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TOPIC: Interviews at JC+ when in Support Group

Interviews at JC+ when in Support Group 1 year 10 months ago #128506

  • Gordon
  • OFFLINE
  • Forum Moderator
What is going on?

Members of the Support Group have started to receive invitations to attend an interview at their local JobCentre Plus.

We know that at least one DWP region in the Midlands has been sending these letters, but it is possible that it is a UK initiative.


Do you have to attend?

We cannot advise you not to attend, there are circumstances where you would be at risk of having your payments suspended and there are also ones where you do not!

You need to ascertain the actual nature of the interview and make a decision based on what you are told


Work Focussed Interviews & Work Related Activity

Members of the Support Group are not required to attend Work Focussed Interviews or to participate in Work Related Activity, if the letter indicates that this is what is intended then you should contact the JC+ advisor to make sure that they understand that you are in the Support Group and do not need to attend.

You cannot be mandated to attend a WFI or to do WRA and your benefit cannot be sanctioned for failing to do so.


Check to see if you are receiving the right benefits

The first thing to say is that it is very unlikely that this is the result of an investigation, if it were then the letter would clearly identify this as being a problem!

The law is unclear in this situation, failing to provide information to the DWP when requested can result in your payments being suspended and in extreme cases your claim being closed.

This does not mean that you should not challenge the request. Contact the JC+ advisor to find out what the appointment is about, your primary goal is to find out whether the interview is mandatory or not, if it is not then you can refuse to attend (see below).

Even if it is mandatory, the DWP still have to take reasonable notice of the limitations that have placed you in the Support Group and should make accommodations for these in regard the interview. This can include holding the interview over the phone or even at your home. You may want to look at these options even if the interview is not required.


Interview to see if we can help you

This should not be a mandatory interview and there should be no problems if you decide not to attend.


Checklist

1. Don't Panic. Easier said than done but none of the members who have reported receiving these letters has had a problem with challenging why they are being invited.

2. Contact the JC+ advisor. If you cannot do so yourself then get a friend or relative to do it for you, you may need to be present for the security questions and to authorise the DWP to speak to the person, but there should be no reason why they will not talk to them

3. Ascertain whether this is Mandatory or not and if it is what will be the penalty if you do not.

4. If it is not mandatory then it is entirely down to you whether you attend or not. Don't feel pressured to attend if you do not want to.

5. If you are required to attend then the advisor still needs to make reasonable adjustments for your conditions, for example if you have been placed in the Support Group because of Social Anxiety or Agoraphobia then it would be unreasonable of them to expect you to attend at a JC+ office; they can hold the interview over the phone or at your home.

6. If you have to attend, remember you can take someone with you to the appointment.

Footnote

So far the JC+ has backed down or made accommodations to most if not all of the members who have contacted them about these letters.

Gordon
Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems
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