Arthritis Action

Benefits

Hi, I have now been unemployed for over a year as I had to give up work because of my arthritis, I have always worked full-time, now in my 50's, I started claiming late last year, took me a while to figure out what benefits!!, got PIP before I left work and started claiming ESA late last year, I went for a Health Assessment and now been told I have to go onto a work related activity, it's not the thought of working but my ability to do the work that's got me worried and stressed.

Has anyone else gone through this and what are your thoughts on it. Do you have the choice of what work you are doing? The hours you work? etc etc. Value your views please :)

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I was medically retired in July of last year because of arthritis and copd.I had an assessment and I was deemed fit for some sort of work.As a consequence I don't receive any benefits of any kind.I was told I may qualify for job seekers but I would have to declare I am fit for work and actively seeking employment.Because of my health problems my scope for work is limited,and jobs to fit my circumstances are virtually non existent.As my wife works 16 hours a week and I receive my work pension of £320 a month I would only get about £20 a week so I don't bother claiming anything.I've explored all other benefits and been told I don't qualify for any.

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This happened to me in my late fifties thankfully my husband worked full time and supported me.

I had worked in admin all my life and have OA in my fingers, hands, wrists, elbows etc together with a pinched nerve in my neck and in the end found it impossible to use computers constantantly all day any longer.

When are the powers that be going to realise the more that you do with your hands when you have OA the worse it becomes. Keeping your hands / body moving is good but overdoing it is agony which can take weeks to calm down and only makes trying to look after yourself more difficult.

I believe using keyboards and adding machines all my working life is the major cause of my OA and yet sufferers like myself are unable to claim anything.

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My point exactly,I have arthritis in my knees,hips,shoulders and lower back which together causes problems walking,using my arms repeatedly and bending my neck to look upwards.Along with my copd problems work became difficult.I pointed out at my assessment,I can still do these things but not to the standard required to keep working at the job I was doing.I would welcome going back to some sort of work but I'm limited by the amount of time it takes for the various aches and pains to become too much.I have actually applied for several jobs but as soon as I mention health problems it's a no go.

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Like you, sad as it may do to some :), I miss working, tho my husband is very supportive, there are days when I can hardly move because it is so painful it is stressing me being on benefits and I worry if I don't find an employer willing to take me on that I will lose out, good luck to finding that elusive job!!! :)

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Thanks but I don't hold much hope finding a job,the problem is I can't do more than an hour or so without needing a break because of one or more of my problems,unfortunately some people don't understand the problems other people face.I'm thinking of looking at ways to work from home,hours and time to suit.

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Hi holding back the years, it is so frustrating to be assessed by people that don't know what they are talking about and it's about time these powers that be brought in specialists for the different medical issues when doing health assessments

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If you truly believe that you are unfit for work then appeal your ESA result!

It takes some doing but is well worth the effort. Many people in this country do not receive the benefits they are due as a result of poor assessment.

Those that decide are not experts in your pain, you are.

There is a website called benefits and work which is a mine of information on miss managed assessments and details how to make sure your final assessment is fair. It includes ideas for you to include in your application and appeal. It also explains how they assess you.

Please don't accept that they know best, as they don't. You are the only one who knows what you can do and what you can't when it comes to your arthritis.

Most people who appeal get a positive result. Good luck ....

Margaret

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Thanks Margaret, when I got the letter to tell me I was fit for work, I phoned them to appeal and was informed to wait for my face to face interview with an adviser at the job centre, I asked them to note on the system that I was appealing against it. I will look at that website and see what I can do with the information on there, I'm not optimistic that they will do anything for me, cos lets face it, the phone number on the top of their letters doesn't exist any more and when you phone it you get a recorded message giving you a free phone number to call!! It's not that difficult ......... :)

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You don't have to wait for your job centre interview. They have told you the wrong infirmation. There are many tales of thr DWP trying to mislead claimants.

You ask The DWP first for a mandatory reconsideration. When they send you this, which will probably be the same outcome, you can fill the forms in to appeal.

You need to ask within a specific time scale too so don't let them delay you!

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Wow looked again at the letter they sent I've got a month from the date at the top of the letter so still within the limit, guess who I'll be phoning first thing on Monday :) Thanks again

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Hi bernie64, a tip when appealing on arthritis grounds. Try the health and safety grounds. Their are risks to you and the people you work with as your joints don't work properly. I have arthritis in my hands and my last employer gave me medical retirement as colleagues complained about me not being able to meet some regulations or do the same jobs as they did. I agreed to termination even though my employer was willing to challenge my colleagues as I was employed as a disabled worker with needs for adjustment. Being employed as disabled can also make it easier to get lighter jobs where necessary and help from the unemployment office. Hope this info is of use to you. Good luck.

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Like you arthritis worse in hands n legs though it is in every joint in my body I am registered disabled and do receive the mobility part of PIP which I wasn't asked about but I did say at my health assessment, also like you colleagues at last job complained to my boss, felt encouraged to leave rather than stay :) thank you for the tip

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you are welcome

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Here's the link....

benefitsandwork.co.uk

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As Margaret has said, please appeal if you feel you have been wrongly assessed. Your local Welfare Rights department with the council should be able to offer some assistance should you be required to appeal via tribunal.

When I was in the final year of my law degree our University has a programme which I participated in where Law students were trained by Welfare Rights to represent members of the community at their benefit appeals - I know more areas are trying to introduce this. If it’s not available in your area see if your local university has a free legal advice centre as many do and you may be able to get some help that way.

In my experience (from representing claimants, I’ve never had to go through one personally) the assessments are largely pointless and are often carried out by a medical practitioner who is not a specialist in tht area - for example, I had dealt with cases where a physiotherapist has assessed mental health issues and then made an incorrect declaration they were fit for Work (the tribunal agreed in EVERY case that they were not)

Don’t give up, this government needs to be ashamed of the way it is treating people. The benefit system is supposed to be there to help people in their time of need, not shun them.

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Thanks Jimmy for the advice. :)

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