UC Appts, domestic violence, disability, no help.

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mandyZ
mandyZ Community member Posts: 32 Connected
hi everyone,

Been dealing with an abusive relationship for past 18 years and trying to get away and separate everything for a long time. 

I have been on full PIP for about 3 years for mainly physical but also severe anxiety and depression. I have full time carer. 

I applied for UC last week and had to go job centre for ID check as the online thing didn’t work.
My carer came with me and whilst the lady was very nice, she made me another appt to go in next week to see work coach. I said I find it really hard to go out because of my disabilities and also I said about the abuse. I had been told I don’t have to go to work coach interviews for 13 weeks because of the abuse but she said I have to go in still. 

The next day I could barely get out of bed, I was so fatigued and in pain. This always happens if I have to go out which is why I rarely leave the house, only to go to important doctor related tests etc or emergency related things. 
Things like this, the UC appts, knowing how detrimental it is to my health and knowing it really isn’t necessary for me to go, this gives me bad anxiety and when I say bad I mean truly awful and out of everything that is wrong with me this is the worst. These bouts last for up to 24 hrs, I have memory loss, vomiting, constant nausea, I’m disoriented, claustrophobic, hot and cold sweats and so much more. I can never predict when this will happen as it doesn’t always happen when I’m really stressed, it always takes me by surprise. 

I put note on journal to ask if I can have video/phone call instead and I said how much going there last week wiped me out for that day and the next and that I can barely walk on a good day. I got reply to say no. 
I also asked where I can email/upload the letter they want from my domestic violence support worker but they didn’t even respond to that. 

I have a GP appt to get a fit note next Thursday, apparently I need that before they can give me the assessment form. 

I don’t understand why I can’t have a phone appt seeing as my health situation is just ridiculous and also for the fact I have a letter stating about the historic and ongoing abuse. This is stressing me so much it’s unreal plus I have the constant threat of my ex showing up any time and getting messages/emails from him which is all enough to deal with on its own! 
There’s a whole long thing on gov website how they help people in DA situations so that made me feel more confident about applying for uc and about how they can give phone appts instead of face to face but so far they don’t seem to care. 

Is there anything I can do please? 

Comments

  • Alex_Alumni
    Alex_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,561 Championing
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    Hello @mandyZ and well done for reaching out, I hope we can help support you here on the community.

    I'm so sorry to hear how inflexible the job centre is regarding in person appointments, especially given the impact on both your physical and mental health. Public authorities and service providers have a duty to disabled people to make reasonable adjustments to the way they do things, if that puts disabled people at a disadvantage. This duty is in the Equality Act 2010.

    I'd encourage you to read this page on Citizens Advice, what to do if you feel you have experienced unlawful discrimination, which I hope will help. 

    I'm going to being sending you an email a little later today, just to check in, so please let me know if it hasn't come through by the end of the day. 
  • mandyZ
    mandyZ Community member Posts: 32 Connected
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    Hi Alex, 

    I received your email thank you and I have just replied. 

    Thanks for the link, I just had a read through. So does this mean that letting me have a phone call instead of face to face is a ‘reasonable adjustment’ that they should accept? If so, how should I respond to their message of saying no I can’t? The last thing I want to do is get their back up immediately, but I just can’t put myself through the whole rigmarole of going there, it’s just too much strain on my body and mind. 

    Thanks very much for your help. 
  • Alex_Alumni
    Alex_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,561 Championing
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    Hello @mandyZ thank you kindly for replying, we'll be in touch soon regarding whether we're able to support you further as an online only service, so you may have to bear with us in the meantime. 

    One of the first things you can do is make a complaint with the job centre, ask them about their complaints procedure. If your problem hasn’t been resolved by following the complaints procedure, there are other organisations who can look at your complaint - for example, the Local Government Ombudsman if your complaint is about a local authority.

    There's more information on taking action about discrimination with a service provided by a public authority, in this case the job centre, on Citizens Advice. 

    If you have experienced discrimination, you can also get help from the Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) discrimination helpline.

    You're welcome to speak to someone from the Scope helpline about this if you wish too. 

    Do ask if you have further questions, and we'll do what we can to help out :) 

  • mandyZ
    mandyZ Community member Posts: 32 Connected
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    Thanks for the info. 

    Do you think I should reply on my journal and insist on phone appt? Tell them it’s a ‘reasonable adjustment’ because of my disability? And if I do and they still say no, what do k do about my appt? Its on Tuesday so I haven’t got long and I don’t want to just not turn up. 

    Many thanks for your help. 
  • Alex_Alumni
    Alex_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,561 Championing
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    I'd reply on your journal yes @mandyZ, and give the job centre a call on Monday to see if you can speak to someone too. You can explain that you'd like to request a reasonable adjustment of a telephone appointment.

    If they say no, is there someone who can go with you, like your carer before? 
  • mandyZ
    mandyZ Community member Posts: 32 Connected
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    Yes my daughter who is my full time carer came with me last time, (I don’t know what I’d do without her!) but everything I’m reading everywhere says that I should be able to have a phone call due to going there would affect me physically and mentally in a big way, but what do I do when they say no?! 

    Also, I’ve read (official sites) that because of suffering from abuse I do not have to have any work related activities or interviews for 13 weeks, they are also ignoring this. 

    If they do not follow procedures I can make a complaint but that will take time and in the meantime they could stop my claim and money. The thought of this terrifies me as I’ve been trying so hard for so long to try and get my life and my children’s back on track so we can actually have a life. 

