Remaining politically neutral during General Election 2024


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When is ill-health retirement the right thing?

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mbhm
mbhm Community member Posts: 2 Listener
I don't know if I can work anymore and my employer isn't helpful.
I feel like I'm being squeezed out which isn't helping me to find out if I am still fit enough to do my current role. 
I am going to try ACAS for some advice around my rights etc but if ultimately I find I can't work, what am I supposed to do? 
I know that I would not currently be able to claim UC as we currently have savings, which are earmarked for moving house. I worry that if the house move does go ahead when I'm unfit for work we would be financially unstable and we need to be able to support our 1 year old. 
I hate feeling such a burden 😩

Comments

  • bg844
    bg844 Community member Posts: 3,887 Disability Gamechanger
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    You should look in to New-Style ESA if you have to leave work and still have over the UC savings threshold.
  • L_Volunteer
    L_Volunteer Community Volunteer Adviser, Scope Member Posts: 7,983 Disability Gamechanger
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    Wishing you a warm welcome @mbhm. You have done so well to reach out to us. I always appreciate the courage it can take to reach out, especially when you are new and finding things difficult.

    You have mentioned your employer isn't helpful. Can we ask you to expand on what help would look like for you at the moment and what not being helpful looks like for you? It does sound really difficult that you feel your employer is working against you, almost.

    If you find you can't work - it would be worth questioning the following in the first instance:

    • What is making you unable to work?
    • Is it the type of work?
    • Is it your employer?
    The type of recommendation we would advise differs based on what this looks like for you. Obviously, if you find yourself unable to work in any type of work or any employer then you could seek alternative forms of income (whether that be benefits or something else).

    If it is the way your employer is treating you, you could challenge this practice or find a different employer. If it is the type of work, it might be worth considering the types of work you might find more manageable. 

    At the moment, it sounds like this is largely due to your employer working against you and feeling "squeezed out" of your job rather than being unable to do your job (with a more supportive employer).

    Though, I can also hear your concerns about your savings and not being able to access benefits based on this. I guess it depends on whether moving house or unemployment is a higher priority/more pressing/more applicable to you and your needs at the present time.

    Please do not hesitate to let us know if you would like to talk to us more about this or if you have any follow-up questions. You are never a burden to us. We are all here to support you and listen to you  :)
    Community Volunteer Adviser with professional knowledge of education, special educational needs and disabilities and EHCP's. Pronouns: She/her. 

    Please note: if I use the online community outside of its hours of administration, I am doing so in a personal capacity only.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 56,282 Disability Gamechanger
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    Are you entitled to SSP from your employer? It pays more per week than ESA for the first 13 weeks. https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay/eligibility
    For New style ESA you will need to have the correct NI contributions in tax years 2020/21 and 2021/22.


    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • mbhm
    mbhm Community member Posts: 2 Listener
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    Wishing you a warm welcome @mbhm. You have done so well to reach out to us. I always appreciate the courage it can take to reach out, especially when you are new and finding things difficult.

    You have mentioned your employer isn't helpful. Can we ask you to expand on what help would look like for you at the moment and what not being helpful looks like for you? It does sound really difficult that you feel your employer is working against you, almost.

    If you find you can't work - it would be worth questioning the following in the first instance:

    • What is making you unable to work?
    • Is it the type of work?
    • Is it your employer?
    The type of recommendation we would advise differs based on what this looks like for you. Obviously, if you find yourself unable to work in any type of work or any employer then you could seek alternative forms of income (whether that be benefits or something else).

    If it is the way your employer is treating you, you could challenge this practice or find a different employer. If it is the type of work, it might be worth considering the types of work you might find more manageable. 

    At the moment, it sounds like this is largely due to your employer working against you and feeling "squeezed out" of your job rather than being unable to do your job (with a more supportive employer).

    Though, I can also hear your concerns about your savings and not being able to access benefits based on this. I guess it depends on whether moving house or unemployment is a higher priority/more pressing/more applicable to you and your needs at the present time.

    Please do not hesitate to let us know if you would like to talk to us more about this or if you have any follow-up questions. You are never a burden to us. We are all here to support you and listen to you  :)
    I have no idea if this is how you "reply" on here, but let's hope so!

