help" under ESA?

A while ago, I ran a consultation on this blog about what would really help sick and disabled people to work, what kind of work they could do and when and how they could really be supported to contribute in different ways.

In the whole time I've been writing, no-one has ever commented on a successful experience of "Back to Work Support" following placement in the Work Related Activity Group of ESA.

Back to Work providers get up to 14k for "helping someone" with a long term chronic illness or disability to find suitable work that they can manage.

Surely, someone, somewhere, has had a good experience? The responses to the consultation showed that we definitely want to work - although many make the point that some simply will not be capable of any work, there was also a sense that losing a career was the hardest thing many ever had to do. We would dearly love to work in some way again if work were only tailored to fit around our needs.

With this eagerness to work and such vast sums available to facilitate it, someone must have received support that made a difference? Surely there are people - the Government assessed nearly 800,000 people last year - who can give positive accounts of "help and support into work?

If you can, please leave your story below. The work consultation got well over 200 responses - if you have experience of "Back to Work Support" please do share it below, and perhaps we can start to build up a picture of what really happens once you go into the WRAG


  1. Not recent, but my group included a couple of people who when into work. It didn't last.

    The problem was that most of us weren't anywhere near ready, and the support wasn't enough.
    The WRAG group is designed for people who just need a little support, and because the WCA underestimates disabilities it doesn't work. Pushing people into work made life more difficult for several of us.

    1. My name is Frank Morrison, my family and i live in NY USA.It was after seven years i got to discover that my wife was unfaithful to me.I didn't know what was going on at first but as she got deep in the affair with her new lover, i felt that our marriage was on the rocks.I notice that she no longer light up when i touch her or kiss her in her neck and her chest cos she really liked it when i did that, she also usually get naked in front of me but when she started seeing that guy she stopped it.I remember asking her if i have done anything that makes her feel irritated when i am around her then she gives silly excuses that she has been feeling stressed up and that she need space for a while.I know when you are been asked for space its usually because there is something fishy is going on.I hired a private investigator to help find out what was going on.And in a week time he brought me prove that my wife that i have lived with for seven straight year is cheating on me with her high school lover.I had picture of her walking out a of a restaurant with him and many other photo of them kissing in public like she will never be caught by someone that knows she is my wife.I asked myself, even when we had a daughter together she could this to me.That same night i showed her the pictures that i got from my private investigator.She didn't look at it before saying, that she is seeing someone and she know that i just found out about it.Then she said that she is in love with him.At that moment, i didn't know if to kill myself or to kill her but the button line is that if i was going to kill anyone it was going to be me cos i was so much in love with her to even think of thinking to hurt her.As time when on she asked for a divorce and got it and even got custody of our daughter and i was all alone by myself.For a year i tried all i could to get her back with the help of my seven year old daughter.Even at that all effect was in vain, i used the help of her friend but turned out all bad.I know most people don't believe in spell casting but believe me this was my last option and the result i most say was impressive.And i know it difficult to believe but A SPELL CASTER Dr jaja really made my life much better cos he gave me my family back.He didn't ask me to pay for what he did for me all i was to do, was to provide the materials for the spell and believe that he had the power to help me.Like he said, he was going to do something that will make her reset her love and affection for me just as it has always been.My wife told me she woke up and realized that she should have never left me that i am all she needs.To make thing clear, her life with her high school lover was great before Dr jaja casted the spell they had no disagreement on anything.The guy said it himself that why she broke up with him is unexplainable.Only Dr jaja can do such a thing contact him to solve your problem with his email; CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS

  2. Carrying a fluctuating condition the biggest barrer is maintaining employment for any length of time. Been through numerous employments each one walked out of and faced sanctions of benefits every time. On the balance was actually lossing monies over the year due to trying to get employment gain employment walk out of employment face sanctions this went on for 20 years and simply couldn't be sustainable due to ever increasing debts and living in a state of consistant poverty. The yearly income of this type of routine was proving to be that of living in a consistant factor of being on half the benefits income. For what trying.

  3. once you go into the WRAG they let you get comfortable on ESA then they call you into the jobcentre for a work focused interview. you are assigned someone to look after you're case and help you get back into work , this can include skill building classes or other types of support. not sure that will help but that's as far as i have got with the WRAG

    1. WHAT WORK????

      Official unemployed 2.5 million
      Official vacancies 400,000

      WHAT WORK??????

    2. no need for the attack i was just posting the feedback Sue requested , if she had asked for opinions of the WRAG and ESA she wold have got something completely different.

    3. it's not an attack

      it's a 24 foot by 16 foot illuminated banner

    4. right well i stand corrected. just wouldn't want you thinking i am a Tory supporter

  4. After I finally had my slipped disc diagnosed and treated, I went into the WRAG. My adviser was actually quite helpful, when through the motions of finding me a job, but he recognised that what I actually needed was to get back to running my business. To this end, they paid for some materials for me, advertised my services and - shock horror - found me some clients!

    Needless to say, they lost the contract to provide support services soon after...

