I'm I disabled??????

Was asked this yesterday by my Personnal manager at work, she said now your getting pip money are you classed as disabled. This threw me wasn't expecting this question! I also have a disciplinary on Friday regarding amount of time I'm having off due to ra,beginning to feel like they are trying to push me out. So what I'm getting at is are we classed as disabled, I don't like being labelled as anything but it just got me thinking.ngentle hugs to everyone michelle xxx

24 Replies

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  • It depends! RA is a condition that can lead to disability, but equally may not. It all depends how it affects you.

    For work purposes the equality act definition is probably the most useful, which is all about a disease have a long term and substantial effect on you being able to carry out normal activities. However, if the RA has meant you are disabled, then you are protected under that self same equality act and they can't simply sack you because of it. And one of the reasonable adjustments employers are supposed to make is not to count time off due to the illness in considering whether you should be disciplined because of poor absence record. So it could be a useful label to have.

  • Thanks for your reply it kinda just caught me of guard have some other medical issues which have contributed to time of as well xx

  • We are classed as disabled,but should not be treated differently from anybody else,plus you also have rights for being classed as disabled and your employer should know that

  • Thanks for your reply they probably do no that maybe that's why they were asking xx

  • It is a disability , depending on how bad you are to get PIP you must have some restrictions It is also a chronic illness They have a legal responsibility to make reasonable adjustments for you in the work place but that does not mean as much sick leave as you want

    Which is fair as they need the job done

    Having a disability is not a card to just go off sick Depending on your limitations they do have to help with things like position of computer , chair , etc

    You have to be careful about having time off , as if you do have a lot they can say you are not fit enough to carry out your duties

    Which is fair If you say you are disabled they have the right to get an OT involved to ensure they are doing their best by you

    So You need to take proper advice, not the stuff on here, as we are not lawyers 😊. Citizens advice is usually good

    First off, just see how the disciplinary goes, what is said etc

    You may be worrying unnecessarily

    Good luck

  • Thankyou xx

  • My work sent me for an occupational health assessment to answer this question. The assessment said yes I was covered under the disability discrimination act as RA was likely to be progressive and have a substantial affect on my life.

    NRAS have some info: nras.org.uk/guide-to-the-eq...

    I hope you get support at work rather than another battle, you have enough to deal with 😊

    Gentle hugs x

  • Receiving PIP or DLA can be used as a confirmation that you have a disability, however it doesn't mean that you have to describe yourself as disabled in any or every situation. Disability is a way to describe difficulties you have in maintaining "normal" activity, so its theoretically possible for you to be disabled in your home environment, but have no problems, limitations or difficulties in performing at work - or vice versa.

    Have a think about whether it is to your advantage to describe yourself as disabled at work - for many people it can be, as employers do have to make reasonable accommodations, and (at least at the moment) you can also get assistance from Access to Work if modifications are required.

    As far as your disciplinary meeting goes, don't go in alone - find a union rep, CAB disability welfare officer or some other advocate who understands disability rights and law to go with you.

  • At work, allow them to see you as disabled. I makes life a little easier if they're beginning to bully you about being off sick. There are better rules to protect the disabled, they have to support you rather then discipline you.

    When I worked and was really struggling, occupational health kept calling me in to 'check' that I was actually ill, and threaten me (subtly) about my sick time, which was always taken only at times of severe illness, never for small issues. In the end I stood my ground and told them they were treating me incorrectly as I had a disability, that I was having time off sick justifiably , and to back off. They supported me after that rather then bullying me.

    Good luck on Friday.

    Just a thought, but do you need to take someone with you on Friday for support, or record the meeting in case they are beginning to try and push you out. If they know you're clued up on disability rights, it may help you.

  • You are employed to do a set number of hours and in return to receive payment. Contracts of employment go both ways. If your sickness prevents this, your employer is entitled to consider if you are capable of doing the job. This would mean following a capability policy and its processes. This could result in a role change within the company but you are not financially protected if it is of less pay, or could even lead to dismissal if it is evident you are not capable of the role you're employed to do.

  • kerpag, that is not quite the case. Your employer is legally obliged to make 'reasonable adjustments', and (in an org large enough to have a personnel manager, like chemar's) that would be likely to include adjustments to its sickness absence recording for disabled employees, and/or other changes of duties without a loss of pay. A disabled employee's capability to do the job would be considered AFTER reasonable adjustment - so if s/he is able to do the job except for some time off sick, or is s/he could do it with some changes and/or additional support, then the employer must take account of that. An employer who took capability procedures out against a disabled employee without having first made reasonable adjustments would be liable to prosecution and/or tribunal action for disability discrimination.

