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ESA Support group - no assessment - stunned!

  • Thread starter louise_louise_louise
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louise_louise_louise

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good evening everyone, I'd like to introduce myself. I'm Louise, and I have complex PTSD, anxiety and depression. Until June I was working FT in NHS but a lot of delayed trauma caught up with me and wasn't going away. I have gone from JSA, to ESA and found out today ESA support group.....without an assessment. I know this is rare

I am on a truckload of medication that has really stabilised things for me....paroxetine, mirtazapine, quetiapine and acamprosate (for alcohol misuse), zopiclone occasionally and all those lovely b vitamins! So I am happy to take these things as I feel so much better for doing so

I feel ready to do some work, paid or unpaid, part time. I know the support group is rare without assessment and I was terrified of the assessment, as I appear very articulate and well now on the medication. CMHT are discharging me from psychology but not psychiatry and have referred me to a day project 2 days a week, I'm going to be doing a support group, drama and art and am really pleased as I couldn't do no support ATM

I feel like my own head has answered this, but I was thinking (assuming really) I'd be put in the limited capability for work group with an assessment, to go straight into Support Group has confirmed what I knew already....I have long term problems that aren't going away soon and need time to heal.

I'm ready and want to do some work - paid or unpaid - 15 hours per week. Should I do unpaid and stick with support group, or paid and take the lower rate ESA group? I have been helped so much by foodshare and I know they are desperate for volunteers, I quite like the idea of volunteering an afternoon a week in a school, and being a volunteer driver for foodshare for what will be a long day from 11am til 6pm (can't drive earlier due to grogginess) picking up leftover food all over Birmingham. If working I was going to get a job as a special needs bus escort, so I could still go to the day project I am referred to in the day, I really like going, even just for a friendly chat and to do a jigsaw in peace on the bad days, it helps.

What do people think?

Hello and welcome, I'm Louise and will be sure to post again rather than just lurk!

I don't celebrate Christmas but to those that do....

**MERRY CHRISTMAS**

**HO HO HO**
 
Edinscotbrit

Edinscotbrit

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I`d be very careful.

I don`t claim ESA. But, as I understand , to be in the support group you need to be on your death bed near enough? If you`re wanting to be able to drive etc, for 15 hours a week, my guess is you would end up being reassessed and deemed to be able to work.

So could go from ESA support to Job seekers, if you`re able to drive and stuff.

Or be put into Work related activity group,

I believe there is such a thing as permitted work in the support group, you may want to look into that.
 
Mayflower7

Mayflower7

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Please be careful driving if you feel unwell still, it's just not worth the risk.
Do look into permitted work while on ESA, you have to notify the DWP even if volunteering.
 
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louise_louise_louise

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Thank you so much both. I hate this system. I filled in the form when feeling really low but having the second AD added in and the acamprosate for alcohol cravings, I honestly feel so much more steady. I am in no way ready for FT work, but something paid or unpaid part time, yes. I'm early in sobriety too and its that balance between doing nothing and something to keep a busy mind occupied. Which I do need with the day project. Me being alone is good to a point as I try to read some good self help stuff and pray, go for walks, but too much of that the demon to drink jumps on my back pretty quickly. And he is truly the voice of the devil!

Doing some volunteering on the empty days buys me time, that's why I want to do it. But I don't want to invite any reassessment. I'm now on a mix of medication and feel so different, calm, smiles often. That's what makes me think I really wasn't well at all before. I have my license but have been spared the DVLA and have been told only drive in the afternoons.
 
daffy

daffy

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I was in the support group and worked in a charity shop one morning a week and it never affected my benefits. But that was a few years ago so things may have changed since then. I wouldnt go straight into paid work if you try voluntary doing 15 hours and see how you cope.
 
Eleison

Eleison

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How long have you been out of work? I've been out of work 3 years now, and only can manage 5-6 hours [one day] of voluntary work a week. So take things at your own pace.
 
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louise_louise_louise

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I'm not sure what to do for the best....I'd like permission to work 15 hours per week - paid or unpaid - for the next year and just be left alone TBH.

No way for FT yet, I need time to heal. But a little would be therapeutic.
 
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louise_louise_louise

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I do 6 hours a week as a volunteer phlebotomist (blood taker) - don't worry that was my job before! Obviously that is a huge responsibility which helps with my sobriety and MH...that devil on my back tempts me but I tell him to piss off as I am taking people's blood, I am good at my job, but need to keep other people safe above anything else. I honestly believe in the value of therapeutic work, I put on my uniform and I know you think (if you are coming to see me) its just a blood test, but I take so much pride in what I do! Its like 6 hours away from trauma and dwelling on everything going wrong. I like sitting in the canteen with my sandwich and chatting with the cleaners and feeling like a normal person
 
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Worriedyin

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I'm not sure what to do for the best....I'd like permission to work 15 hours per week - paid or unpaid - for the next year and just be left alone TBH.

No way for FT yet, I need time to heal. But a little would be therapeutic.
I was briefly on ESA last year in the support group and I think I got full support group rate even when I was doing permitted earnings? I might be wrong.

I did voluntary work and then permitted earnings but stupidly thought I could do 16 hours - it has to be UNDER 16 hours - and ended up off ESA. I've seen quite a few jobs advertised for 16 hours but never any for 15 hours, seen either 8 or 12 hours etc.

It depends on how you think but I was more afraid I'd get stuck on benefits if I didn't do any kind of work, whereas my partner for example who's on ESA won't do volunteering etc but he's scared he'll lose the support group. So it depends on how you think.
 
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louise_louise_louise

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yes that's me too....a phlebotomist is a really good skilled trade, weekend rate is £15 p/h and so it should be, sticking needles into people and all. Love the busyness of A and E, evening work is quieter and you can say a few kind words to people who are confused or afraid. Sobriety and getting back on track MH wise is also a challenge and a job in its own right. Too long out of work and I lose my skill - and it is a needed one. Just not ready for FT or JSA
 
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Worriedyin

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yes that's me too....a phlebotomist is a really good skilled trade, weekend rate is £15 p/h and so it should be, sticking needles into people and all. Love the busyness of A and E, evening work is quieter and you can say a few kind words to people who are confused or afraid. Sobriety and getting back on track MH wise is also a challenge and a job in its own right. Too long out of work and I lose my skill - and it is a needed one. Just not ready for FT or JSA
I'm working P/T still and think it might be a while till I get back to FT but glad I am doing something. Not working in my old profession though as I don't know if I can do it anymore. I am in the office five days a week so I benefit from the routine.

As long as you're engaging with your Dr etc you should be able to stay on ESA as long as you're unwell. That's why it's there!
 
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louise_louise_louise

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Thank you to everyone taking time to reply. I appreciate it!
 
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louise_louise_louise

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The system is just so black and white. You are fit for work or you are not. What if you are fit for a bit of work, and can build yourself up. Humans are diverse so why such an in or out system. Going into benefits and getting support from cmht has been such an eye opener and has made me really think about how I vote. I'm being discharged from psychology and am still not well, but have used my allocation. I've had 26 sessions and it feels like it has unblocked an artery but not uncleared it altogether. I'm so grateful for the day project and being able to do a jigsaw with a 50p hot chocolate and chat if I want it (some days don't, just peaceful distraction space)
 
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