  5. I just can't see these "providers" as anything other than profit skimmers. There *is* help for disabled workers. I know a girl who's post-heart transplant, is in a wheelchair, has regular seizures and is doubly incontinent. She works as a dispensing optician for a supermarket chain. Access To Work pays for a taxi to get there and various workspace alterations. It's a good situation. But A4E and the like would never have got this woman this job. She already had it and the welfare system stepped in (in combination with a willing employer) to keep her in it as her health deteriorated.

    Exchequer money would be far better spent directly liaising with large employers with a desire to be ethical (and we do have them - John Lewis, the Co-op, etc) to establish special employment programs with government subsidies so that disabled people had confidence in the jobs they were applying for and the extra cost of employing disabled people didn't fall entirely on the employer.

    The obvious things for these back to work providers to do is to find disabled friendly employers. They don't seem to do that. Or to collate work-from-home opportunities for those with anxiety/agoraphobic/etc disorders. There are plenty of them (I know, I've been working them for the last ten years from choice and earning a good wage). They don't seem to do that.

    Government is approaching this from entirely the wrong end. The companies they use are incompetent and ineffective.


    1. I would like to know more about work from home opportunites, given that I am agoraphobic, suffer with anxiety and fibromyalgia. This severely limits my working day

    2. I have many physical Disabilities Moggy, and I also have prostate cancer, but the thing that Disables me most, yet gets the least attention is agoraphobia. I am an agoraphobic within an agoraphobic, I can't even go to different rooms in my home. I have been in one room now for ten years.

      If I am put into this wrag group, I would like to know about working from home opportunities. I'm glad you brought up this point.

    3. I work from home as I am self employed; I paint, write, sell prints, make other odds and sods and crafts. Granted I'm not sure how long I can continue to do this with changes to tax rules but I have also worked as a transcriptionist - you need very good listening skills and good typing speed, but it can be done.

      Thing is work from home is something you really need to be a self-starter about - stuffing envelopes, etc is all scam stuff. Doing anything freelance means you have to hunt around for days for a job, and know your market enough to be able to bid on jobs (and get undercut a lot). Most of all, working at home is just that: work. Often very hard work. You have to keep track of accounts, file tax forms, explain yourselves to tax offices and to neighbours who think you're free to do whatever at all hours of the day.

      If you have an interest - any interest, really - think about how to develop that for a business. It will take time, and there sadly isn't much support anymore from things like Access To Work, etc, but it can be done.

    4. Here are some choices:|utmccn=%28organic%29|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=%28not%20provided%29&__utmv=-&__utmk=42761893

    5. I don't know how to thank you enough for your work Dr obodo. My Ex is back and giving me all the attention. It might have just been another spell for you but for me it changed my Dr @
      cell +2348155425481

  6. Having supported (Vol) disabled peole at an org that i wont name i was told when phoning an employer not to mention who we are, as it greatly reduces the chances of securing possible interview.

  7. Been on Incapacity since 1997, at every medical I've pointed out the failure of the NHS to treat me properly and suggested that the DWP put pressure on the NHS to treat me. The response is always it's not our job to do that, in the meantime I asked time and again to see a specialist. Trying to manage the pain and discomfort I came across a book called "When pain won't go away" and upon reading it I realised I had all the symptoms of Fibromyalgia, armed with this knowledge I went to my GP who still refused to send me to a specialist, I took a chance and spent my own money to see a specialist who had only examined my upper torso for tender points and said he was certain I had the condition but had to wait for X-Rays to rule it out. The X-Rays confirmed my hips were not suffering from Arthritis etc. so this confirmed the Fibromyalgia, when I returned to my GP he refused to accept the diagnosis but agreed to prescibed tablets recommended to me.

    Whilst suffering from all this pain and discomfort I started to realise how difficult some tasks can be as I started to struggle with things I had take for granted, my hands became weaker and painful giving me an understanding of the pain chronic conditions can cause.

    One solution I came up with called The Plugster® has been patent granted and has been given to thousands of sick, disabled and elderly in the UK, my intention was to make something positive from a negative situation and prove I still had something to offer potential employers. In the last seven years I've created work for over a dozen UK businesses and some wanted to employ me, the problem was the Jobcentre offered little in the way of support to either me or the businesses interested in working with me.

    Despite the lack of help I have developed other products and have many others on the drawing board, with help I could be creating work for others but the Governments Workfare doesn't offer any flexibility.

    I expect the Government will force me into a position of vulnerability this year and pay private companies for the dirty work they carry out, with help and support I could be creating work for others and opportunities for myself but the Governments stick approach will aggravate my condition and cause me suffering that could make my condition considerably worse.

    1. If I may, there are "venture capital angels" out there you may want to approach? I know of a few venture capitalists who work in industries with patent and invention (I used to work as an Intellectual Property Pa/Paralegal) so maybe it would be a thought for you? It does mean needing to get help with writing grants but there are various groups for that as well - I'm actually considering getting a proposal together myself for the next few years on an art project I have in mind. It means digging around but there are groups out there who may be able to help you get your inventions on the ground. I'll do some digging if you like.

