UK - Incapacity benefit

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by davebhoy, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. davebhoy

    davebhoy New Member

    It looks like the uk government is going ahead with with its plans to overhaul incapacity benefits.

    all i have heard so far looks pretty worrying - looks like they may try and "make" people on ib go back to work.

    i dont want to be alarmist - does anyoone else know how these changes might shape up.
  2. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    will affect people who are really ill but who knows. It is very woryying. There is a good site called Benefits and Work and they have written a piece on this, havent read it yet. Just type Benefits and Work on google and you should get it.

    They might also means test the benefits so if you're getting DLA too, who knows what will happen. If your partner works maybe that will be brought into it.

    It's the same as always, when the government wants to detract from their failure to behave properly they pick on the poor, sick people and declare they're going to get rid of layabouts.

    I also read that the DWP is thinking of RE-LOCATING jobs abroad, I find that disgusting. Government jobs should be kept in UK. It's bad enough all the call centre jobs that have went to India.


    love
    Rosie
  3. KelB

    KelB New Member

    I don't have to claim IB at the moment, but the changes scare me for the future.

    I have a friend who is bi-polar and she's likely to be forced into working, even though it's the stress of working that causes her to suffer bad episodes. The problem is that while she's off work, her medication controls the worst of the illness and she is able to function relatively normally.

    Because she's able to operate at such a good level outside work, she's concerned that the DWP will declare her able to work even if the doctors say she shouldn't. Her benefits adviser has been trying to pressure her into part-time work for the last six months and the proposed changes to IB will mean that my friend will have to comply or lose money.

    The fact that this will push her into a relapse (as it has done in the past) is of no concern to her benefits adviser, who keeps saying "But how will you know unless you try?". She knows because it's happened every time she tried it before!

    The bottom line is that people with "invisible illnesses" will have to work and drop on the job before they're believed. Even our doctors may not be able to stop it happening.

    And for those outside the UK, the icing on the cake is that the government is offering a financial incentive to doctors to NOT sign people off work. So some doctors may not even bother fighting our corner any more.

    As for stress and depression, well heaven help us. The party line is currently that stress and depression can be caused by not working, so anyone signed off with stress or depression is actually better off at work! Even if work caused the stress and depression in the first place! How's THAT for a spot of Orwellian doublethink? From now on, you'll have to be either certifiable or suicidal to get any kind of consideration.
  4. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    Doctors are willing to comply with the government on that one. They are not about to take money not to sign people off work but who knows what will happen.

    It's going to be very tough on people like your friend I think. They wont make me go to work but I think they might reduce my benefits and there's nothing I can do if thats the case.

    The thing is to write to your MP and complain asap. The Works and Benefits site I mentioned above has a sample letter for anyone wishing to write to their MP.

    love
    Rosie


    [This Message was Edited on 01/26/2006]
  5. angeldust

    angeldust New Member

    I dont think the changes are that bad. People should be encouraged to go back to work, if they can, even if it is just for a few hrs a week. If you are unlikely to ever be able to work again then you will receive more money from the government. I tried going back to work last year and recieved lots of help and support from the jobcentre staff, it didn't work out I relapsed, but I'm picking up again and will try going back to work once more. Its not good to be abandoned and just allowed to live on benefits unchallenged.
    Remember the proposed changes have not yet been approved. I really wouldn't worry.

    The main issue for cfs/me sufferers will be collating evidence of the seriousness of your condition, which if your relying on NHS services could be tricky. If you never go and see a Dr you could be in trouble.

    I heard the other day that loads of DWP staff are on long term sick leave with stress related illness - they have drastically cut staff numbers in recent months. Now they want to move all call centres overseas- yet another cost cutter!
  6. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    I just listen to BBC 4 all day even though I am now in USA, so here is my take on this. I don't think the back benchers will allow people to be thrown off who are genuinely in need. I do come from a part of the UK where there are quite a few people who were always trying to scam the government pretending they had a bad back and such. There are still some of these people around. I think the doctors are very much on your side there, and that if you are really in need they will say so. Some doctors have a hard time right now getting rid of the con artists, and I think they will find it easier. They are thinking of putting vocational counselors right in doctor's offices and the doctors say?"Where? on the roof? we have no room." Good point!

    I think that if Blair is going to create positive change then they need to address creating some jobs that people are able to manage, and so far there aren't many around.
    It is dead boring being stuck at home and half bedridden, so I think most people (except the skivers) who are well enough to work will actually want to. Do actually want to, just cannot. I think these people are safe The skivers have always, unfortunately, been a part of our society since the NHS came into being. It may be good to weed them out, but I think that will prove hard to do, and unfortunately it means putting everyone at risk. One has to define skiver I suppose. I think you can count on your doctors and the back benchers to keep tabs on this. Hopefully.

    Anne
  7. RENA0909

    RENA0909 New Member

    This is a good place for info on what is happening in UK.I get the emails sent and they have been very informative over the last few months about it all.

