Got a letter from the DWP about ESA today

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Foebane72, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. Foebane72

    Foebane72
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    I've been on Income Support since early 2005 when the Labour government put me on it because I was on medication for a mental health issue, ie. anxiety, and I've been doing voluntary work almost all that time since.

    I've been aware, as everyone has, I think, about the Government's changes to the benefits system to make work work, so I knew this day would come. And now it has.

    I've only just gotten the preliminary letter, and they haven't even called me or sent the questionnaire yet (the phone number for me is wrong, so I'll have to call them tomorrow about that) and it's far too early days yet for the ATOS assessment, if there is one.

    The thing is, I wouldn't really class myself as disabled, except for the anxiety and paranoia issues I mentioned, and a hiatal hernia and stiff knees, but I'm fully mobile otherwise. I was able to do many of the laborious lifting in the voluntary workplace (PDSA charity shop) and only getting on my knees was hard.

    I can already say that I will be passed as fit to work, and in a way, I am actually glad, because I left PDSA in 2011, and apart from one afternoon a week at Mind Cymru (the mental health charity), I have been bored crapless the rest of the time.

    I only hope finding a job after eight years or so will be easy, and that anyone will even take me on, because unfortunately I am going to be on a much-reduced benefit of JSA (and possible Housing Benefit reduction as well) - has anyone been put through this, and how are you managing?

    Also, I've heard horror stories that the benefits for a person are usually suspended for up to a few months whilst the assessment is decided - how do people manage in those situations?

    In either case, it's about time I got down to paid work - it's just I suck at interviews and filling out the forms, but I'm sure I'm not the only one.
     
  2. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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  3. Phil57

    Phil57
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    You are admitting that you are capable of working for a living, but instead have lived off the state?
     
  4. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    No, that's not what he said at all.


    Hint: read my previous post.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  5. simon ess

    simon ess
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    +1

    asap
     
  6. Foebane72

    Foebane72
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    IG, I thought the DWP didn't bother with any mental conditions or illnesses? I'm not only curious as to why you bring up Asperger's, but why you think it will matter to the DWP or ATOS? Not to be rude, or anything, mind. :)
     
  7. BT Bob

    BT Bob
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    If you were working at MIND, isn't there someone there who can help?

    I have a friend who was forced to give up work due to ill health and he contacted the local MIND office (Cardiff) and a guy there helped him complete all the forms and even accompanied him to every interview and assessment. He would not have got through it without MIND's help.

    He's now facing the reduction in Housing Benefit and possibly having to pay towards his Council Tax - although I believe there's no small amount of confusion as to whether this will be implemented in Wales.

    Either way, good luck.
     
  8. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    Foebane, you are such hard work sometimes when I am trying to help. :(

    If you follow my links posted above people with higher functioning autism/aspergers can be entitled to ESA.

    You do have Asperger's don't you ?
     
  9. nheather

    nheather
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    I don't know about DWP, but I am quite experienced with Aspergers as my son has it - was diagnosed at the age of 4, he is at university now.

    What I do find is that even compared with 14 years ago, Apserger's seems to be strongly recognised as a mental illness these days compared with the "he's just a naughty boy" syndrome it once was.

    When we applied for DSA (Disabled Student Allowance) for my son, just the proof of his diagnosis ticked all the boxes without any question.

    So if you believe you have it, it is very much in your interest to get it diagnosed. Unfortuantely, it's not a quick process, your GP can't do it though that will be the first point of contact to get a referal.

    The trouble with being on medication, is that GPs do tend to give them out like sweeties. I know quite a few people on anxiety and depression medication - and I'm not convinced there is much wrong with them. I've been on anti-depressents following a bad patch at work - personally I don't think I needed them, but the GP was happy to prescribe them and keep doing the repeat prescription.

    Note, I'm not saying that you don't have a genuine need - what I'm saying is that it seems easy to get medication so I can quite understand why a GP's prescription might not hold much weight with the DWP - better by far to have an actual diagnosis - lot harder to argue against that.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  10. Foebane72

    Foebane72
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    Over two decades ago, I was mentally fine until I had a massive paranoia attack that lasted for months, as I thought my fellow college students were talking about me - some actually were, but that's because they knew me from before. It affected the way I interacted with people and I would snap at them a lot.

    The main attack dissipated, but I had recurrences over the years, which affected my job performance - I actually lost my first job because of it.

    I was put on the medication at the end of the 1990s, first Paroxetine and then Sulpiride, which I've been on since, which has kept everything mostly under control. I actually think I can manage a job now, but that's as long as the medication is going, and I have no idea what would happen if I stopped it, so I daren't take the risk.

    Besides, I figured the government didn't want someone who can work despite medication to lose out, and I'm glad for that.

    The only reason I haven't actively gone for a job is that I'm afraid of being short between going off the benefits and getting my first paycheck, which I suppose is rather silly - but then I used to have a lot of big debts to deal with as well.

    I have a spreadsheet for my budget, and I figured I would be fine even if I was on JSA and the same amount of Housing Benefit, but I'm certain even the HB would be reduced. I sympathise with people who are struggling to make ends meet and are constantly job-hunting, I just haven't really looked properly.

    I only found the letter when I got home today from attending a Volunteer's Day at Mind, but I will let them know and see what they can do for me - but I don't think I'm THAT mentally ill that I can't possibly work.

    What do you think?
     
  11. Foebane72

    Foebane72
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    I looked up the info on your link, and it describes Asperger's sufferers as having poor social communication skills, and I have been bad at communication with people in the past, so I've been told - but my family have never once thought I had Asperger's, although the autism thing recently popped up.