    2. Hi Ian,
      I too have been begging for help from the NHS for many years, and also pointed this out at IB50 interviews like you. Begging for help to be made better only gets you branded a hypochondriac and this only adds insult to injury, which, sadly, is a position some GPs actually seem to be proud of.
      I have over the years written a number of times to influential people asking why there have been so many schemes to intimidate the sick and force them out of claiming benefit, yet there has never been one campaign to get people back to work by helping them to get better. What is needed is somewhere for GPs to send difficult patients to, where there is a fully equipped multidisciplinary team of consultants and diagnosticians, whose explicit job is to get to the bottom of what is really wrong with each patient, and if possible, come up with a strategy to get them back to work by getting them back to health.

      I don't know how well it actually works but the US NIH actually has what seems to be what I'm suggesting, in its Undiagnosed Diseases Program: . I can only think that governments and the NHS have never thought to set up such centres, because they really do like to traduce and torture, and find scapegoats to keep the gutter press happy.

    3. Excellent idea, I actually had a similar idea about a multidisciplinary team being needed a while back when I was treated like a hypochondriac for a few years. Turned out I had a rare endocrine disorder. The doctors I saw over the years were not so keen to get to the bottom of the mysterious symptoms but nearly all tried to fob me off with antidepressants (which I declined). Thankfully after getting the correct treatment I now manage a part time job which I found myself without the 'help' of my adviser, I will ignore any further contact with them and will not be telling them where I work, they are NOT getting a 14K payout from the taxpayer if I can help it.

    4. I think it's a great idea.

      Could either of you do a little research? Find out more about the US version maybe - any costs would be good, but even better, would be projected cost savings from treating people and in some cases, finding solutions that bring people back to health and so, back to work.

      A little one page briefing might come in very useful for a project I'm working on.

      There guys - anyone who's said "what can I do" you could do that?

    5. Oooh. It is on t'interweb. So many ways in which, if this sh1t had to happen to us, it is good that it is happening in the era of the internet.

      (Alas, all this sh!t didn't *have* to happen to us.)

    6. we are indeed lucky otherwise we as a group of people the sick and disabled would have been wiped out completely make no mistake about it
      in years to come historians will talk about how we nearly came to to the edge of EDGE of Existence

      it so nearly happened in Germany during the war and am sure and you can ask any elderly German person it would have happened here

  8. I've only once been asked to attend a work focused interview and the advisor after 10 minutes said there was no way I was fit for work! That was almost 3 year ago and despite being in WRAG since then (and after 2 WCAs) I've never been recalled

  9. The government appear to be using the (entirely imaginary) economic crisis as an excuse to pass public money to their business friends, no doubt with an eye to later reward. As I've been saying for years now, this is a matter the courts should be sorting out.

  10. 'Karen Hackett ‏@karen_hackett
    My friend who was cremated y/day has been sent her p45 & told she is not sick enough 4 esa & to look 4 work.'

    just posted on Twitter, this barbarism has to stop...

  11. Hi.

    I have a string of disabilities most of which make it impossible to hold or do a job as one is that i can collapse at a moments notice with only a few seconds warning due to NEAD. this renders me immovable for up to an hour. I keep being summoned back to the jc every 2 months and all she asks is "do you feel up to going back to work yet?" i say no, she makes an appointment for 2 months time, even offers me to have the app over the phone as im too disabled to make it into the town! And they wont move me off WRAG. So if you are looking for good exp, all the best hon! Xx

  12. Of course there will be positive stories of the WRAG process, not all DWP staff are monsters, not even all ATOS staff.But these will be a minority and shouldn't be used as indicators of the overall situation, which of course is awful. Not that i think this blog would do that...

  13. It wouldn't matter how much "help" or adaptations I got, I would not be able to work, even from home.

    People must remember the term "disabled" is used by the DWP to cover any condition after a certain period of being unable to work.It does not just mean the obvious things people can see like being in a wheelchair of missing a limb.

    I have severe M.E and Fibromyalgia. My full time job is trying to stay alive. Like me, 25% of M.E sufferers are housebound or bedbound. Any exertion, mental or physical beyond a baseline will lay you out for days,weeks or even months. Brain function goes to the point you can't remember what day it is or your own phone number.

    I am due to have a medical shortly. I expect to be found fit cos when I am up I can pick up a pint of milk and touch my head. I won't be able to get to the Jobcentre never mind work activity. I have nowhere else to go and no other source of income.

    It won't "force" me into being able to get a job. It means I will be left penniless and lose my home. Being this ill sleeping in a tent on the streets is not an option. I've already looked into Dignitas. Alright if you've got £10,000 to spare and someone to get you there.

    And to all those who will inevitably say if you can type on a messageboard, you can obviously work - I am in my pyjamas, can't remember when I last had a bath, my hair is filthy but no energy or pain reserves to wash it. Pain is bad but no medication helps that much. I am waiting for carers to bring my lunch and I will be in bed unable to function for the rest of the day. If I am lucky I might be able to tolerate watching some TV in bed after a long sleep. Or not, if the light and noise is too much to cope with.

    If my brain and my body readily decide not to function at all,at a moments notice, no aids adaptations or help from another person will make the slightest difference. In fact having other people around only makes things worse. I have to crawl into a dark, warm quiet room and sleep or lie still because I don't even have the energy to turn over in bed.

