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Applying for Universal Credit

Nader Member Posts: 51 Courageous
edited March 2019 in Universal Credit (UC)
Hello all 

I'll make this as brief as possible. I was spinal cord injured in a cycling accident in August 2008, 'complete' injury at T4. After the injury I continued in the family business, and was doing fine. But at the end of 2012 I started to experience deterioration in my condition, which the spinal unit at James Cook couldn't understand. Basically I was losing muscle sensation from the injury level upwards, especially in my back, which made me unable to sit up in my wheelchair without physically holding myself up. 

Fast forward to 2017, after continuous deterioration, and seeing six different consultants, I found a surgeon who understood what was going on. Long story short, the conclusion of it all was a multi-level decompression and fusion surgery to my cervical spine in June last year, at levels C3-C4 and C5-C6. This was as result of spinal degeneration causing compression of the cord. When I tried to return to work in September, it was obvious that I could no longer work. I can't even hold myself at a desk in front of a keyboard for more than 10 minutes without discomfort! There are many things I can no longer do because to do them would cause pain to my neck; for example, putting my wheelchair in the car by myself. I can't even wheel very far now without having to stop because of discomfort. 
So I resigned my full time position at the end of October and continued part-time with a couple of hours here and there per month, which will end at the end of this month, March. In April I will be applying for UC. 

I have received quite a lot of guidance from a couple of advice sources, as well as my own research into it. I've also read quite a few of the discussions on here. The work capability assessment seems to be a very 'grey' area. 
Does anyone have any thoughts on what, as a paraplegic wheelchair user, I should expect in the assessment? 

As regards the claim for UC, I have medical records and consultant's reports going back to 2012. Should I present all these documents as evidence, or should I ask my surgeon for a summarised version of the situation? Or should I do both? 

Thank you in advance for your input.




  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 29,732 Disability Gamechanger

    I'm sure you're aware that UC is a means tested benefit and claiming it depends on household income/savings and capital. Have you put your details into a benefits calculator to see how much you could claim, if anything?

    Do you rent or own your home? The reason i'm asking is because New style ESA isn't a means tested benefit and if you've paid enough NI contributions in the previous 2 tax years then you could be better off claiming this but of course it will depend on circumstances. I just thought i'd mention this first.

    If it's UC you're definitely going to claim then you don't need to wait until you've finished work to start your claim. There's a 5 week wait at least for your first payment and any wages you receive will be deducted from your UC. How much is deducted will depend on circumstances.

    You will of course need fit notes from your GP to be able to claim LCW and if you do claim this then the sooner you send in the fit note the better for you because of the waiting period. If you are eventually awarded LCWRA then the extra £328 per month isn't paid until the 4th month of your claim starting from when you sent in your first fit note.

    For the WCA your work coach will need to refer you for this. Once this is done you'll be sent a work capability assessment form (UC50) this will need to be filled in with as much information as possible about how your conditions affect you. The evidence you have should be sent when you return this form. I'd advise sending what you have what ever year it's dated from. If you have more recent evidence to back that up then send that too.

    I'll pop a link here that will explain the descriptors to you for LCWRA and LCW. For the mobilising descriptor then they do look at your ability to self propel a manual wheelchair.

    Hope this helps a little at least. Good luck.

  • mumof22018
    mumof22018 Member Posts: 43 Connected
    I got the wca forms after being on uc from nov but i had to literally phonw everyehere to try get them sent out at my  interview for uc i brought my sick note as i was off sick from work from may they verified it and told me that aftr 29 days id be sent form out but i had to chase and didnt get thrm to feb anyway my work coach told me she couldnt refer me to medical services ur case manager had to but me and her contacting through my journal and the heloline staff emailing aswell he never contacted me to one day i rang for something else and got a gorl who had authority to refer me 
    So if u do apply take ur sickline with u make sure they verifiy it at ur interview and ask them will it be on your profile for a wca and after a month chase it up as i kept getting nowhere qnd my case manager never answered any of my messages so i just kwpt getting the help centre 
    As for uc i have had a fantastic experience although was told i had to go on it wen i didnt it has worked for me i am better of with this system and my work coach is brilliant very patient and understanding she was one told me to go for pip as i kept gettting worse waiting on descision but it seemed to go well and the lady was so nice and wanted to understand my disability !!
    All the staff i have encoountered to do with uc have been lovely and very helpful ao if u do ha e to apy i hope u ha e same exoerience as myself as i no alot of ppl dont and avail of all the help out there 
    I dont no wen i will get my wca but if u ha e any questions im sure the medical services will answer them or if u phone atos them selves again i had to phone capita and ask a few questions and they were helpful and very nice !
    Good luck with your applications and i hope it all goes smoothly for u !
  • Nader
    Nader Member Posts: 51 Courageous
    Thank you folks for your input.

    Poppy: Thanks for your advice. Yes, I definitely qualify for UC, that's all confirmed. I own my home. I didn't realise though that I could apply now. I thought I had to have stopped work. 
    So should I see my GP now for a fit note would you say?
    Also, I have already seen the descriptor. Perhaps you can advise on Appendix 2, activity 4. Does it mean move the carton, for example, across a table, or out of the fridge and into a different room?

    mumof2: Thanks for that. I'm glad you've had a good experience with UC. It's very encouraging! I hope I have the same.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 29,732 Disability Gamechanger
    It just means picking it up and moving it. To qualify for LCWRA then at least one of the descriptors needs to apply the majority of the time.
  • mumof22018
    mumof22018 Member Posts: 43 Connected
    Well good luck with it and lwt us no how u get on as its hard to get ur head round at the start but u get there and if u notice something wrong on ur award make sure u record it on ur journal and phone up get it sorted i take screen shots everytime i make a journal entry and again of the reply so u habe proof of ur conversation incase something happens and they r removed that was a bit advice i was told ive nevwr had to use them but worth it just incase 
  • Nader
    Nader Member Posts: 51 Courageous
    Thanks very much again
  • Nader
    Nader Member Posts: 51 Courageous
    Poppy: Thanks for that link. Very helpful!


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