In a job that's too physically strenuous

Moderators: perseus, *Lisa*, FluppyPuffy

In a job that's too physically strenuous

Postby Sarah_89 » Sun Jul 12, 2015 4:34 pm

I've been working in the same job in retail for 7 years.

I'm off sick at the moment but when I was there the only job I could do was working on the tills & sitting on a chair. But even this became too strenuous in the end as I was still having to lift customer's heavy shopping bags, bend down & at times the job just cannot be done sitting down & I have to stand up.

The chair I'm provided with is uncomfortable for me & there are a few chairs at the tills for any staff to sit on. And other members of staff have given various reasons for needing to sit on a chair such as bad back, recovering from operations etc. There were a few occasions where there was not a chair for me & the general attitude of staff & managers was 'dont expect there to be a chair with your name on it love' I don't think they realise that what I've got is a disability even though I've tried to explain it.

I just find it a very unsupportive & uncaring workplace & besides I cant work there anyhow chair or no chair it's just too physically strenuous. But financially I cant just leave. I'm looking for another job but I'm finding it very difficult to find jobs that I think I could do. I'm in a lot of pain & get tired quite quickly, I also can't stand or walk around for long. I'm thinking a desk job would be best but most are looking for experienced office workers & I don't have any experience.

Can anyone offer me some advice on how I should proceed in this situation? Especially regarding my current job. I don't feel like I can go back to work there so should I just stay off sick for as long as I can until my employer says it's gone on too long? I know they aren't legally supposed to sack me because I'm disabled but I don't want to work there anymore. If they dismissed me instead of me quiting at least I could claim JSA. You cant claim it if you walk out of a job can you? Or can you if it's for health reasons?

I'm thinking if I can't find a suitable job then I'll have to try & claim benefits like ESA & PIP but I know from reading on here how difficult & stressful it is to claim & that fibro sufferers often get turned down even though I think we need it.

Can anyone please give me some ideas of what I can do because I'm starting to get desperate :(
I am a fibro fighter! :-)

Keep fighting guys and gals and stay strong! Gentle hugs

Sarah x
User avatar
Sarah_89
UKFM Member
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 1:19 pm
Location: Essex

Re: In a job that's too physically strenuous

Postby clairbear » Mon Jul 13, 2015 1:45 am

Hi Sarah,

I'm so sorry to hear about your work situation and the fact your really struggling with the pain at the moment (gentle hugs).
Ok there are a few things I can suggest you do.

1. Claim PIP now, you can claim PIP and be in employment, you do not need to wait to do this, the longer you wait the more you potentially miss out on if awarded. It doesn't matter what the illness is, you are awarded based on how your illness/disability effects your daily living.

2. Your Employer has a duty of care and a responsibility under DDA to ensure they put in place reasonable adjustments to enable you to continue to work. This could be something to help you in your current role or a different role within the company, either way they have to be seen to make attempts to help you remain in employment. Things like a special chair for you, a change of hours, more breaks away from a standing position, anything like that can be suggested, you need to tell them what you need for them to accommodate you.
If you haven't already had this conversation, have it, it will come in very useful if they do not act upon your information and you are dismissed. If they do put everything in place and you still can't manage the work then at least you both know you tried to make it work.

3. If you leave of your own accord with no job to go to then yes JSA may be sanctioned if the decision maker decides to; however I'd question whether you are fit to work at present and therefore should be looking at claiming ESA instead?

You can still be looking for work whilst claiming ESA (just not working more then permitted hours, without permission etc), so if you find something you feel you can do, great! The first 13 weeks are classed as assessment weeks and as long as you have completed your forms and have a valid medical note from your GP there is no reason why you can't claim this.

I'm assuming as you've worked several years (full time?) you may be entitled to the Contribution rate ESA which means the form filling is a little shorter for the benefit claim. This means it's not income based so if you have a partner with a wage it isn't considered. However if you are a couple (or family) on low wage, tax credits etc, you might be best filling in the Income based part of the claim in case it opens up any other help (housing / council tax benefits etc)

Just so you know I eventually left an office based job, as believe it or not, it's as tiring trying to concentrate on an excel sheet on a screen with fibro fog and pain as it is standing up at a counter! I was a trained electrical engineer so I've experienced the physical side too, the mental strain is sometimes as bad as the physical pain, its a no win situation.

