If you’ve been put in the work related activity group and are wondering whether to accept this decision or not, it’s important that you have enough information to help you make this decision.
In a moment I’ll look at the advantages of being placed in the support group, but first, in case you have been put in the work related activity group and are thinking of appealing because you want to be in the support group, here’s an important warning…
|If you appeal a decision to put you in the work related activity group because you think you should be in the support group, you need to know that the tribunal has the power to take away the whole award. In other words the tribunal may decide that you are not entitled to Employment and Support Allowance at all, at either rate! So appealing in this situation is not a no-risk activity.|
Anyway, here are the advantages of being placed in the support group, and also some ‘buts’ to think about too:
|Advantages of the support group
|You don’t have to attend work-focused interviews or undertake
work-related activities. This also means that you don’t risk
having your benefit reduced (normally by £73.10 per week) for
failing to to these things: this is called having an Employment
and Support Allowance Sanction.
||Having to attend these isn’t the same as having to look for
work. They cannot make you work or apply for work (they can ask
you, but you have the right to say no without being sanctioned),
and they have to take account of your disabilities and health
problems. Basically all you have to do is turn up and play ball,
and are polite. For example, if they ask you what kind of work you
would like to do, it doesn’t really matter what you answer, as
long as you say something. If you have a variable condition and
when they ask you to attend an interview it is particularly bad,
phone them and explain.
|The sanction period can be as short as a week, if it’s the first
time you’ve been sanctioned and you quickly agree to do whatever
it is you didn’t do that caused the sanction.
|You normally get slightly more money per week: £7.15. This is
the difference between the work-related activity component
(£29.05) and the support component (£36.20)
||There's no 'buts' to this!
|If you are getting income based Employment and Support Allowance
you are entitled to an another extra bit of money each week:
£15.75 if you are single, £22.35 if you are a couple.
|If you are just getting contribution based Employment and
Support Allowance and have no other income you may be entitled to
claim income based Employment and Support Allowance as well to
include this £15.75 (or £22.35) as a top up.
|Normally, you can only get contribution based Employment and
Support Allowance for a year. When you start getting this benefit
it as though a clock starts ticking, and when you get to 365 days,
the benefit finishes. However, if you in the are put in the
support group it is as though they ‘stop the clock’ for as long as
you are in the support group. The clock only restarts if you stop
being in the support group.
||This only affects you if you are not entitled to income based
Employment and Support Allowance, which you should be getting
anyway unless you (or your partner, if you have one) have any
other income coming in.
- ‘How does the Jobcentre Plus decide whether I should be in the work related activity group or the support group?’
- ‘Please tell me about the appeal process, apart from preparing for and attending the appeal hearing’
- ‘Please tell me about preparing for and attending the appeal hearing’
- ‘My appeal was not successful and I want to take the case further’