Hello, this is my first post on here so bear with me and my explanation it’s been a long day! At the time of my RR diagnosis in 2011 I was very succesful in my career, Inc 10 years with my current company At that time. My body just gave up on me however and I spent some months in hospital followed by a period of time using walking aids. During my time in hospital my Line Manager changed.On the advice of my previous Manager I was honest with my company about my condition. After 8 months of pure and utter hell I gave in to the bullies and sought another job. Sadly it wasn’t to be and, despite a 3 year stint with one employer more recently, the majority of the remaining years between 2012 and now have been filled with perpetual redundancies and bad choices. Since witnessing the first reaction to my condition I have never once told an employer about my condition. Upon giving me my diagnosis I perceived it to be implied that I would no longer be working, on questioning this I was told that the vast majority of those diagnosed stop working within a year. I would quietly admit that I probably have a decent sized chip on my shoulder and go all out to prove myself capable, despite employers being unaware, and frequently run myself utterly into the ground…In fact I can’t really remember when I had something I would call a ‘life’. I realise that I may be physically more capable than many MS patients but am I a spoilt diva for wanting to give into it and take a break? I was brought up without any feeling of entitlement, you work for what you get, and claiming benefits was viewed in a bad light. Should I keep on pushing till I potentially relapse or keep earning what I can whilst I can? Are there financial support options on offer if I want/need to take a break? Do I have to have a certain level of disability and if I take the health route in terms of not working am I then shooting myself in the foot in terms of returning to work in the future? How can I just get myself some time out without going bankrupt and am I just wallowing in self pity?
hi stimpiglet (a fascinating name)
have you considered early retirement on the grounds of ill health?
you will need to take 6 months off on full pay, then 6 on half pay.
occupational health will get the process started.
do get advice though.
i took that route myself and my pension pays the bills.
it doesn’t mean that you HAVE to retire, but the option is there.
many people who have retired still work.
the thing is that you can focus on your health and not run yourself into the ground.
the second manager at your original place of work was a bit of a ****!
I worked for about 10 years after my initial MS attack (not diagnosed for 5 years).
The problem you have if you stop working is money. State benefits are getting ever harder to qualify for. If you can manage to get an occupational pension, then life might be a little bit easier. But if you are anticipating state help with money, then life can become quite difficult.
I suggest you find out how you’d manage to get support before you wind up stuffed because you’ve left your job voluntarily. Have a look at the CAB information: Benefits - Citizens Advice or consider joining https://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/ for more detailed info.
If you did decide to take a break from work and found that you could manage financially, you might find that employers would view you differently when you found it possible to return to work. Obviously they’re not supposed to, but in a way it’s not surprising if they view you as a less than attractive employee.
I agree with Carole and Sue.
Don’t throw yourselves on the tender mercies of the State without thinking it all through. There’s some stuff you can claim when you’re still working, so get that in place before you burn any bridges. That way at least you get a feel for how disabled the State considers you to be, and that is one of the things you need to throw in the pot as you consider your options.
As others have said, make sure you are very clear about what, if any, are your options for being retired on ill-health grounds from your current employment.
I don’t know where the bit about stopping work within a year of dx came from - unless people are very unlucky indeed, I do not think that is a typical experience. My MS was aggressive from the start, for instance, and I worked full-time for 5 years and part-time for three more before being put out to grass, but then I did have the great blessing of a very good employer, I am sorry that you have been less fortunate.
My suggestion would be to treat this as a work problem rather than a personal problem. Somehow that can make it easier to keep the strong emotions (and there are bound to be some) in the background so that you can figure it out in a dispassionate and rational way. Damned MS, barging into people’s lives in this way and causing bloody mayhem. I am so sorry that you are in this difficulty.
Stimpiglet, it’s a tough choice.
I retired with ill health and almost immediately those close to me started acting as if I was useless. I became depressed and needed medication. It ended in divorce, sadly.
It’s a massive decision. MS dogged me for my whole teaching career.
On the financial side, the lump sum enabled me to pay off my mortgage and I receive the usual benefits so I’m ok.
I think you need to be ready mentally as well as physically.
Hello Stimpiglet, you will know when to give up, the body and/or mind will tell you, with the falls the struggles to get back up, or perhaps the company you work for will medically retire you on health safety or insurance purposes, I went on, possible for longer than I should have, but when the time seems right then the time is right, all will be with you after trying, even in your own self, you know you gave it your best, Brian
Hi As others have said, it’s a tough call. I’ve been incredibly blessed with my employer. I’ve had various line managers in my time, and all have been understanding & sympathetic - there’s never been any pressure to quit. My health went downhill very quickly, and I ended up having 2 & a half years off. But they kept me employed, and found me a role that allows me to work very flexibly - I’ve no fixed start or finish time, I just need to do my weekly hours, and I can from home. It’s ideal for a condition like MS. A couple things help me, which are worth looking into for yourself. Firstly, I get support from Access to Work. It’s a DWP thing to help people with disabilities to stay in work. There’s different ways they can help, but for me they pay for a taxi to & from the office, which helps with fatigue. The other thing is that I claim the disabled component of working tax credits. You need to work a minimum of 16 hours a week. It definitely helps to top up the income. Hope those things help Dan