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Agoraphobic unemployed woman to lose her benefits if she does not turn up at Jobcentre meetings herself (11 January 2013)

Date: 11/01/2013
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, Agoraphobic unemployed woman to lose her benefits if she does not turn up at Jobcentre meetings herself

An unemployed agoraphobic (agoraphobia is a fear of being in situations in which escaping is difficult) who received benefits by attending Jobcentre meetings via videolink claimed that she was a victim of discrimination after being told that she had to come in person to receive her benefits.
Jen Lant could lose the £98 employment support allowance she receives in monthly meetings and argues the new rules discriminate against her because she is disabled.
She has a GPs letter explaining her condition, that if she is able to leave her house for a couple of hours it could be said to be a good day’ for her but she is often unable to set foot outside.
She said suffering from agoraphobia makes her virtually impossible to attend the meeting in person. Despite having a letter from the GP the authorities have told her that she had no way of getting around and she finds herself in a situation not knowing what to do.
Miss Lant has been on the skills training programme since 2011 and has regular appointments with training firm Seetec at the Jobcentre.
She has been logging onto to the internet and speaking to trainers and employment support advisers from her home in Marks Tey, near Colchester, Essex, for two years
Miss Lant, who is set targets that focus on helping her to work and take online courses and is hoping to find a job which allows her to work from home, said there are various other disabilities in which people are unable to leave their homes.
She says that it seems the JobCentre along with Seetec were discriminating against these disabilities and were getting away with it.
They were not able to tell her over the phone how much she would be losing but that money was needed to pay towards rent and other things.
She argues that people should put themselves into the place of someone who was living alone in a flat, disabled, unable to work, and unablt to go to their Seetec appointments, they'd lose money they need to survive.
A spokesman for the Department for Works and Pensions said meetings with a Work Programme provider were an important part of the process of helping someone with an illness or disability prepare for eventually moving back into work.
Any work-related activity a person is expected to do in return for their benefit will be appropriate to their condition.

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