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New, advice really needed

wrenwren Member Posts: 13

Not sure what to say. i havent worked since dec 2014 due to arthritis- its in every joint it feels, most days i cant even open doors. i also have mental health issues, severe anxiety about going out. i live alone and cope. i cant cook, my hands are usually too bad to lift a saucapan from cupboard or even turn swtch on stove.

ive been living on savings but they ran out and im desperate. i applied fro jobseekers as its the only benefit ive ever heard of but they refused as i cant hold a pen to sign and i couldnt sit long enough to do the interview.they advised look at ESA which i applied for and got, and they said look at 'housing benefit' which i got because of ESA so im not homeless yet.

Now I have to go for an assesment and im terrified. i have to take 4 busses each way which means i wont eat this week or next. and im so scared of the bus cos i cant hold on so if it moves when im not sitting ill fall. i feel so dumb.

if they refuse i lose housing benefits i think. so i lose my home. im asking for any advice. i googled arthritis uk and found this forum. mine is rheumatoid, and im 33.

now i see so many posts about pip can anyone tell me what that is? no one mentioned that before. i dont want to be on benefits, but i feel i have to. i just want enough to cover rent and maybe if im lucky food. i live on 20p packets of crackers and richtea cos i can open them on a good day and eat all week. and i know where they are in the shop so i can go strait there and back.


  • moderatormoderator Moderator Posts: 4,082
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi wren,

    You seem to be in a desperate state right now, well done for claiming ESA though I can see the assessment is worrying. I'm hoping it's not tomorrow so you can get some help and advice on this from our wonderful forum members.

    Can I suggest you ring our helplines 0800 8004050, it's free if you ring from a landline. They will have lots of help and advice re RA and are also knowledgeable about benefits. They are friendly and you will stop feeling so alone.

    While you wait look in the Benefits and working matters forum, you will see threads about both ESA and PIP, the 2 benefits for people who have long term conditions like yourself.

    Take care
    Mod Yvonne x
  • stickywicketstickywicket Member Posts: 26,004
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    OK, wren, here's what I think you should do.

    1. Ring your rheumatology helpline and tell them the medication isn't working.

    2. Google 'Food Banks' to find your nearest.

    3. Go to your local government website and get a phone number for Adult Social Care. Ask for an Occupational Therapist to come to your house to see what help you need.

    4. When catching your four buses tell each driver, as you get on, that you have mobility issues so will they please not set off until you are seated. Also, tell them where you wish to get off and ask them to let you know when you get there and give you plenty of time to stand and get off once the bus has stopped.

    5. This page, from Citizens Advice Bureau should be of use to you. http://tinyurl.com/zrcuwcq

    Please let's know how you get on and good luck.
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • wrenwren Member Posts: 13
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    hello, thanks for the advice.

    I tried calling the number, but it doesn't seem to be in use anymore.

    My assessment is tomorrow and I can't stop panicking. I'm utterly freaking out. I can't remember a word I put on the form. Everywhere I look advice seems to be don't take a bus, if you do they automatically assume you can work. I have no other way of getting there. So i think i will just not go, rather than waste the money to be told i cant get it anyway.

    im trying to find out what happens to people who become homeless. im not sure what to do now, it looks so bleak
  • wrenwren Member Posts: 13
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    .... and ignore me today. I freaked out so much I lost my breath and its just too much. I wish I'd put depression and anxiety on my form but I didn't think they'd believe me! i dont know if mental health is considered in things like this.

    I rang and rescheduled. a baby move to make but at least ill feel more prepared. i can work on getting someone to go with me maybe, if such a service exists, and ill try and get anti depressants i think as something simple like busses and an appointment shouldnt cause someone so much stress and worry.
  • tkachevtkachev Member Posts: 8,332
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    You sound like you have been left to it somewhat. But the nature of benefits today is that the most vulnerable suffer the most.

    For example you haven't been told that you could apply for an esa assessment at home (likewise PIP). Usually you would need a GP's letter and ATOS don't like granting them but some people cannot travel to an assessment for medical reasons so they are not unknown and it sounds like a GP would support you in this if he felt it was a reasonable request. Also seeing your GP would help with supporting documents to send. Mental health, depression all need to be mentioned on the form.

    I'm glad you got ESA before but if you do get turned down this time you can ask for it to be looked at again. There is also an appeal process.


    I thought this might be useful. Some info you cannot see unless you are a member but there is a lot available to non members.

    It would be a good idea to claim PIP which you can claim alongside ESA. I think you need to ring to get a claim form. You have to get help to fill it in if you are unable to hold a pen but they will be able to help you with the whole process too.

    I really hope all goes well for you and that AC helpline have also been of help.
    Never be bullied into silence.
    Never allow yourself to be made a victim.
    Accept no ones definition of your life

    Define yourself........

    Harvey Fierstein
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