My own personal experience with job searches is: find something that suits you that you will enjoy going to. There is no point going for a job you will dislike for the money as the stress you cause yourself can make the fibro worse! I've been out of work for 15 months now and it's a financial nightmare and stress, however it's less stress than the mess I was getting into trying to manage my conditions and pleasing my Employer. The guilt I had being off sick and "letting people down" only exacerbated my condition and in the end I was sleeping in the car park when it got too much and my colleagues would come wake me up after their cig breaks, sleeping in you car is not normal office practice lol!

I'm starting a 2 year part time access course in Art and Design in September so I can go to Uni and maybe re-train to do something else as and when my fibro gives me a break :-D Maybe this is an option for you too, consider re-training, you never know what you might end up doing!

Keep in touch and let me know how you get on! xx
clairbear
UKFM Member
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:54 pm
Location: UK

Re: In a job that's too physically strenuous

Postby Sarah_89 » Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:10 am

I don't think I'll be able to get PIP, I've looked at the criteria to get it & I don't think I meet it.

We had that sort of conversation at work & they gave me a chair to sit on at the tills which I thought would be a reasonable adjustment to enable me to continue working there. From the conversations I've had with them recently though before I went off sick it sounded like they were saying there's nothing more they can do to help me because there are no jobs in my role that I can do. I would agree with them there & I will ask them if they can try to find me any other roles within the company that I could try & see if I can do. But like I said I don't want to work there anymore, I really think I need a change of job!

But I'm also feeling like I'm not sure if I am fit to work anywhere mentally on physically. I'm struggling to come to terms with it to be honest because I always assumed I'd be working.

I do think I could claim ESA & get it, I think I meet that criteria like not being able to stand or sit for very long in order to do a job but I don't think I can claim it at the moment because I'm still employed in a job that I work for 20 hours at even though I'm off sick & I'm getting statatory sick pay

So to answer your question of whether I worked full time no I didn't I worked part time but did a lot of overtime up until 2 years ago when my fibro got worse. I've had fibro for 9 years since I was 17 so I always thought it was best to have my 20 hour contract & do overtime as & when I could. As you must know fibro symptoms fluctuate so there were times where I worked more hours than others so I'm not sure if I would get contribution based ESA. How can I find out if I'm entitled to it? Does the fact I'm living with my parents mean anything?
I am a fibro fighter! :-)

Keep fighting guys and gals and stay strong! Gentle hugs

Sarah x
User avatar
Sarah_89
UKFM Member
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 1:19 pm
Location: Essex

Re: In a job that's too physically strenuous

Postby clairbear » Mon Jul 13, 2015 11:55 am

Hiya,

All I can suggest to you with PIP is make the claim and let them decide whether or not you are entitled. I didn't claim for years before eventually doing it and was awarded so don't make the decision yourself!

As for work, if they have all the "reasonable" adjustments written down on file with the discussions they've had with you then yes they have done probably all they need to. It still doesn't stop you having a conversation to check if there is anything else they can do, especially if you are off work at the moment.
I understand you've had enough of the job, I'm just thinking along the lines of dismissal, If you are let go because of ill health you could go to tribunal if they haven't made reasonable steps before dismissing you.

Because your job was part time its hard to know if you have enough NI stamp for the contribution rate. They will probably suggest you claim both and if you have an entitlement it will show up. Living at home with your parents is completely acceptable on ESA so don't worry about that.

