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Has anyone successfully started a new job after being off for years due to ill health that is still ongoing?

(15 Posts)
HarryPottersMagicWand Fri 08-Jul-16 21:17:55

I have been off work for years now. I did go back to college and retrain a few years ago (actually working it out I finished the course 9 years ago!) and was working alongside the course.

I have a long term illness that leaves me exhausted. This is why I had to give up work. I tried different patterns of hours and it didn't work. I have been on incapacity benefit ever since, and more recently, employment and support allowance, the support group (moved there on appeal) but now I have been put back in the work related activity group on assessment. I am appealing but looking at my options as well. They have said I don't have to get a job and they know I am not fit for work but won't get paid in the WRAG for that long.

I would like to work. I'm fed up of being stuck at home and people asking what I've been up to and the answer is always nothing. However, my illness hasn't gone, recovery is unlikely. I get tired easily. It's a case of managing it. After 1 year though in the WRAG my money will stop and we will be scraping by, especially when my DLA stops and I have to apply for PIP, I'd be very surprised to get this given all the horror stories about it.

I can't see anyone actually employing me. Or there being a job that is so few hours a week. I have no recent experience, not really got a reference. Qualifications are all years old. I currently volunteer in my DCs school for 1 hour a week. My college course was for a TA.

Has anyone successfully got a job being ill and after so many years off? I hate to think that this will be my life. It wasn't so bad when I had a child at home but they are both at school now. But I'm not even sure I could hold a job down, but we can't manage on DH's wage alone really. Grr. Hate being in this position.

havemercy Fri 08-Jul-16 21:22:58

I'm in the same situation. Want to be friends? I cannot offer any constructive advice whatsoever though !

HarryPottersMagicWand Fri 08-Jul-16 21:28:29

Damn grin.

What is your situation? I just feel like I am completely out of date and unemployable and it's frustrating as every job I did have, I got on very well, very quickly and was always thought a lot of and given opportunities. This was so long ago I can't see it being remotely relevant now though.

BeatricePotter Fri 08-Jul-16 21:30:22

Part time role in local government or NHS? I think NHS would be more sympathetic to your time off/ongoing management of your condition.

Very best of luck!

Ricksheadtilt Fri 08-Jul-16 21:32:19

Another person in the same boat. I'd love to work too. Feel so guilty applying for jobs knowing I'm a liability sad

HarryPottersMagicWand Fri 08-Jul-16 21:35:00

But I have no experience and no qualifications in either of those. I'd be happy to do that but on looking through many job adverts, they all want experience or certain qualifications or excellent knowledge of certain computer systems. Plus the hours are all too much for me. I know I can pace myself far better than when I was working but I still need to be very mindful about keeping to what I know my limits to be, which sadly are quite low.

My ideal plan is up my voluntary hours at school, they realise how fabulous and reliable I am despite my illness (and they do know about it) and a TA role comes up which is a few hours a week spread out and they give me the job, I'm there every day for the school run anyway and it's down the road from my house. Perfect! grin (Ok I may live in some sort of dreamworld but I can hope)

emwithme Fri 08-Jul-16 22:41:02

Yes, me!

I was a Legal PA for years, then got ill (diagnosed with ME, then fibromyalgia, then - finally - Ehlers Danlos Syndrome...only took 25 years from my first dislocation). Worked full time after being ill for a year, then went to 60% (but still managing the same amount of workload because law firms are fuckers ) then off sick. I was fortunate that I got PHI so I was on 50% of salary for four years, along with (contrib) ESA and DLA. I was then offered a lump sum settlement which I took.

I went to college, part time (2 evenings) to study for my AAT qualifications. Started with level 2 and passed, then took level 3. About halfway through my level 3 year I felt well enough to think about work, albeit at a far "lower" level (in terms of both physical demand and stress levels) than I had been used to before. I got the second job I applied for shock. I now work 25 hours a week in a small firm doing all the accounts stuff (sales and purchase ledger, bank reconciliations...if it has anything to do with accounts, I do it - except the VAT returns, but I might get to do them at some point). I've been there since March and I LOVE it.

The place is very chilled - we can wear jeans (as long as they're not blue), no one bats an eyelid at my walking boots (that hold my ankles in the right place so they're not dislocating, and so my knees, hips, pelvis etc are in the right place), the bosses are lovely, they get that I have limitations on what I can do and can't do and accept that totally. I got a chair (and footrest/writing slope) through the Access To Work scheme so that has really helped me too (it's an all-singing-all-dancing chair with inflatable bits that I can pump up or down depending on where needs support most that day).

