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Entitlement to benefits if I leave my job
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# 1
CHARDONNAY
Old 16-07-2009, 7:22 PM
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Default Entitlement to benefits if I leave my job

I have suffered from depression & anxiety for some time now after the death of my father, separating from my fiance & moving back home with my mum.

However for the past month or so I have felt worse & earlier this week I was taken into A&E as I couldn't breath. Dr tested my heart, chest & blood but found nothing. He diagnosed it as a panic attack, never having had one before I had been terrified.

Tomorrow I have to see my GP for to discuss coping stategies however I feel my job is the main cause of my panic. I work in a call centre & lately I have been struggling to get through the working day - I wake up filled with dread, become breathless during calls & suffer chest pains & stomach cramps.

I have looked for jobs that don't involve call centre work but have not had so much as an interview in months now. I can't cope anymore - I cry at the slightest thing, am snappy, have no appetite & can't remember when I last got a good night sleep.

Any advice on entitlement to benefits til I sort myself out would be much appreciated. I have thought of just taking more time off but as I have already exceeded my 3 instances, im on 'absence report' so would have to go through disciplinary procedure & couldn't face that.

Thanks
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# 2
ladylumps45
Old 16-07-2009, 8:14 PM
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i would suggest that you go to see your gp and get signed off and go through the proper channels rather than leave your job as then you wouldnt be entitled to anything for a long time if you intentionally make yourself jobless.
if you get signed off sick eventually you will go onto SSP depending on you company sick pay procedure and then you can apply for ESA.
i hope you feel better soon.
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# 3
dmg24
Old 16-07-2009, 8:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladylumps45 View Post
i would suggest that you go to see your gp and get signed off and go through the proper channels rather than leave your job as then you wouldnt be entitled to anything for a long time if you intentionally make yourself jobless.
In the given circumstances, a Decision Maker is very unlikely to impose sanction, so the OP could claim JSA straightaway.

OP, do you feel that you are ready to look for a new job, or do you need some time off before looking for other work?
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# 4
CHARDONNAY
Old 16-07-2009, 9:18 PM
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As I said I could probably get a sicknote from my GP for a week or so but as I am on 'absence report' I've been warned that if I'm absent again (within 3 months of last incident) I will have to go through disciplinary procedures on my return, which would just be too much to handle. How could I relax if I knew I had to return to that?

I would love to be able to take some time out to deal with this, then find a new job, maybe on a part time basis at first. But I'm just so worried that if I had no money to live of whilst not working, I'd become anxious about that too. I just feel so trapped.

Thanks for your advice so far
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# 5
ladyrider260
Old 16-07-2009, 10:36 PM
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The most important thing is that you'll have a safehouse with your Mum. Being in disciplinary is not good as they may be entitled to let you go on this basis. The jobcentre will see this as you making yourself deliberately unemployed (it's nothing personal, just the way they pigeonhole everyone!). I'd say you need to go to the citizens advice bureau as soon as you can and get some advice on your situation & see what rights you have.
Best of luck.
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# 6
CHARDONNAY
Old 17-07-2009, 9:23 PM
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I returned to work after my doctor's appointment today only to be swooped on by a manager telling me I am needed to work a load of extra hours as overtime next week (I work for NHS Direct & as you can imagine with swine flu our lines are constantly busy) A while ago we were asked if we could do overtime & I agreed because everyone else said yes & I didn't want to feel I was shying away from the extra work, however in light of what's happened, I can barely cope with my normal hours, let alone overtime.

Also, how can the jobcentre say you made yourself unemployed deliberately if your employer sacks you while on the sick with a sicknote from a doctor. The thought of that just makes me more anxious.

I want to work, just not in a call-centre. I find it so upsetting that I may not be entitled to claim anything because I have had a job, yet there are a number of people I know who have never worked & they claim all sorts. It's just so unfair.
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# 7
dookar
Old 18-07-2009, 9:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladyrider260 View Post
The most important thing is that you'll have a safehouse with your Mum. Being in disciplinary is not good as they may be entitled to let you go on this basis. The jobcentre will see this as you making yourself deliberately unemployed (it's nothing personal, just the way they pigeonhole everyone!). I'd say you need to go to the citizens advice bureau as soon as you can and get some advice on your situation & see what rights you have.
Best of luck.
:confused:
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# 8
CHARDONNAY
Old 18-07-2009, 12:14 PM
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I have suffered with another panic attack last night. My poor mum was left with the task of calming me down, but she is beside herself with worry. She has begged me to return to the doctor to get signed off for a couple of weeks, to see if I can work through my anxiety, but I 'm dreading the thought of any disciplinary action that would follow.