I'm not sure how much SSP you have left so if you are seriously thinking about leaving work call the DWP helplines and seek advice on whether to claim now or wait for ESA.
clairbear
UKFM Member
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:54 pm
Location: UK

Re: In a job that's too physically strenuous

Postby Sarah_89 » Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:27 pm

I'm definitely going to have a discussion with work. When I phone them on Wednesday to tell them I'm still going to be off sick (I'm going to the doctors beforehand & they WILL give me another sick note!) I'm going to say I want to come in to have a chat about reasonable adjustments they could make for me & remind them that I have a disability & they have a duty to help me under the disability discrimination act! I'm not very good at being assertive but I think I need to be & give my employer & Dr a good kick up the bum!

My Dr told me that my condition will get better the last time I saw him! And I've been told this by other Drs. I said no it won't it will only get worse & he was like that's ridiculous who told you that & I said my specialist at the hospital! He was still dismissive of it though! It's not nice to hear but at least it's realistic! These Drs need to get it out of their heads that fibromyalgia just miraculously goes away by itself with postitive thinking. Yes of course it will help, it does in any situation, but it's not going to cure me not by a longshot!

I've only been off sick for 2 weeks so I've got a long way to go yet. You can get SSP for 28 weeks I think so I'm going to have to wait for ESA. I just hate all this waiting & not knowing what's going to happen to me :( but at least I've made the decision now that I'm going to ask to have a chat at work to see if we can cooperate with each other & figure out a way of me staying employed by them. They have to try & keep me in work & if they don't & dismiss me then they can say hello to a nice tribunal!

Thank you so much for all your help. Your advice has helped me a great deal :-)
I am a fibro fighter! :-)

Keep fighting guys and gals and stay strong! Gentle hugs

Sarah x
User avatar
Sarah_89
UKFM Member
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 1:19 pm
Location: Essex

Re: In a job that's too physically strenuous

Postby clairbear » Mon Jul 13, 2015 3:45 pm

Hiya,

I'm glad you're going to have the conversation, I think you'd be doing yourself a disservice not trying.
I know what you mean by being assertive, it's hard when you are so used to just getting on with things, but it's time to look after you.
I know it means a slightly uncomfortable conversation with your Employer but remember you've done nothing wrong and the worst that can happen is they say no!

There are still so many assumptions and preconceptions made about fibro, I've sat with some very knowledgeable Rheumatologists who will admit that Fibro is a complex and unknown quantity to them! They say Fibro symptoms will probably never go away but you can put it into a sort of remission with good sleeping, positive thinking, low stress and pain medications but every Dr worth their salt has told me it only takes one thing to go out of balance and the Fibro is likely to kick off and you relapse, a bit like spinning plates with your physical and mental state!

I know it's easy to say and not easy to do but try and remain positive and keep the stress levels down, control what you can and what you can't let it go!
I was in your situation 18 months ago, I can't tell you it's been easy, it really hasn't, but you get through.

We've nearly lost the house twice in 3 years due to mortgage arrears and the creditors, boy, they don't know when to quit, but I'm still clinging on to the fact that I'm doing this for my own well being, my own sanity in the long term and hopefully to start a new future that includes Fibro but the Fibro doesn't rule me!

Keep smiling and keep in touch Clair xx
clairbear
UKFM Member
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:54 pm
Location: UK

Re: In a job that's too physically strenuous

Postby Mandae » Sun Jul 26, 2015 4:39 pm

Hi sarah_89, I know exactly how you feel! I too work on the tills, and although sit down it is a very strenuous job. People think it is easy but putting through endless heavy boxes of bear, Water and other heavy items makes you hurt even more. I find sitting down causes me pain in my legs but I can't stand up in one spot as it hurts even more.
I'm in the same position as you, I'm off sick at the moment and desperately want to change jobs but am not qualified to do any thing and can not afford not to work. I realy am desperate, not sure if I qualify for benifits even though work is to painfull and all the meds I could take to help with the pain make me too out of it to work anyway.
Did you aply for PIP? I have been thinking about it but for some reason something is stopping me.
Mandae
UKFM Member
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:27 am

