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Avoiding medical retirement


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#1 MUFFINTOP

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 11:17 AM

I am new to this forum. I have a lot of morning and late eve stiffness in my hands and feet mostly. I fear I am on the brink of medical retirement as a police officer, that they don't really want me any more. I get lower rate DLA (Disability Living Allowance) and tried to appeal it last year, as I can do less and less. I really messed it up and I lost. Luckily I kept my current level of DLA. I wonder if you could point me in a direction re DLA and how to go for it again. Also medical retirement and how to avoid it.

regards Lesa

#2 jefa

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 01:08 PM

Hi, Lesa

Welcome. I am glad you found us here. I am sorry to hear about your problems. How long have you had your diagnosis? I didn't ever qualify for DLA, but I had difficulties continuing to work. They tried to make some allowances, but for me the real issue was fatigue. I did manage to keep working part time for awhile, but there are limits I guess. Have you considered talking to somebody at your local Citizen's Advice Bureau? They may be able to help point you in the right direction.

As for the DLA, you should be able to find the information you need online at Directgov, the website for government services in the UK: Disability Living Allowance - rates and how to claim.
Warm wishes,
Jefa

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#3 chockers

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 03:10 AM

Arghhh you have to get good advice from somewhere. Someone who can help with DLA.
I had a spot check the other day from incapacity benefits and I might loose my DLA as I am very mobile now only though the help of taking MTX AND physio- and hydrotherapy.

I would not sort it out on your own.

You need to describe your worst day on form, not the feel good days.

christine

#4 Cheerful Carole

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 03:41 AM

It took me a long time and a lot of phone calls but I now get the higher rate DLA and I also qualify for a car under the motobility scheme. I had to swallow my pride and ask for these things but it certainly has made my life a lot easier

Carole
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#5 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 07:38 AM

Hello Muffintop

Welcome to this forum although I'm sure we've talked before?

You're in a tricky place at the moment, trying to work as long as you can but claim benefits and as you've found out our benefit system doesn't cater for this. I wonder if the fact that you're still employed full time had an impact on the level of DLA (disability living allowance) you're entitled to?

I know ill health retirement is something you want to avoid but it may be worth your while just to check it out. I say this because your employer presumably has some sort of fit for work policy that kicks in after a certain amount of sick absence and that being the case a decision might have to be made for you in the future. Do you have a welfare officer or HR (human resources) and if so get them working for you now whether it's to find out how much pension you would get or to help keep you in work as long as possible. I have diffuse systemic sclerosis and my employer's independent medical body found I would likely be covered by the *DDA (disability discrimination act) which meant my employer had to make any reasonable adjustment to enable me to continue working. In my case there was nothing they could do.

Regarding benefits if your employer said you were no longer fit for work at all, your G.P., consultant and your employer's independent medical body would also have to be saying the same thing. That being the case you would have more clout to apply for a higher rate DLA and **IB (incapacity benefit).

I know you're having to choose from choices you don't want so having more information can only be a benefit in the long run. Either way the worst thing is to just drift, find out what you can now and remember Jefa's suggestions the CAB (citizens advice bureau) and the direct.gov site. For a government site it's amazingly user friendly!

Please do keep in touch with us so we can support you albeit virtually, take care.

*An employment tribunal or higher has to officially determine your DDA status but if your employer's independent medical body suggests it there's no reason for them not to agree.
**Although IB is not means tested the rate of it is effected by the receipt of any pension income. (information from www.direct.gov.uk)
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#6 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 07:55 AM

Hello Chockers

A spot check by IB?! Unfortunately very true because of the number of people that claim IB (incapacity benefit) fraudulently. I saw a news clip recently about fraudulent IB claims and they showed one chap running a marathon, yes marathon for charity in front of t.v. cameras despite being an IB claimant! The consequences of this are that legitimate claimants suffer of course and people that have a genuine disease get spot checks!

Out of curiosity had you been claiming a long time? I just wonder what their selection process is when it comes to spot checks, probably names in a hat or maybe they have a post code sweep?

You are absolutely correct regarding describing your worse days. My mother retired early and whilst waiting for it to go through applied for benefits and was told to describe her worst day on any form.

