Hello - Struggling

I just found this community and this is my first post. I have osteoarthritis and osteoporosis and I am really struggling to keep going at the moment. The condition affects my jaw too which is quite unusual and this is causing me chronic pain with eating and talking and I might need to have a jaw joints replacement as a result. It is starting to affect my work and life in general. My employer does not know about my condition and is not the supportive type. But I feel like this is getting worse so I will have to disclose it at work. Stress at work is making my condition worse. Does anyone have to share any tips on approaching an employer about the impact the condition has on you? were they receptive if you did this? or do I need to face the fact that I might end up unable to work and if so how have people found the benefit system when you have these health conditions? I have not claimed any benefits for 20 years but I feel like I am slowly losing my battle with independence.

Comments

  • Ellen
    Ellen Moderator Posts: 592

    Welcome to the Versus Arthritis Online Community @Artladyblue It's good to meet you.

    I see you have osteoarthritis and osteoporosis too and are particularly worried about your ability to work in future.

    I am attaching two links for you this one is about financial help available:

    This one is about work:

    There is a section about talking to your employer.

    Stress really doesn't help any of us and is very unlikely to help your jaw - I find I tense my jaw when I am in pain.

    I will leave you now to meet some of our members and please do join in if you want to wherever you feel comfortable.

    Best wishes

    Ellen

  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,731

    Fortunately I was self-employed when my disabilities became too much for me to continue working and I gave up on my GP's advice; I found it pretty straight forward to claim disability benefits (ESA and PIP) although it took time and caused some stress. I was also able to claim on a previous employer's pension scheme on the basis that if I had still been working for them I would have been retired on medical grounds, so it is worth checking that out if it applies to you, that pension started before the benefits had taken effect.

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 26,675

    Hi @Artladyblue

    Nice to meet you and welcome you to our forum.

    I am feeling for you with your jaw it is horrible. It happens to me too from time to time when the Arthritis is flaring. Once my jaw stuck in position slightly open...only slightly.

    As for telling work I would probably suggest honestly being the best policy. You don't say how much longer you have to work for whether 'early retirement' might be an option for you your work might even offer that to you depending who your employer is. I suggest looking into your benefit position too first if you are eligible for PIP you can get it before finishing work if you condition is severe enough. ESA you is like the old Statutory sick pay.

    If you have a union you could talk to them for advice as well.

    Take care

    Love

    Toni xxx
  • Jona
    Jona Member Posts: 302

    Hi Artladyblue

    sorry your having a horrible time have you applied for pip? You need to go online gov.com and get an application pack I too am going through something similar at work it’s best if you talk to someone you trust at work then perhaps you can talk to your manager with support from that person I’ve had some great advice here and I know how arthritis wants to strip us of our confidence but people who are not living with it are not very supportive it’s not as they say just arthritis it’s complicated and like I’ve found here your not alone

    When you fill in your pip make sure you fill it in that is on your worst day and how it affects you and talk to someone from citizens advice they can help you but if you can get some financial help it does make life easier

    I get angry with myself but it is an illness that should be not be dismissed it’s painful and has no timetable good days then bad but be kind to yourself and as I’ve just found out there are nice people here

    good luck and stay strong

  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,731

    You can also get help from your Adult Social Care department at your local council.

  • MoWW
    MoWW Member Posts: 65
    edited 8. Jan 2021, 14:33

    Hello @Artladyblue I am sorry you are experiencing difficulties with your condition and work. If your condition is starting to impact on everyday life you are protected under the Equality Act 2020. Definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) ACAS information on this, Disability Discrimination Act & Disability Discrimination at Work | Acas

    This podcast may also be of interest Talking human to human: disability in a pandemic - The Acas Podcast | Acast

    Disclosing your condition to your employer can be stressful, being aware of your rights and having information on your condition can help you. Your employer may be able to help you explore any reasonable adjustments that may make work easier, What reasonable adjustments are: Reasonable adjustments - Acas such as flexible or reduced hours, if you think some equipment may help such as ergonomic chair, IT kit etc you can apply to Access to Work, AtW is a government fund that can provide funding for equipment, travel to work support, mental health support or access to a support worker, depending on your job and condition some of these elements may be of help to allow you to remain in work.

    If making an application you can request an independent assessment to ensure you get help to find the support you need. Get support in work if you have a disability or health condition (Access to Work) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

    Access to pain management support can be key to you managing your condition in work, you can ask your local healthcare professional to advise if there are any services available to you. Managing your pain | Treatments and self-help (versusarthritis.org) these videos exploring pain may be of help, Real Stories - Flippin' Pain

    Some of the posts replying to you have mentioned PIP, Personal independence payment, if you intend to make a claim try to find a local disability or welfare advice service that can help you complete the form. Personal Independence Payment (PIP): How to claim - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

    I hope this information is of help to you, good luck and please get in touch if I can help further, my contact details can be found in this link. Working Well with Arthritis (versusarthritis.org)