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Is scleroderma covered under the DDA?


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#1 sarahc

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 08:50 AM

Hi,
I have the same chaotic schedule over the past week.
Unlike yourself, my employer is making life difficult.

#2 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 12:15 PM

Hello Sarah

I am sorry your employer is making your situation more difficult rather than trying to work with you.

I was given ill health retirement in 2008 because of scleroderma. My employer had a sick absence protocol which involved the HR (human resources) department having my medical situation reviewed by Occupational Health (OH). One the things the OH report said was that scleroderma would most likely be covered by the disability discrimination act (DDA) although an industrial tribunal would have to determine it for sure.

The DDA states:

*Reasonable adjustments in the workplace

Under the DDA, your employer has a duty to make 'reasonable adjustments' to make sure you're not put at a substantial disadvantage by employment arrangements or any physical feature of the workplace. Examples of the sort of adjustments your employer should consider, in consultation with you, include:

allocating some of your work to someone else
transferring you to another post or another place of work
making adjustments to the buildings where you work
being flexible about your hours - allowing you to have different core working hours and to be away from the office for assessment, treatment or rehabilitation
providing training or retraining if you cannot do your current job any longer
providing modified equipment
making instructions and manuals more accessible
providing a reader or interpreter


If scleroderma was "most likely" covered by the DDA and my employer was prepared to make any reasonable adjustment to keep me working, could the same not apply to you? For myself there were no adjustments that could be made which is why I was retired.

Also, from memory you are allowed some extra sick leave under the DDA.

I hope this helps and take care.

*Information from www.direct.gov.uk
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#3 Buttons

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 11:12 PM

My employer made life very difficult for me and did not really make any attempt to make any adjustments. Because I was a teacher in a primary school they said it would all be to disruptive for any class I would teach, they didn't even help with playground duties even though I said I would do the indoor duty with the late or badly behaved pupils who had to stay inside rather than the outside duty which in winter was a nightmare for me! I had to see OH (occupational health) doctor and HR (human resources)were involved and school took me to capability proceedings due ill health, at first I was dismissed and then I appealed & won! They had not followed correct procedure! I then applied for IHR (ill health retirement) which I got. I can honestly say that my health and well being has improved since finishing work.

Sarah, I hope you get things sorted soon, it's not easy living with the stress that some employers seem to want to inflict on staff.

Buttons

#4 tisonlyme

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 08:14 AM

Hi Sarah / Buttons

I am sorry your employers were not more understanding.
I guess I am just really luck to have people around me that are willing to try and understand and help where they can. I work in a call centre and when the scelro started to affect my breathing, impacting on my ability to talk for 8 hours a day, I was moved to an administration position on a 'temporary' basis until I could be referred to our Occupational Health (OH). The OH team and my own manager already knew of my condition and were aware that it could get worse. A chat and access to my medical records followed and my 'administration' role became permanent, they have really been great. About 6 years ago my employer helped by arranging a special chair, wrist supports, monitor risers etc as a part of the 'reasonable adjustments' that were needed. It has now been almost 3 years since I moved to my administration role and they are really supportive when it comes to hospital treatment and appointments too.

I think some employers are just too keen to write people off when times get difficult, when a little help and support could make a world of difference.

Our OH team confirmed that SSc (scleroderma systemic sclerosis) was covered by DDA (disability discrimination act) because at the end of the day, as much as we'd love it to, it's not going to go away.

Sarah, I really hope you can get some things sorted with your employer. I suppose it is difficult for them as SSc is not like arthritis or a bad back, it's something they may not see everyday and it means they need to do some work themselves in understanding the implications, just because it takes a little work doesn't mean they can avoid it though.. good luck x

Take care

San x

#5 Peter

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 05:53 AM

Hi everyone,
I have systemic scleroderma which is affecting my hands and feet and also suffer from fatigue.

I have been off work 6 months and I am having to go down redeployment route (I am a team leader in a contact center for a housing association), as recommended by the occupational health doctor. So far I have only been offered one position which is front line staff on reception and is not suitable as I never know when the pain will get unbearable.

They have now sent me back to their doctor to assess for early retirement on ill health; I have only been with the company 5 years. If Scleroderma is covered under DDA would that mean that they would have to find me a position or can they just go down the route of terminating my employment?

On another note has anyone noticed the difference when going from tablet to injection for methotrexate?

Thanks for a great site
Peter

#6 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 03:06 AM

Hello Peter

It's difficult being at the point of ending your working life but what a relief it can be once it's all over. I was given ill health retirement at the age of 40, 2 years ago, because there was nothing my employer could do to enable me to work. I had been employed for 20 years and had been off sick a year.

If you think you may being going down this route you need to make sure your rheumatologist/GP will support your application and also get your welfare officer/human resources officer at your employment working for you. I don't know at what point an employer can stop trying to provide alternative work under the *DDA and what sort of financial package you would get after 5 years. It may be worthwhile contacting the *CAB to find out. What I do know is that once your statutory sick pay finishes you can start to claim *ESA and you may want to consider applying for *DLA now.

