You might remember that in November 2014, we published an article about ESA claimants being required by Job centre Plus offices to attend work focussed interviews under threat of benefits being withdrawn if they did not attend. According to the DWP Webpage, it is very clear that claimants in the Support Group don’t have to attend any interviews: “You don’t have to go to interviews, but you can ask to talk to a personal adviser. “
At the time, we launched a call for evidence in order to see whether the practice was widespread or confined to some areas and to find ways to stop this. You will find the testimonies we gathered at the end of the article, and they show very clearly how much people were upset by these letters and frightened by the threat of sanctions.
But it seems that DWP has started again sending letters to claimants in the Support Group, just over 2 months after being informed by them that they were in the Support Group.
So we are going to ask you again to come forward if you are in the ESA Support Group and have been contacted by your Jobcentre to attend an interview, especially but not exclusively if it it the second time within a few months. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you.
We will never disclose your name or personal information without your permission, but we may use your case (after your name and all personal details have been securely removed) to campaign against this. If you say no to this, we will not use the information in any way, and your information will still help us to understand what is happening.