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Hi All

A newbie here looking for advice.  I am a single parent of a 6 year old and the recent changes in benefits are now affecting me as I am due to change over in the next few weeks. I am due this week to meet with the benefits agency to discuss my options.

I am a complete bag of nerves with it all, income support totally suited me and my situation, I liked that I did not have to attend the job centre every 2 weeks as I have personal issues that they know nothing off, (until now, when I will have to reluctantly tell them)

Basically, I worked all my life up until having my child, when through no fault of my own I was made redundant. Like lots of mums I stayed at home because I am the sole carer for my child and I wanted to be at home, especially as I was the only parent, but there was also other reasons following the birth that made it impossible for me to work but they are really embarrising to tell but I will to let you have a picture of things.

I had a really difficult birth that caused a lot of damage to me, and lets just say I have a very serious issue with incontinence, in all ways you can possibly imagine. However, I am sure you can appreciate how awful and hard this would be to tell someone, so you can imagine the relief when I was told as a single parent I could go on income support, and the only time I was at the job centre was for 6 monthly interviews.

Well, now with the changes fast approaching I am panicking like you wouldnt believe  I am in no position to be applying for work, I would leave if I had an accident at work and die with shame.  I also have really high blood pressure and I am unable to see the specialist for help until this is under control, but its been going on for 6 years now so I dont expect miracles, as I have already seen specialists before and I am on medication. My problem, apart from now telling them all this which will make me hang my head in shame, I am worried that I now have to go sign on every 2 weeks, and to add to my problems, the job centre is 2 bus journeys away! every 2 weeks! I will be panicking if i get there in once peace without amptions! Please tell me there is some help out there for me, I am not helping my bp any worrying. 

any adive would be great 

Posted on: May 30, 2012 - 9:08pm

Hi mummyk. Welcome along. Firstly, please don't worry about anything, like you say it isn't doing your BP any good at all. Could you see your GP before your appointment at the Job Centre. Perhaps he could do a letter for you, outlining your problems, which would save you having to tell them. Are you entitled to DLA at all?

If you keep checking back here, I'm sure Louise or Anna can point you in the right direction. They are brilliant with their information, and can hopefully help you.

Posted on: May 30, 2012 - 9:16pm
Parenting specialist

Hello mummyk, welcome from me too, and thank you for sharing your story with us.

It does sound as if you need to apply for Disability Living Allowance if you have not already done so. You also need to be switched onto Employment Support Allowance instead of Job Seekers Allowance when the switch happens. Click on the blue titles to find out more about these benefits.

Of course it is embarrassing, I do appreciate that. But it is a medical condition the same as, say, epilepsy, where the unexpected might happen. I have worked with two ladies in the past with continence issues (both had fecal and urinary incontinence) and they both got DLA. Of course, throwing money at something is not the whole anwer, it is to do with the system RECOGNISING that there is a medical problem which may stop you doing certain things.

Have a chat with your GP about this as a first step, have they reviewed your blood pressure medication recently for example? The GP will need to support your applications (above) and will have experience of what will help do that.

In the meantime, is there a friend who can help (in terms of a lift rather than you getting two buses) and for you to equip yourself just in case there is an accident (I am sure you have knowledge of all the protective supplies available) and a change of clothes etc.

Have a look here at support organisations as well.

Keep posting, we are here to talk to and support you.

Posted on: May 31, 2012 - 7:34am

Hello Folks and thanks for the friendly welcome.

I had my meeting other day, I had a letter from my doctor which they didn't even take off me or look at but to be fair at this stage they are just trying to make the transfer over so just asked what benefit I thought I wanted, job seekers or employment support.  I said employment support, they now say I have to get a sick line to send in by end June when the transfer should be made and they will either contact me for a medical or for more information.  I dont know anything about DLA and have just been on income support but funny you mention it as when they asked me what my reasons for emp support would be they then asked if i was on disability income support or wording like that, no idea what they were on about and I can blame them for that having never told them of this before.  I just hate the thought now of having to talk about this at a medical, very embarassing.

