Not sure who to ask for help

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Hi all.

I could really do with some advice, apologies in advance if this gets a bit sad... thats how I feel at the moment. Three weeks ago today I lost the job I loved as a nurse while on a career break due to illhealth and long delays in getting a diagnosis.

I'm on Esa in the support group which I've been on since Nov 2015.

The way in which I lost my job was complex and involved multiple factors although I havent as yet received details regarding the grounds of termination of my contract.

I live with my mum who has multiple health problems and has been on high rate dla for both care & mobility for a number of years. We have just about managed but although I am her carer there are times when I can't do anything to help so we just leave whatever and try to catch up when we can. In the past family & friends have suggested I claim carers allowance but I used to think I'm not doing anything that a good daughter wouldn't do but in the last few years I've thought about trying to claim but kept putting it off due to trying to manage my own health or trying to keep working etc then when I got worse I couldn't concentrate due to severe pain anaemia and varies vitamin deficiencies giving me brain fog and extreme fatigue.

I am now in the position of wondering where to go for advice. I did ask my gp if he would support a claim for Pip I think that was not long after I went on esa he said yes but I don't think I have enough medical documents that show the true extent of how my illhealth affects my daily living. I did look at the pip descriptors and wrote down how much i'm affected by my health but after reading how people who are I feel worse of than me getting refused I was afraid to apply incase I wasn't believed and thought they may stop my esa? Im new to the benefits system I was on incapacity benefit in 2004 but managed to get myself back to work after surgery...but I didn't have crohn's then...or looking back maybe I did have the start of it. Sorry I'm rambling now I just don't know what to do I've thought about contacting Carers uk for a benefits assessment but I get so tearful at the moment after losing my job i can't face it.

I don't know if I should put in a claim for pip as I wish now I had done it back last year or if I should try for carers allowance but somedays mum and I are both not well and I wonder who is looking after who...I think we are caring for each other.

Thanks if you got this far and I will be very grateful for any thoughts or advice...

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi,

    Firstly i'll talk about Carers Allowance (CA). You can't claim CA and ESA together because they're overlapping benefits, what you'll get is an extra £34.60 on top of your ESA BUT you must be caring for your mum for at least 35 hours per week. As long as it doens't doesn't contradict the reasons why your claiming ESA then they won't question it. So, for EG if you're claiming ESA because of mobility issues and your mum is claim DLA for the same issues then they may question how you can look aftert your mum while claiming ESA for the same reasons (if you understand what i mean?)

    PIP the best way to look at it, is to forget the reasons why others are claiming it and think about yourself and the reasons why you want to claim it. If you have issues with daily life and you can prove those descriptors apply to you then i say go for it, you have nothing to lose by putting in a claim. You need at least 8 points in either or both parts for a Standard award or 12 points at least for Enhanced award. PIP isn't about a diagnosis it's about how your conditions affect you daily. Evidence can be anything from your medication list, GP letter of support, Diary written by yourself, Consutlant letters, MRI reports and even your ESA assessment report (if you have a copy) Getting help to fill out those forms always helps because they're very complex like the ESA50 form. Most people are asked to attend a face 2 face asssesment but it's possible to have a paper based decision. Also a daily living award of this may open up the premiums that are added onto ESA (depending on other circumstances) It's your choice what you decide to do. If you decide yes to give it a go then ring the PIP helpline to start your claim off.

    Also i see your mum is claiming DLA still. Unless of course she was above the age criteria when PIP started in 2013 she'll soon be invited to apply for PIP hereself. Hope this helps.

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    • Posted

      Hi denise

      Thank you so much for your reply and for taking the time to explain things to me in detail, I'm very grateful. I think although I live with a lot of symptoms, pain, exhaustion, side effects of treatments and complications caused by my condition I'm still thinking that with the right treatment I will get better or improve enough to manage like I used to before while working which put my body under huge strain. Unfortunately I've now been like this for almost three years and was quite ill for a number of years previously.

      I am sole carer for mum so definitely more than 35hrs as I hardly ever leave her only for things like gp or hospital appointments etc. With the reasons for claiming esa and ca I think there may well be things that overlap as we both have chronic pain and exhaustion and have problems with eating due to various causes. There are often times when neither of us can eat properly due to our pain or fatigue and neither of us can help each other..its very hard writing it but sadly true. I need a special diet that I often can't afford or cant make from scratch as i'm in too much pain or too tired or have to stop eating to control my diarrhoea and pain. We both get low due to the problems our health causes but mum is very independent and wont accept help although I've said we would both benefit from some outside help. We don't have support from the family I don't think they realise how unwell I've become as I've been fighting so long to keep going with my ongoing health issues that now on the phone I get the impression its just more of the same that they hear but some of our family are dealing with their own illhealth also.

      Anyway sorry going on a bit again.