Re: In a job that's too physically strenuous

Postby Sarah_89 » Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:52 pm

Hi Mandae, thanks for your reply. It sounds like we're both in pretty much the same position & yes it is still strenuous even when sitting down so that's why I can't go back. My company only pays full sick pay for the first 6 weeks & I'm going into my 5th week of sickness now. Then it goes down to statutory sick pay which is only about £83 a week. I've researched it online & it sounds like we're more likely to get ESA (Employment Support Allowance) than PIP but you can't claim it if you're getting statutory sick pay. You have to wait until that ends, I think you can get it for 28 weeks & then you apply for ESA. You can get PIP either way so I wouldn't let anything stop you from applying. I found this website helpful: www.benefitsandwork.co.uk.
I am a fibro fighter! :-)

Keep fighting guys and gals and stay strong! Gentle hugs

Sarah x
User avatar
Sarah_89
UKFM Member
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 1:19 pm
Location: Essex

Re: In a job that's too physically strenuous

Postby Mandae » Sun Jul 26, 2015 9:32 pm

Hi Hun, I don't get company sick pay only SSP which is £88 a week. I think I will call up and apply for PIP in the morning I just get real nervous about applying for things like that. I have had fibro for 4 years but was only officially diagnosed last week. But in the last 6 months I think I have been off sick more than I have worked. I would so like to give up work, if only you didn't need money to live.
Mandae
UKFM Member
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:27 am

Re: In a job that's too physically strenuous

Postby Sarah_89 » Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:26 pm

Are u nervous about getting turned down for it? Because that's what I'm nervous about. Or is it that you don't like the idea of claiming benefits? That's how I felt at first but now I feel like I need it & isn't that what it's there for, people who need it? We aren't lazy benefit cheats! It's for the vulnerable & being unable to work because you're in severe pain makes you pretty vulnerable in my book! I hate the stigma that actual benefits cheats have created around it. What also worries me is how long the forms are & how long it takes to process. But you have to do what you have to do! Because we need some sort of money to live on :cry:

If I was you I would look into ESA. I would still feel nervous that I'd be turned down for it but not as nervous as I would be with PIP. I have the same problem as you, it hurts my body sitting down or standing up for too long & by that I mean only a few minutes so I just don't feel like I can do any sort of job. And then there's the days when I feel so ill so it's difficult to hold down a job when you're going off sick a lot.

But one of the questions on the ESA form is how long can you sit or stand for without being in pain, can you do it for more than an hour, between half hour & an hour or less than half hour & I think we'd both answer less than half hour & another question is how heavy an item you can lift. It's all to see whether you are fit to work. There's a lot more to it than that but I'm just giving you an idea. Anyway to answer your earlier question, no I haven't applied for PIP I guess because I know I should still be able to get sick pay for a while yet but when that eventually stops I'll probably look into applying for ESA & possibly PIP but it's the ESA I'll be counting on.
I am a fibro fighter! :-)

Keep fighting guys and gals and stay strong! Gentle hugs

Sarah x
User avatar
Sarah_89
UKFM Member
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 1:19 pm
Location: Essex

Re: In a job that's too physically strenuous

Postby Mandae » Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:17 pm

I think it is both, being turned down and I don't like the idea of claiming. I think if I was off long enough to claim esa they would try to sack me. Every time I'm off and I have a back to work meeting they ask if I feel it is the right job for me. I hate being on tills I was a dot com shopper until a year ago, when the walking became impossible. I realy miss that job.
I see you live in essex. I live in grays thurrock (7 min drive from lakeside shopping centre) are you anywhere near me?
Mandae
UKFM Member
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:27 am

Re: In a job that's too physically strenuous

Postby Sarah_89 » Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:06 am

They shouldn't sack you because what you have is a disability. If they did you could take them to a tribunal for unfair dismissal. It doesn't matter how much time you're having off, you have a reason & it's against the law to just sack you because of it. Have you told them that you have fibro? I know you've only just found out but I would definitely tell them if you haven't already. I can't believe you only live down the road from me, I'm in south Ockendon lol!
I am a fibro fighter! :-)

Keep fighting guys and gals and stay strong! Gentle hugs

Sarah x
User avatar
Sarah_89
UKFM Member
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 1:19 pm
Location: Essex


Return to DWP, Working & Benefits

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

cron