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  1. just wondering if anyone can advise me, my son is 20 years old and has been diagnosed since an early age with autism and has recently been diagnosed with moderate learning disabilities, he was at a school for special needs up until he left school at 16. he is currently receiving DLA but he has no real idea of money and always wants to spend it as soon as he gets it. The problem is because he wants to be more independant we allowed him to sign up for a phone contract and have sky installed in his room both come out on a monthly basis on the understanding that the money would always be in the bank. recently he was getting parcels delivered to the door, we found out that he had set up 2 catalogue accounts online and had been getting things from there, also buying many items from other online stores. also we have just found out that he has also been purchasing tickets to concerts all over the country without discussing it with us, he has purchased over a dozen tickets for events in just the last few months. it seems like he has been spending just for the sake of it. here is where the problem is, because he has been spending all his money he has been taking out payday loans in order to subsidize this habit, we had no idea of this, only finding out about this today. each time he was borrowing more and more in order to pay of the previous one and has he has no idea when it comes to money it seems to have spiralled. he is due to get his DLA friday and has just decided to tell us that he is unable to pay his phone and sky because there is over 800 pound due to come out of his account from payday loans... 3 different ones in total! and he is not making the payments to the catalogues because the funds aren't there. i now need to contact all the catalogue companies and payday loan companies on his behalf. i have already gone into his bank with him to cancel the payday loans from coming out but i still need to contact the companies. could anyone point me in the direction of a letter or advise me what to write that will highlight this situation he has gotten himself into. any help would be greatly appreciated thank you
  2. Helloooooooooooooooooooooooooo.... Back again for some encouragement advice. As you will know from previous posts I am not Au Fait with benefit solutions This time it for me no friends involved My little munchkin will be 3 next month. She has been attending a child development center for nearly 1 year and attending under 3 nursery ( only given to kids who really need it in this area) for a few month. We have been granted funding and has a "play-friend" at nursery to "encourage" her. We have been doing a round of mini appointments and assessments recently as she is being formally assessed for Autism next month and a group of health professionals will decided if she is on the Autism spectrum or has other learning difficulties etc etc etc Now out of the 4 appointments this week 3 of the "professionals" asked if we were already claiming DLA.... we are not ...did not even cross my mind.....but have been advised to look at this..... any advice on similar situations or applications please......would we be able to? Is it something we should be doing?...both me and Mr Ida work part-time and get tax credits. I thank you
  3. Hi one of my sons has autism and is on the highest level of dla for care due to him being a danger to himself and others. He went on to ESA in August as his training came to and end. He has now been sent a date for a medical assessment which is next week. We only received the appointment last week (4.12.13) Having done some reading around I am becoming more and more worried as my son struggles with the language and can often misunderstand the questions. I will of course be there to help him ( I am his appointee) but I cnaanot help but feel he will be tricked into giving answers that are not factually correct. I have phoned Atos and asked for the assessment to be recorded but the person I spoke to had to email another department as they dont know if recording equipment is available at that site. I have also spoke to Welfare rights at my council and they say if its recorded they ususally have a doctor doing the assessment. As my son is a vunerabe adult can I insist on the assessment being recordrd and if so can I ask for a copy? Any help or advice on the whole issue would be appreciated as my son is becoming very anxious and aggitated about the assessment.
  4. I'm hoping some of you may be able to give me advice. I have my ESA tribunal coming up in a few weeks and I am dreading it. I feel I will fail to express the real problems I have which have rendered me incapable of working for most of my life (I am now 44) convincingly because: A) I have autism spectrum disorder, so make mistakes with communicating (even my CAB rep said I'd talk gibberish in the tribunal, which upset me greatly); B) I have only just been diagnosed with being 'somewhere' on the autism spectrum, so I've not had time to fully understand the implications of how this has impacted my life in relation to work and, well, everything. It was also only very recently that I realised my mother had been emotionally abusing me for my whole life. I have since cut her out and feel much better for it. Both these things have left me vulnerable to bullying and being ''malevolently'' lead to say things that are against my best interests. When I claimed ESA, the reasons I gave for not being able to work were anxiety and depression. I feel though that my ASD diagnosis should be relevant to helping me communicate my problems. I am not lazy. For example, when I went to uni, aged 30, I spent 60+ hours a week on my studies and loved it. I got firsts for most things and loved being able to hold my head up high and say, 'I am a student.' For once I was fitting into society. But for most of the rest of my life I have lived in poverty because I couldn't cope with working. I have fled from one job; been sacked from at least one other; but mainly just scraped by avoiding work and, as I said, living in poverty as a result, because I didn't feel any one would respect the reasons I had for avoiding work. These reasons are, as far as I can define them: 1) Not being able to cope with being told what to do 2) Not being able to cope with being 'trapped' into being there at specific times. I couldn't even cope with being 'trapped' in the bathroom for our baby daughter's bath time, though I love her very much. Very, very fortunately my partner, her father, is absolutely brilliant with her and bath time is now their special time. 3) Not being able to cope with not being allowed unscheduled breaks 4) Not being able to cope with mornings. I function very badly for several hours after I wake up 5) Not being able to cope with interacting with colleagues and customers/anxiety over what they are thinking. Anxiety that I've acted/spoken weirdly 6) Being bullied 7) Not being able to engage with the tasks I am given 8) Not being able to cope with phone calls 9) Being horribly distracted by all kinds of things: noises/bright lights/uncomfortable clothing, etc I expect this list could be extended, but, as I said, I am only just starting to be able to define my reasons and take my problems seriously. I have a fear that responses I get from this will say things like: pull yourself together. They don't owe you a living. Such and such you said isn't a REAL problem. Blah blah blah. My hope is that I will get supportive, informative and empathic answers that will help me be better prepared for the tribunal. I'm also incidentally applying for PIP, which is going to be another terrifying autopsy of my abilities!