    Tell me where is the box in the WCA for that when I don't look disabled? How do I explain that to an Atos doctor who doesn't care?

    Constant reassessment, the stress and the anxiety only makes things worse, so that destroys any hope of making even small improvements.I am staring down the barrel of a gun with an Atos/DWP logo on it.

    1. I know how you feel, I am the same please see my post later on , and thanks from me to the blogger

    2. I am in exactly the same position - ME for 10 years (probably longer, but usual story, diagnosis came after years of suffering). I am now claiming a small NHS pension (just turned 60), and have been told I am now fit for work! I am to have my assessment at some point. AT some point, someone will get as far as being hired, then told by an Occ Health person that they are not fit to work, which will conflict with what the govt are saying. And yet, we are powerless to challenge them. This is fascism. It seems that legally, the govt cannot use gas chambers and work houses to get rid of sick people, so this is what they are doing. What next? Mandatory euthanasia? One wonders how much it will cost them for all the social problems created by their false-economy cuts. I hate them. The only way I could go back to work would be with strong opiate-strength painkillers, which in themselves create a situation where going to work regularly would become non-sustainable. Again, I hate them. I do not know what I am going to do. The worry is killing me. And yet, the govt, using very subtle tactics via median, do nothing to dispel the image of the "rich benefit cheat riding the gravy train".

  14. Fantastic post, the fact you have considered going to Dignitas, (as have many others) is a blood red stain on the country, its governance and yes, to a degree its people who tolerate it. They wouldn't in say Spain or France: look at the DPAC protests next week, hardy any interest from the wider activist community, yet these are people who demonstrate at the drop of a hat(Uk uncut are with them though)

    1. i was offered a place for free as they were staggered that i was still alive as for over 30 years I've been a victim of the DWP and all the stress they have caused me over the years

      As i have always said I'm lucky i have two carers plus Dignitas to fall back on at any time so that is my gambit and will use it when the time is right to bring about my life story

  15. I have no personal experience of ESA - I am on DLA though.

    My son in law, an epileptic, didn't get any support initially,
    but after some strong objections by a JSA advisor, he was put in WRAG. Which is good. But it took weeks.

    At one point the families (they have a 2 year old) benefits were stopped, leaving without any income. Why? Even the Jobcentre doesn't know. They were asked by the call centre "Don't you have friends and family to support you?"

    No bloomin' choice had they? Eventually it was reinstated with back pay without appealing or an explanation. Brown envelope letter just explaining changes in benefit, y'know "from so-and-so date you will be getting, after that..."

    Shortly afterwards, he was into WRAG. Which seems to mean turn up, sign on, see you next time. This is a bloke who wants to, needs to work.

  16. Nothing yet, but then I'm constantly back and forth between ESA and JSA ('too disabled' for JSA but not 'disabled enough' for ESA - another fault in the system)...I had some back to work support in the form of a careers advisor, as I can't return to my old line of work, however all she did was give me a quiz where it turned out I would be well suited for a wide range of jobs from shop worker to doctor or lawyer - this was not helpful in the least. 4 1/2 years out of work now, I'm DESPERATE for work, but until I get support to find work suitable (right now I don't even know what work I could do), and how to apply with no employer references etc...I'm stuck.

    There are failings right across the board, it's not just employment/disability benefits, back-to-work supporters (who I've found to be ignorant, intolerant and outright abusive!), but also the whole work culture in this country and attitudes towards the sick and disabled. Not sure how to fix ALL that.

  17. A few years back I spent a few months visiting and being visited by and taken to a job interview by a delightful young woman. She helped me with my confidence as she was so lovely but her attempts at finding me suitable failed. However because I was signed up with them [the controversial A4e - Action for Employment], I received a voucher [£25 M&S I think] when I found myself work. It only lasted a few months [part time and term time only] and I've not been able to work since. However my husband has just become self employed after a year unemployed and hopeless and my [adult] son and I are hoping to follow suit. I'm looking at making crafty stuff and selling on ebay, so it won't be much of an income but I believe it will make me feel better about myself. Similarly with my son, he is going to help his Dad and me and sell on ebay too. So we shall see. My husband did get help from advisers at the jobcentre about going self employed and was waiting for a place on a training scheme and also waiting to see if he could get some financial help to set up but due to a cock up, he missed signing on one week [he'd had so many appointments with different people and was told if he went to some of them he wouldn't have to sign on but someone either told him wrong or he misheard] anyway, his benefits were stopped. He didn't actually know this as his signing off date and the date of the letter were the same but he would have been in a right mess if he hadn't decided to go self employed and had the necessary skills to do so.

  18. I just got the dreaded brown envelope informing me to expect a phone call for the start of the swap from incapacity benefit to esa process. I have physical and mental health problems which aren't always seen and which i downplay frequently. I wonder how many thousands are expected to battle through the fear and paranoia and answer a call from a strange number. And thats only step 1 lol. I'm not looking forward to it but have learnt a lot from blogs such as this to know to ask for help from the local welfare benefit guys who so kindly helped with the dla forms. I will let you know if it is a positive experience.