    I honestly don't know if I have or not, I never went to the doctor's about it.

    I appreciate all the advice I can get, IG, and I do appreciate you're trying to help me.
     
  12. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    I thought you told us last year that your sister (I think) told you about you having Aspergers or higher functioning autism as it is now classified as by some medics. Either way, it is worth getting it diagnosed. :thumbsup:

    Dave
     
  13. nheather

    nheather
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    Aspergers is a spectrum disorder. There is no clear cut medical "you have it \ you don't".

    Instead they look at a whole range of symptoms/behaviours and measure you against each. If you are marked positive on a a certain number of more then you are diagnoses as having aspergers.

    This means that different aspergers can be quite different depending on what sub-set of behaviours that they exhibit.

    My son fits the 'sterotype' - good at maths/science, poor at english, language, arts. Poor communication and social awareness.

    But I have met others that are very arty with good communication - bit like the two lead characters in the film Silver Linings Playbook.

    What I'm trying to say is that with the government coming down harder it would be better to have an official diagnosis of a disibility that is likely to be on the list.

    As I say, all we had to do with my son was say that he was diagnosed Aspergers and that practically ticked all the boxes straight away.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  14. Foebane72

    Foebane72
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    I called my sister just now to ask, and she thinks it's possible I may have it. But she thinks it's irrelevant as the letter is the kick up the backside I need to go for a job after almost a decade. But I will go to the doctor's about it. :)
     
  15. Foebane72

    Foebane72
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    On advice I was given by my sister, before I go to the doctor's, she suggested I try an online test, like www.aspergerstestsite.com to see if I may possibly have it.

    I answered all the questions as honestly as I could, and they said my index was 37, a definite Asperger's sufferer.

    Now I will be going to the doctor's for a proper referral, so don't think I'm certain that this test is valid, but are all these tests reliable? Or hokum?
     
  16. simon ess

    simon ess
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    Maybe not hokum, but not to be relied on.

    You're doing the right thing to seek a referral.
     
  17. nheather

    nheather
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    The test is a useful indicator but not a substitue for proper diagnosis. The test has a strong leaning to social interaction, which is key part of aspergers, but I suspect that someone who is just very shy might come out as autistic on that test.

    I scored 34.

    Not a surprise, I can see aspergers in my son and in my father now (though it has never been attributed to him) so I have always thought that I must have it. Indeed I can see certain behaviours though mine aren't as pronounced.

    The good news is that my dad and I have never been out of employment and I have a reasonably good career. My son is doing Chemical Engineering at one of the top universities for that subject.

    So it is perfectly possible to have Aspergers and be fully functioning in society.

    (not trying to brag there, just saying that having aspergers doesn't mean that you can't have a mostly normal life).

    I don't think there is a stigma any more so having it diagnosed is good because it means that you have support and people (like employers) have a reason to give you extra consideration, give you some leeway etc.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  18. HouseTonyStark

    HouseTonyStark
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    Just to add to this. I was diagnosed aspergers when I was around 12ish, after previous diagnosis for ADHD. Stopped medicating around year 8 as mum didn't like what it was doing to me..

    I graduated Uni in December with a 2:1 in computer information systems, with very little support.

    Maybe i was lucky, but It shouldn't hold you back just knowing you have it.
     
  19. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    Thanks Nigel and e-com for your help in this thread :thumbsup:
     
  20. Urien Rheged

    Urien Rheged
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    Why may your HB be reduced? Under Occupation?
    I have a lot of HB knowledge if required.
     
  21. Iccz

    Iccz
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    Answered the questions honestly. I've had a number of people in the past tell me they believe I may have aspergers and I agree I have a number of tendencies, the issue is a lot of these tests are inaccurate and tend to favour extroverts due to the reliance on social aspects. I knew before taking this I would score highly - I've done others before and it's always the same. I have no concerns about the results though.
     
  22. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    I really wouldn't worry too much about tests like these. Anyone on these forums with an interest in books or collecting comics or watches is likely to score badly on these tests. Don't even start on those of us that measure and record the output of every speaker.

    All you have confirmed from that test is that you are uncomfortable amongst people you don't know. So are a lot of people :thumbsup:
    I took the test BTW.
     
  23. EarthRod

    EarthRod
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    Took the test and scored 12. Boringly average!

    ... But then I suffer from dyslexia so might have filled out the answers wrong!

    :)
     
  24. HouseTonyStark

    HouseTonyStark
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    hmm, i got a score of 30, but then i have cultivated my personality for the last 10 years towards focusing on people, so my social skills have probably greatly improved.

    a few interesting things about number plates and patterns etc..
     
  25. Toko Black

    Toko Black
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    I took that test and scored 38 - but I don't think I have Aspergers and share many of symptoms due to other conditions.
     
  26. k17chy

    k17chy
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    my score was 38.
     
  27. Foebane72

    Foebane72
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    I'm in shared accommodation with a private landlord, and as of now the HB is enough to cover the rent, but when I'm transferred to ESA or JSA, I don't know if it would be reduced or not.

    Urien, any advice would be handy.
     
  28. Foebane72

    Foebane72
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    Also, considering the transfer from IB/IS to ESA, I've heard that benefits are sometimes suspended for as long as 13 weeks or something like that. I understand that as soon as I get the questionnaire I should fill it in as soon as possible, but has anyone here been in my situation and have their benefits stopped?
     
  29. NewfieDrool

    NewfieDrool
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    I just took the test and my score is 15.
     
  30. kopchoir

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    took the test just to find out about the questions and how Aspergers affects others i got a score of 8 but it was rather interesting.

    Good Luck Fobane
     

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