  • RA is a disability and covered index the 2010 Act. Seek union advice or read docs on the NRAS site regarding work protection.

  • I know this sounds picky, but RA is a disease, not a disability. For me it's very important that I don't let myself become a victim and let this disease dominate my life. I'm lucky enough that my RA is well controlled, so I don't consider myself disabled at all. Others of course aren't so lucky and are disabled by it. But it's not automatic that if you have RA you will be disabled.

    When I was first diagnosed I scared myself silly by reading stuff online that all said that I would become disabled, which really didn't help me at all.

  • I can't work or walk with it and have a blue badge.

    No its good to think positive

  • It's a horrid disease, and I know that many are badly affected. I wish more people responded as well as I have to the drugs. So sorry for your pain. But it is important that newbies do see that it's not always like that.

  • I consider it a disability (and certainly that enabled me to get permission to telework from my home) but I do not consider myself disabled. Sometimes those subtle nuances are important. :)

  • But you are disabled under the terms of the Equalities Act, helix, if your RA has a " ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities". SO if you had a flare-up (fingers crossed you won't!) and had to have time off work, the disability discrimination provision in the Equalities Act would offer you some protection from being sacked.

  • I don't know of course what sort of job you do or how big the company is you work for. If it's a small company then I can understand their position, as if you are having a lot of time off then it must be hard for them to keep their business going and other people will have to do your job. If it's a large company that wouldn't have the same effect. Another thing depends upon circumstances e.g. I worked for Local Government and was retired on ill health many years ago. I actually didn't mind, as they made my pension up to what I would have got if I had worked until retirement age and I got a lump sum. I was actually pleased about this as I found it harder and harder to do my job. It was an office job, but before the days of computers and sitting with my neck down most of the day wasn't helping at all.

  • PIP replaced DLA, Disability Living Allowance. You might not want to think of yourself as disabled, but I think you probably are. xx

  • Thanks everyone for your replys xx

  • Personally I've stopped worrying about the label 'disabled' . I can't do what a 'normal' person can. Pick disabled apart, Dis means 'not' and abled means to do, take part. Well that describes me. I found my occupation health department supportive and I was covered by the old Disability Act which I think has been superseded by the Equality Act. It took me nearly two decades to accept disabled to describe me, but it is only a word and I have no idea why I was so bothered about it.

  • In terms of work, the definition of disability would be from the Equalities Act (and would have applied regardless of whether you were claiming any benefits or not, which really the employer should have known). The definition of disability in this act is:

    “physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities".

    This would apply to a lot of people with RA. It is a legal term and doesn't mean that you have to consider yourself disabled in any other aspects of your daily life. Here is some more info on the Act if you're interested:


    Hope that helps


    (NRAS Helpline)

  • You should get Access to Work support budget which may lighten your life at work. As with most people with rheumatoid arthritis, my condition is variable (hands and toe fingers). Some days are better than others and my pain levels and the amount the arthritis affects me varies.

    My arthritis has worsened over the last few months and I find it is now affecting my day to day ability to do my job.

    In general, any task that involved fine motor skills is proving to be more and more difficult for me. For example, writing, typing, dealing with the post, typing telephone numbers into the phone, sending company text messages, corresponding via live chat and using a calculator are all difficult and sometimes impossible tasks for me to complete.

    This was having an impact on my job and I am keen to act quickly before my job becomes untenable. .

    My application has been approved. This will enable me to complete all the necessary tasks asked of me in my employment, despite my arthritis. They advised I know best what support I need so I can use my budget as I see fit.

    Hope this helps :)

  • chemar, if you are facing capability action at work because of sickness absence that is partly related to your RA, then it's important that your answer to the personnel manager's question is "yes" - it may well save you from losing your job.

    You are disabled under the terms of the Equalities Act if your RA has a " ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities". Your employer must legally make 'reasonable adjustments' to enable you to do your job as well as a non-disabled person would do it without those adjustments. What counts as 'reasonable' varies, but in a company big enough to have a personnel manager, it may well include discounting disability-related sickness. It might also include other adjustments like flexible working, a change of duties and/or practical support.

    A disabled employee's capability to do the job must be considered AFTER reasonable adjustment - so if you are able to do the job except for some time off sick, or could do it with some changes and/or additional support, then your employer must take account of that. An employer who took capability procedures out against a disabled employee without having first made reasonable adjustments would be liable to prosecution and/or tribunal action for disability discrimination.

    You might find this guidance useful - see esp top of page 10. But employment law and disability discrimination are complex - you should seek some advice from Citizen's Advice, your union if you're in one or a disability advocacy organisation. Good luck!


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