  19. I think it depends on the person's situation but I can say since joining Pertemps, It's starting to give me confidence again and the person I see is totaly supportive so from my point of view it has been positive but I can't speak for everyone's expereince!

  20. from the point of view of an agarophobic who has great difficulties with coping with people due to other mental health issues, the answer I'd give is, it would help greatly if the job centre would simply allow people with mental health issues to say that need work at home, or/and to work alone - if necessary backed up by a doctors note/medical evidence, and then try to find them these positions without putting any pressure on them to find other positions. Home work jobs and jobs alone definitely exist, but, in the meantime people need an income to live on - these are people might never get over the mental health issues they have so apart from anything else, it would be cheaper to help them get a job which they may be in for long times rather than putting them on sickness benefits while they are unlikley to get over their needs to work alone/at home - waiting for them to get over it, you'd wait for years/forever! Some years ago, I had to go onto sickness benefits and off job seekers allowance very very very reluctantly, because the job centre wouldn't allow me just to look for jobs at home. I know lots of others in the same position. Basically, if they would just trust sick people are telling the truth about what they can or can't do in the world of work ...

  21. I think the situation is disgraceful, the look upon disable people like myself as scroungers, they can live my life
    I have Fibromyalgia, heart disease with angina, OSA , depression (not surprising) deaf in both ears, and I have now developed tremors and spasms

    I am of cours on DLA and have a full time carer , can she come to work with me? forget dignotas there are easier and quicker ways

  22. forgot to say I did not cause this crisis the banks did, so why are we not getting money from them to support the disabled?

  23. Hi Sue - I thought I would comment from an employers perspective. We took on a disabled gentleman through Remploy WRAG scheme. We were keen to give someone the experience of work in a positive environment that was adapted to their needs. We are a charity supporting Carers. Sadly, it was an unmitigated disaster - for us and the employee. It cost us (a small start up CIC) over £1,000. The help we asked for didnt materialise and sadly the training was non-existent for the employee. As a result, because of the productivity we lost, no only has that employee now lost their job, but we have had to close that section of the business. Its a good question - WHERE ARE these millions going? its not coming to the employers NOR the employees, of that I can assure you.


    1. Hi Nessie it is going to people lke ATOS nad the ilks or should I say fatcats, may I ask would you employ someone like me that needs a carer, would an employer fascilitate this?

  24. one other thing one has to remember is that their are legal implications in the hiring of a person who is unfit for work and suffers from certain condition's that can either effect his own health in the journey to and from work and also the effect on other people who work with this person

    Any employer getting it wrong and hiring a sick or disabled person who then goes on to cause a danger either to himself or others and with the employer knowing of the danger will be prosecuted under law

    some illnesses that cross into any type of fainting for example are always a danger to both themselves and those around them and should not be at work their are others with transmittable decease's and these people should also refrain from the work place unless it is a type of work that is not hazardous to others

    the list is long and legal advice should always be sort

  25. Found "fit to work" November 2011. I appealled and the decision was overturned 'in my favour' at end of April 2012. I was placed in the WRAG. It's now nearing the end of August and I've heard nothing from the job centre about any work related interviews or activity. THANK GOD! I'm severely agoraphobic and couldn't possibly attend an interview or work placement without having a meltdown. So far my experience of being moved from Incapacity Benefit to ESA so that (quote DWP) "I'm not excluded from the opportunity of working", is completely pants!

  26. I was switched onto ESA abt 9-10months ago,and placed in WRAG group;on appeal,moved to support group,where I assumed I would stay until I become of pension age in 3yrs time.Now I have what appears to be the same form to fill in again-ESA50 03/11,with letter to say that I "may be asked to come for an(other) assessment".Why are they doing this when there are still so many people who have yet to be switched to ESA?

  27. So how many 14k's have these Back to Work providers had then? And how many of the people who WERE found work still HAVE jobs? There is a huge scam going on here - but the system is so bizarre and complicated nobody understands it well enough to expose it. (Or maybe cares enough.)

    My daughter, being severely disabled from birth, is on Severe Disablement Allowance still, but I will not be too surprised if, given the ridiculous descriptors, some idiot will find her fit for work. I will have to get her to the interview, and answer the questions for her, and it is all so farcical I am almost intrigued as to how it will work.

    I agree that very many disabled people would love to work and if that was the actual object, and there were jobs to be had, a concerted effort by a single organisation to creatively explore possibilities would be wonderful. That isn't what this is about, though, is it?

  28. I still had a job the first time I went on ESA as a result of running out of SSP after 6 months off. The job was kept open for me indefinitely.
    I had Access to work support in place, was allowed to work from home as much as I wanted to and the only thing stopping me returning was my very poor health.

    Before I had even had my medical I was advised I had to give up this job so that I would be free to go on a course for them to find me a job!

    I am curious to this day as to what job they think they could have found which was more suited to a chronically sick and disabled person than the one I had or what purpose was served by giving up a secure job.

    Luckily my health improved enough over the course of the next couple of months for me to return to work. (I became one of those terrible people who "drop their claim before a medical examination")

    I was able to stay in work for a further 18 months before my illness finally progressed past the point of no return. I was put in the support group though so do not have any further experience of their "help".