    I just don’t understand why they won’t just give me a phone call, they are supposed to and it’s no big deal to them but it’s a huge deal for me. I’m guessing it would be a quick thing, ‘no I can’t work as I can’t get out of bed most days let alone walk and I have been and still am suffering from domestic violence’. There, done! 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,308 Championing
    edited June 2023
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    UC regulations state that a claimant who has experienced DV should not have any work related requirements for a period of 13 weeks. See link. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2013/9780111531938/regulation/98

    As you've already had your first appointment, i wouldn't expect any further appointments to be needed. (assuming you've told them about the DV)
    Victims of domestic violence


    (3) The circumstances are that—

    (a)the claimant notifies the Secretary of State, in such manner as the Secretary of State specifies, that domestic violence has been inflicted on or threatened against the claimant by the claimant’s partner or former partner or by a family member during the period of 6 months ending on the date of the notification;

    (b)this regulation has not applied to the claimant for a period of 12 months before the date of the notification;

    (c)on the date of the notification the claimant is not living at the same address as the person who inflicted or threatened the domestic violence; and

    (d)as soon as possible, and no later than 1 month, after the date of the notification the claimant provides evidence from a person acting in an official capacity which demonstrates that—

    (i)the claimant’s circumstances are consistent with those of a person who has had domestic violence inflicted or threatened against them during the period of 6 months ending on the date of the notification, and

    (ii)the claimant has made contact with the person acting in an official capacity in relation to such an incident, which occurred during that period.

  • mandyZ
    mandyZ Community member Posts: 32 Connected
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    Thanks poppy. Yes I told them straight away on my journal and when I went in for the identity checks. 

    I left another note on journal yesterday telling them I will not be able to go to job centre as it would cause me extra pain and distress which I can’t inflict on myself. I said citizens advice said about reasonable adjustments being made inc a phone appt instead of face to face. I also asked again how to upload my DV letter. 
    I got a response saying because of this she will change it to a phone appt! She also added a tab where I could upload my letter. 
    So huge relief! Hopefully the phone call will go well this afternoon. 

    I have another question now, sorry! 

    My ex held back my pip letters which turned out to be a review form. They stopped my money as I didn’t return it. 
    My DV support worker phoned them for me and they reinstated it immediately and paid money owing to me, I was really surprised! They gave me a month to do my form. 

    Because of this they stopped my daughters carers allowance as he kept her letters too. She called them and said that my pip had been reinstated and the woman said she only had a week to inform them and that had passed so she would have to reapply. She said she would put it through on the system tho to see. She called them again yesterday and nothing had been done and she was told same thing. Is this right? That sounds ludicrous to me! 
    She gets paid weekly so there’s no way to know it had been stopped and get in touch within the week. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,308 Championing
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    Glad your UC has been sorted. For the carers allowance for your daughter then it's correct that it would have stopped because of your PIP ending. I have no idea how long it will take to reinstate her claim but it could be quite a few weeks.
  • mandyZ
    mandyZ Community member Posts: 32 Connected
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    Yes it makes sense it would be stopped, but my PIP was reinstated straight away with one phone call and it’s like it never happened, so I don’t understand why the carers can’t be the same. It makes no sense to have to start a brand new claim for the sake of a couple of weeks, surely they can just restart it like they did with my pip? I don’t know if they’re just trying it on as the first person said she’ll try and put it through on the system. 
  • Alex_Alumni
    Alex_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,561 Championing
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    Hi @mandyZ it's great to hear that your UC has been sorted and they agreed to telephone appointments. Has anything happened since yesterday with the Carer's allowance?
  • mandyZ
    mandyZ Community member Posts: 32 Connected
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    Hello,

    my phone appt went ok yesterday and she said she will put me down for phone appts but said I will probably need to go to job centre again at some point, she didn’t say why. She’s turned off work related things for 13 weeks now to the DV, so that’s something at least. I got my fit note today and uploaded that. 
    She said it can take 2 or 3 months for the assessment form to be sent out to me?! That sounds ridiculous! I don’t understand why that would need to take so long just to send me a form! 

    I talked to CA on daughters behalf and explained how she didn’t get letters due to fleeing DV and how my ex kept them. He was Adam et there’s nothing that can be done as she should have contacted them within 1 week of her money being stopped. All of this sounds utterly ridiculous it’s beyond belief.
    so she applied for it again online but it can take more than 6 weeks for it to be processed and passed that to receive her money. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,308 Championing
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    mandyZ said:

    She said it can take 2 or 3 months for the assessment form to be sent out to me?! That sounds ridiculous! I don’t understand why that would need to take so long just to send me a form! 


    That's not correct. You should be referred for the WCA on day 29 after you reported your health condition. In some cases it can be on the first day. Once you're referred you will receive a letter on your journal. Within the following week you'll receive the UC50 form in the post.

  • mandyZ
    mandyZ Community member Posts: 32 Connected
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    I hope you’re right poppy, which I’m sure you are, they just want to make things sound as bad as possible to try and put you off I think. 
    She said the referral for the from is triggered once my fit note is received which they got yesterday. 

    Thanks for your help. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,308 Championing
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    mandyZ said:
    I hope you’re right poppy, which I’m sure you are,

    If you have a health condition or disability when making a claim for Universal Credit

    When you make a claim for Universal Credit you will be asked if you have either a health condition or a disability which prevents, or limits, your ability to work. If you answer ‘yes’ you may be asked to attend a Work Capability Assessment (WCA).

    In most circumstances, if you remain unable to work due to your health conditions for 4 weeks, you will be referred for a WCA on the 29th day of your claim.


    Sometimes they may go past that date and need to be reminded to refer you.


  • mandyZ
    mandyZ Community member Posts: 32 Connected
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    Great thanks for that. If I don’t receive anything I’ll get in touch with them. 

    I have another phone appt for next week, seeing as my work related things have been turned off for 13 weeks, do I still need to have phone calls with a work coach? Seems a bit of a waste of time really. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,308 Championing
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    Telephone appointments should be required because commiments should be turned off for 13 weeks.