Back to work with emphysema

I recently started work which I haven't done since being diagnosed with emphysema. On my last spirometry my lung age was 73, I am 43. I thought I would be ok going back but I am struggling to breath on my journey there and back and because I have gone back to work I have forgone my benefits I had. I don't know what I can do now as I feel I have made a major mistake by going back to work but if I just leave I won't get any benefits. It's getting me down as I don't know what I can do. Does anyone have any advice?

30 Replies

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  • Hi Lisa,I am sorry I cannot help you but many have posted in the past about this problem Somebody will help you tomorrow, I am sure Kaye.

  • Thank you Kaye

  • citizensadvice.org.uk/work/... hi lisa 3b hears all I could find but im sure someone more in the no will help you out, worthgiving them a call to book a appointment and a chat tho, or ring blf up in the morning there good on benefits advice,,

  • Thank you

  • Hi Lisa

    You might want to contact your local Welfare Rights for some expert advice.

    Good luck and sorry going back to work didn't work out and I hope WR can help to sort out the benefits situation.

    love cx

  • Thank you.

  • Don't just leave. When I had to give up work I was lucky to get good advice from a friend. It culminated in me taking early retirement on health grounds which meant I was credited with work pension contributions up to retirement age and paid my pension immediately. But before you get to that stage there may be 'reasonable' adjustments that your employer can (and must) take to allow you to continue working. PLEASE take the time to get some good advice. CAB may be a good place to start.

  • Thanks for taking the time to write all that. Will take it all on board.

  • You are welcome. :) That is what we are here for.

  • Hi Toci you have to have been at a job for 2 years or more to get full rights. If it is less then that your employer will find it much easier to dismiss you. They can't because of pregnancy, race, gender (and a few other reasons which I can't remember), but otherwise you don't have any rights. They haven't got to make reasonable adjustments under these conditions nor will the employee qualify for early retirement either. x

  • Thanks, cal but I have no idea how long this person has been at work, the post just says recently returned. I was unaware the Disability Rights Act was limited by time employed. Living and learning.....

  • Ok Toci. As Lisa said she 'recently started work' I assumed it was a brand new job and not a return to an old one. We read it differently :) x

  • Lisa3b stay at your job even though you've found it very hard at times but does your employer know of your previous medical conditions at all? If so you may well be able to talk to them about your difficulties. Obviously you underline the fact that you love the job, the company, the people etc, creep,creep! They may try and be more accommodating in the job expectations and the hours you do etc etc. Worth a try before you through the towel in eh? Good luck.

  • Thank you for the advice. Much appreciated

  • Yes if you leave because of illness and get a sick note you can go straight back onto sickness benefits. It's only if you have been sacked or leave for other reasons that you might not qualify.

    It's very hard to go back to work after being off for a long time so give yourself some time to adjust and you might find it is getting easier. Is it possible to work part time? Even dropping 1 day a week would help. x

  • Thank you.

  • Look into Access to Work - it might be they can help with eg taxi fares to work.

    Other avenue would be to look at PIP again if you can get this the extra money could help pay for taxis?

  • Thanks everyone for all your replies. It's given me an idea of what I can do. Nice one, cheers👍

  • Hi, Lisa, Although I am now retired I seem to remember that if you started work and, especially after an illness, within 2 weeks you found that you couldn't cope you were allowed to make a "continuation of claim". You don't say what you were claiming , but, as other posters have alluded to, please check with Citizen's Advice. I feel sure that your claim could be reinstated. Well, at least you gave it a go, trying to get back to work. Good on yer! Presumably, Department for Workhouse & Pensions are already aware of your emphysema? Go on..Give Citizens advice a ring. I hope you are pleasantly surprised.

    Good Luck and kind regards-Dave

  • Thanks for the advice. Think I have it all solved now fingers crossed.

  • Do you have disability insurance. For sure your doctor would fill out the forms knowing your breathing is a detriment to you working.

  • I would go and see your doctor for a sick note or something in black and white to say you are unfit for work. Speak to the Citizens Advice as well re your benefit entitlement. Surely your place of work can see you are not well and struggling. The extra anxiety/stress will not be helping your breathing it does with me even the weather. I hope you can get some help. I do not work as i am never the same from day to day. Very brave of you to try. Take clar. Let me know what happens.

  • Hi Lisa, I had to give up work because the journey was proving too much for me, I was over twenty years older than you at the time. I'd worked for the same company for many, many years but they relocated and that's when my difficulty arose. Leaving was the worse thing I ever did, although the journey was a real struggle I would willing try it again but alas I'm too old to restart working now. Don't give up your job lightly, speak to your employer maybe they'd allow you to work different hours to avoid the rush of fellow commuters. My journey was a drive, train, bus and walk, it took an hour and 45mins, the walking to the station platform is what caused me the most physical stress and there was nothing I could do about that. Think of ways of breaking up your journey, or hopping on more buses before you give up the independence and company of being in work. Also, think of the exercise you are getting, you won't get that being at home, You didn't say what your journey to work involved but, if it's on public transport maybe you can get a Freedom pass (based on health grounds - I got this when I was 40) which will help you a little. Wishing you good luck. 😊

  • Thanks.

  • Hi Lisa, I'm sorry to hear of your troubles - I know what it's like driving yourself too hard and going back to work too early.

    The BLF helpline have benefits & financial advisors 03000030555 give them a try, go give hours.

    Good luck to you. P x

  • Thanks

  • Sorry to read about your plight. I remember reading about a person in a similar health condition who is running marathons. I read it in this journal: Healthline.com newsletter@healthline.com

    Good luck

  • Thanks. I think my marathon days are over though.

  • Hi Lisa

    I have COPD/asthma and was eventually dismissed on ill health and was 2 weeks before the 2 year point to claim medical retirement. As I was dismissed, I was put on ESA (employment support assessment) and have been on it ever since. I was due to have an assessment this week, where someone will determine if I am 'fit for work' or not, but this was cancelled as my files did not arrive from one office to another in time. ESA is the same amount as JSA, but you don't have to sign on. It hasn't been easy since being on ESA for the last 16 months. My money was sanctioned last Christmas and I had to go to the food bank.

    I was similar to you in that the journeys to and from work were horrendous. It didn't help that my desk was under an air con that blew cold air constantly, a fax machine to my left and a printer behind me that 10 people used regularly. Guess where all that pollution went? That was them making amends for my situation, along with changing the time I get into and leave work! As if changing the times would make the journey any less distressful, when you are struggling to breathe!

    Like others have said, contact your local citizen advice, welfare benefits etc. It may seem like a long process, but hang on in there.

    This is a great forum and you are not alone.

    Best regards...Good luck

  • Thanks so much. Sounds like you've had a rough time of it all. Given me a lot to think about

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