It’s that time again

This month I received the dreaded questionnaire from Atos Medical Services. They assess people that receive ESA, (Employment and Support Allowance), previously known as Incapacity Benefit. It became ESA past year and like many people receiving the benefit I had to be assessed to migrate from the old scheme to the new.

Unfortunately CFS, (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), isn’t taken too seriously by Atos and a lot of sufferers don’t fare very well and are told that they are fit to work and have their money stopped. Luckily for me last year at the time of my assessment I had suffered from Pericarditis and Myocarditis which was bad enough, but made my CFS symptoms much worse. I was also very fortunate to have a very understanding nurse assessing me who understood CFS and the impact it has on a sufferers life.

This year circumstances are different, I am starting to feel a bit better and looking to start trying to rejoin the workforce. But I’m not ready to fully support myself by working yet. I still need support while I do the Return to Nurse Practice course at university as I have to work at least 120 hours without pay. But how do I get that across on a questionnaire that asks me if I can raise my arms above my head or reach up to put something in my top pocket! The questions are so specific and they don’t allow you to fully explain how your condition affects your daily life.

I firmly believe that I have started to recover by not concentrating on my symptoms and how they affect me. But to secure my benefit for a little while longer to help me through the course and then finding a job, I have to do just that.

So I decided the best thing to do is go and see an ESA advisor at the jobcentre and explain the situation and hope that they understand my situation.

Wish me luck!


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