    1. That just says it all really.

      This system obviously has nothing to do with finding disabled people employment, or weeding out all those millions who are just pretending they are not fit to work.

      Your story is simple proof of what we all know. It is simply about kicking people off benefits, hounding them with constant assessments until they give up and of course the real reason, made obvious by your case, is simply to put money in the hands of Atos and the Work Providers. They get paid to find you a "work placement" and the companies get free labour paid for by the unwitting and ignorant taxpayers, who are regularly encouraged to call for more of the same.Talk about turkeys voting for Christmas. By the time the public wake up to this scam, it will be too late. Public services and the welfare state will not be there for them when they need it and we will be just like America - with even the middle classes sleeping under bridges and one and a half millon children homeless and going to school hungry.

      The real benefit scroungers are these companies ripping off taxpayers and the public should be told, instead of a complicit media.

      It is all about the ideological destruction of the welfare state, just like the NHS.

      There is an interesting article on Think Left which suggests Osbourne is deliberately adopting measures to prevent economic recovery precisely so he can cut services and benefits etc by blaming it on the economic crisis.It states:

      "It seems that the only conclusion that can be drawn, is that George Osborne et al are deliberately misleading the electorate and deliberately wrecking the economy in order to justify lowering wages, lowering benefits, increasing unemployment, increasing household debt, running-down the NHS/state education and dismantling public services. Furthermore, there is a little nest-egg of £31 billion ready to be pulled out as a sweetener for the 2015 General Election."

    2. [QUOTE]There is an interesting article on Think Left which suggests Osbourne is deliberately adopting measures to prevent economic recovery precisely so he can cut services and benefits etc by blaming it on the economic crisis.It states:[/QUOTE]

      I think this is plainly obvious and i cant understand why the governor of the bank of england hasn't told him to his face to butt out of monetary policy's of which he does not understand

      this recession will last for at least another 10 years whatever the government says and it is indeed designed to bring about the destruction of the sick and disabled along with the NHS and anyone can see that this is true but labour still fail to grasp this idea and i dont see them waking up as i to believe that there ideas are the same as the conservatives and that's to kill off the weak and dismantle the NHS over a ten year time frame and to do it in a way that very few will notice

  29. I was put on to the WAG after my last ATOS medical in May 2011. But the process of it all was a shambles!

    After the Work interview at my local JobCentrePlus office, the advisor printed off a Job Activity form, which gave 'some' information about me and I was to give this to the provider.
    (note: on this activity form there were lots of errors including a few which ignored my disability's! As I have Epilepsy, I am banned from driving or doing any driving jobs, for example.. but on the Activity form it stated that I had a full driving licence, and that I was well suited to do delivery work).

    A few day's later I received a letter from the main provider 'JOBFIT REHAB' ( website : ) and also a phonecall from them, saying that they were putting me in touch with a local Work program provider.

    Who are called...


    yes, that's the same TOMORROWS PEOPLE who supplied the #workfare for the Jubilee Pageant in London.

    So I went to the interview at TOMORROWS PEOPLE.

    1st the advisor, asked me to fill in a form, with ALL of my details on it and sign it.
    I refused.

    Why did I refused to sign or fill in any of my details on a form? well.. it wasn't protected.
    This is my DATA, and if it isn't protected, then I won't sign anything - as you don't know who has access to it. This printed out form would have gone in to a folder. And not inputed in to a computer, and I wasn't able to have a copy of it either!

    The advisor asked me again, to fill it in. I declined!

    Next I asked to see their Terms of Conditions as well as what services they provide as a provider. I wasn't allowed to see this, the advisor said that they didn't allow anyone to see this on the Work program.

    The advisor, asked me again to fill in the form with my details. I refused.

    Then the advisor went to get the Manager of TOMORROWS PEOPLE, who came to see me and asked me to fill in their form. I said NO. I then asked her to see if I can read and have a copy of their Terms of Conditions as well as what services they provide as a provider. She said no you cannot see this.

    She (the Manager of TOMORROWS PEOPLE) then next said to me... "I think you better leave.... now!".

    I said "right, I think I better do that..". So I left.

    I didn't return back to them.

    Instead, I went to the nearest Police Station and made a report of Harassment and Indirect Disability Discrimination.

    After this I felt quite sick and angry in the way I was treated by them.

    What do I do now I thought ? So I looked online.

    I wanted to work as Self-Employed, as this is one thing my GP and NHS Consultant said to me that I should look in to this.

    So I did, and looked up online all the info on the HMRC website about being self-employed. Also, from the HMRC website, I looked in to Working Tax Credits, and their on the website it states that as a Disabled person on top of the WTC main element, I could also get the Disabled element of WTC.

    This made me smile :-) and I felt quite happy. So I contacted the HMRC found there was a local office to me, got in touch and went to see them.

    I also signed up on the HMRC website for their training sessions in Self-Employment ( link : ) these are 2 hour training sessions and are really great!

    So since October 2011, I've been self-employed and claim WTC with the Disability Element. I've signed off too.

