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Author Topic: ESA Review, now as a single mum, help please?!  (Read 319 times)
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Tilley777
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« on: February 05, 2019, 09:36:47 PM »

Hi there, I'm new and new to forums so please excuse my naivety.

I was awarded Contributory ESA in July 2017 for CFS after MR , support group status. Had awful time in assessment which led to a decline in my health when I ended up having to use a mobility scooter. My health has improved , I'm still needing to rest couple days p w or a day plus few hours here and there and tend to struggle morning times. My fibromyalgia pain tho is worse there daily,  high strength co codomol doesn't take it away but I tend to try not using cos of problems with tablets in past, or more often use herbal stuff. Hands tend to go stiff if used too much . I have to use a cleaner, got dishwasher installed in short term rented acc to reduce pressure of any household work for me. I have everything finely tuned but it does kind of look like I can manage more now I'm recovering to some extent but reality is the more I add in the fatigue gets worse, needing rest etc

My ex and I separated about a year ago and I was put on UC in addition to my ESA. I have a son turning 4 soon and due to start school in sept.

I was intending to start trying to do a few hours work, e.g. Couple hours voluntary to increase but then things went bad for me

Going thro messy divorce with highly contentious ex, inc shuttle mediation for finances, contact issues , as well as trying to turn my son against me. (To be honest this isn't the half of it) then Nov my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Fatigue started getting worse, waking 3am not able to get back sleep, etc . Anxiety pretty bad before xmas but this has got better last 2/3 wks. Was just hoping to continue til after the stress of next few months and until my son goes to school before I have to start some work. Sorry for lots of details, my question is- are they more sympathetic to single mums in this position  or is that just a stupid question? Just concerned that I really could do without any more stress!! Thanks
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agapanthus
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« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2019, 08:12:59 PM »

Hello Tilley. I don't know much about UC, and was not a single mother when I went through ESA so I doubt that I can help much in your difficult situation but I didn't want to just ignore your post. It is not surprising that stress is adding to an increase in symptoms - sounds as if you have a large amount of that just now.

It sounds as if you are still in the Support Group from what you have written? If so then hopefully you can stay there for a bit longer and then the DWP should not interfere with you in any way. My understanding of UC is that would be providing the finance for your housing and child, but the ESA Support Group is continuing for now? Normally I understood that the DWP don't get involved if you are in the Support Group unless you have a reassessment of the ESA and are found fit for work.

I cannot really speak for the DWP as to whether they are more sympathetic to someone with a small child - what I think they should be, and what I read of how they are, seems sometimes to be at odds with what would be considered reasonable. That said, I am sure there are decent people who work there and hopefully if it comes to that, you will get an understanding attitude. I believe they have to consider your child when looking at working hours because you will be limited to when you are able to work unless the childcare is covered (and that I am sure is another can of worms re payment of it from what I have read ie as I believe they pay it retrospectively rather than in advance). Also you should have 'reasonable adjustments' made under the Equality Act for your own disabilities so if you have any interaction re working, go armed with info to back up why you need those adjustments to be taken into account (maybe medical letters etc, I am not sure how it works there now).

I was on ESA some years ago, but I know that there have been huge changes and especially under UC, so anything I say on that may be different now.



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Tilley777
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2019, 10:16:34 AM »

Thanks Agapanthus. It is a review of ESA, I've completed the forms a month ago and not heard anything . I am still in the support group, until the review. To be honest what happens with the UC is they calculate the amount for you, child plus your disability element (amount depends whether in the Wrag or support group) plus housing element, then deduct the amount you receive from ESA.

UC effectively won't get involved if you are in the no work related activity group, which u should be if you're support group (although I had to fight for that because they tried to railroad me into having 3 monthly reviews)

My issue is that although there s been some improvements in my health I'm already at risk of going backwards with the current added stress, and I just don't know when the exhaustion is going to hit, which is regularly coming with what's going on, plus brain fog, increased fibro pains, etc etc .,I was just hoping they would give me an extra year say til my son starts school, I also have to move house in the next few months so just feel like my head is going to explode at times! Thanks for your reply
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agapanthus
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« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2019, 10:54:14 AM »

Hello Tilley. Yes, I understand now the problem. I guess some of this hinges on what you have written in your assessment forms as of course they go on that in part when they review you. If you have put a positive spin on things and now are relapsing, then that is tricky. If you get called to a face to face assessment then you have to see how things are then, and with the current system it could take months rather than weeks. I am not sure how bad the delays are with ESA at present. It would help you if the delays are longer from the sound of things.

You can always stress that you cannot do actions 'reliably, repeatedly and safely' at the assessment. I recall that this is actually written on the sheet that you fill in and is crucial to those with ME/CFS and Fibro as you may be able to do things at the time, but could you repeat it soon after, or the next day without suffering?

I am sorry to hear what you are going through. I hope that things work out for you and your child this year so you get some respite.
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Tilley777
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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2019, 08:08:27 PM »

Thanks Agapanthus yea I put full details in my form, but didn't make any difference last time! Thanks anyhow
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agapanthus
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2019, 10:13:24 PM »

Yes, apologies, on rereading I see that you said you only got the Support Group after the Mandatory Reconsideration. That said, you must have had compelling evidence to get it on MR, as it's well known that few people's decisions get changed at that stage and so many get forced onto the appeal.
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