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    Too ill to work, too "well" to claim benefits?
    • #1
    • 4th Oct 10, 5:35 PM
    Too ill to work, too "well" to claim benefits? 4th Oct 10 at 5:35 PM
    Hi all,

    I have a conundrum. I haven't been able to work full-time for a couple of years, since I was signed off work with severe chest pains apparently sparked by a series of extremely stressful events (deaths, a family feud, caring for a very disabled relative, suicidal girlfriend, noisy neighbours on top). I was told at the time it was anxiety and was given anti-depressants, which didn't do any good. Since then I've been working part-time but now I find it difficult even to manage that because I don't know how I'll feel one day to the next, and I have a zero hours contract so I only get paid for the work I do.

    I've seen 3 or 4 GPs about this and they've all given different diagnoses - "anxiety" even though there's not much correlation with stress, "costochondritis" which is a perfect description of the severity of the symptoms - "often mistaken for heart attacks" apparently - but is only supposed to last weeks at most. Today my new diagnosis is "musculo-skeletal", for which the GP said "take ibuprofen" (I do anyway).

    My symptoms are chest pains, sometimes sudden and severe lasting seconds, otherwise dull and lasting hours, sometimes going down my left arm. I get a sensation of tightness and find it more difficult to breathe. Nothing seems to help. I've had an ECG and was clear.

    I'm not fishing for a diagnosis (unless there's any psychic doctors passing through) - what I'm annoyed about is that I have a debilitating illness that massively limits what I can do, but doctors can't agree on a diagnosis, and none of the ones I've had have been taken seriously by my employers. I've found I'm a liability as far as HR departments are concerned - have x sick days in a year and get put on a warning, regardless of whether or not you're genuinely ill. So I wouldn't be able to hold down a full-time job for long even if I was physically able to do one, and I have enough trouble as a part-timer.

    Benefits don't look like an alternative. I've helped my girlfriend fill out ESA forms, and helped my mum fill out DLA forms, and I'd be amazed if I qualified for either. I don't need help doing 'x' for 'y' times every day and I can walk 'x' distance without needing to rest. I just don't do these things a lot of the time because I don't feel well enough, and correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think the forms let you say that. It's like the forms are deliberately designed to miss the point. So to sum up I feel in a situation where I'm "too ill to work and too well to claim benefits". Has anyone else been in a similar situation and made a successful claim?

    Thanks for reading.
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