    I became more "disabled" when I was off on Mat leave. I've always had long-term health conditions that protect me under the equalities act but this changed after I gave birth with an additional diagnosis and still having ongoing tests and treatment. I now use a feeding tube that requires lots of care as it's an NJ (it can block and become dislodged easily). 
    My employer was understanding when I extended my leave, completed an OH referral and accommodated my phased return. I was back in full-time work for around 5 months, with the odd expected sick day to replace my tube etc, and I then had a MH crisis (occurred as a result of a trauma anniversary and ongoing lack of care by one of my medical teams, so not related to work). Work then made it very difficult to return saying that they did not want to complete another OH referral retrospectively as I had already had one within the last year but they wanted more specialist advice from my GP or consultant. My GP had to push my work and they suggested I joined a Union, I'm disappointed I didn't follow that advice. They postponed the referral until weeks after I initially requested and then kept me off work until they could "accommodate" the advice. I then hit an absence trigger. I returned to work on another phased return but 3 weeks into the phased return I became acutely ill with dehydration and spent a night in hospital (it was during the last heat wave). I was off ill for 2 days but work told me yet again to refrain from working until I had my follow up OH appointment trying to blame in on the same reason I was off last time. They made me refrain from work for 3 weeks despite my telling them I felt well enough to return. I opted to take as much as I could as A/L as I did not want this to affect my sick leave. I didn't know I am entitled to that time as full pay and not an absence due to sickness. I am currently trying to claim this back through HR. The second OH report didn't have much more to add but my manager was very pushy in my return to work meeting. It felt like they were trying to coerce me into saying I wasn't fit enough to return. I only had 2 days off with an acute sickness that is not related to my ongoing health needs! They said I now need a fit note from my GP whenever I am off even under 5 working days - I don't understand this; my GP won't write a fit note if I'm off for 1 day with d&v! They are now watching my capabilities incredibly closely. I used to have control over my calendar so that I can arrange visits to suit my needs. Now they keep saying my calendar isn't reflective of the 70% face front working that it needs to be but I am still on my phased return and ultimately on slightly reduced duties, while still playing catch-up yet again. So I am now in a place where work is impacting me through stress.

    As much as they are saying they are supportive and can only be guided by me, I do not feel this way. I don't know if I am fit enough to work as I haven't been given the chance and don't feel I will be given the best possible chance. 

    I am aware I may be better off doing something different or with a different employer but I spent years finding this job where I can accommodate everything I need, so I am not sure if I am actually "at the end of the line" for me. Also my current employer is disability confident and I work as a Job Coach for young people with additional needs so I would have thought that my manager would have been, and should be, more flexible and supportive; they kept refusing a reasonable adjustment and now claim that it was because they "misunderstood" me; I know they did not and have it in writing.
    It feels like they've made the judgement that if they accommodate all my needs that it will affect service to which they have hinted at in many instances, yet this may not be true with the right support. 

    The main reasons I question my own ability to work currently are - frequent absence (to which I know has been exacerbated by them but I need at least 2 days every 2 months for tube replacements alone), ability to be flexible for my daily health needs which can be lengthy if my tube blocks or if I'm vomiting lots, stress of trying to get better while working, stress and the lengthy time it is taking to balance all my conditions (will likely need surgery). Ultimately my ongoing symptoms have all been exacerbated; brain fog, pain, fatigue, dysautonomic symptoms etc.
    I have other factors that affect my life, such as having a 1 year old, that may not directly impact my ability to work but it certainly does secondarily with added fatigue and inability to do tasks out of working time such as housework as it all needs to be paced. 

    I am aware that I can opt to be out of work but this is something I am not sure I want to do yet if possible. If I am out of work we will not be able to pay for childcare full-time and looking after a one year old all day is just like being in work and I actually feel like I would be in a worse place in being able to look after my health and get better. I know that can sound like a cop out but a one year old is very demanding and the only respite is when he has has his 45 minute nap. I know that I may be able to get some support for childcare if I am out of work, but this I am unaware of. 

    The questions that frequently come up in my head are:
    What help would we get for having a child, albeit financial or support from places like HomeStart? 
    What does support for me look like if I continue to be unwell or get worse? I'm trying to apply for a needs assessment but thankfully I don't think they would be able to offer much as I can mostly do my own personal care.
    How do I know if I actually can't work under any capacity? Is there a process? 
    How do I know what to apply to, and navigate, benefits for limited or no work due to disability? 

    I try to find support from places like Papworth Trust but I never seem to fit the criteria for these things. Is there anything Scope could offer me at all? 
    Thank you again for your comment, it's appreciated so much. 
    I should also add that this has taken some time for me to write and it wasn't written in one sitting, so I hope it all makes sense!
  • Hannah_Alumni
    Hannah_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,912 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hello @mbhm

    I am so sorry to read what you have been going through. I find it difficult to read you have a disability confident employer and then they put you through all that! 

    I hope you have support around you with the health side of everything. 

    As for support that is out there. You could see what you can claim with your health. I would use one of the government benefit calculators to help work that out. 

    If you wanted to continue with employment, and you like in England or Wales, Scope have their own Employment Services. They can support you with everything from CV writing and interview skills, to support when in a new role :) 

    I hope the community can continue to be a place of support for you <3
    Hannah - She / Her

    Online Community Coordinator @ Scope

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