I will have a look at the links you have given and read through the info, thanks for the help and advice and for accepting the situation, it does make a difference to know there is someone to spout off to and not have to be crimson when doing it


Posted on: June 2, 2012 - 11:33am
Parenting specialist

Hi mummyk I know it is embarrassing but you will need to be able to talk about it when you are switching benefits. Can I make a suggestion? How about writing down just how the condition affects you, sort of bullet points and keep it in your bag, you could start it by saying "I am writing this because I feel too embarrassed to say it all. I suffer from incotinence following a difficult childbirth. The ways that this condition affects me are:"etc etc and then you can hand it to any doctor or adviser that you have to see.

We are always here for you to talk to.

Posted on: June 2, 2012 - 4:08pm

Thats a very good idea Louise, I started to do this after I read your feedback, I have not bullet pointed it, I should though co I am on my 3rd page! and still going!

Well, I am confused with it all, I got a letter today saying that my Employment Support benefit started 29th june, I also recieved the medical assesment form for them to contact me upon reciept of the completed form.  I am a bit confused with this all, is Employment support based on my nat ins contributions from when I worked, and what happens to me when they run out if that is the case?  I didnt know anything about disability living allowance, and when I asked the girl to consider me for emp support when changes were happening for income support, she asked me what was wrong with me, she never mentioned anything about that other benefit, and now I am wondering if there was another benefit I should have been on instead of what I was on and what I am going on!

I know I have to talk about all this but I am so worried about it all, apart from it being very private and embarrasing, when looking at this form and all the questions, there is only one box thats applicable to me, makes me feel like a fraud as if there is nothing wrong, and if they think that what happens to me!

 ramble over... back to my notes... at least I am getting it out on paper.


thanks for listening folks

Posted on: July 7, 2012 - 12:27am
Parenting specialist

Hello mummyk, first of all do not worry about your National Insurance contributions running out and therefore your ESA running out.

So you are now waiting for your medical assessment?

I woule recommend you get in touch with your local Citizen's Advice Bureau and say that you want an appointment to help you with a Disability Living Allowance form. When you have the date for your appointment, a couple of days before the date, get a DLA form by downloading and printing one here and take the form along to your appointment. Also take along any doctor's letters (get one in the meantime) and your bullet points (try to edit what you have written into a briefer format so that the adviser can see it) People who are eligible for DLA receive it whether they are working or not, and whatever income they have. The form will tell you the other information you need to take.

Please also remember that we have a Money Expert on the boards if you have any specific questions and they can provide in-depth knowledge

Posted on: July 7, 2012 - 8:38am

Hi Louise,

Do you mean take a completed DLA form with me to the medical assessment? completed with what Citizen Advice suggests to put on it? Will that be me applying for it at that point through the medical assessement, or is that just to show them how it affects me? Sorry if this seems silly questions, this is all new to me.  would DLA still be applicable to me since most of the assessment form is about mobility rather than continence issues, it seems that only a very small part of the assessment form is relevent to me.  I am wondering if I have been ill advised on my options being job seekers or esa, as if I qualified for DLA I may have been able to stay on income support.  About the bullet points, should I include this with my assesment form or give to them on the day,  I have sent a doctors letter with my initial application for esa at the change over but I could get another letter for the medical assessment. Should this detail what my issues are, or just leave it up to the doctor what to many questions!


Many thanks for all your help and advice.

Posted on: July 7, 2012 - 2:02pm
Parenting specialist

Hello mummyk, DLA does not replace ESA, it is an additional benefit. Whether you get DLA or not, you will not be able to stay on Income Support. I was suggesting you took a partly completed DLA form along to an appointment with the Citizens Advice and ask them to help you fill it in, basically to see if you could get some extra money.

The ESA assessment is completely separate and you need to furnish them with a completely separate set of info. If you have a form to complete for this then write your bullet points on it but also take the bullet points to the assessment.

If you have any questions about this, do email our Money Expert (in confidence of course)

Posted on: July 7, 2012 - 2:18pm