  5. I'm afraid its a bit of a long story, quite technical too. Basically when I was younger (school-age) there was a lot of speculation that I had autism, was treated as special-needs etc. grew out of most of it though. I was not diagnosed with Autism/Asperger's due to a technicality. In my previous job I was badly bullied and applied for something else with a different company (last summer), I was initially knocked back in early August. I didn't mention any of the early speculation about Autism since I hadn't been diagnosed. Late August my previous employer set me up with an Autism assessment, the criteria had changed therefore meaning that the technicality that had prevented me from getting an earlier diagnosis was no longer there (they didn't know of my previous undiagnosed history, after all I wasn't considered disabled). Early September the firm that initially knocked me back offered me a position after another candidate declined the offer. I accepted and by late September I had accepted a written offer. A few days after I had accepted my written offer, I received the report from my Autism assessment and was informed that I had High-Functioning Autism. I attended the induction for my new job in October and started fully in November, I didn't feel as though I could disclose my diagnosis since I felt as though it would ruin any chances I had at building a successful career where I am now. Besides, the way I had been treated by my previous employer (they effectively tried to cover up bullying) meant that I found it difficult to trust my new employer. Since Christmas my new job has been getting increasingly difficult, I don't get on with my line manager and some of my colleagues, there are however, some people in the company I get on very well with. The dilemma facing me is whether or not to now disclose my diagnosis, I have spoken to my parents (I'm still early in my career) who say that I risk losing my job. I have also spoken to ACAS who say the sooner I inform my employer the better. I'm still rather worried I could lose my job if I discussed my diagnosis (I'm still in my probationary period). From their perspective, I think they might consider whether they would lose a tribunal. I'm on a training programme where we have to apply for a position before the programme finishes (around 2 or so years). I should add that my current employer is a large firm, so I would hope that their anti-discrimination policies would be robust (though they have had bad press over the past few months for unrelated, somewhat historical matters), that said my previous employer was a blue-chip too and that didn't help there. Many thanks in advance for any advice.
  6. Hello everyone, Firstly I would like to state my post is a request for opinions on matters relating to the likely interpretation of the Equality Act law in terms of my situation, and consequently the potential for an Employment Tribunal to be successful or not. I was particularly hoping someone with experience of employment law issues in disability discrimination, in particular Autistic Spectrum Disorders, would be able to offer some advice. The law is open to a large amount of interpretation, and Autistic conditions are largely misunderstood and misinterpreted by the general population - making this issue somewhat more complex than normal. I have Asperger's Syndrome. I have no doubts whatsoever this will be considered a disability under section 6 and the relevant schedule 1 of the act. Cases such as Hewett V Motorola and Isles V Ealing Council both establish this to be the case (was going to link to these but cannot add links due to having under 20 posts.) I recently applied for a job under a guaranteed interview for disabled people scheme. As reasonable adjustments at interview I requested that I be provided the questions in writing prior to interview, and the interview panel be made aware of my condition and the nature of my difficulties. These requests were met and a set of questions provided. Although shortly after a new set of questions replacing the old set were provided, and the new set included questions on competencies not covered in the original questions, including team work and customer appreciation. As my condition primarily affects social interaction and communication, it is obvious I would have difficulties with these skills. Post interview feedback indicated that while my 10 minute technical presentation and technical skills for the position were considered good, lack of evidence of team work and customer appreciation were the two reasons for which I was rejected. I would argue that a reasonable adjustment would have been to consider these skills as meeting expectations, assuming reasonable adjustments could be made in the position itself to accommodate those difficulties. This is based on a tribunal recommendation in the case of Hewett V Motorola - Hewett was working for Motorola and given an appraisal ranking of SI (Some Improvement) as he was criticised as being over-sensitive to banter which is a result of his disability. One recommendation of the employment tribunal was that a reasonable adjustment would have been to modify his appraisal ranking to Meeting Expectations, due to this issue relating to his disability. In the case of Isles V Ealing Council see the quote below. However, one difference between that case and my case is the respondent explicitly referred to his disability when suggesting reasonable adjustments could not be made relating to certain competencies in regard of his condition. I would infer from this that in recruitment a reasonable adjustment would be to consider features relating to a disability as