    It does look like we are going to have a lot of pressure put on us in the future to get us back into work.
    It is hard enough for us to get benifits now because we are not always believed about fibro/cfs and it takes a long time to get anywhere!
    I would LOVE to go back to work but I am disabled through fibro and hate the way some of us are treated here by some docs.
    So take a look at this site and be aware of what is happening.

    RENA

  8. KelB

    KelB New Member

    All I can tell you is that the pressure is already on, as I said above. My bi-polar friend plainly cannot work and is being pressured to do so. This will now be backed up with the threat of "Try it or we'll reduce your benefits". Of course, if she tries it, she'll be sectioned within a month. But I guess that's OK, cos I don't think they have to pay Incapacity Benefit while you're in hospital, so that's probably just another cost-cutting measure (sorry, feeling very cynical about this subject).

    When I think back to this time last year, I was in such a state that I couldn't spell my own name right, never mind be coherent enough to hold down a job. And yet everyone who saw me commented on how well I looked etc.

    The problem is that all of our symptoms are self-reported. I was never given any kind of quantifiable congitive tests that would have proved my mental state at that time. All the doctors knew about my condition, was what I told them.

    If I ever get to that point again in the future, how would I get the DWP to believe me without objective medical evidence? Especially seeing as it's not actually possible to gather objective medical evidence of CFS (until someone invents a test for it).
    [This Message was Edited on 01/26/2006]
  9. angeldust

    angeldust New Member

    I can give you a tip I signed up for the 'new deal for the disabled' last year, with an organisation that is completely seperate from but works closely with jobcentre plus. This was enough to get the jobcentre off my back, it helped support my incapacity benefit claim and they have properly trained staff who fully understand all disabilities including cfs/me and look for appropriate work, including permitted work. They also offer legal support. They do not put you under pressure and they support you once you've found a job. If your capable of doing any work at all then it really is going to be a case of you either take control of your own life or they will do it for you.

    Visit the New Deal for the Disabled website to find out who provides these services in your area.
  10. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    as long as you have the support of your GP then you should be okay.

    I make a point of visiting my GP every few months even though I know he has nothing else to offer me in terms of treatment. I just want it recorded that I am still very ill.

    So if you dont have a good relationship with your GP then cultivate one or find a GP that understands this illness.

    I hated losing my job, I would love to work but it is not going to happen for me. I dont fear that I will be targeted but if I am then I can only hope they believe me and my GP. They can cut my benefits but I CANNOT work.

    love
    Rosie
    [This Message was Edited on 01/27/2006]
  11. smiffy79

    smiffy79 New Member

    i had a service help me out..it was the papworth trust. vert helpful and very friendly and my adviser had a sister with fm so he understood.

    i was told i am entitled to ib but i turned it down.
  12. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    When I was in UK still loiving there, even then it was imperative to get a very firm dx on the bi polar that was not self reported. It is a catch 22 situation, self report or be sectioned, I know. The family doctor and a mental health professional are needed as co signers or were then for disability. I also always got carers allowance set up for the well partner, even if the well partner was also bi polar as we were able to explain the swings and roundabouts of bi polar. It does concern me that you are so worried about your friend. Enlist the support of your MP NOW to make certain they are on the same page when it comes to bi polar as people do not understand that staying OK is often tied in with not being under the pressure of actually having to get up at a certain time and go to work, it is the pressure that causes the episode. Unlike USA (where one has to prove every three years or less that one is still mentally ill (if they heard of a cure let us know)which is just unforgiveable and where the amount one gets is totally dependent upon past earnings, so people who were dx'd at 18 get very poor benefit, and where most mentally ill people are being bounced off Medicaid and all have now been bounced off Medicaid or Patient Assistance medication program to be forced onto the so far not working at all Medicare prescription plans, which is solely for the benefit of the drug companies)-you do have some safeguards in place over in the UK, and it is small enough so your message gets across and you will be able to see a doctor and get your meds. and maybe some housing assistance too. Believe me, even though life IS very hard for the mentally ill in the UK it is quite dreadful here. Keep plugging away for your rights and make sure the UK doesn't go the way of survival of the richest as it is over here.
    Love Anne PS Annoyed at BBC for doing away with the Theme music that is so good to hear when one is away from the Old Blighty!
  13. eyesofblue

    eyesofblue New Member

    Ive been listening to the news like everyone elso in the United Kingdom affected by the new rules and regulations about to come into (I know the word but it wont come lol)

    I also definately cannot go back to work, I visit my doctor often so she is aware of how I am feeling all the time and the different problems I keep experiencing.

    If they decide to send me back to work then I will give it a go and end up bedridden again. I was so bad prior to stopping work I needed speech therapy etc to help rebuild everything I lost.

    Good old government as usual they know nothing and really dont care

  14. KelB

    KelB New Member

    Thanks for your support Rosie. I am very concerned for my friend. When the "back to work" suggestions started six months ago, she was just annoyed. But the continued pressure and now the threat of compulsion are causing her real anxiety and are driving her towards another bad phase. I've seen it happen several times in the last 20 years and it's like watching a car crash in slow motion.