    (end of part 1)

  30. (part 2)

    But - I had problems with claiming DLA, as the DWP were using medical evidence from my ATOS assessments, and not from my GP or the NHS. This took 4 months to get sorted out, and I didn't have to appeal.

    About the Self-Employment work I do:

    I don't work at home. I co-work or hot-desk at office spaces, as all I need is a desk and a wifi internet connection to do my work. yes, I can also work out from a Starbucks store too (or any cafe with wifi). but you get my point, you become your own boss and employer. Yes it is tough to find work still, but I've found it, by farming out the skills I already have.

    The future - come April 2013:

    But, sad news is how long will I stay self-employed and be recognised as a Disabled person who 'has' to work as self-employed due to health reasons? DLA is being cut and changed into PIP. Working Tax Credits are, well, disappearing and it will become Universal Credits (with it's rules), oh and yes the Disability element on WTC at the moment, well that will go also.. it's being cut.

    To wrap up. The Work Program and being put in to the WRAG on ESA doesn't work, and most of the providers are NOT checked, and your own personal information is NOT protected, as it is, say like a public body, such as The DWP.

    Want to see more about my own experience of it all? Just like Sue Marsh, I also blog about it, and you can find it here:

    ... there, that's some of my story. But the fight against this current government who don't listen to our concerns is not over!

    1. What are the Health and Safety implications of sending people with Epilepsy (and presumably on anti seizure meds and not allowed to drive) to Employers? Not giving an employer/work place provider full information about a person who could be a danger to themselves or others (i.e. support group criteria on ESA). Someone, DWP, ATOS, JCP must be in breach of Health and Safety legislation as a work place assessment either isn't carried out or the 'employers' are unaware of the need to carry one out. Perhaps potential employers need to be informed of this? What do the CBI et al say? (spelling rubbish as am tired)


    2. I have been informed by those on such schemes that the Work Companies do not allow people to put their illness or disability on job application forms. If they do, it is counted as not actively seeking work - SANCTIONED.

      Refusing to disclose an illness etc on a job application form is against the law and can lead to instant dismissal if discovered.

    3. thanks for the replies and comments, I'll look in to contacting the CBI about these issues - in to the Health and Safety legislation being breached by the DWP and Work Programme providers, such as the one that i was 'kind of on' from TOMORROWS PEOPLE .

      Also, this I find interesting too :

      "I have been informed by those on such schemes that the Work Companies do not allow people to put their illness or disability on job application forms. If they do, it is counted as not actively seeking work - SANCTIONED.

      Refusing to disclose an illness etc on a job application form is against the law and can lead to instant dismissal if discovered."

      When I do application forms, I say that I have disability's and state what they are clearly on them - but, you are right, it's these Work Programme providers and their staff who are NOT trained in these areas of law.

      thanks for comments, do add more!

  31. I am on WRAG CESA. I seean advisor in the JCP. Almost up to my year limit and i have been to one interview for a job with the local council but there are no hours that are secure, its just supply cover and you would get a call in the morning for work that day. I was told that it would be ideal because if i was not feeling my best then i would not have to go to work. Essentially i would be able to choose how much and when i worked.
    I was all for it until my other half pointed out i would have a 'non' job. Off the books of the job centre, 'in work' but might only get 2 hours a year.
    How many others are being put into non jobs then? I wasnt able to see that for myself due to my brain injury and how it affects me. My other half said i had been mis led.
    I am now worried for if i get aan offer of the job, if i dont take it will they say i didnt try to work and sanction me? If i do take it then how do i claim the tax credits for a job with no hours regular? Think im royaly screwed.

    1. to get Tax Credits, contact the HMRC.. do read this >

      You have to be able to work 16hrs (or more) a week, but it dosen't matter where you work from, yes it can be at home too, and from bed... you just have to be paid.

      there's a PDF doc to download at:

      and BTW, Disability Living Allowance doesn't count as income when your working tax credits are worked out :-)

      So now you know this, go contact the HMRC about it. But bere in mind that you might have to sign-off esa (like I did).

  32. Hiya, I thought I'd add my comment here about my experiences with being placed in the WRAG for ESA. My problems are mental health issues, including agoraphobia.

    I live in quite a rural location, over 40 miles from the nearest city. You can guess where my nearest Atos assessment centre and Benefits office are... Yup, in the very centre of the city, only on the absolute busiest street in the city. Somewhere I haven't set foot for over 10 years.

    After providing evidence to back up my request for a home visit, Atos decided they had enough to make a decision without seeing me and put me in the WRAG.

    I received a letter from my "advisor", with an appointment at the benefits office a few months later. I contacted them and explained my problems with attending the appointment. They were happy to conduct the interview over the phone and the "advisor" was very pleasant and sympathetic. It was concluded I'm not ready to look for work yet and this will be reviewed after my next WCA. (New ESA501 arrived this month, less than 8 months after the last and only a month after my "interview"!)

    I made a point to ask what type of help was available for future reference. She rattled off a list of agencies that people are being referred to. Then she happened to remember where I live. Turns out, the list of agencies are only accessible in the city. There is NOTHING within 40 miles of where I live. Nothing except the social work departments "Back-to-work" advisor. They, in my neck of the woods, cover an almost 500 square mile area on a part-time basis...

