ESA assessment- will volunteering and illnesses affect much?

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ESA assessment- will volunteering and illnesses affect much?

Postby bouncer0304 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 3:43 pm

I'm brand new to this so sorry if this has been asked before. I am currently volunteering in a charity shop for five hours a week. I'm on the till, however, someone is always with me incase i make a mistake or become ill suddenly, i don't do any lifting/bending and i'm the only one who is able to use a chair as i need a mix of standing, walking and sitting because just doing one for a short time (about half an hour) makes me very uncomfortable.

I was volunteering before my diagnosis and am continuing on the instruction of my doctor and rhumatologist who have both said it's good as it provides social skills and interaction with others that i don't get at home besides my family. I find the five hours is my limit and it takes about four days to recover. My first question is how much do you think it'll affect my assessment? I am limited in what i do and even after such a short amount of time i'm completely exhausted and in a lot or pain. I'm worried that they'll assume that i can do loads when even going to my local town for an hour is exhausting for me?

The other thing i wondered is whether it's worth me mentioning how ill i can get with colds, IBS etc? Recently i was taken to hospital and it turned out i had Gastroenteritis but the doctor made it clear that my fatigue (i'd been out for my birthday, the next day i went out twice to see my doctor and a family meal plus the next morning i had to go to town as i'd forgotten some items) and my immune system which was down because i was tired played a big part in me being hospitalised.

I also find that when i get a cold, it's like flu and i'm on my settee for a week. It's the same for my IBS and if i'm in pain. Would it make me sound like i'm being too dramatic? I know that as i volunteer, if i'm ill, i can just go in the next week whereas an employer wouldn't be so kind so would that help my case at all?

I'm worried aswell because for five years before, i was unemployed. I went through so many back to work programmes and the idea was because i had my BA in music and i couldn't get funding to train as a teaching assistant due to that qualification being lower, i'd get a job, work for a while until i saved enough then train. However, having done a placement as a teaching assistant, i know it's something that i couldn't do now even though i really enjoyed it. I'm worried all that will go against me aswell.

Sorry this is long but i can see how hard you have to battle. I'm fully prepared that my assessor will fail me but i'm worried that on the day they'll totally disregard my evidence. I've had my assessment put on hold due to a lack of recording equipment so i'm now using this time to build up my case as much as i can. Thanks in advance!
Last edited by denys on Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Made paragraghs smaller to make the post easier to read
bouncer0304
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Re: ESA assessment- will volunteering and illnesses affect m

Postby jezebellow » Fri Apr 18, 2014 4:29 pm

Write it all down as you have in this post. Then bullet point it as a memory aid into a couple of words so that you can refer to it in your interview. Explain about FM fog. Then just tell it like it is. :-?
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Re: ESA assessment- will volunteering and illnesses affect m

Postby jackaddict » Fri Apr 18, 2014 4:55 pm

5 years ago is irrelevant to your current situation so it's not worth mentioning. Tell them every limitation you experience, how you have to be monitored whilst you perform your volunteering. Tell them how you feel like you have flu, which is very common with fibro/ME/CFS. They need to know how your conditions affect you on a daily basis and every little detail, no matter how unpleasant and embarrassing need to be told to them. They need to know how long it takes to recover after you have done anything, housework, voluntary work etc.
Sorry I've been brief. Hate writing on touch screens lol.
Anyway, hope that helps a little.
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Re: ESA assessment- will volunteering and illnesses affect m

Postby denys » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:09 pm

cant really add much to what has already been suggested, I have broken your post up as its sometimes difficult to take in big blocks of text, another feature of Fibro :shock: :shock: :shock: Good luck with your assessment
Denys

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Re: ESA assessment- will volunteering and illnesses affect m

Postby bouncer0304 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:49 pm

Thanks for breaking it up. Should have thought about that when typing but i get so into it i lose track :-P

I was just concerned because i don't want them thinking i can do loads when even five hours is enough. From recent experience even doing things over 2 1/2 days is enough for an illness to hospitalise me :O I also want to say thanks for not judging me on being unemployed for 5 years before- i did everything right and attended so many courses but no employer wanted to say yes. I just didn't want them to think i was scrounging. I couldn't do that, especially since my dad, brother and sister work. I suppose i've just been very unlucky but at least i can finally say i'm ill and not have a doctor treat me like it's in my head!

I'm also worried because i think i'm on income based ESA but the Jobcentre know i volunteer. Heck, they were the ones who suggested it in the first place! I'm thinking maybe i should ask the manageress for a letter to support me? Would that be best or would it affect my assessment for the worse? Thanks again.
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Re: ESA assessment- will volunteering and illnesses affect m

Postby denys » Sat Apr 19, 2014 11:26 am

No one can judge you for a spell of unemployment, it can happen to anyone that's the problem with the job market. If the Manageress can say how tired you are and how you are shadowed to avoid mistakes etc. then it cant hurt your case it just backs up your claims.

Try not to get too ground down into it, stress only adds to the problems FMer's suffer
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