Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Hello. has anyone experience of this situation?

Hi, my 2nd post here but the first one didnt appear, ie when i said hello on joining. So hello again! I am currently having a lot of stress and wonder if anyone esle has went through this. Advice appreciated. I have really struggled for last 2 years, with all sorts of problems and have recieved working tax credits of £48 per week, which allowed me to work around my various health issues. This got really difficult in summer and I had xray on my knee showing i had severe arthritis, as one problem. Other knee close behind. I was referrred to consultant in view of having knee op. Paperwork lost  in post and in fact did not get to see consultant til a few weeks ago. At same time that appt. came through, I had a letter fron wtc telling me I did not earn enough money to equate to the minumum wage so I had to send in all of my accounts. Found out yesterday they have decided they are happy I worked the hours, but that i do not qualify as earnings are not high enough so as of 22 Feb no more WTC. In th einterim period, I have seen consultant and knee replacement op is scheduled for march 21, ( I had notified WTC that i had sick note) I now have to pay over £2000 back to WTC due to them changing the rules ie minumum wage.Anyway, in the meantime, yesterday, before i recieved notification that WTC had been refuted, I had enquired online regarding ESA and PIP, for on going stuff non knee related, and had told them I also recieved WTC. I now have to phone today to tell them that no longer applies. My worry- how do I survive this month with not a penny to my name? I am signed off with severe stress and depression, and in order to have achance of recieving help from ESA I need to stay signed off. I am not fit to work as I have other problems and in constant pain with joints and spine, it hurts immensely to sit ( coccxy bent towards opine) to stand or walk, ( arthritis bon eon bone)  I have nimbness in hands and arms up to shoulders, and nmy hands involantarliy go into claw shapes, sleep apnea, plantar fascilitis, I have a ruptured disc in lumbar region which has never healed and leaks so always in some level of pain from it. I have severely dry eyes and the beginning of malicular degeneration. And I have the depression and anxiety issues. I cannot drive to busy places, and busses are a agonizing nightkmaer for me I am happy to work aaround my sissues, but the thought of Jobseekers trying to make me take uany job are filling me with dread as I know I wont be able to do that, I am liable to fall asleep and not get to interviews etc,I am at wits end as I am due to finally apply for state pension in November of this year, which I missed both times they changed the dates, by 3 months each time. My whole wish for last several years has been to survive to get the state pension, and now I think i wont make it. Does anyone know what els eis available to help me through these last months? I look healthy due to outdoor life, but inside I am falling apaprt. Oh, also I have hashimotos Thyroid desease which gives me mental fog as well as all of the other ascoisiated symtoms. I am truly at my wits end as to what to do. Currently stuck in a hamlet with no transport, no car as my car insurance will bounce today due to no WTC. Ditto electirc bill. Car MOT due next week so basically I am in a real mess. All advice gratefully recieved.

Replies

  • LDNUMBERPAINLDNUMBERPAIN Member Posts: 21 Connected
    Hi tanzy, you don't say where you are in the country there may be people in the voluntary sector who may support you at home, meanwhile you sound like an advocacy may be useful in helping you contact your local member or you could try local press while waiting for your post to bring a response from the scope community.
  • tanzytanzy Member Posts: 16 Listener
    Hi LDnumberpain. Thank you for taking time to reply. I think I probably am ok without that support at home. as my son lives with me, Not sure what an advocacy is, but I do have appt. later in month with Cit.s advice. TBH, I would be very embarased to contact local press, although I can see that probably many people need to contact local press  to highlight what I think must be a grey area for people having a rough time physically or medically. IE I do not feel I am disabled; in comparison to so many people who have severe conditions. I do however need some financial assistance to see me through this situation, but there seems to be no middle ground with how the government has set up the system of claiming some help. as a self employed person, I am not entitled to statutory sick pay, and I am not fit enough to claim JSA and look for work at this time and especially not after my knee replacement. which I think will take me at least several months to recover from, judging from the 2 keyhole surgeries I have previously had on knees. But the ESA and PIP seem geared to people, forgive me, who must be almost at deaths door in order to qualify. Its too black or white, with no shades of grey in between, no middle ground, so I am very worried indeed. I truly do not know how this government has been allowed to take such control of this country in such a mean spirited way.I don't think they have a clue how ordinary people live or try to live aka survive. In fact I don't think they want to know!
  • LDNUMBERPAINLDNUMBERPAIN Member Posts: 21 Connected