  33. I am (theoretically) in the WRAG. I have asked to be reviewed and changed to the Support group but been refused and I have appealed. In the meantime my contributions based ESA comes to an end in January. I won't get income based because my husband works and has a take home pay of around £240 per week (depending on how many hours he works).

    Thing is that since being changed over from Incapacity to ESA in January 2012 (without being for a medical or any sort) I have only been asked to attend one interview. At that appointment I had my husband with me and got so stressed and upset the woman who was interviewing me just confirmed I was who I was and sent me away saying I would get further appointments. Here we are in November (well nearly December) and I have not participated in one single work related activity because I have not had any invites to attend. The whole thing is a farce.

    1. it's worse then a farce it's Russian roulette being played out with many deaths taking place some we know of but many we don't and never will

  34. I am just scared that losing my benefit will push me over the edge. We barely manage as it is, our rent, council tax and water rates take up over half of hubby's pay and that's before we figure in electric, gas, phone, tele license etc. WE have an 04 plate Fiat Doblo rotting in the drive because we have been unable to put it on the road for 18 months. My mental health illness is stress and anxiety related. To stop the anxiety I have to take medication on an as needed basis but that medication makes me so groggy and spaced out I can hardly keep my eyes open far less work. I have had suicidal thoughts and only thinking of what it would do to my partner is keeping me away from that step. We have loads of debt (who doesnt) and losing £98 per week will just push us over the top. We wil probably have to one of those agencies to make arrangements to pay stuff, a step we have avoided taking. Sorry this is turning into a pity me party .



    Can never forget this date SEPTEMBER 23rd, 2012 this is the date my husband for 4 years told me it was over. my whole life was falling apart until the great spell caster Dr Igodo came to my rescue.

    He cast a spell for me and my husband who had moved in with my best friend returned home after 48 hours and apologized for abandoning i and the kids. we have been living happily since then.

    I made a covenant after my husband came back that i will continue to thank DR IGODO and also testify to his goodness all the days of my life because i am happy today because of him.

    Please i believe if you love your man or woman there is no harm fighting for him or her and also if you want to spend valentine with you ex quickly contact him on and Telephone :+2348169138446.

    I promise you your life will change for Good after an encounter with the great Doctor.
    Good luck.


  36. i am not the only one who have sheared testimony on how Dr Kwale brought my ex back, i met a friend number from england who sheared his own testimony on how Dr Kwale brought his ex back i called him through the number he told same thing that Dr kwale brought his ex back i ask him how many hours does it take before she came back to you he told she came back within 48hours, same time with mine my ex came the same 48hours after Dr kwale told me she will come back in 48hours time, i am giving his contact address out to everyone who need his help to get ex back to email him on or call +2348056141089


  37. First of all i'm gonna start with this.Before you start judging i am lesbian and if you don't want to read my testimony well suit yourself.All my life i have struggled to find a lover but all my effort was usually a waste even when the homosexuality was made legal in the united state.Any ways there was this one person that i fell in love with and she fell right back in love with me but our relation was on the rock cos of her inscecurity.She was always afraid of what the public will think and say about her even when homosexuality has been legalized.We could not hold hand in public or even make out or even walk on together talking and laughing.All the time we when on dates in her house or mostly my house.Our life was so miserable living in a civilized country like united state as a prisoner.Most often she would asked me not to come see her during working break.I mean if our relationship was well analyzed, the result will be that out of 24 hours a day we get to spend only 5 hours together which is very bad for a couple.All i wanted in these life was to be free to live my life not caring about what people think about me if am lesbian a or not but its sad that my lover cared a lot.We were so in love that i could not just break up with her cos of this little problem.I convinced her to go for insecurity therapy but it was a complete waste of time and money cos it wasn't of help at all to the both of us or our relation.I tried all that there is to make sure that the problem of had no effect on our relation but who was i kidding it was tearing us apart and i could not let this happen to me.She broke up with me saying that she want to live a normal life, get married to a man and get pregnant with the man like every other normal people.Like cos i'm a lesbian, am alien.Nothing i said made her change her mind she broke up the relationship.And immediately she started dating some guy and at this point nothing i can do to make her come back its not like there is help or something like opinion from other people i was all alone just as i have always been all my life but BOLOGO a spell caster was there to help get the love of my life back.It just happened that i saw his email address online when i was reading some comment about him.For the fact that i had no help from no one apart from the encouraging word from my mom that wasn't doing any thing good to get the love of my life back i contact BOLOGO for help and just cos of this true spell caster my life was on a straight part for the first time.I laid my problem before him and he help me all i had to bring was material for the spell which i had to send to him just cos of the expenses.He told all that will happen within two weeks and just as he said they all unfolded first she broke up with her new boyfriend with out any reason and came back to me and finally for the first time we kissed in public.I must say when we had kiss i knew she was mine for ever.WE ARE GETTING MARRIED ON THE 22ND OF APRIL THIS YEAR.ALL THIS WILL NOT EVEN HAD HAPPEN BUT IT DID COS OF BOLOGO SPELL.If you struggling with love contact BOLOGO with his email you can do is believe cos this truly happened to me.

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