      I forgot to say that a few yrs ago I applied for dla but was turned down my brain fog is so bad that I can't remember the details but I didn't ask my gp beforehand as I thought he realised how badly I was affected by the condition I had then as he was seeing me every week for acupuncture and hormone implants and I'd had many operations for it. I did carefully go through the forms and gave details of how I was affected and unable to do certain daily tasks but didn't get help with filling them in.

      Do you think if I apply for pip but if worst case I get refused will they then look at my esa and change or reduce that as I've read a lot of scary things that make it seem hard or impossible to be believed by assessors. One of my previous gp's told me years ago to think of applying for dla, but it was in a discussion at the end of an appointment so I dont know if it was documented he's now retired and I can't even remember when it was so would be like looking for a needle in a haystack! I do take a lot of pain medication and maximum doses of several different antispasmodic drugs anti diarrhoea meds and steroids which aggravate my high blood pressure. I have b12 injections, intravenous iron infusions about twice a year and blood tests which show chronic anaemia and vitamin deficiencies.

      Mum is over the age required for pip so at least she hasn't got to go through it again. I'm not sure when my esa will be reassessed as im in the support group I did look for paperwork regarding my case and outcome last year but didn't find it and don't recall being sent a decision letter either? I live in wales so not sure if that makes any difference to how often they assess?

      Thank you again for your help I do appreciate it.

      Take care x

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    • Posted

      Having previously applied for DLA and been refused in the past i now claim PIP and was successful at first attempt and no Mandatory Reconsideration needed. I claim Standard daily living and Enhanced Mobility. I have numerous helath conditions from fibromyalgia, CRPS, pernicious anemia (2 months B12 injections needed) and various other conditions. Not that you can compare 1 person to another because we're all different.

      Putting in a claim for PIP will have NO affect on your ESA claim what so ever. They're 2 completely different benefits with different criteria. People work and claim PIP. You would need to send evidence to support your claim like i said, if you don't at least try you'll never know. The money helps me  a lot! I'm also in the Support Group of ESA and have been for almost 5 years.

      If you do decide to claim PIP and have a daily living award there's 1 premium that you maybe able to claim on top of your ESA called Severe Disability Premium (SDP) There's other criteria to this and would depend who you live with. If you live alone (no dependants) and if you live with your mum if she claims pension credit then you can both claim the SDP, as long as no one claims Carers Allowance for either of you. It's really up to you to decide but i personnally think you have nothing to lose. If you're refused at first attempt then there's always the Appeal route with the Mandatory Reconsideration first. If you decide to put in a claim for PIP and need anymore advice i'd only be too happy to advice anyway i can. Just shout, i'm always around somewhere wink Hope this advice helps. My please by the way! smile xx

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    • Posted

      Bless you denise your advice is extremely helpful you have helped me with understanding things clearer and your replies are very supportive. I'm sorry you too have many health problems it seems that lots of certain health issues overlap and I have been shocked at how unwell I've been since my b12 dropped again. I do hope you are feeling better on the more regular b12 inj I know its not easy to get them more frequently than the traditional 3mth jabs.

      I will have a think about all you have said and maybe carers uk will help me on the phone for now as I feel too unwell to go in person I'm currently back on steroids for a flareup.

      Thanks so much again. I will probably have more questions and will be very grateful if you can help.

      Take care xx😊

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    • Posted

      You're very welcome! I hope you feel better soon, or at least a little better. Of course i'll help, anytime! Remember if you apply and are awarded your money will be back paid from the day you rang to start your claim.

      Take care Rose! xx

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    • Posted

      Hi Rose I also have Crohn's disease and had my contract terminated on ill health 3 years ago. Receiving PIP standard daily living and mobility, also in the ESA support group. But I had to take DWP to tribunal.

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    • Posted

      Hi

      Thank you for your reply. I'm so sorry you too have been through this, having your contract terminated is horrible.

      Having crohn's is very hard at times but I haven't as yet had any surgery for it (touching wood here!) so I don't know how assessors/dwp would view that although I have had a lot of abdominal pelvic surgery for a different condition. Also in my original post I think I forgot to include that its been queried on my biopsies whether I have a type of colitis that is microscopic so impossible to see on colonoscopy. I'm currently back on steroids which helped my symptoms within 2 days so I think there must be inflammation going on...I've been too ill to go to the gp so unfortunately there is no record of these episodes only afterwards can I tell my gp how poorly I've been. I've also got functional gut disorder so am very badly affected by the combination of these conditions plus the chronic b12 and anaemia. I'm sorry you had to go through the tribunal process hope it wasn't too stressful but glad you had the award for pip. Do you find anything particularly helpful for your crohn's? I'm currently limiting wheat and dairy as much as I can and take quest mega 8 probiotic it helps a bit but when I have a flareup nothing helps I can take 5 or 6 different medications at max strength and nothing works.

      Anyway thanks again for your message.

      Hope you are well,

      Take care

      Rose x

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