Ironic isn't it that you're almost penalised for getting better. Our benefit system doesn't seem to have room for people who although improved are still unable to work, it's all or nothing. Your benefit gets reduced because you are better than when you first applied but you still can't work so have no way of making up the loss!

Take care.
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#7 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 08:01 AM

Hello Cheerful Carol

Lovin' the name and welcome to this forum!

I think you're right about swallowing your pride and realising what you need. For me it was also a case of still being in denial. I became disabled in 2007 but did not apply to the Borough Council for an assessment until now. Although everyone was saying to do is at the beginning I was still expecting the scleroderma to pass and that I'd wake up one day mobile again. I reasoned that as it could take a number of years from assessment to getting help that by the time I actually got the help I'd be all mobile again. Wrong!

Now my thinking is I worked, I paid my dues, now I need it back!

Take care.
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#8 smilewhenucan

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 03:41 AM

I discovered that my initial claim for DLA was refused because my dermatologist, whilst trying to be helpful, stated that I had difficulty in walking 100 metres. Bless him for the thought but the rules state that you should be unable to walk 50 metres.
This was a few years ago, I now have full DLA. My advice is that you need to check everything, describe bad days not good ones and don't forget to emphasise PAIN. That does help.
Like you, I don't want to give up work, I enjoy what I do and the fact that I'm treated like anyone else in the office is a huge boost. I can make a contribution to the world and pretend everything is normal.
Good luck!

#9 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 11:34 PM

Hello Smilewhenucan

Loving the name! They're so many good ones on this site, mine now being my real name is rather boring, it used to be ohboyoklahoma! Anyway, welcome to the forum!

It's great you're still working, as you say making a contribution is very important. I no longer work so feel that I have to try to do things at home.i.e. some housework but the reality is that I can't do most of it. I was doing some for awhile and told the DWP (Department of Works & Pensions) but for about 8 weeks now, dear ole Ma has been doing it for me. It finally dawned on me this is because I am not on any immunosuppressant (I hope) having stopped Cellcept and not yet started the methotrexate. I hope to get back to being able to do more because you just feel useless otherwise.

I do the cooking, again sometimes and have told the DWP, because I just feel I should do something for my husband when he comes in from work. He doesn't mind either way and is happy to cook when I don't feel up to it but again you end up feeling rather pointless. Mind you I shouldn't really as people have value because of who they are not what they do.

What type of scleroderma do you have and do you work full or part time?

I look forward to hearing more from you and take care.
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#10 Buttons

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:30 AM

Hi Muffintop

I got IHR (Ill Health Retirement) last summer after being off sick for almost a year. I had kept telling myself that I wanted to continue working but my general practitioner and Occupational Health doctor said I was simply not fit enough, my main issues are the Raynaud's, and because my job was so stressful it exacerbated my problems. I was eventually taken to capability proceedings on ill health grounds. It all got very complicated but eventually I decided I had no choice other than IHR which I got last summer.

I am now finding that my health generally is better and so I feel as if I have a life back which is all good. I still get a lot of muscle / joint pain, have issues with my swallowing, acid reflux, bowels and of course Raynaud's which means that for a large part of the year I really suffer from the cold & my hands don't work so well.

I found my union very helpful and supportive and CAB (Citizen's Advice Bureau) give some good advice. My pension has a website which you can go to to find your predictive amount of pension to date; it was very useful. I do claim IB (incapacity benefit) but only get a few pounds a month and have not applied for DLA although it has been suggested to me. I manage by doing things in my own time when I can and if not things get left till my hubby does them for me.

Best wishes
Jensue

#11 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 10:21 AM

Hello Jensue

Let me encourage to apply for DLA (disability living allowance), you've worked, you've contributed, through no fault of your own you can no longer work, you are now entitled to all the help you can get.

Don't let the pittance IB (incapacity benefit) you get deter you because DLA is not *means tested. The rate you are paid at depends on how disabled you are and you can claim the carer's allowance part of DLA if someone helps you cope. I get DLA including the carer's component because either my husband or Ma help me cope.

