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ESA work related activity group

Discussion in 'Social Security / Disability Benefits' started by Lupo30, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. Lupo30

    Lupo30 Registered


    I've completed the form for ESA as I was previously on incapacity benefit. I was not called for a medical however, I got a phonecall some 2 months later telling me I had been placed in the work related activity group. This means that after 12 months my benefit will be lost unless I go onto jobseekers. I have to attend interviews to get me back to work. I wonder if anyone has had any success in appealing as I know that I am incapable of work. Also is anyone in the work related activity group? I would love to work but I'm just not well enough and the added stress of this will no doubt make me even worse.

    Any advice?

  2. winny

    winny Registered

    Go to your local citizens advice bureau. A family member works there and helped me fill in the questionnaire, when it asks you if you can do all those different things you are meant to say that you could do it once but not repeatedly like you would in a job, if that makes sense? They have a book with all the notes on how to answer the questions and how they evaluate your answers.
    They will be able to tell you what information to include in your appeal :)

    Edit: also if you can go through the original questionnaire, they can tell you where to pick up a certain number of points based on your answers, to get into the other support group rather than the one for returning to work

    (hope some of that makes sense!)
  3. Lupo30

    Lupo30 Registered

    Hi winny

    I thought I put that. I said that I can barely get out of bed, which is the truth. I've been told that I have to have a terminal illness to be put in the support group but I think they are just fibbing. I'm totally exhausted and fed up of the DWP. I thought the disability people were bad enough but it seems once you have fought them you've got another department to deal with. I think basically it's because they want to cut my contribution esa within 12 months. What you have to do just to live. I pray for good health and then I won't have to deal with these morons anymore, but I've been praying for that for years. Oh well deep breath.

    Thank you, anyway, Lupo30
  4. wheeliefab

    wheeliefab Registered

    I won an appeal to be put in support group after initially they put me in WRAG.
    I won on basis of exceptional circumstances - for this you need medical evidence to support a statement that there would be a substantial risk to your physical or mental health if you were found to be fit for WRAG.
    I got my Drs to back up that trying to return to work/ doing WRA was detrimental to my health (being in WRAG made my mental health worse, plus I said the stress caused more flare ups of my Lupus, plus trying to work/ doing WRA would not allow me sufficient rest or allow me to pace my activities which was essential for me to stay stable with my SLE)

    If you are a member of Lupus UK they can also provide a letter to help your appeal

    I had help from local council social services welfare rights - my GP refered me to them

    To check whether you could score enough points to go into the SG, look at

    Points for WRAG are on pages 17-23, and points for SG are pages 24-26. You can only count any mental health descriptors if you have been diagnosed with a MH condition such as depression and are being treated for it.

    You do need to understand that they are quite tough about where they score you, so they won't apply if you just occasionally have a problem - but they are supposed to score what you can achieve reliably, repeatedly, safely and in a timely fashion - if you can't do something 51% of the time, it should apply. Lupus fatigue is hard to pin down, but it often means you can score because you either might not be able to do something in the first place, or it would cause such a serious after-effect that you couldn't repeat it or do anything else for the entire day.

    An alternative method is to show you come under the Exceptional Circumstances Rule (ESA Regulation 35), which means you should get medical evidence to support a statement that there would be a substantial risk to your physical or mental health if you were found to be fit for WRAG.

    It took ages (almost a whole year) before my appeal was heard but it was worth it. The appeal itself was easy for me as the people at hearing had looked at my Drs evidence plus my submission and had pretty much decided exceptional circumstances applied to me before I spoke to them
  5. Lupo30

    Lupo30 Registered

    Thank you wheeliefab. Still waiting for them to send me their reasons for their decision which has been sent by letter by recorded delivery. Think really is just a way of making the government's figures look good. I've contributed enough but can only have 12 months on ESA contributions as I've been put in the WRAG. That way, in less than 12 months, if they bully me enough, I'm another one off the figures. They really are picking on the weakest people in society, but I am not the only one. My GP's do not have a clue about my health, as one of them said, you are unfortunately not a run of the mill case. Sometimes I have to laugh, as if I didn't, I'd cry.

    Thanks again, Lupo 30
  6. wheeliefab

    wheeliefab Registered

    The system stinks but it is worth fighting for appeal. After the 12 months you may be entitiled to "income based ESA" depending on if you have any other income, or a partner who has income etc. (for people info - income from a ill-health retirement pension would be counted as full income on income based ESA, but on the "contribution based ESA" you are allowed a certain amount of ill-health pension income not to count as income)

    Re your GP make sure you spell out your symptoms and any problems you have (eg how much fatigue you get, how you have to pace yourself, any pain you get on walking, standing, reaching etc ) Also mention if you are finding it all stressfull particularly if stress does make your Lupus worse or more likely to flare up (as it does for many with SLE) as this may help if you need a letter from GP to use as "evidence" to support your appeal

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