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Thread: Seeking Advice

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2016

    Seeking Advice

    I've been dealing with chronic pain for years now, recently obtained a diagnosis for Fibromalygia from my GP. I had to leave my permanent job (reduce to 0 hour contract) because I was unable to carry out my duties. I have no income now and my savings a dwindling, managing the condition has taken priority as the pain is crippling most days.

    I am now finding that I am on a sinking ship. I soon won't be able to pay board or even pay for basic needs. I used to be on JSA a while back and not for very long but that's about as much experience as I have with benefits.

    What entitlements should I seek? I'm finding it very hard to do even the basic things I used to a few years (even months now) ago and it's honestly miserable and a little bit frightening.

    I heard about the Citizens Advice Bureau but not sure how to initiate proceedings with them.

    If anyone would be kind enough to offer some advice or tips on what I should do, I'd be very grateful.

    Thankyou for your time.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Hi! Sorry to hear about your situation, it's one there is a great many people going through.

    Going to citizens advice would be a good idea, you can call your local centre, or pop in if your able to to make an appointment with a benefits advisor, depending on your living situation (you mentioned paying board?) you will probably be looking at either Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance, and PIP (UC and ESA are means tested, so income and savings are taken into account) PIP is not means tested.

    Do you have any family support? I would suggest trying to get into a support group for people in a similar situation, or maybe even some voluntary counselling (your GP can refer you)

    Best of luck!

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    You need to apply for ESA and PIP. These are the sickness/disability benefits.
    Try contacting CAB or your local authority/council may have a benefits/welfare advisor. Get as much help and information as you can.
    If you have no income coming in you may qualify for housing benefit and council tax benefit. Again you need to apply for these.
    Get the ball rolling as soon as possible because all these things take time to sort out.
    Good luck.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

  4. #4
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    West Cumbria (Lake District)
    As babyblue says you are probably looking to claim ESA (Employment Support Allowance) along with Housing Benefit and Council Tax Relief.
    PIP may also be a possibility depending on how your condition affects you.

    Universal Credit for those with ill heath is only available certain areas of the country.
    Currently Sutton, Croydon, and Tower Bridge, (and will also be made available in Hounslow, Purley, Thornton Heath, Musselburgh and Great Yarmouth before May).
    If you are in one of these 3 areas then you claim UC instead of ESA.

    You should get the ball rolling as soon as possible, the sooner you claim the sooner you will start being paid benefits.

    As suggested contacting CAB is a good idea to get their help and advice on what to claim and with filing out forms.
    But as it can take time to get a CAB appointment you may want to start the ball rolling yourself with an ESA claim.

    ESA claims nowadays are normally made by a phone call, (although you can still make a claim by filling in form ESA1).

    During the phone call you will be asked lots questions about why you are claiming, your circumstances, etc.

    You will be told to provide a doctors 'fit note' to support your claim.

    You should also be asked during the call if you want to claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Relief.
    If you say 'yes' they should pass you details onto your Local Council to claim these.
    However I have found it is also worth contacting the Council yourself to make sure that they have done so, or to make the claims yourself.

    ESA can be backdated for up to three months before the date of your claim, you do not have to give a reason for your late claim but it must be backed up by 'fit notes' for the period you are claiming.
    You should explain when you make your claim that you want to claim backdated benefit and give the date you became entitled to ESA.

    You will then be sent a statement about your claim which you must check but you do not have to sign it or return it.

    If they accept your claim and the 'fit notes' they will then start paying you at the 'Assessment Rate'.
    You will not get any payment for the first 7 days of your claim, unless it is linked to a previous claim.

    You will then get a form ESA50 to fill in about the affects of your condition, CAB can help you fill this in.

    Of course all this takes time and you have to be a bit patient.

    If you are struggling for money during this waiting period you can ask the jobcentre for a "Short Term Advance" of benefits.
    You’ll have to prove that you’ll be in dire need if you don’t get any money.
    You’ll have to pay the advance back in three months.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  5. #5
    For an official fibromyalgia diagnosis your gp needs to refer you on to a rheumatologist. Only they can give an official diagnosis after ruling everything else out by doing in depth bloods, looking for auto immune disease, x-rays etc
    Once they diagnose you, they will write an in depth report and send to your gp and it will then be put on your medical records. I used this report as part of my evidence for PIP.
    DWP are funny about chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia and ME as there is no specific test as such. So usually like to see an official diagnosis. Your gp will only be able to speculate on such a variable condition.

  6. #6
    Claiming ESA/PIP will be an easier ride with official diagnosis.
    Even though they concentrate on how your disability affects you, from my experience in two PIP home assessments and having severe fibromyalgia plus other things, both assessors advised that they don't like to see gp diagnosis, they like it backed up at consultant level.
    It's all just red tape and some hoops it's best to jump through to make life easier for you.
    So my advice is speak to your gp about referral to a rheumatologist.

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