Hi, my name is Joe! — Scope | Disability forum
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Hi, my name is Joe!

Joe__F Member Posts: 29 Connected
edited January 2021 in Start here and say hello!
Hi everyone, I'm Joe. I'm currently coming to terms with what it means for me to be disabled, and how difficult that is during the pandemic.

I've been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder since nearly 2 years ago, and associated with that I have a lot of physical symptoms as well. I experience a lot of pain in my back and legs which stops me being able to manage living my life independently. My social functioning is really restricted with my PTSD, and I can't help but avoid all kinds of social situations. I've always been taught that it's really shameful not to be able to do things, which has been such a difficult barrier for me in getting the support I need. I've always hidden my disability from people as much as I was able, and I've not signed up for and financial support or anything because I've always felt too ashamed and scared.

I always kind of told myself that I would be able to manage getting myself through things until I'd healed from my trauma and my PTSD and then I'd be able to function on my own. I don't know whether this would have been true or not if we didn't have a pandemic going on, but I know that I definitely can't manage on my own in this environment.

I'm living alone and I'm really scared. I know my mental health symptoms are too much to manage when I don't see other people regularly, and I know I need more support and/or care but I don't know who to ask for that or where to go. I've been off work for two years and I tried to go back part time before Christmas but I couldn't manage it.

It would be great to hear about where I can go to find support in getting the support I need! And it would really help to hear about anyone else who has had similar experiences.


  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,079 Disability Gamechanger
    HI and welcome,

    You can refer yourself for a needs assessment from your local council Social Services by using this link here.

    There's usually a waiting list for this but they do look at your claim and also take into consideration how urgent your case is. In my area when i referred myself i waited a couple of months.

    I'm not sure whether you're also asking for benefit advice but if you are then do you claim PIP (Personal Independence Payment) Which has replaed the old DLA? It's not means tested so other income/savings doesn't affect the amount you maybe entitled to.

    It's not awarded based on any diagnosis, it's how those conditions affect your ability to carry out dail activity based on the PIP descriptors. Some links here to help with that. https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/pip/

    Are you currently claiming any other benefits at the moment? Maybe Universal Credit or ESA?

    If you need more advice regarding benefits then please do ask or you can use a benefits calculator to check entitlement to Universal Credit.

  • Cher_Inactive
    Cher_Inactive Posts: 4,400 Scope online community team
    Hi @Joe_F and welcome to our community.  I'm really glad you found us.

    Firstly, thank you for posting.  It sounds like you are dealing with a lot, and to make the decision to access help is such a positive step given the harmful messaging you internalised around it being shameful.  I just want to emphasise that being disabled is nothing to be ashamed of, nor is accessing the support and services in place to facilitate independent living.  I'm proud of you for breaking through this barrier  :)

    In terms of your PTSD - are you getting support from a mental health team?  And, would you benefit from any other services do you think?  Mind have an extremely informative PTSD webpage with links to useful contacts.  Plus, our mental health discussion group is a place where our other members with PTSD share stories, coping techniques and support each other.  

    As @poppy123456 has stated, a benefits calculator can be handy in identifying benefits you are entitled to but haven't yet claimed.  Scope's benefits calculator will help you do this.  

    Also, not to bombard you  :D but Scope have a free employment advice service that could help you when you are ready to think about returning to work.  Visit this webpage for more details on how our friendly Support to Work team can support you.  

    I hope that's all useful and I'm looking forward to speaking again.  Take care.
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  • Joe__F
    Joe__F Member Posts: 29 Connected
    Hi Poppy thanks for your help.
    I've been living off my savings for the last two years, and I'm still above the maximum amount to qualify for universal credit, but I won't be for too much longer. I applied for PIP two months ago, but I haven't heard about an assessment yet. I do have some questions about PIP so maybe I can post them in the forum here. A needs assessment from social services sounds really great I will ring up about that. A couple of months time seems a long way away though.

    Hi Cher,
    I've been getting psychotherapy and physiotherapy privately for the last couple of years. I've had difficulty accessing them through the NHS. Thanks your kind words, it has been difficult reaching out against all the shame I feel. Psychotherapy has helped a lot with this.  

    I think I need someone to come to my house and help me, maybe with cooking or with organising my life and thinking about money and plans, or with socialising with people. I spent time with my family at Christmas and when I was there and I had support cooking meals and people to talk to. They live a long way from where I do. My mental health symptoms were relatively stable then and I felt like I could build towards being able to work, but now I'm on my own and when I don't have regular social contact my functioning decreases really quickly, as I learnt before Christmas. I have no idea how to access this kind of support, or what's allowed at the moment due to coronavirus etc.
    I'll check out the PTSD and mental health links they look really helpful thanks.
  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Posts: 9,505 Scope online community team
    edited January 2021
    Hi @Joe__F :) Welcome to the community! 

