If we become concerned about you or anyone else while using one of our services, we will act in line with our safeguarding policy and procedures. This may involve sharing this information with relevant authorities to ensure we comply with our policies and legal obligations.

Agoraphobic but told I have to go to a job centre

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Jonathan77
Jonathan77 Community member Posts: 32 Connected
edited November 2023 in Universal Credit (UC)
Hi, I am agoraphobic and have panic disorder which also causes me to have panic attacks.  I also have non epileptic seizures.  I have been told by universal credit that I have to attend a commitments interview at the job centre.  Even though they know I'm disabled and unable to work.  I have requested to have a telephone or video call as I'll be able to do this in my "safe space".  I've even had to get my Dr to do a fit note to say I'm not fit for work.  I haven't been for for work since 2020.  I have put a request on my journal and I have also spoken to various people at universal credit helpline, but they still insist I have to attend.  I have told them it will make me physically and mentally ill.
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  • Jonathan77
    Jonathan77 Community member Posts: 32 Connected
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    I should also add I have Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and fybromyalgia, my mobility is extremely poor. I suffer from extreme widespread pain on a daily basis.  I really don't know what else I can do to say I can't physically attend an appointment.  This has rocketed anxiety 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,213 Disability Gamechanger
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    You can ask for a reasonable adjustment to be put into place for the appointment to take place by telephone. As you're unable to attend your local JC in person because of your disability they must put this adjuestment in place. See link. https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/discrimination-in-the-provision-of-goods-and-services/discrimination-in-the-provision-of-goods-and-services1/disability-discrimination-and-welfare-benefits/

    Were you claiming any benefits before UC? If so which ones exactly please?


    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • Jonathan77
    Jonathan77 Community member Posts: 32 Connected
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    We have been on UC for over a year
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,213 Disability Gamechanger
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    Have you been through the work capability assessment?
    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • Jonathan77
    Jonathan77 Community member Posts: 32 Connected
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    I'm waiting for the form to be sent to me.  UC are still insisting I have to attend.  It's really making me panic 
  • Albus_Scope
    Albus_Scope Posts: 5,706 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hi there @Jonathan77 just wanted to let you know I've popped your post into the Universal credit category, so more informed people will see.  But I can see you're already getting some top notch help. :) 
    Albus (he/him)

    Online Community Coordinator @ Scope

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    Neurodivergent.
  • Jonathan77
    Jonathan77 Community member Posts: 32 Connected
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    Thanks.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,213 Disability Gamechanger
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    How have you managed with previous appointments in the past year? 

    Put a message on your journal and ask for a reasonable adjustment for a telephone appointment and explain that because of your health conditions you're unable to attend.
    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • Jonathan77
    Jonathan77 Community member Posts: 32 Connected
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    I've done exactly that but I'm still being told it's to be held at the job centre.  Is it worth calling the job centre directly on Monday to explain the situation?
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,213 Disability Gamechanger
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    You can try that. They have to put a reasonable adjustment in place! https://askcpag.org.uk/content/208289/uc-mental-health-reasonable-adjustments

    You didn't answer my previous question here. 
    How have you managed with previous appointments in the past year? 





    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • honestjon
    honestjon Community member Posts: 173 Pioneering
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    I'm waiting for the form to be sent to me.  UC are still insisting I have to attend.  It's really making me panic 
    Don't panic just take Poppy's advice and ask for adjustments to be made because you cannot go to an appointment but you can have an appointment by phone.
    When your assessment eventually happens you can refer to you being unable to go to appointments as evidence to show that you are unwell.
    Don't let them push you into trying to do things you can't do.
    Try to get some support if you can and there will always be support for you on this site. Don't panic you will be ok
  • Jonathan77
    Jonathan77 Community member Posts: 32 Connected
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    The initial appointment I had to attend but my agoraphobia wasn't as bad then, although I did have a severe panic attack whilst I was there and the guy who was interviewing said he could see how I was affected and that I wouldn't have to attend again in person.  I've mentioned all of this to UC 
  • honestjon
    honestjon Community member Posts: 173 Pioneering
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    The initial appointment I had to attend but my agoraphobia wasn't as bad then, although I did have a severe panic attack whilst I was there and the guy who was interviewing said he could see how I was affected and that I wouldn't have to attend again in person.  I've mentioned all of this to UC 
    Make sure you put the information you have put on here on your journal.

  • Jonathan77
    Jonathan77 Community member Posts: 32 Connected
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    I now even struggle to open the front or back door on some days.  
  • Jonathan77
    Jonathan77 Community member Posts: 32 Connected
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    When I spoke to the helpline at UC I was told that because of having agoraphobia I can't be made to physically attend in person.  I put everything on the journal asking for a telephone or video call, but it's still stating that I have to attend at the job centre.  I have explained how I cannot leave my house because of both agoraphobia and panic disorder.  I don't know what else to do.  I didn't sleep last night because of worry about it all.
  • Jonathan77
    Jonathan77 Community member Posts: 32 Connected
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    I should say a work coach is saying I have to attend in person.  I'm worried I will get a sanction for not attending.  I haven't said I won't have the meeting, just that it needs to be on video or telephone.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,213 Disability Gamechanger
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    Have you specifically asked for a reasonable adjustment because of your health condition? They can't refuse a telephone appointment because you're unable to go out.

    If you have and you're still not getting anywhere then you can put in a complaint and tell them that you've constantly been refused a telephone appointment. Make sure you tell them why this is needed. Details how to do this here. https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/benefits/how_to_complain_about_universal_credit

    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • Jonathan77
    Jonathan77 Community member Posts: 32 Connected
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    I asked if the meeting could be changed to either telephone or video call explaining what disabilities I'd got and also how going into a crowd causes me to have severe panic attacks
  • Jonathan77
    Jonathan77 Community member Posts: 32 Connected
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    Which in turn causes me to have seizures.  I think I will contact you see helpline again Monday morning asking them how they think I should go about things.  I have spoken to really helpful guy from there, however I've also spoken to some who are not helpful as well
  • Jonathan77
    Jonathan77 Community member Posts: 32 Connected
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    I couldn't get there in person anyway as 

    1. My wife is at work that day and is unable to get the time off.

    2.  I cannot go on public transport on my own due to the disabilities that I have.


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