Hello from the helpline team: I hope that you are all... - NRAS

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Hello from the helpline team

I hope that you are all enjoying the lovely weather which has at last arrived, and perhaps, looking forward to your holidays. We hear from lots of callers prior to taking a holiday with concerns about travel insurance and how they should manage their medication or who need information about vaccinations. We have a list of travel insurance providers, all of which have been recommended to us by our Members, so if you are struggling to get insurance give the helpline a call! Likewise we have information and help to offer if you need to travel with medication or need vaccinations.

Calls vary incredibly to the helpline but it is becoming increasingly evident that people are experiencing difficulty with benefit applications, particularly the one for Employment Support Allowance (ESA), if you have found yourself in this situation then get in contact with us and we will do our best to help or, if we cannot, we can direct you to other agencies who specialise in benefits help. With the help of the Disability Alliance we have just revised the Benefits and RA and DLA booklets and they should be in the office and ready to order by Friday 5th August.

People struggling to stay in employment or to get back to work also make up quite a lot of our calls. The 2 work booklets, originally published in 2007 have been updated recently and are a huge resource for those of you experiencing work issues. The booklets entitled ‘I want to work’ and ‘When an employee has RA’ can also be ordered online. Clare, NRAS External Affairs Director has been responsible for developing a new work resource based on the very successful WorkWise Workshops which were held throughout England and Wales in 2010. The materials are now available on the NRAS website and feature videos of the presenters:- an OT with RA, an Occupational Health Advisor, an employment lawyer and an introduction by Sarah Wallace, one of our Members. There are also all of the written materials developed for the workshops, featuring a very useful sheet of frequently asked questions, available to download form the website. You can view all the resources on this link nras.org.uk/workwise/defaul... .

Well, it is lovely and sunny outside so I am off to soak up some of the rays. I wish you all a happy and healthy summer and, whilst it is lovely speaking to you, hope that you won’t need our services!!

Best wishes


11 Replies

Hi Lorraine. Thanks for the info. It is gorgeous here in Norfolk as well - temps up to 23 degrees and likely to hit 25 tomorrow.

I am also a lawyer and advise at CAB on DLA, appeals, Tribunals etc.

With the Government clamping down ever harder on benefits and taking them away from the people who really need it instead of the workshy and lazy, then our work is cut out with asking the DWP to look at it again, appealing it and last resort going to the Tribunals. However, we often find that if the DWP looks at it again, or we appeal (but not to their good nature), it is granted. It is worth challenging every decision no matter how hard it is when you feel really rotten. CAB will always help as well. So anyone can call into their nearest CAB for assistance when needed. LavendarLady x (PS enjoy the sunshine).


This is really useful information and good to know. I have recently been put off competing my ESA form, because the original was rejected. Now they are going to assess me by means testing and the form is acres long. I haven't yet had a go at it. But I think I must. It is so very hard to say what you can or can't do, because sometimes you can and sometimes you can't!

Here in Devon, the weather has been very humid, but no sun, andhad a lot of rain this afternoon. So much for the nice and warm South West!! :-)

Thanks again

Julie x


Dear julie,

I got turned down for esa, but i appealed and got it. If you get another medical crawl in and eggagerate your illness, but i think that you won't have to as having ra is very painful and depressing. Tell them your incaple of doing much. I also went d.i.a.l and they got me some help and took my case on and i was successful. I still can't work at the moment as much as i would like to.

Today i'm really suffering from my accident yesterday. Been awake most of the night..My joints ache so much i don't know where to put them. So i'm afraid for the next few hours i'm going back to bed as i don't know what else to do.

Don't give up on the esa appeal.

Best of luck.

Sylvia. xx


Hi Julie. Good luck with the form but fill it in as if it is the worst day of your life. If you get called for a medical assessment, they use a tick box form only which the so called doctor (more likely a nurse not trained in RA) fills in. Be very careful how you respond. It has questions like "can you lift your arms, can you bend forward, can you get out of a chair etc". Answser as much in the negative as you can otherwise they will tick you as able to work! The entire procedure is a farce. Best of Luck. LL xx


Thank you both. I am tempted, but my problem is, I have awful trouble saying this when I know that a lot of the days I am quite capable of doing lots of things! But then I have days when I can't be bothered and I am so tired. Most days I just simply run out of energy and go to bed - depending on how well I can pace myself depends on how late it is I go to bed! It's silly I know, but I am thinking about it. Thanks. Julie xxx


Dear Lorraine. My comment is regarding my employer. I work as a Midwife and although I have written approval from Occupational Health that I don't do long runs of shift 7 or 8 days at a time they seem to be creeping in.On this last off duty I was actually rostered for a 10 day stretch and when I objected I then ended up with 7 days then 1 day off and then 3 days then thankfully a weeks holiday. Nobody seem to understand what the tierdness is like its hard to explain that it is not just that you had a late night and need an early one to catch up it doesn't work like that. Unfortunately my boss is not someone I can talk to not like my old one. The other day one of my colleagues ,ade a comment about me complaining about off duty and I lost my rag and told her maybe she would like a 10 day stretch. I there anything you can suggest to help. Thanks a lot Kath Gallagher


Hi Kath, I think it may be worthwhile you giving the NRAS helpline a call. They may be able to suggest who to approach about this difficult situation. I could hazard a guess but that's all it would be as I have been retired from the workplace for quite some time now and am out of touch with present day thinking.

The fatigue and tiredness is something people cannot be expected to understand as it is quite different to the more obvious symptoms of pain and swelling. I hope yo are able to reach a satisfactory solution quickly.

Lyn :)


I do wonder why this excellent information has not also been posted on the NRAS forum. There are many on there who do not use HU and I suspect many would be very interested.


I think it's because all the NRAS blogs are on here now. As you say though information such as this would be very useful and interesting to the forum community on the NRAS website


Hi all

Can anyone advise is there a time limit for applying for DLA, do you have to be suffering for a number of years or does it have to be at a certain stage to apply.


could somebody please explain to me what ESA actually is as i have read on the internet but its not sinking in lol.....im not currently working, i was a student nurse but couldnt continue as i was so poorly. Would i qualify for the benefit???

Nicky xxxxx


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