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Thread: ESA - Claiming from future date as currently working but need to stop?

  1. #1

    Question ESA - Claiming from future date as currently working but need to stop?

    Hi all,

    This is my first post here - thanks in advance for any suggestions or help! I've searched for the answer before posting, but apologies in case this is a repeat.

    I'll try to keep it short, but here's my situation summary - In short, I'm hoping to be able to claim ESA as my health is slowly deteriorating. It's been getting worse for about 5 years now. I had brain surgery 4 years ago and while it improved some of my symptoms, others are still far from good, and I've developed other conditions since (which may or may not be related). I've been into hospital as an outpatient probably 7-10 times in the last 12 months, and one of my current conditions is extremely rare, misunderstood (due to very little research ever being done on it), and completely untreatable. Even most medical sources on the subject of Catathrenia wrongly claim it is treatable due to confusions with other similar-presenting conditions. Thankfully my consultant does know the truth about this and has agreed to help if I need any written references regarding it, but it does worry me.

    I'm currently self employed (after leaving an employed job 2 years ago), in an aim to find a flexible way of earning money that would allow for my feeling unwell much of the time. However, unfortunately even this self-emploment job isn't really manageable and I've had not been able to keep up with the (very moderate) workload, due to exhaustion, confusion, tiredness and various neurological symptoms. For example I've recently been up to 3 months behind, because most days I'm not really able to work, feeling unwell, and often fall asleep while doing so, so what should be a '2-3 day job' turns into a '2-3 weeks job' with obvious consequences. I've also had to provide extra products to some of my customers in order to appease them for the delays, at my own expense, since I'd effectively broken a contract. I'd ideally want to stop now, but I'm effectively contracted to my various customers to jobs until November, and it's not the kind of work that can be cancelled easily (I'm a wedding photographer). So logically I'd be wanting to see through my contracts, however much of a struggle it is, and even if the work was delayed and had to be taken at my own pace so that I can cope with it.

    So my question is, can I make a claim now, to receive ESA from a future date (such as Jan 2013) and have medical examination and go through all the process in order to find out whether my claim will be successful, without needing to quit work now, thus going into debt, only to find out my claim gets refused?

    Hope the above makes sense, but please let me know if you need any clarification.

    Many thanks in advance
    Dave

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    1,803
    No you can't make ESA claims in advance.
    You may be able to claim DLA though.

  3. #3
    Hi wobble1, davewhit,

    Thanks for your replies.

    Davewhit: I suppose I could cancel and someone else get the work but I'd have to refund 200 (their deposit) per wedding and sadly I can't afford to do that either. :-( I have public liability insurance and while I haven't looked into whether it covers illness-related problems, I doubt it does. I may look into it though. Thanks for the suggestion.

    wobble1: Thanks, Do you by any chance have a link that proves that you can't claim in advance? I'd just like to be sure.

    to anyone: So if it's true that you can't start making a claim for ESA while working, how do people whose health is deteriorating steadily, and are therefore slowly going crazy because they can't cope, know at what point they'll be able to claim ESA? Surely they don't have to jump out of the frying pan into the fire just to check? Please forgive my ignorance on the subject - I'm a little confused as to how anyone can make that judgement without making an application. I don't want to cancel all my future jobs, which have taken months to build up, even though realistically it's more than I'm able to do, giving up the only source of income I have to then be told I don't qualify because I'm not quite 'ill enough' yet in the eyes of the government, if you see what I mean?

    Or am I going about this the wrong way... If I have to apply 'from now' so to speak, can I apply without cancelling future jobs, then, if successful, cancel them then?

    Thank you all,

    Dave

  4. #4
    Davewhit: Thanks for your quick reply. Sorry - So are you saying that it would be a good idea to cancel work and pay back the deposits now, before claiming because it gives the (correct) impression that I don't feel able to do the work - or have I misunderstood you?

    If so, I'm still worried as to what would happen if I'm unsuccessful. I guess that most people who apply for ESA don't have any work, but surely I can't be the only one who's deteriorating but not sure if I qualify in the Government's eyes yet? I know it's meant to be a fair system to benefit those who are too ill to work reasonable hours, and especially those who genuinely have tried every other option to reduce living costs and workload first before considering ESA (I could go into detail about what I've tried but won't for now), so in my opinion I should be accepted, but it's not my opinion that counts, and I don't want to go into debt and have no income, which would surely happen if I were to do the above and for some reason not be successful?

    Thanks for the suggestion. I'm now looking into my insurance policy. Thanks again for your quick reply davewhit.

  5. #5
    Just to further the above, I've looked into my insurance wording and it doesn't even mention sickness or illness (other than that caused by my photographic profession). Was worth a try though.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    387
    The fact is that no benefit claim can be made in advance. That is a basic rule of the benefits system, which is designed to respond to situations - not anticipate them. I'm sure there will be something in the Social Security law to cover it - but you can be sure it is the case.
    With ESA the trigger for any new claim is medical evidence that you are too ill to work, which is normally provided by your GP. Without that there is no claim.
    So strictly speaking, if you are unable to maintain your work due to illness you should be on 'sick' - ESA.
    It is difficult for people in your situation, and as well as the financial implications you will have an obligation to your customers of course. But health comes first. Maybe look at it another way and think what would have happened if, for example, you had a sudden accident and been unable to do anything while recovering? There wouldn't have been any choice. As things are there IS an element of choice, which makes it difficult for you to decide where to draw the line.
    Would it be best to let your GP decide sooner rather than later?

  7. #7
    Hi all,

    Thanks very much all of you for your informative helpful answers. Carneucopia, thanks your reply makes a lot of sense and has helped me get a better grasp of the system. I will speak with my GP (who sadly I've never met, since I've recently moved to this area), but they will hopefully have all my medical records, and I have a consultant (Neurologist) at Ipswich hospital who hopefully would back me up on this, and a consultant in the respiratory sleep clinic at Papworth too, who I know would help (I did bring up the subject briefly when I was last there).

    Thanks again for everyone who answered. I appreciate you taking the time!

    Best wishes and thanks
    Dave

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