THE GUARDIAN: WRAG DISABLED CLAIMANTS CUTS ARTICLE

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THE GUARDIAN: WRAG DISABLED CLAIMANTS CUTS ARTICLE

Postby Jo43 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:44 pm

One of our members has just posted about The Guardian's 'Disabled benefits claimants face £71 a week fines for breaching work plan, Government wants to increase penalties for sick and disabled claimants who fail to adhere to back-to-work agreements' article and it has panicked me.

I started having my problems 6 yrs ago with what I originally thought was a slipped disc, the pain being so bad with sciatica shooting down my left leg that everything would go black and I would nearly faint or be sick on rising or sitting, also in my neck. GP was unhelpful so paid for a private scan but came back degenerative disc disease, some bulging discs but nothing worth operating - the consultant I was paying privately told me to join a gym - my husband had just about had to carry me from the car to his office! About the same time I was diagnosed with under-active thyroid for brain fog, sleep problems etc. Had loads of injections, tried every alternative therapy out there and paid out thousands trying to get well. Over the next 4 years pain just started to get worse and worse, I became more and more forgetful, clumsy, pain became more widespread and drugs were swapped around and added to until I was permanently doped up and apart from working I spent all my time drugged up asleep until I ended up collapsing 2 yrs ago and being rushed into hospital where I stayed for 2 weeks (was in there now 2 years ago) while they tried to find out what was wrong with me. They didn't!

Since then I've been unable to work. Been in and out of hospital since to try to control my pain. I have everyone of the FM complaints plus had gynae problems, had hysterectomy last year which caused urine complications. Pain is moderate to horrific to the point all I can do is take enough Oramorph to knock me out and go to bed to sleep through it. Some days I'm bedridden, some days it's not too bad. Pain is now all over my body - can honestly say there is not a part of my body that is not sore or in pain or doesn't have pins and needles etc. Today I've been hopping around as my left hip is really bad and that's set my back and my neck off now as was using my stick earlier. Can't cook myself as too dangerous, have to have help cleaning, ironing etc etc etc (you all know how it is). Some days have to have help with personal care too. Lucky in that I have a wonderful husband, have amazing kids 11 yr old boy and 13yr old girl (14 tomorrow bless her), fabulous mum and dad and THE best friend in the world who help me with everything. I'm on lots of drugs which just keep it at bay at best.

I was in the support group for the first year I was off work but now been put in WRAG. Went to job centre for chat with advisor who said that the reason for the appointment was so they could help see if there was anything they could do to help me get back into the workplace as 'they' realised that people left at home just became more and more depressed so if they could get into work environment it helped with that side of things, which to me sounded just right because I had to give up my dream job and was devastated. I was bloody good at it and loved it and it gave me a lot of self esteem and a social life. We discussed my symptoms and she said it sounded like Fibromyalgia, I'd not been diagnosed at the time, a month later I was diagnosed with FM and arthritis of spine and hips at Pain Clinic. As we talked I ended up crying and so did my best friend who had taken me as I explained how I felt such a loss at having to give up my job. She said I could do voluntary work and we arranged for me to go to an appointment at a voluntary support centre but I was too ill to go. I called her and asked if i could just pop into my local charity shop to volunteer and she said that was fine, but since then I've been too ill to volunteer. This was about 2 months ago.

I really want to volunteer and would love to go back into the workplace, but know it is just not possible. I have a really strong work ethic and would feel so guilty and the stress would finish me off if I had to phone in sick constantly or I'd end up doing things i shouldn't/can't do just to get the job done and end up in a worse state than I am now. I just cannot imagine having an employer who would give me a job to come and go as I please dependent upon level of pain, not turn in, fall asleep at my desk, be that drugged up I'd be a danger to myself and co-workers, be unable to concentrate, have to sit/stand/lie down in a dark, silent room to work on my own as am sensitive to sound, light and smells.

I'm not being re-assessed for a year but I am really worried that I will not be able to do what we'd discussed in our meeting and can't even remember my adviser's name to call her about it.

I know I'll not sleep now for worrying. Any suggestions/advice would be great. I have been a bit blind to it all really as am not clued up on anything to do with benefits etc as had worked since age of 16 and never been in job centre or had to claim anything before. I've just gone along with the flow really I suppose. It wasn't until I started going on forums about a month ago that I've become a bit more knowledgeable. Doh!!!! xxxx
Last edited by Jo43 on Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: THE GUARDIAN: WRAG DISABLED CLAIMANTS CUTS ARTICLE

Postby bekwey » Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:03 pm

Hi, If it helps , as far as I could work out, if you get "signed off" for a year from another Atos assignment then there is NOTHING they can force you to do! If however you are signed off for less time, then there are compulsory back to work courses you have to attend or lose benefit. I think you will need to ask though :)
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Re: THE GUARDIAN: WRAG DISABLED CLAIMANTS CUTS ARTICLE

Postby FluppyPuffy » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:30 pm

I've had a look thru things, but can't find any mention of the Guardian article on here. I came across a post on another forum about the £71 "fine" for the breach of work plans, as well as the article itself from yesterday http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/ ... fines-work

I know it's far easier said than done Jo, but try not to panic yourself, all that will do is make you feel even worse :facepalm: :facepalm: It hasn't been passed yet, but when/if it does come in, the best thing to do would be to speak to someone about how it could affect you.
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Re: THE GUARDIAN: WRAG DISABLED CLAIMANTS CUTS ARTICLE

Postby denys » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:55 pm

Jo ring the job centre and tell them you cannot remember the name of your advisor, all they have to do is look you up on the computer. Just explain and if necessary go to the docs and get a private sick note stating you arent well enough to do any form of work voluntary or not. As Fluppy has said its not been passed yet so try not to panic :hugs: :hugs:
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Re: THE GUARDIAN: WRAG DISABLED CLAIMANTS CUTS ARTICLE

Postby Jo43 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:22 pm

Thanks for your advise. Think it is that article actually it wasn't put on the forum but on the private site. Someone sent in a photo of their mobile phone with the link on. It wouldn't cut and paste but I went onto Guardian website and typed above into the search and it came up with it.

I didn't know you could get sick notes to say you can't do voluntary work. None of it makes sense. If your dr says you're not fit enough to work, voluntary or paid, why can DWP/ATOS go against it? It's just all so confusing and wrong.

I really don't want to bother my dr's again, went three weeks ago, last week and been for blood test today for thyroid. Feel like it's my second home! :crazy: :crazy: :crazy:

Will contact Job Centre and speak to them. Thanks. xxx
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Re: THE GUARDIAN: WRAG DISABLED CLAIMANTS CUTS ARTICLE

Postby denys » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:29 pm

Your doc can say if you are unable to do any type of work which will include voluntary or paid. Cos if you are to ill to do paid work in any sector then you wouldnt be able to do it voluntarily if that makes sense. Got a real problem tonight of knowing what I want to say but not being able to put it into the right words :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :crazy:

Private notes do cost though :yikes: :yikes: :yikes: :yikes: :yikes:
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Re: THE GUARDIAN: WRAG DISABLED CLAIMANTS CUTS ARTICLE

Postby Jo43 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:36 pm

Well that's what I thought but why don't ATOS/DWP just take our drs words for it then? Wasting an awful lot of money. Could you pay the drs who see us regularly anyway. Simplez!!!! :lol: :lol: I mean, I've got brain fog and high on Diazapam etc today but really, if I can work that out, surely the government can????!!!!!! :yikes: :yikes: :yikes:
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