meeting expectations, assuming reasonable adjustments can be made to accommodate those difficulties. For example, a profoundly deaf person applying for a job as a sound engineer may not be able to perform the duties required of the job. Whereas a deaf person applying for a job in an office may benefit from a sign language interpreter and still be able to carry out duties required of the job. Then we move on to consideration of what is a reasonable adjustment. For example, in many organisations a sign language interpreter may not be considered a reasonable adjustment, due to the organisation's resources and size. I would argue that if an employer offers to provide a sign language interpreter at interview at their cost (as they did in this instance), they are aware of the difficulties likely to be encountered by a deaf person - and are able to meet adjustments required - and consider such adjustments reasonable within their organisation. Clearly my needs are different to that of a deaf sign language user. However, I would argue the effect of my condition in relation to colleagues and customers is likely to be similar. If a deaf person were posed questions on these issues, they too might find offering good examples of these skills at interview difficult compared with a candidate without their difficulties. I therefore would argue that... My disability would be considered a disability. Changing questions is suggestive of indirect discrimination under S19. Refusal to offer a position on the basis of competencies relating to disability when reasonable adjustments were possible, is suggestive of direct discrimination under S13. Reasonable adjustments, required under S20, for the position itself in relation to my disability were not adequately considered. Adjustments as required were reasonable and other similar adjustments were considered reasonable by the employer. A reasonable adjustment at interview would have been to consider competencies relating to difficulties arising from my disability as meeting expectations, so long as those competencies would be likely to be overcome with a reasonable adjustment. I therefore feel, dependent on responses to questions in response to my request for information under section 138 an Employment tribunal would be justified. Even though I would likely find the process difficult due to my disability and would have no legal support as legal aid is not possible and I have little money. My aim is not to procure compensation, but to try help prevent people with atypical neurological conditions like Asperger Syndrome, having to endure discrimination - and loss of dignity through repeated unemployment despite good ability to do certain jobs. And if not to raise awareness of such conditions, at least in the organisation to which I applied. And also maybe to set some sort of precedent about the legal status of the Equality Act in relation to such situations. Would an employment tribunal case set a binding legal precedent for future cases? I am nearly 31 and have never managed to get a paid job of any kind, and I think this is disgusting when I have a First Class Honours degree and a Masters - I am clearly of some benefit in the work place but continually hit this brick wall with decisions not to employ me being consistently related to my condition. Even in unskilled positions where you would not expect adept ability at team work to be particularly important like shelf stacking. I am fed up of being treated in this manner and really want some way to work to earn my own money, even if it is for minimum wage. Had I been interviewed for University and subject to the same assessments I would likely have never achieved a First Class degree. I just want to be considered in terms of my ability to do the job (which the big part is the technical side) without being hindered by my disability when compared to other candidates. It is clear this is happening when I am rejected due to reasons relating to my disability. Thanks in advance for any help. Particularly those with knowledge of employment law issues in disability discrimination - or knowledge of disabilities such as Autistic Spectrum Disorders, like Asperger's Syndrome.
  7. I'm autistic and I've been unemployed for 5 years which means I'm experiencing regression so it's unlikely I'd be able to work, I find it incredibly difficult just attending the job centre once a fortnight and now they've got new rules such as Universal Jobsmatch it'd be even harder for me, also I had a terrible experience with Ingeus which has left me scared of being sent back there as it would likely make my autism significantly worse. The job centre have told me I don't meet criteria for JSA as I can't use a phone to contact employers, thus it seems like my only way of surviving is constantly switching between JSA and ESA. I applied for ESA for the second time last year - the first time I attempted to get on ESA I was denied, due to ignorance of the system I didn't appeal the firs time round but I DID last time and yet I was still found fit-for-work. I was denied ESA on 14th August so I want to re-apply this month...sooner the better as I'm on JSA as of 3 days ago and already it's causing me problems due to anxiety over new rules and the possibility of being sent to Ingeus, I'm absolutely terrified of my sign-on day on Tuesday. I hate that these people don't understand my problems and I have no way of making them understand. Is there anything I need to know about re-applying for ESA? Is there any way I could get onto ESA a little sooner? Is it true I may have to go to Ingeus even if I'm on ESA?
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