My mum has said not to worry as she she will support me until I am able to claim some money or find a new job if I am sacked, but there's no way she would realistically be able to do this as her only income is her pension/pension credits. Now I feel bad for burdening her with all of this. I just feel so worthless. I don't know what to do.
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# 9
cattie
Old 18-07-2009, 12:47 PM
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Has your gp offered you any medication to help with the anxiety/panic attacks?

If not then ask them for something. Once you begin to understand panic attacks they become easier to cope with & far less scary.

If you were signed off sick for any length of time your employer could dismiss you on the grounds of not being able to carry out your job properly. This may be the best way foward for you if you really don't feel up to returning to this job & didn't want to risk resigning.

However, the process can be quite long & drawn out as the company has to follow a rigid proceedure, which will include asking you to meet with them to discuss your health & a likely date for returning to work. If you don't feel up to this you don't have to agree to it & can state your mental health as a reason.

If you are dismissed this way whilst being on sick you are not sanctioned & as long as you are not considered fit for work by one of the dr's used by DWP as part of their medical process, you can take what time is needed to recover & look for more suitable work.
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# 10
hayley11
Old 18-07-2009, 12:51 PM
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Chardonnay - if you feel you are unable to work for the time being, leave your job and you can claim ESA straight away. Your health is the most important thing here and it's so easy for anxiety to spiral out of control.

Then when you are feeling better, you can change over to JSA and start looking for work.
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# 11
KylieFan24
Old 18-07-2009, 1:19 PM
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Hi,

I am in a very similar situation to you at the moment have been off with depression on 3 seperate occasions since the start of 2009 and my employer has told me in not so many words that if I cant commit to being able to go back to work without any more sick time then I should probably resign.

The thought of not knowing how long you could be unemployed for is awful and when you do want to work but you feel you cannot face it is just another pressure when you are already feeling fragile.

I agree with hayley11 your health is the most important thing, if work is a major factor in your anxiety and panic attacks you do need to leave and give yourself some time to feel yourself. I know it is a scary thought but if you already ended up in A&E with anxiety then things are pretty bad.

I really sympathise with you and I hope you can get back on track soon, I know it is really hard when your feelings& emotions are so out of control.

Medication can help in the short term even of you dont like the idea of it, it is there to help you get things back in perspective.

Good luck with everything.x
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# 12
CHARDONNAY
Old 18-07-2009, 1:19 PM
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I have just been looking through my staff handbook & I am entitled to 1 months full pay & 1 months half pay, so think I would be better off going on the sick, rather than quitting my job, at least at 1st, as my company sick pay will be more than ESA.

Also from what I have looked at so far, it seems that applying for ESA involves alot of stress which I don't think I could cope with right now.

Plus I think that when my sick pay ends, I'd probably be better off on JSA as I do want to work, and would be capable of work (maybe not full time at first) just so long as it's not in a call-centre or other very stressful environment.

I have decided there is no way I can return to my current job at the moment as I'm in such a state. I have had a 2nd panic attack in the space of a few days & I'm terrified of it happening again. It's just such a horrific experience.

When I saw my GP yesterday, he gave me some info to read on panic attacks & my mum has got me a couple of books from the library. GP asked me to make another appointment in a week or so to discuss treatment if symptoms persist.
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# 13
NASA
Old 18-07-2009, 1:26 PM
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Rather than go to the doctor and getting dosed up the eyeballs it might be worth looking into seeing a therapist/counsellor who is trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Although they can be expsensive it is probably worth the money if it helps you deal with what you are going through right now. Some employers have agreements with counselling organisations and you might not have to pay anything.

Dont quit your job, go off sick if you need to and let your employer make whatever decision that they, in their wisdom, decide. If they dont sack you then when you are better you can go back to work, deal with the BTW interview, and move on with life. If it ultimately comes to the point where you just cant handle that sort of work then explore other options but to quit your job now wouldnt be the best avenue IMO.
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# 14
CHARDONNAY
Old 18-07-2009, 2:04 PM
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I am definitely just going to go on the sick for now. If I am able to return in a few weeks, I'll just have to deal with my return to work then. If I need more time off & they choose to sack me, I'll just have to put in a claim for benefits.

