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ESA Work Related Activity Group

bdan139bdan139 Posts: 5
Wits end here. Am in receipt of ESA in the Work Related Activity Group. A couple of years ago I had spinal surgery - I still get a lot of pain at the site of the operation, added to this is Osteo Arthritis, my hip joint also has OA, but docs will not operate in view of my age - I am considered too young. I am awaiting referral to Rheumatology Dept as there is a fair chance I also have Fibromyalgia. My fingers also swell and give pain too from time to time. Add to this poor sleep the last 3 years and you get the general picture. My work related interviewer is now telling me I do not have to disclose any of this at a job interview, the Arthritis Care leaflet says different. I feel it would be very foolhardy not to disclose, not to mention untruthful - particularly given that there are good days and bad days and on the bad days I can hardly move. No idea how to handle this situation at all, does anyone have any tips please. Painkillers not an option presently due to other medical conditions. Thank you.


  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 25,993 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello bdan139 and welcome to Arthritis Care.

    There seem to be a lot of questions in there or, at least, a lot of anxiety and confusion and no wonder. You are in a situation which is both tricky and painful.

    You've posted this on the Benefits and Working Matters forum so I'll presume the pressing concern is what to do about a job interview. You say you've been given two opposing suggestions by your work-related interviewer and AC. I think only you can decide but might it be of use to give our Helpline people a ring? And / or maybe Citizens Advice? Talking things over often helps us to clarify our thoughts.

    Do I assume you're taking no pain relief at all? Or anti-inflammatories? That sounds tough.
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • dreamdaisydreamdaisy Posts: 31,567 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello, I am sad that you have had to find us, and I apologise that I won't be of much help, but I wanted to acknowledge your post.

    I have an auto-immune arthritis, together with OA and fibromyalgia so I understand the physical hurdles you are facing. I receive higher-rate- mobility DLA but have not been down the ESA route. I was refused new knees because I was too young (aged 53 but that was a few years ago now) so yes, it is frustrating. I too think that the best way is honesty because for any other way madness, disciplinary and nasty accusations lie: I suspect that your 'advisor' is generally healthy so has no understanding of what we face on a day-to-day basis - and couldn't cope if they did. :wink:

    Those around us live with the theory of continual ill-health but have no concept of the reality. As I said I can't help much but it may be worth your while reading 'The Spoon Theory' and 'There's a Gorilla in my House'. These internet explanations of chronic health issues are useful to us, family and potential employers. The trickiest of the bunch, however, is the latter. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • bdan139bdan139 Posts: 5
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you so much for your message DreamDaisy, I will be sure to check out The Spoon Theory etc. Yes, I believe I will follow my instincts and be honest and I agree all things negative lie in the alternative. I have just been turned down for PIP so feeling pretty beaten by the system atm generally. I have been told I can go to appeal with ESA to try and be placed in a support group as opposed to work related activity group, but I risk losing everything if my appeal fails. It feels like some days I am going mad, I know the pain I am in, but no-one else sees it. Silent scream. Thank you for taking the time to reply, its very much appreciated. :-)
  • bdan139bdan139 Posts: 5
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you for taking the time to write stickywicket. I think another phone call may be well worth while - you are right - I feel properly lost in the system and its very stressful.

    No pain relief for me apart from Paracetamol as others are a contra for me due to other medical issues. No peace for the wicked lol.
  • GraceBGraceB Posts: 1,598
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    I have OA both knees, ankles and lumbar spine.

    For what it's worth I'd be honest with prospective employers, especially if you know you will need to go to regular hospital appointments. However, getting independent advice would be best. I believe ACAS can offer impartial, free advice.

    Good luck, I hope you get a positive resolution.

    Turn a negative into a positive!
  • bdan139bdan139 Posts: 5
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    GraceB wrote:
    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    Thank you for writing GraceB. I will be sure to ring ACAS, in fact I don't know why I hadn't thought of that before-thank you for the advice :)
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