Uphill battle to work

I'm feeling a little sore and fed up today. My head is aching, I'm sore all over and I feel like having a damn good cry. I think it's down to working an 8hr shift on a Sunday in my local shop. The thing is I need to work and what's more I want to work as I enjoy not only the financial benefits but the social side of working. I'm sure you will all agree that 8hrs on your feet with RA is an awful long time and unfortunately I'm not able to sit down at work. I've asked to change my hours but my requests keep falling on deaf ears. It's just so frustrating when you want to work but employers do nothing to help. So today I've taken a couple of anti inflammatories and am recovering, unable to do my housework. I must add that it doesn't help when I get absolutely no benefits as I was found "fit to work" by DWP but as I can only work limited hours I'm falling behind on NI contributions which will probably mean I won't be entitled to a full pension if I'm ever lucky enough to retire. Rant over now but I feel better for getting it off my chest.

Paula x

10 Replies

  • I am sorry to hear that your not having a good day today Paula. With your having to work and in a shop is there not a local one where you could just sit on the tills instead of all this standing? I know they are extremely hard to find in this climate at the moment and I am sure that you tried that in the first instance, but are you still looking? As to the NI contributions you could always contact them to see how your doing to help ease your mind, you can even go online to see if you are making enough. Although I am nearly there (5 years to go), and I gave up work last year I still keep a look out as they keep changing the goal posts even at this late stage. Luckily I was able to take my works pension so am not destitute, but would be if I did not have hubby.

    You take care and if you want to have a wallow do it, you will feel better afterwards.xxx

  • Thanks Georje, I had a look online and I have 23yrs in. I think you need 30yrs right now for a full pension. It does make it difficult for those with health conditions who can't work full time. I believe I can pay my own contributions which I'll probably end up doing. It's just so frustrating when I've always worked yet those who live on benefits all their lives automatically get the full pension. I'm keeping an eye out for something else but as you rightly say, it's not easy in the current climate. Ideally my manager will listen and be more flexible about my hours as there are other staff who don't do 8hr shifts. My hubby is fab and says I should just pack in if the job is too hard but I really want to work. Just realised what an absolute moaner I sound lol. Anyway besides the rant today has been quite nice. I've had a lovely quiet day with my laptop and done some washing. My friend just rang and we had a long chat on the phone too. It's mtx day so that's also a good excuse to put my feet up x

  • Hugs to you Paula,I haven't worked since nov. 2009,I just can't do it anymore sadly.I would love to be able to go out and do a little job. I would apply again for pip and see what you get. Get advice to help fill it in. You deserve it as you can't carry on like this much longer my friend.xxx

  • Thanks Sylvi x I don't know if you remember but when I failed the WCA and appealed I went through a horrible tribunal where I was spoken to like the worst kind of scrounger. It left me utterly humiliated and really knocked my confidence. I can still see the man at the tribunal hearing telling me he could see no reason why I couldn't work and "We all get tired". Honestly Sylvi it was awful and the decision was based on when my ESA first started when I had really severe untreated RA so what hope would I have now? I'll have a look into it but admit I can walk and dress myself which is all they seem interested in. x

  • Hi Paula i am getting ESA contribution, it is only for a year and it isn't means tested, as long as you have payed 2 years of NI you should be entitled to it, but it has really helped me at the moment until i am hopeful able to go back to my normal hours, I also do permitted work which is a real help to, Maybe phone your local job center, they have been really helpful to me, ask to speak to someone who deals with ESA contributions, Sorry to hear about the way your boss is with you, I have been so lucky with mine, I also work in a retail company (icelands) and they have been so great with helping me to return to work, Hope this helps take Care xxx

  • Hi Shirl, it's been a while since we've spoken and it's great to hear you're doing so well. I was awarded ESA (conts) but the award was taken away following my capability medical. Luckily my husband has a decent job so we've been able to manage on his income but I desperately want to work too. I've spoken to my manager about changing my shifts and decided if he doesn't act soon I'll ask my GP to give me a fit note saying I can only work limited hours. I don't know if this is possible but it's worth a try. x

  • Sorry to hear you're suffering at the moment. It's so frustrating when you're doing everything you can to work, but small allowances can't be made. I'm feeling nervous about going back to work next week after the college summer holidays. I was really well last term and managed overtime, but I feel very different after my enforced break from mtx. 8 hours standing must be agony, hope your manager will be adaptable re shifts, would it be possible to share a shift with someone else?

    Best of luck.


  • Hopefully your employer will be better than mine Caroline. Unfortunately mine just doesn't seem to understand that RA is serious and not just a bit of an ache. I actually feel better when I keep active both mentally and physically but getting the balance right is the hardest part. I stressed yesterday that I cannot go on like this and it looks like things will change but I'll have to manage another 2 weeks. I'm not supposed to sit down but I'm afraid my bum is going to be firmly perched on the window ledge in between customers until things improve. x

  • Can't understand why they have a problem with you sitting down. Have you tried giving one of those NRAS leaflets to your employer to explain how it really is? My employers are Ok. I work with a really good teaching team and it's not usually a problem for me to sit down/or change what I'm doing if I need to. I agree it's so difficult trying to explain how we really feel, especially when there's nothing really to notice in the way of disability. Hope you get something sorted. It would be such a shame to give up, just because of an inflexible system.

  • Hi Paula

    I had similar problems at work, I was working full time at a very physical job and I am also a manager so have the stress as well, my boss believe it or not, has a wife who suffers badly with RA yet he still didn't seem to understand what we all go through. I ended up getting a sick note from my GP instructing my company to reduce my hours otherwise he would lay me off sick for at least 6 months, so after a trip to the OH who agreed totally with my GP I am now working 25 he's a week which does make a difference, but they are now looking at giving me early retirement due to my illness. It is worth a trip to your GP and see what he says, nothing gained nothing lost. Hope you get something sorted out soon. Take care.

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