Confused?...so am I.
Bear with me re the long dissertation
Asthmatic for 57 years. I had eczema from 3 months old for 17 years. Perennial allergies (tested and its the environment; trees, grass, dust, smoke, yakkety yak, you get the picture). Diagnosed with COPD 2013 then dismissed from work (NHS) due to ill health 2014.
Was able to claim ESA, however following an re assessment February of this year, I was found ‘fit for work’. I appealed immediately as I thought they are NOT in my vicinity when I am unable to breathe, get out of bed, get dressed etc. I claimed ESP (extended sick pay) for 3 months, but was promptly told, I cannot have another ESP with the year. At least I did not have to sign on every 2 weeks.
So for the last few months, I have had to sign on every 2 weeks, struggling to breathe sometimes. The coach was sympathetic and angry at the system as she could clearly see I was not in a good way but was tied by red tape. She advised me to go for ESA reinstatement, but ESA told me I couldn’t. So onwards I go each fortnight to sign on. My anxiety has risen to the point I am waiting for an appointment with psychological services. The doc gave me a 3 month medical note, but I told them JSA would not accept it. Was told if I need another note to let them know.
One week my usual coach was not in and I was told to volunteer at a second hand furniture shop for up to 16 hours a week (as I am a people person). I explained my predicament, but she says…give it a go. I thought I was strong, but I said yes because in my head they could sanction my money if I don’t do this.
The day before starting I went for a chest x-ray as the doc says I haven’t had one in a while as I wasn’t feeling well the past few weeks.
I started volunteering for 4 hours. There I am in the back area filing store tickets. Meanwhile some guys are unpacking and re packing ‘stuff’….yep…..dust! Pounding the shop putting price tickets on things that haven’t got one. I’m doing this for the whole 4 hours. No rest, no sit down. Go home and straight to bed I went.
The doc calls me the next day and asked me to pick up antibiotics as the x-ray showed up an infection.
I called both the shop and JSA to inform of the situation.
From all of that, I went to sign on last week (again not well). I asked about the 2 week sick note and was told that I can only have 2 separate 2 weeks sick note……and I would have to come and sign regardless. The sick note was to inform JSA that I was too sick to look for work for the period, but if I didn’t come in..sick or not, I would be sanctioned.
At that point, she advised me to contact ESA again and ask for reinstatement, but I would have to sign off JSA. I did this as soon as I got home and was told by ESA to send in the medical note. I posted the note and then telephoned benefit centre to sign off.
Not finished yet. My money which was supposed to come Wednesday, didn’t…..why? Because they closed my claim too early. I know I know…don’t ask me why or how.
Anyway from many phone calls made, they did pay me…..eventually. In hindsight perhaps I should have signed off when I got confirmation from ESA. I was told however that I had to sign off as soon as I got in touch with ESA.
This morning I received a letter from the tribunal with a hearing date.
I don’t think jelly wobbles as much as I did upon receiving it. Having being given PIP, ESA, JSA and reinstated ESA (although I wont know until 2 weeks time if I will or not), my mind is in a turmoil.
Like a lot of people that court day will be one of the ‘better days’ that I rarely have
I usually say onwards and upwards. But I feel like I’m spiralling downwards out of control with fear