    You're always more than welcome to post any questions you have about PIP in our PIP category here on the community.

    It's worth getting in touch with social services, as it sounds like you could do with some extra support. The sooner you get the ball rolling the better, and then you'll also have an idea of how long it might be. You can usually complete an online form if that'd be easier for you. 

    I'm really glad to hear that you've been able to access some talking therapy, and that this has helped to lessen the level of shame you feel. Have you been able to continue this over lockdown? 

    A social care needs assessment could result in you being able to get some help in the areas you mentioned. On the link Poppy sent it says:
    [A needs assessment] identifies what kind of care and support would help you, such as a paid carer or meals delivered to your home (meals on wheels).
    You'll generally be expected to pay toward the cost of social care.

    If the assessment identifies you need help, you will have a financial assessment (means test) to see if the council will pay towards it. This will be arranged for you.
    If the needs assessment finds that you don't qualify for care and support, the council should still give you free advice about where you can get help in your community. Ask if this doesn't happen.

    In terms of meeting up with people: am I correct in thinking that you live alone? If you live alone, you'd be eligible to form a support bubble with one other household. 

    A support bubble is a support network which links 2 households. You have to meet certain eligibility rules to form a support bubble. This means not everyone will be able to form a support bubble.

    Once you’re in a support bubble, you can think of yourself as being in one ‘household’. It means you can have close contact with the other household in your bubble as if they were members of your own household. This means you do not need to maintain social distance with people in your support bubble.

    Do you have any friends that live in your area that you could form a support bubble with? You can also exercise with one person from outside of your household at the moment, so long as you remain socially distanced at all times. It's really important that this is to exercise only, however, not to meet socially.

    Have you considered joining any remote social groups, such as an online choir or book club? I know it can feel a bit daunting, but they're good ways of speaking to new people without having to meet with them in-person. 

    Please do let us know if you have any further questions once you've read through the resources Cher provided :)

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  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Member, Community Co-Production Group Posts: 12,477 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Joe__F - Just wanted to say welcome to this friendly & supportive community from me too, Joe. What you say is so true; it can indeed be difficult to come to terms with being disabled, tho I'm very sorry to read that 'life' taught you that that was a reason to feel 'ashamed.' It's something we can't help, & can be an awful struggle, & often we wish things different, but, hard tho it may often be to find, it gives us strengths too.
    This pandemic has affected everyone, & perhaps it affects those of us who live alone the most. We all need to socialise.....need our families &/friends. Please feel such a welcome person here; we have some lovely members, some who also suffer from PTSD. You will find so much understanding from them, & the rest of us that understand a little too. We have so many disorders between us all, but we also share so much in common.
    I do hope you find the links given by others above helpful. Any questions, please don't hesitate to ask, & know this community is here to support you. :)

  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,079 Disability Gamechanger
    With your savings once they drop below £16,000 you'll be able to claim UC but you'll have a deduction of £4.35 per month for every £250 (or part there of) over that amount. You can use a benefits calculator with different amounts to see what you maybe entitled to.

    When you do claim UC then if you are unable to work because of your health condition then you'll need a fit note from your GP to start the work capability assessment process off.

    When the time comes for you to apply, if you need advice then please so post back here.

    Regarding the needs assessment. Yes, there's very likely a waiting list so my advice is don't delay referring yourself, this way you can be put on the waiting list ASAP.
  • Masuma
    Masuma Member Posts: 30 Listener
    my name is Masuma joel 
  • Joe__F
    Joe__F Member Posts: 29 Connected
  • 1119082
    1119082 Posts: 258 Connected
  • 1119082
    1119082 Posts: 258 Connected
  • diane01
    diane01 Member Posts: 45 Connected
    Hi joe i'm pretty new to this but if u need to talk i'm here i've been going thru the same issues as u not only scary but frustrating for me as i cant find the strength or energy to be kind to myself i'm always thinking on a negative note but waking up each morning feeling ill will do that mentally & is draining especial when you want to cope by urself i've been out of work for nearly 3 months & i kno i couldnt cope going back yet like u just wouldnt  beable to hack it because of my condition thats stops me from doing everyday tasks as normal so your not alone in this!..hope this site helps u & u feel better knowing ur not alone & i'm glad ur being kind to urself shows ur coming to terms with things & ur stronger than u think u are! Anyway take care yh! 


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