Glenda came to Stepping Stones when her ESA stopped unexpectedly. She struggles to understand official correspondence and needed help working out what had happened, and what she needed to do next. Her Housing Benefit had stopped as well, but again she was not aware of why this had happened. She had started building up rent arrears and was getting very concerned about a possible eviction.
We went through her correspondence, and it transpired that her ESA had been sanctioned. Glenda is in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG), meaning that her entitlement is dependent on her attending work-focussed training aimed at improving work prospects once a person’s health improves. She had missed three of these appointments, and so her ESA had been sanctioned indefinitely until she re-attended the Work Programme. She was awarded ESA due to numerous serious health problems, all of which present variable symptoms. Some days she is in too much pain to get out of bed, and other days she can just about function normally. In May last year, she suffered a prolonged flare up and her GP referred her to a specialist. She was too ill to attend the Work Programme, so her GP signed a sick note which she sent to the Jobcentre and the Work Programme provider. She was sanctioned for missing three appointments after she had circulated this sick note, despite leaving voicemails for her work coach. Continue reading