It's so totally different from what I did before, and I absolutely wouldn't go back to being a legal PA again. I had thought about studying accountancy years ago but didn't, and really regret it now, because I could be twenty years further ahead in my career.

HarryPottersMagicWand Fri 08-Jul-16 22:52:05

That sounds good. How long were you actually off work then? 4 years?

What's the Access to Work scheme? Is that through the jobcentre? I'm seeing someone there at the moment as a result of being in the WRAG. It's brilliant that your employers are so understanding of your illnesses. How is your ME/CFS? And how do you feel when you are at work/at home?

emwithme Fri 08-Jul-16 23:07:32

I was off work for 5 years (well, 4 years, 11 months, 3 weeks if we're being pedantic!) in total.

ink{\]]w} is the Access To Work scheme, it helps fund some of the extra costs that disabled people have starting work or keeping jobs. I was on ESA before I got the job (support group) and had been getting DLA but lost this on the move over to PIP.

The ME is fine, I pace outside of work (it's just second nature now) and honestly, since the EDS has been sorted properly (pretty intensive physio identified that my ankles were pronating too much meaning my knees were in the wrong position, and as my knees were in the wrong position then my hips were being pulled out of alignment and so on up the body, I am on a 2 year waiting list for an orthotics appointment but went to a local (good) walking shop and spent £200 on a pair of boots and insoles that do the trick!) and my vitamin D level has been being supplemented properly then everything seems to have fallen into place.

I don't do as much at home as I would want and DH and I are negotiating over getting a cleaner (by which I mean I am on cleaning strike and waiting for him to get sick of it and either do it himself or agree we need to pay someone!) but it's all OK, I can manage everything I want to do. We don't have kids but over the past year I have reduced all my pain meds (I was on tramadol, codeine, paracetamol and ibuprofen) with the aim of TTC in six months or so. I now feel well enough to face a pregnancy/children, which is astounding bearing in mind five years ago I was struggling to get out of bed every day!

HarryPottersMagicWand Sat 09-Jul-16 21:16:31

Hmm, i'm not sure if the access to work thing would be relevant to me (just had a look at it). I am still on ESA at the moment (WRAG) and I was thinking more of doing a course and hoping it would cover the cost of that, which it doesn't mention. We can't afford to pay for courses ourselves as they are 100's if not over 1k. My advisor at the job centre did say the government has a budget to use for getting people back into work but maybe this is what she meant? Although her response was to my question about whether I would need to pay for any courses myself.

HarryPottersMagicWand Sat 09-Jul-16 21:18:23

So do you do very little outside of work in order to pace properly?

Whathefuck222 Mon 11-Jul-16 08:09:35

College has the 24+ advanced learner loans so courses are free . Well no free but You don't have to pay anything until earning 21000 . I think the difficulty is choosing something suitable for the level of tiredness without making a mistake . I have been thinking on retraining ( tiredness but also speech, etc are an issue so more restricted in things you can do) and these things I though could be suitable but not sure Audio Transcription , Graphic Design, Web Design, Programming . Other people could do hairdressing, nail stuff, courses maybe . I was also thinking in selling a product( products) online and having a market stall once a week for example ( not sure if it would work though) . I would think flexible jobs and jobs from home maybe . It is a minefield really . Working as a TA is exhausting even for healthy people . . Maybe a TA for adult education courses is more appropriate .

mouldycheesefan Tue 12-Jul-16 15:41:52

Could ypu work as a sma at school, it's just one hour per day.

HarryPottersMagicWand Wed 13-Jul-16 12:33:22

By SMA you mean dinner lady?

It wouldn't be an hour a day. They don't have a separate hall at school so it needs setting up and clearing away, getting big tables out and putting them away. Probably 2 hours but hard work and being bang in the middle of the day doesn't leave much time for resting either side if I'm up and down the school 3 times a day.

Plus I have a reason for really really not wanting to go down this route. It's a stupid reason but I can't get past it.

Interesting about the 24+ loan thing. The likely hood of me ever earning over 21k is slim as until a cure is found, full time would just not be possible.

mouldycheesefan Wed 13-Jul-16 12:45:50

No I don't mean dinner lady who sets up and serves the meals I mean the lunchtime playground supervisors. The ones at our school,work an hour per day. I am not sure that you will find a job for less hours than that.

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