A word of warning however, the 50 page form may make you loose the will to apply :unsure: , the questions can be personal and exacting but it can be worth it. It's reviewed every 3 years I think so you won't have to do the form again for some time. If your circumstances change you have to keep the DWP (department of work & pensions who administer DLA) updated.

The CAB (citizen's advice bureau) have people that can help with completion of the form according to a programme I saw recently about benefit fraud.

Have a look at DLA for more information and you can apply on line. If you do remember to describe your worst day.

Take care

*Information obtained from the DWP
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#12 smiler

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 09:41 AM

Hi Lesa

Regarding DLA keep trying I have systemic scleroderma and I tried three times before I was awarded it I went

to the citizens advice the third time to get advice how to fill in the forms in, I also wrote on the form my

docor could confirm everything I had answered Don't give up.


Richard

#13 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 03:39 AM

Hello Richard

Welcome to the forum and thank you for your encouragement for Lesa.

It can be so disheartening to be turned down for a benefit you know you need but as you say sometimes we have to persevere.

Take care.
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#14 truman

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 04:25 PM

Is DLA the same as SSD? I'm not familiar with the term.
Tru

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#15 Jeannie McClelland

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 05:25 PM

Hi Tru,

DLA is Disability Living Allowance, pretty much the UK's version of SSD, I believe.

Warm hugs,
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#16 jefa

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 10:46 PM

It is not directly comparable to SSD, but there are similarities. Disability Living allowance has two components, Care and Mobility. You can continue to work and receive one or both components. In addition, there is another benefit called Incapacity Benefit (IB) for those who are incapable of work. A person in the UK might be eligible for both components of DLA and IB, or IB with no DLA or any other combination. With IB you are not permitted (because you do not have the 'capacity' to work) but may be approved to do some work up to a limit.

There are other benefits available depending on the circumstances, some of which are means tested (i.e. depending on your overall financial condition) and others which are not. These might include Carer's Allowance, Housing Benefit, Pension Credit, etc. All of these are explained at the www.direct.gov.uk site link in my post above.
Warm wishes,
Jefa

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#17 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 06:34 AM

Hello Trueman

How lovely to see you posting! I hope you are doing well, when I first joined the forum you posts were one of the ones I looked forward to and read avidly.
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#18 Deb1million

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 09:39 AM

Hi everyone

Thanks for all your useful comments and information. I have also been advised to claim for a DLA (disability living allowance) increase as I'm only on the lower rate of the care component (and Incapacity Benefit) and now my sytemic sclero is advancing rapidly, with heart, lung anf kidney involvement.

The forms have arrived and I can only tackle them a bit at a time, as it's now 3 seperate booklets, and some info has to be duplicated (grumble) writing is not as tidy as before sclero....

Debs

#19 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 10:59 AM

Hello Debs

I am so sorry you are having so many internal problems right now, the last thing you need is to have to fill in forms! I know from experience how arduous the disability living allowance for is. Remember to talk about your worst days not the good ones.

According to a programme I saw the CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau) have advisors who can help with completion of the forms, why not give your local branch a ring and ask if they can help you as you're finding it difficul because of deteriorating health?

Either way I do hope you are successful, I've just had my IB (Incapacity Benefit) halved because I get an occupational pension. Funny they don't give you any idea as to how to make up the shortfall...I know I'll get a small job, but wait a minute if I could do that I wouldn't need all my DLA so I'd then need a bigger job, but wait a minute then I'd not need any DLA or IB so I then need full time work. Didn't I just get pensioned off because I was too ill to work? :blink:

I'm sure someone somewhere can make sense of it, not me!

Take care.
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#20 Buttons

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 01:50 AM

Hi Debs
Amanda is correct about CAB having advisors who will actually help you to complete the forms. I did see them them when I had to fill in for IB & they where certainly very helpful. They are so used to these forms that they know exactly how to word them. Do ring up for an appointment with someone.

Hi Amanda
Since getting my Occupational pension last summer my IB has now dropped t a measly £2.56 a month! It is up for review at the end of September so not sure what will happen then. The only reason I would like to keep going with it is because of my state pension, they pay your stamp for you which means you'll get a full state pension.

After having worked all my life & never claimed anything I find it hard now & do feel guilty about it even though I'm not really getting anything.

Jensue