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MUFFINTOP

Avoiding medical retirement

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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

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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

 

Carrie Maddoux

(Retired)ISN Sclero Forums Support Specialist

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International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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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

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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

BEING SO CHEERFUL KEEPS ME GOING

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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)


Amanda Thorpe

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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.


Amanda Thorpe

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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.


Amanda Thorpe

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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!

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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.


Amanda Thorpe

ISN Sclero Forums Senior Support Specialist

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(Retired) ISN Sclero Forums Assistant Manager

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International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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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

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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


Amanda Thorpe

ISN Sclero Forums Senior Support Specialist

ISN Video Presentations Manager

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(Retired) ISN Sclero Forums Assistant Manager

(Retired) ISN Email Support Specialist

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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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

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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.


Amanda Thorpe

ISN Sclero Forums Senior Support Specialist

ISN Video Presentations Manager

ISN Blogger

(Retired) ISN Sclero Forums Assistant Manager

(Retired) ISN Email Support Specialist

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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Hi Tru,

 

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

 

Warm hugs,


Jeannie McClelland

(Retired) ISN Director of Support Services

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