    I feel so helpless, because ultimately all I can do is watch it happen and help pick up the pieces afterards, as I have done before.

    I've already written to my MP twice, challenging the way that the initial consultation on the reforms were conducted - specifically that the DWP were contradicting the WHO and the Dept of Health by classifying CFS as psychological. When they wrote back and said "the etiology of the condition is irrelevant", I told them that this meant they could safely involve some neurologists and rheumatologists in their panel of "experts" which at that time consisted solely of psychologists (bit of a giveway I thought!). My MP has been very supportive of me, but sadly I ran out of steam after a few weeks and had to put an end to the correspondence as I slid into a crash.
  15. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    I know its hard to keep fighting for something with our condition. I've done the same in the past, started correspondence with MP then had to give up.

    Has your friend discussed how she's feeling with her GP and how worried she is?

    I got my DLA for only 2 years this time when last time I got it for 4 years so they are clamping down with this too. I read (here?) that measures would be taken for the DLA with regard to people with M.E./Fibro who used wheelchairs. If you're able to walk at all you might not get the highest level. They are not taking into account what a person is like AFTER they've walked, I can be in bed for days after a very short outing.

    I know there are a lot of claimants who are 'just at it' but this is all going to affect those of us who are genuinely ill. I'm hoping my GP doesnt move meanwhile like my last one did as not all of them are supportive.

    love
    Rosie
  16. ive been a suffer of fibromyalgia and ME/ chronic fatigue syndrome for well over 11 years now.
    this morning i decided to go to the job centre and see the disability adviser.i told him about my illness,he advised me to be honest in admitting that i suffer from these illnesses when i attend job interviews.
    next i told him how ive been on the citizens advice bureu site, and read that the goverment says in order for people with dissabilities to return to work..employers will be told to acomadate people who suffer from illnesses likes ours,illnesses that fluctuate, from time to time.
    well this is what the job centre dissability adviser said to me...DONT BELIEVE ALL THAT YOU READ ABOUT THAT,IT ISNT TRUE. i then said ..so are you telling me that the goverment has lied about that? he said yes (he works at the job centre so i believe what he,s told me,i just knew lies would creep into mr blairs new reform )
    anyway the job adviser said to me..at the moment i dont think you are fully recovered from your ME..so give yourself a couple of months then come back to me.he said he did find a job for a lady who has recovered from ME.so i asked him,,well i also have fibromyalgia,could i possibly recover from that? he got out this little book with health discriptions in it,read up on fibromyalgia,he just looked at me and said,well if you can be honest and tell a employer that you have this illness,im sure they will respect your honesty and will offer you the job,and in some cases they can provide aids to help you work with your illness as in wrist,arm supports,and a comfy chair..
    well i told him next how fibromyalgia affects the brain,making it hard to talk,think properly,and how i am light sensitive,so i cant possibly be sitting at a pc 8 hours a day...to this he said,,you have my sympathy it isnt a easy illness to live with im sure.
    so i said well if im classed as not being so disabled to qualify for dissability money,and im too dissabled with a flucturating illness that i cant find anyone to employ me..how on earth am i supposed to earn money in order to feed myself and keep a roof above my head?
    he just looked at me with sympathy and said go home and rest,and see how you feel in two months time.im so disgusted in my goverment,i need help and theres none available for a fibromyalgia sufferer,coz our illness isnt ever going to go away,unlike ME..god help us all.i realise that employers want a healthy workforce,but for mr blair to make me think that employers will also take on people like us, who might have to have the odd day off work while we lay paralized in bed during a fibro flare up.and then i go to the job centre and im told DONT BELIEVE ALL THAT YOU READ..is a disgrace in the uk 2006.


    all the best
    fran
    [This Message was Edited on 01/30/2006]
  17. KelB

    KelB New Member

    How topical. I've just run into a problem with my employer.

    They've been letting me work part-time since I started back in May last year, after 5 months sick. I've been gradually building up my hours, but I'm still only on 24 hours a week out of a target 37.5. My employer is (not unreasonably) now asking when I can go back full-time, but I'm just not up to it and can't predict when I will be.

    When I explained to my line manager about the CFS possibly now being a longer-term condition (I've had it for 18 months), his comment was "We're very sympathetic and we've gone out of our way to help you [and he's right, they have] but WE AREN'T A REHABILITATION SERVICE [my capitals]. If you aren't going to be able to return to your old job soon, then I think you need to get your GP to sign you off sick until you are."

    Needless to say, there's no way my GP will sign me off if I'm capable of working even part-time. I'm happy with this as I intend to fight to keep my job. I want to keep working.

    But regardless of what the government might be saying about us having to work, I think they'll have trouble getting employers to buy in. Unless they intend to pay them off as well as the doctors...
  18. raspberry_valley

    raspberry_valley New Member

    I've posted today to say that my IB has been cut with immediate effect. They didnt even contact my consultant. I'm going to appeal, but I am currently devastated and terrified.
  19. davebhoy

    davebhoy New Member

    thanks for leting us know about this. i will search out your post