This week’s post for FunFact Friday is focused around disability, what support you are entitled to at work, benefits you can apply for and how to do so.
I am very blessed to be able to still work with my Endometriosis but I know not everyone is - I see the worry and concern in your posts and I wanted to spend a little time going through the information available and present it to you.
As usual this will be available on our blog and in the files section of the facebook support group.
So, firstly - How do we define a disability?
According to The Equality Act (2010) you are considered disabled if you have physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long term’ impact on your ability to carry out normal daily activities.
When looking at the Endometriosis NHS page, it is defined as a ‘long term condition’ that can have a ‘significant impact’ on your life. It is for this reason, that in more recent years, there has been a big push to redefine Endometriosis as a disability because of the impact on so much of our lives but I don’t need to tell you guys that - you/ we are living it everyday.
If Endometriosis and its symptoms are having such an enormous impact on your ability to carry out every day tasks according to the Citizens Advice Bureau website, you may be entitled to further support.
If you have difficulty with everyday tasks or getting around you are entitled to:
Disability living allowance (DLA) if you are under 16.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) if you are over 16.
Interestingly, if you have someone who has to help care for you, they may be entitled to a Carer’s allowance!
If you can’t work because you are sick/disabled:
You are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from your employer for 28 weeks.
You may also be entitled to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you get sick but are not earning enough to qualify for SSP. You can also apply for ESA if your Statutory Sick Pay has ended and you are not employed. You can still apply for
If you are on a low income:
Universal Credit is available to you.
Reduction in Council tax.
Jobseekers allowance (JSA) whilst you get back on your feet.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
You must be:
have difficulties with daily living activities.
expect these difficulties to last more than 9 months.
Daily Living difficulties can include:
preparing or eating food
dressing or undressing
reading and communicating
managing medicine and treatments
making decisions about money
engaging with others
To be assessed for mobility difficulties, you must need help getting out and moving around.
Assessment for PIP is usually done by an independent healthcare professional to help the Department for Work and Pensions determine what help you need.
You can claim here: https://www.gov.uk/pip/how-to-claim
Statutory Sick Pay
To qualify for Statutory Sick Pay you must:
be classed as an employee and have worked under your employer.
earn an average of £120 per week
have been ill for at least 4 days in a row
How many days you get SSP depends on why you are off work.
Agency workers ARE entitled to SSP.
You only need to provide a sick note from your GP if you are off sick for more than 7 DAYS in a ROW.
Employment and Support Allowance
You can apply for ESA if your health condition limits how much you can work.
ESA can provide you with help to cover your living costs if you are unable to work as well as supporting you to get back to work when you are able to. Employed, self employed and unemployed people are eligible to apply.
If you are under 65 years of age, you must need to have:
Worked as an employee or been self employed in the past
paid enough National Insurance contributions in the last 2 - 3 years. National Insurance credits count (National Insurance credits can be issued if you are unable to work due to illness. They can help fill gaps in your national insurance record to make sure you qualify for certain benefits).
You DO NOT qualify for ESA if you claim jobseekers allowance of are receiving SSP.
You can apply here: https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance/how-to-claim
Universal Credit (UC)is a payment that will help you with living costs.
Universal credit has replaced child tax credit, housing benefit, income support, income based jobseekers allowance, income related ESA AND working tax credit.. (WOW, I had no idea they had consolidated so many benefits and support taxes into just one payment?!).
You may be eligible if:
You are on a low income or out of work.
You are under 18.
You and your partner have less than £16,000 in savings
you live in the UK
The number of children you have does not affect your eligibility of UC but it may affect how much you are given.
If you live with a partner, their income and savings will be taken into account.
If you are over 18 and in training or full time study you can claim UC if:
If you live with a partner and they are eligible for UC
you are responsible for a child either as a single parent or as a couple
you are disabled and entitled to Disability living allowance (DLA) or PIP.
You are in further education, are under 21 and do not have parental support.
Again, you can apply here: https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit/how-to-claim
The Citizens Advice Bureau website has SO much information on what benefits are available to those who need it. They have calculators available to determine if you are eligible and information on everything you will need to apply or find out more.
For those who are still able to work but who struggle with the minefield of what you are entitled to and the support available to you, I spoke with my own HR department to find out a little more.
For each employee, there will be risk assessments done to determine what ‘reasonable adjustments’ must be put into place to avoid being put at a disadvantage compared to non disabled people in the workplace. This could include providing you with special equipment or adjusting your working hours. During the recruitment process for new jobs, employers are also only able to make very limited enquiries about your health and/or disability. Finally, you CANNOT be forced to retire if you suddenly become disabled or long term sick.
Thanks to the The Equality Act (2010) and United Nations Convention, disability rights are enforced, promoted and protected. These rights include and cover employment, education and dealing with police - although, I hope that last one is not necessary for any of us.
Occupational Health (OH) is a brilliant tool available to us in our workplaces but is SO underused. I've seen that people in the group are often anxious or even fearful of being referred to occupational health and I totally understand that apprehension. When I was first diagnosed with Endometriosis and had multiple hospitals stays under my belt, I was referred to OH and thought my god, this was it. They would realise I couldn’t do my job and I'd be gone.
Not the case at all - what I actually found was that OH are there to support YOU! They are as useful a tool as our hot water bottles during a flare up. USE THEM to your advantage.
Occupational Health within the workplace is supported by The Health and Safety Executive (HSE). It concentrates on 2 elements:
identifying what can cause or contribute to ill health in the workplace and implementing control measures to prevent ill health.
to make sure that people with long term health conditions or disability are not reasonably prevented from taking up job opportunities. It also focuses on making sure people at work are fit to perform their tasks by adapting work practises for people with conditions.
We also have responsibilities of our own. It is vital that we inform our employers of any aspect of our lives that may affect how safely we work. By now informing our employers of such issues, we put ourselves in harm's way and subsequently go without the rightly deserved support we need.
That being said, you CANNOT be forced to go to occupational health if you don’t want to or don’t feel ready to.
Finally, I wanted to collate a small list of charities and services available in and around Portsmouth, that you can access who may be able to help in accessing services and claiming appropriate benefits.
This list is NOT exhaustive so please shout If there are any more you feel would be helpful to add to the list!
Solent Mind is a wonderful south coast charity that aims to ensure anyone experiencing mental health issues has somewhere to turn to and receive support from.
They are open 8 - 8 during the week and 9 - 5 at the weekend.
They are able to offer support to you if you feel anxious/low, need practical guidance on how to stay well, want specific benefits, support or if you are caring for someone and need support.
They are based in Southampton but have offices in Eastleigh, Farnham, Gosport, the New Forest and Portsmouth.
They are available 24/7, 365 days a year if you need someone to talk to.
0300 123 3393
MIND operates an information line which can provide information on mental health issues, where to find help and what treatment is available.
Helpline: 0808 800 3333
Scope is a charity that strives for equality for all disabled people.
Their website provides a TON of information on benefits available to those with disabilities or long term, debilitating conditions. They can also offer advice on finances, social care, work, equipment and housing/home adaptations.
Scope also has an online community as well as employment support services called Starting Line, Support to Work and Kickstart.
Citizens Advice Bureau website: www.citizensadvicebureau.org.uk
Government website: www.gov.uk/benefits
The Equality Act 2010 can be found here:
I hope you have found this helpful - I feel like I’ve typed the word disabled a million times and although, we may not all consider ourselves disabled, we are certainly affected by what we deal with on the daily so these services and benefits are available to anyone who may require a little more help or assistance.
If there is anything else you want to find out about - shout! We can certainly spend some time looking into whatever it is you need.