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Fit Note required for new Universal Credit Claim?

MHRMHR Member Posts: 1 Listener
edited April 2019 in Universal Credit
Can anyone advise if I need to start providing Fit Notes - I am disabled, having had Lyme Disease for 22 years, 13 years of which were undiagnosed as the intra-cellular form of Lyme is not recognised/picked up by the NHS testing - so I was almost dead by the time the private tests came back positive. 

Personal changes in circumstances have forced me to claim Universal Credit recently and I had a visit from DWP to check my identity yesterday for my claim.  (I am on PIP and DWP only recently assessed me as high rate mobility and middle rate care).  Even though the Job Centre only required the person visiting yesterday to check my identity, and did not mention requiring a fit note (even in the DWP reps words) - but he was saying it was normal to have to provide fit notes, as PIP alone wouldn't grant me the UC LWCRA element.  I was trying to navigate this discussion, as I had understood from this forum that fit notes were for those working and with short term illnesses(?), but unfortunately a third person interrupted thinking they were helping me, having no idea that my illness is not recognised by the NHS, and the end result was that I now have to provide fit notes. 

FYI the illness had gradually reduced my ability to work over many years, to the point where I couldn't work at all since 2012, but by this point I had not been paying sufficient NI contributions for the previous 2 years part time work to claim ESA.  I had not been able to work full time since 2007.

My GP believes Lyme Disease, in the chronic intra-cellular form where the infection is in the organs/tissues not in the blood, to be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and believes I need to get out more to fight a state of depression!  In fact I am fighting a live infection (which is recognised by a classified Lyme Literate Medical Doctor but not the N.H.S.), that has nearly taken my life countless times now, and I have to live within very strict boundaries, otherwise I am back on death's door as I was for 4-5 years.

So my question is whether I need to start providing Fit Notes?  The DWP rep said this that the process involves providing a fit note every 2-3 weeks.  I can't even make it to the doctors surgery normally - my GP would visit me at home on the rare occasion I need help - and there is very little they can offer for a disease which they do not understand.  I very much doubt he will agree to visiting me every 2-3 weeks to provide a fit note.  I can not make appointments in advance as my health is such that I am unlikely to be well enough on the day to keep the appointment - and I do not have the means/transport/ability to drive - so it's very difficult getting any last minute transportation sorted, even if I were to make a last minute appointment on a day I felt well enough.  It will put my whole claim into a very stressful situation if I have to provide fit notes every 2-3 weeks for what has been a 22 year illness so far, crippling for the past seven years, with no end in sight - and the stress itself will take my health even lower, knowing I need the UC to be paid but constantly having to prove an illness which is not recognised by the N.H.S..  If this stress continues I won't be able to manage my health at home, and have no back up care available with extended family.

Am I right in understanding that fit notes are not for long term chronically sick individuals?  If not, and U.C. legislation requires that I have to provide a fit note, is it right that I will have to repeat the process every 2-3 weeks?

Thank you for your time in reading this far, and any help you can provide would be much appreciated.  I am really struggling on every level since the visit yesterday.

Replies

  • mazamaza Member Posts: 38 Connected
    I went to doctor for 1st fit note then phone for second one without seeing doctor. Will be up to your doctor how long your fit note is for. Mine was for 13 weeks.
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,924

    Scope community team

    edited April 2019
    Hi @MHR, your GP can write a fit note that's longer than 2-3 weeks at their own discretion, it is worth talking to them about it. 

    If I've understood correctly, you're not currently receiving ESA? If so, then you will need to provide fit notes. After your first assessment period (but sometimes as far as your third, so three months) of providing these you'll be asked to attend a WCA (work capability assessment), from which you'll hopefully be moved onto either LCWRA or LCW).

    Hope that helps but if you do have any other questions please don't hesitate to get in touch! :smile:

    Senior Community Partner
    Scope

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