NRAS
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Benefits for RA

Hello all. I work as a care support worker. Had RA 20 yrs. Although Methotexate has allowed me to continue working for several years controlling the RA (I have flare ups) I am finding it harder as im getting older (now 43) I do just 16hrs a week, I really wish I could get a little top up to help me as I need to buy a car to do my job (preferably an automatic now as my knees are getting worse). My current car is on its last legs. This is the problem im doing 16 hrs because I know its my bodys limit, the fatigue i suffer causes lack of concentration. My brain does not absorb info very well anymore. My short term memory is bad. I would love to work full time like I used to before RA and be able to earn more than 600 per month, but I really can't. When I do go over my hours I do suffer for it. I have never claimed a benefit in my life, I don't intend quitting, if anything I would lessen my hours more if I get worse in future. I feel its not my fault I cant work more and im worried as I cant even build up a decent pension for myself. Is there a top up benefot that I could enquire about?

16 Replies
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Have you applied for personal independence payment ?

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I will make an appt with CAB soon to see if there is help. Thank you

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Do you not qualify for housing benefit or something like it (if you rent), a Council Tax abatement or similar?

As suggested, you might want to look into PIP. Several people have recommended sites like this one for advice: benefitsandwork.co.uk

Particularly this section: benefitsandwork.co.uk/perso...

Do you qualify for anything like Working Tax Credit? welfarerights.net/benefits-...

I hope that there is something available to assist you.

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Thank you for your reply I will look into those websites. My partner is working lots of hours to help make up our short fall. He earns min wage so its a strain on him as he hasnt got the best of health himself. Thanks again. Im glad ive asked. The replies have spurred me on to investigate further.

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As you've got a partner, it's definitely a bit more complicated but certainly makes it worth your while to make enquiries.

Have you chatted about this to NRAS on the Helpline? They might have helpful pointers for you.

nras.org.uk/helpline

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Thank you for that, ill give them a call first.

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Whether or not you have a partner doesn't effect your application for PIP. This is fir you as an individual and is not means tested,

I hope that you're able to access all the support you need.

Marie

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Thank you so much. I am so glad I asked this question. All of the replies have been wonderful.

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I don't know the rules but have you thought of applying for the Motorbility (?) allowance to help buy a car to help to do your job? You do a very valuable job & deserve some help.

Although the way Benefits seem to be paid.....if you help yourself as you are & work ....you can't get anything!

Why don't you pop into the CAB....they have people who can help you find your way through the minefield of what is available & how to claim.

Good Luck!

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Yes ill look into motorbility. Thank you.

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Motability benefits come under your PIP application. You are unlikely to gain enough points to have car if you can walk more than a few yards. However you may be entitled to a lesser mobility payment. You may well be entitled to payment for personal care. Please get some advice before you submit an application for PIP. How you fill the form in will affect your success. Also it is important to collect evidence through letters or reports from Drs physios OTs etc. It will also be helpful to start a diary about how your RA affects you, what help you need even it wasn't available. List what aids and adaptations you use such as jar openers, wrist supports etc etc. Include everything and anything including any other health problems even if not related to RA. Also remember to describe you symptoms and care needs on your worst day in your application and in a face to face interview not your better days. NRAS have a good booklet about applying for PIp which you can download. The benefits and works website also has an excellent guide but you have to pay about £17 to join for a year to obtain there full guide. CAB advice is free as is the Welfare Rights service if you live in an area where your council still provides this.

Wishing you all the best with a PIP application, it is a real pain having to collect evidence and the preparation involved but well worth it in the long run. Don't forget to check out if you and your partner are entitled to other benefits.

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Thank you so much for this advice. Your time is so appreciated. I will definitely start keeping a diary. Im so grateful for everyones advice.

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Hi Span444,

You have already got some good advice from other forum member.

Years ago my last paid employment was at my local Citizens Advice Bureau. Virtually all the benefit system has changed beyond recognition since then.

People with disabilities who worked 16 hours a week or more used to be entitled to Disabled Person's Tax Credits. Like all the benefits, applying for it could be a complicated process, but you used to be able to get it with a letter from your GP or Consultant confirming your disability, even if you did not yet have PIP. If you meet the relevant criteria you apply by calling the regular Tax Credits number. If you got PIP you used to be automatically considered disabled enough to get Disabled Persons Tax Credits, but the rules change all the time with our current Government.

CAB used to offer what we called a "better off assessment". We did these when clients were considering a change of circumstances and wanted to know the financial implication of that change upon their benefit entitlement would be prior to making the change.

In some areas you might also have the option of seeing a Welfare Rights Officer. Enquire at your Library or Local Council. Sadly in some areas Councils have cut back on this type of service due to cut backs. Where they still exist, they give similar benefits type advice to CAB.

Another source of information which might be useful is via the Disability Rights Web. site. They do a fantastic Disability Rights Handbook, which is updated each year, which may be available from one of the larger libraries in your area. If you are not already in receipt of a benefit this book is expensive to buy, but for those on benefit there is a concessionary rate. I would see if you can get the information you need without buying it.

If you find a way forward for you, then please come back to the Forum, as your experience may be helpful for others.

I do hope someone can assist you, so that you get the specific information you need to enable you to get the help you need.

AARA

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Ok thank you for your help

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Apply for PIP. You need the enhanced mobility to be able to get a Motability car. It’s not easy getting PIP, I suggest to start getting all evidence together about your RA. Doctors letters, scan results, medications you take, anything medical and any OT reports, Consultant letters, nurse letters to build up your case.

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Speaking as someone who like you hasn't claimed benefits before I did apply for PIP & been awarded it now for about three years. There are quite a few of us here who are in receipt of PIP, it's a non means tested benefit intended to help keep us more independent. This link from NRAS gives others you may be considered entitled to, nras.org.uk/data/files/Publ... section 3 will be applicable to you too as you work.

I found my local CAB helpful too, maybe you could make an appointment to see what else they think you could be entitled. If you do remember to say you also have a partner in work as that could make a difference, even may be eligible to something if he's in poor health or diagnosed with a condition/disability himself.

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