DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
e-mail: [email address].
Our Ref: VTR IR 66
Date: 5 March 2014
Dear C Robinson,
I am writing in response to your review request received on 14 February 2014. An internal
review has been carried out by someone of a senior grade. I am now in a position to respond
to you. In your review request you said:
Dear Department for Work and Pensions,
Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.
I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions's
handling of my FOI request 'Clause 99 and the Catch 22 situation it puts ESA
Forgive the lateness of my reply, extreme illness and a hospital stay have delayed my
reply, (believe it or not I’m “fit” for work, by ATOS) notwithstanding, my health problems,
your answers are evasive and I still haven’t had clarification on my original question
regarding 'Clause 99 and the Catch 22 situation it puts ESA Claimants' in'.
You state: “Some claimants will genuinely believe that they cannot possibly be entitled
to JSA because they are too sick to work” - this is utter rubbish, claimants’ have to claim
JSA or starve (if they don't qualify for any other benefit) you did Not make this clear,
PLEASE MAKE THIS CLEAR.
Also you state: However, any claimant who presents himself at a jobcentre must be
given the opportunity to make a claim, explain his predicament, as he sees it, and for
the Adviser to let him know that that may not be an obstacle to employment. It is 'may'
because, of course, there is the Claimant Commitment to be signed.
You obliquely use the word ‘may’ what does that mean? What about if a failed ESA
claimant cannot fulfil the claimant commitment? i.e. their disability prohibits applying for
certain jobs? e.g a bricklayer and you can't walk? Allow me to elucidate: I am disabled,
"FIT" FOR WORK and on morphine for the intense pain I'm in, not to mention all the
hospital appointments and stays I have, what about if hospital appointments, etc
coincide with signing on? - How often do you get sanctioned for doctor/hospital
appointments and stays?
Also what help is available for disabled JSA claimants’?
I WAS OFFERED NONE! And yet I was told to sign on and if I signed on no allowances
would be made for me (I was told this by the JCP) as the Claimant Commitment
wouldn’t cover my disabilities, ISN’T THIS PROOF OF MY ORIGINAL CLAIM THAT
'Clause 99 puts ESA Claimants' in a Catch 22 situation’?
What does this comment mean? ‘This may not be as 'softly, softly' as the claimant
would like but then at that time he has been found fit for work by a decision maker (not
Atos) - a decision moreover which is final in law - and is claiming a benefit for job
Terminally ill, cancer sufferers, physically and mentally disabled are being found “fit” for
work, for no other reason than saving money, they have been cruelly treated by ATOS
and decision makers’ that get paid bonuses for getting people off benefits (this is
common knowledge) so no they haven’t been treated softly softly. Are you saying then
that ‘a not softly softly’ approach means that a disabled person, has to apply for the
same work as a non-disabled claimant or starve?
I want clarification! I and the thousands of victims of ATOS need clarification, I want you
to tell me in no uncertain terms that a disabled person:
Gets no help whatsoever getting back into work, i.e. disability advisor (n.b. I
Allowances are made for doctors and hospital appointments AND hospital stays
when signing on
AND FINALLY PLEASE answer my original questions to the title of this FOI
'Clause 99 and the Catch 22 situation it puts ESA Claimants' in' I really don’t think that I
am asking for much?
Suffice to say, I do not want to have to write to you again, but, until you can stop being
evasive and answer my questions properly without equivocation, I want you to admit
that in my case and in other disabled persons cases your clause 99 causes a catch 22
situation creates penury and starvation.
A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at
After reviewing the original response and after careful consideration the Department believes
that it has met its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act in relation to your request.
Turning to the question you have asked above, I should like to provide the following:
You expressed concern about the move from ESA to Jobseeker’s Allowance. First, I should
like to emphasise that any claimant who has had an ESA award terminated will be eligible to
claim Jobseeker's Allowance – they are informed of this possibility in the decision notices they
receive when ESA is terminated.
When an ex-ESA claimant makes a claim for JSA they will be asked to attend a new
jobseeker’s interview to see if they meet the conditions of entitlement. This will be tailored to
reflect the claimant's health conditions. A claimant may restrict their availability for work
provided the restrictions are reasonable in the light of their physical or mental condition.
Disability Employment advisers based in jobcentres are trained and experienced in dealing
with disability and health conditions – they receive specialist training from disability
employment managers and occupational psychologists. While the initial discussion will be
around finding work, those presenting health conditions will be treated accordingly. Their
Jobseeker's Agreement/Claimant Commitment will reflect this discussion.
We recognise the importance of having an effective transition from ESA to Jobseeker’s
Allowance and have put a policy and processes in place which are designed to meet that
objective. These processes are kept under review in order to improve our services.
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
DWP Strategy FoI Team
Your right to complain under the Freedom of Information Act
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review you may apply directly to the Information
Commissioner’s Office for a decision. Generally the Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have
exhausted our own complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF www.ico.gov.uk