When I was first diagnosed in 2007 one of my first questions on that day was about when I could return to work, the diagnosing rheumatologist told me I wouldn't be but I'd be looking at ill health retirement. At the time I didn't accept this but of course as time went on and I got no better but worse I realised he was going to be right. Now I can't tell you what a relief it is to not have to worry about work. Please keep us informed and take care.

All of the links below are to the website www.direct.gov.co.uk.


*Disability discrimination act
*Citizens advice bureau
*Employment and support allowance
*Disability living allowance
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#7 Peter

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 01:43 AM

Hi Amanda,
Thanks for your reply and your reassurance. Everything has changed I am now back at work phase return for 6 weeks in my old position with adjustments, ie reduced contact with customers and try and alleviate stressful situations. I am still not sure if I would be able to maintain a full working week,this will tell over the coming weeks.
I have now commenced weekly injections, not as bad as I feared. Will now see if it makes any difference to my condition, I have now started to come to terms and try and live life to my full potential. I am actually back on my bike and have increased the distance I am walking. Once again I have found this forum very supportive and will continue to use it.
All the best
Peter

#8 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 08:41 AM

Hello Peter

I am so glad you have been able to return to work with the support of your employer and work colleagues. Do remember to be aware of what you can and can't do at work because overdoing it will only come back and bite you on the butt. :lol:

Keep us updated and I hope that you are able to stay working.

Take care.
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#9 Bobby Dazzler

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Posted 18 July 2010 - 11:58 PM

Hi Everyone,

I suppose in one sense like us all I am unlucky to have this illness, but in another sense lucky that my employer was very supportive and worked with me not against me throughout my illness since it was diagnosed in February 2009 (if they had only supported me for the previous 18 years !! now thats another story!!)

I have to admit my managers, Human Resources and the occupational health doctor played it by the book so it did not cause me any further stress,they had not previously heard of Scleroderma so they had to research the requirements and law from an employers position.

They informed me that Scleroderma was covered by the Disability Discrimanation Act and therefore they made reasonable adjustments for me. However even with the adjustments I could not undertake my duties as my illness progressed very quickly and I had to take sick leave.

After your sick pay finished as previously mentioned I received employment and support allowance and got the highest rate,I also was awarded Disability Living Allowance for mobility and care at the highest rate and this entitled me to a blue badge etc. I have never claimed benefits before as I have never been unemployed and at first I did not want to claim for anything one because of pride and two because it appeared to me that the benefit system is a minefield and you have to know what your doing. But get the right advice and get everything your entitled too because at the end of the day we did not ask for the illness and we would rather not have to claim benefits but we have too.

I had to put my hands up to my employer that although they had done as much as they could to return me back to work I knew that I was too ill to go back. After mutual agreement with managers and occupational health doctor it was agreed to dismiss me on grounds of incapability.

I also applied and was granted ill health retirement at the highest rate and would advise that when claiming for anything and your entitlements/working conditions etc that you get a strong supporting letter from your consultant and general practitioner.

I have never wanted to claim a benefit in my life as I am a proud man but nor did I want this illness and was in denial for a long time and tried to beat it, but it beat me. I agree with Amanda that although I never wanted this it is difficult to give up your working life and suddendly be in the house 24/7 with your wife (joking ! just in case she reads this!!) but the illness is life changing and you have to listen to your body and can only work within your limitations.

#10 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 02:25 AM

Hello Bobby

Welcome to the world of early retirement! :emoticons-yes: It grows on you after awhile.

Take care.
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#11 Joelf

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 05:14 AM

Hi Bobby

Nice to hear from you again; I'm so sorry that you've had to retire on health grounds but it's good to hear that your employer was very supportive. :emoticons-yes:

As far as claiming benefits goes, remember that you are entitled to it, having paid in all your working life!! B)

My husband retires within the next couple of years & I intend for him to claim everything to which he's entitled (even the free bus pass, although we're not actually on any bus routes here & don't get any buses going past, but still...........!! :blink: ;) :lol: )

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#12 Buttons

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:16 AM

Hi Bobby

I was also granted the highest rate for my pension. I find that time goes by so quickly I wonder how I did everything before I stopped work. I took up Tai Chi & have done a couple of Photography courses along with going out cycling or walking and of course all the medical appointments. It's good to know that when my body says 'enough!' I can just stop & take a rest even if that means a number of days/weeks.

Relax and enjoy your retirement you deserve it.

Buttons

#13 Jeannie McClelland

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 09:38 AM

Oh Bobby, it's usually the wife that's saying "I married him for better or worse, but not for lunch!" :happy1-by-lisa-volz:

I retired early from a demanding and hectic job and was absolutely panic-struck about how I was going to keep my time filled, not become socially isolated, etc. Silly me! I have to say that retirement is interesting, fulfilling, all sorts of things I never expected. Enjoy it and look after yourself.

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