I would love to be able to see a therapist privately, but there's no way I could afford it. CBT is available on the NHS & I know there are long waiting lists but I'll ask the GP if I can be put on the list. In the meantime 1 of the books my mum brought me involves using CBT techniques, so I'm going to try that.

My dad died last year & it made me think that life's too short & too precious to be spent feeling bad, if there's anything you can do to make your situation better.
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# 15
cattie
Old 18-07-2009, 2:32 PM
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If you have a branch of MIND near you then contact them as sometimes they have therapy sessions to help cope with stress & anxiety. It won't be anything like CBT, or psychotherapy, but rather things such as counselling, head massage, stress reduction therapy etc. It will be either free or a very small charge be made, such as in the case of head massage.
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# 16
sazzie_sue
Old 21-07-2009, 3:08 AM
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Hi Chardonnay,

Just thought I would post as I have been in a similar position to your self, not with the panic attacks but with the time off work.

I also work in a call centre and know what you mean about being stressed, i work for a bank get abused on a daily basis LOL!!

A few years ago my mum was diagnosed with cancer and this hit me really bad, I had taken a lot of time off due to this and my own illness ect... I was on a stage 3 at the time and if I would of had anytime off I would of had a disciplinary and could of been sacked. A few days before my mum was due to go into to hospital to have her operation I broke down in front of everyone, it all got to much. After this I had a good heart to heart with my TL, she spoke to HR and I was given 1 month special leave on full pay which really helped me and gave me time to look after my mum despite being on a stage 3.

If you haven't spoken to your employer/manager please do just be honest they may be able to help and will prob be very sensitive towards your situation, you will porb find that your health is there number 1 priority and they would want you fit and well to do the job. If they would give you some leave you could look for another job in the meantime and tell them the stress is to much to come back or who know if you have some time off you may want to return.

If you have already spoken to them and there are being unsympathetic then take it higher to HR ect... working for a company like the NHS they will have guidelines on this kind thing, also do you have one of those employee assistant helplines, if you do call them get your head ups on the policy ect... before you talk to them so you know what your letting yourself in for they may even act on your behalf if you feel uncomfortable speaking to your employer.

Hope this info help, just an idea as if you leave they may not offer you JSA and if you get authorised leave will not go down on your record for a disciplinary, they may say no but at the end of the day you never know of you don't try

I hope you feel better soon and get this sorted.

SS!x

www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/media.aspx?id=1350

NHS policy for special leave copied from net, you could ask for compassionate leave due to loosing your father x
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Last edited by sazzie_sue; 21-07-2009 at 3:11 AM.
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# 17
hope for now
Old 21-07-2009, 7:01 AM
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[QUOTE=NASA;23431345]Rather than go to the doctor and getting dosed up the eyeballs it might be worth looking into seeing a therapist/counsellor who is trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Your GP can refer you for this treatment free of charge
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# 18
CHARDONNAY
Old 29-07-2009, 11:15 AM
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After a week and a half of struggling through work, I finally went to see my GP & have been signed off on the sick for the next 4 weeks. I also asked if I could be refered to see a therapist, which he agreed to but advised waiting list is about 12 weeks.

My problem now is that I really don't want to return to work once my sicknote ends as a disciplinary would be too much to deal with & I worry it will look bad when applying for other jobs, especially if they end up sacking me.

With that in mind, would I be better off resigning now, using sicknote to cover my months notice period, then put in a claim for JSA?
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# 19
cattie
Old 29-07-2009, 11:26 AM
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If you resign & sign on for JSA you will be sanctioned for leaving your job voluntary. Can you live for a period of being sanctioned with no money coming in?

The far better way to go is either look for a new job whilst you are off sick & then sign off of sickness to begin new job or else stay on sick & let your employer's dismiss you on grounds of capability.

I'm not sure you can use sicknotes to cover notice period for employers as employers have a strict procedure they have to follow when an employee is on sick.
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# 20
CHARDONNAY
Old 29-07-2009, 11:53 AM
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I couldn't afford to be sanctioned, which is what concerns me about resigning, although I hoped if I explained why I felt I had no choice but to resign (couldn't face disciplinary / threat of being sacked) I might not be sanctioned.

I agree that finding a new job now would be ideal, but how would I explain my reasons for leaving current job & the fact that I'm on the sick at the moment?

If I let my employer dismiss me on grounds of capability & have to claim ESA, I could end up on benefits for the foreseeable future - which I defo don't want.
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