    Hi Tanzy thank you for explaining your position a bit more may I do likewise by explaining that an advocate is someone who fully understands your position and is able to communicate in an effective way usually to your advantage to those empowered to help so they can be a valuable support when for example making an appeal many of which then succeed. You say you don't feel disabled that is exactly the sort of feeling the system highlights to your disadvantage. An advocate may suggest a different way of presenting your positive mindset in an appeal. The Citizen advice personal are excellent advocates for people in debt situations and can negotiate with Banks who encouraged people to take out loans with hidden add ons ect.

    Many people who contact scope do so for the same reasons as you have done namely they are in a constant struggle with a seemingly inhuman Govt. system that as the teaching profession and hard working NHS staff also feel are in denial about the counter productive effects there economic ambitions are having on people in urgent need of support.

    Yet the brutal truth as you are experiencing it is that at least one person with a serious heart condition has dropped dead on the street after visiting the local Job centre.

    Having had some knee problems myself I can empathize with your frustration which in my case was as a result of an examination by a consultant surgeon who very quickly decided he could in his words 'do me a new knee' I thanked him for his suggestion which was the last thing I had in mind when I attended the appointment, I wanted a professional opinion about how helpful the exercises I was using to minimise my difficulty were. Being trained as a surgeon his now very past its sell by date view was that surgery was the only option for knee problems.

    Here I am some years later I still have my sometimes irritating knee joint which helpt me make the decision to retire from heavy manual work in construction and try to get some educational qualifications to explore a change of vocation, I have been researching this for some years now.

    Anyway be interested to know how you get on with your CAB citizen advice appointment and will leave it with you being as economic pressure is your main problem.

  • Chris_AlumniChris_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 695 Pioneering
    Hi @tanzy, you might want to also post in our 'ask a benefits advisor' section, as they may be able to offer some advice. Just a short outline of your situation and what you're looking for will do.
  • AbnobaAbnoba Member Posts: 14 Listener
    Sorry to hear of your plight. You definitely need some legal/benefits advice.
    Check your council's website as they list legal advice...they may also be able to help you via your financial situation.

    Write to the DWP don't call as the phone advice can be incorrect, and keep copies of all correspondence with them. When you post anything get a 'proof of postage' receipt from your PO, as that's free. If you don't already have them get letters from your GP, and any other professionals outlining your health issues, you will have to guide them on what you need stated, as the more specific the wording the better, doesn't need to be long just concise.

    I understand what you mean re not seeing yourself as disabled, but that is what you are, and mental health problems are a serious part of that too, so just accept it for now.

    You are heading in the right direction, but you will need patience as the process can be slow, but I hope all goes well with your appointment, and you get the help required. Best of luck!
     

  • tanzytanzy Member Posts: 16 Listener
    Thank you Abnoba. I think I have now done all I can ie paperwork, and am awaiting postal deliveries of forms. I think the telephone conversation said I was entitled to the wrag group of ESA. I dont know whether that means I will recieve some money from them from the date I applied, or whether that means I will IF they accept the info on the forms I have not yet recieved. Or how long I have to be totally penniless! Seriously hoping they dont expect me to go to jobcenter for work focused activity- whatever that means, straight after knee op, as I wont be able to drive to my nearest JS which is 15 miles away, for ages. Thank you for advice and fingers crossed for me please! PS I meant I dont see myself as disabled in comparison to others who have far more serious medical issues than me. thanks again.T
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