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Incapacity Benefit/Universal Credit


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Hi, this is my first thread on here although I have been signed up for some time now and follow many of the threads and articles with interest and often finding extremely sound advice. Now I find myself in a position of needing specific advice for a problem of my own.

 

First, a bit of background is needed to understand my situation. I started with my employer back before I needed to shave in June 1999 and remain with them to this day. However, in August 2000, I became seriously ill with a rare blood disorder that required very aggressive chemo threatment. I was off work for over three months, but finally, before the end of November 2000, I was able to return to my job.

 

Over the following 7 - 8 years, I carried on working full time, although with many periods off work for chemo or serious flare ups of my illness. The company I work for have been amazing since day one, treating me fairly and with kindness throughout. Unfortunately, my conditioned continued to worsen with severe damage to my sinuses, short term memory loss, diabeties, seizures, sleeping problems, hearing loss and more. So in the October of 2008, a few months before the birth of my daughter, my employer suggested that I speak to my GP and hospital consultants about getting signed off on long term sick leave to give me a chance to recover.

 

The GP and my consultants all agreed. I was, for the first time in my life, no longer working. My position with my company was, and remains to this day, open for me should my health improve to the point that I am able to return. Being off work meant that I was only paid the standard SSP amount although my company have been continuing to pay employee contibutions in to my pension fund.

 

After a six month battle, the Job Centre Plus finally acknowledged that I as entitled to Incapacity Benefit, which meant with the SSP and some housing benefit and tax credit, I was able to afford the cost of living whist off work. Now, as of two days ago, the whole situation has changed.

 

Following a 'fitness to work assessment' in May, I was then out of the blue sent a letter telling me that I WAS able to work, based on the decsion of someone who had not even heard of the name of my illness until that day and against the judgement of healthcare professionals, some having dealt with me for over a decade. I contacted them by phone to try and understand the reasons for the decsion.

 

I was told that because I am able to walk up to 100 metres, lift an arm above my head, open my own post and climb a single flight of stairs unaided, that I was fit to work in at least some capacity. I tried to explain that it was only on the 'good days' in terms of health that I was able to do anything at all. The bad days, I am pretty much confinied to bed with even the simple task of getting to the toilet exhausting me but they seem unable or unwilling to grasp the concept.

 

Effectively, I have been told that I have three options:

1. My employermake changes that mean I can do my job despite illness - impossible. As a sales rep, my job involves covering two counties which there is no way I can do when on the does of pain killers and other drugs that I have to take on a daily basis and the fact that I cannot tell from one day to the next if I will be well enough to come in and work for a set period, if at all.

 

2. Quit my job and apply for job seekers allowence. Basically, make myself intentionally unemployed, lose my ongoing pension payments and apply for jobs despite the fact that no one in their right mind is likely to consider employing a worker who cannot give them any indication at all of when they could work. And I would be gambling that the advisor I spoke to was correct in that an exception would be made in my situation if I were to quit, whereby they the 'intentional unemployment' would not be considered as such. I only have his word on that and nothing in writing to confirm it.

 

3. Carry on without the incapacity money and pray that I am able to live on such a drastic drop of household income with a family to support but with the knowledge that if I do get well enough, I have a job waiting and will continue to receive pension payments.

 

I continue to have chemo at regular times throughout the year, I take tramadol or morphine 3 - 4 times a day to keep the pain under control alongside anti inflammitory medication, anti sickness tablets and antibiotics daily to compensate for the supressed immune system resulting from the chemo. On an average month, there are maybe 5 or 6 days at best that I can even function to anything like normal levels, with more days that I simply cannot function at all. None of which seems to have been taken in to account, despite being clearly stated in writing and at the assessment.

 

I apologise for the rather lengthy comment but I am desperately in need of advice on how to proceed and understandably, very worried about my financial furture - all stress that I really don't need on top of everything else.

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Your first step will be to apply for Mandatory reconsideration. It probably doesn't matter much what you say because it's unlikely that the decision will be changed at this stage. If you've been reading other threads you'll be aware that your circumstances are not at all unusual and many people who are clearly not are found fit for work.

 

If you need specific help, ask, though you can probably find any information you need on other threads/forums.

 

Once you're turned down again, you can appeal and at that point your ESA should be paid at the basic rate until the hearing. The decision is far more likely to be overturned at that point, and you will need to put some effort into the information you provide to the tribunal and how it's presented, but there's also plenty of time to sort that in due course.

 

Most of all, try not to take it personally. This is all part of the drive to demonise the sick and disabled and leave them destitute or even, in some cases, dead. The person who did your assessment has no interest in what your problems actually are, they just need to fill in the paperwork how they've been told and make sure their stats don't vary from the 'norm' which means most people will be found fit for work.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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  • 4 months later...
Your first step will be to apply for Mandatory reconsideration. It probably doesn't matter much what you say because it's unlikely that the decision will be changed at this stage. If you've been reading other threads you'll be aware that your circumstances are not at all unusual and many people who are clearly not are found fit for work.

 

If you need specific help, ask, though you can probably find any information you need on other threads/forums.

 

Once you're turned down again, you can appeal and at that point your ESA should be paid at the basic rate until the hearing. The decision is far more likely to be overturned at that point, and you will need to put some effort into the information you provide to the tribunal and how it's presented, but there's also plenty of time to sort that in due course.

 

Most of all, try not to take it personally. This is all part of the drive to demonise the sick and disabled and leave them destitute or even, in some cases, dead. The person who did your assessment has no interest in what your problems actually are, they just need to fill in the paperwork how they've been told and make sure their stats don't vary from the 'norm' which means most people will be found fit for work.

 

Its ABSOLUTELY disgusting the way we are treated. My spine is absolutely knackered from a car crash. I have had two heart attacks. A bleed on the brain. Have mobility problems. Take MST and Oramorph daily to be able to get anything done. AND THEY STOPPED MY MOBILITY BENEFITS. THEY SAID I LOST IT BY ONE POINT, PLANNING A JOURNEY. REALLY. It's a disgrace. And no one listens.

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