Claiming ESA for Migraine?

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Claiming ESA for Migraine?

Post by pandora77 on Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:46 am

Hi everyone,

I would like to know has anyone made a successful claim for ESA for Chronic Migraine?

I am new here but a long time suffer of Migraine! I have been unemployed for a long time now over a year and on JSA which I went onto after finishing my post graduate studies. I am in my mid 30's and over the past few years my Migraines have been getting steadily worse and more frequent. Perviously I had been on Pizotifen for 6 months in my 20's it did work but the side effects were awful. Prior to being on this medication I had never been overweight but I gained about 50lbs while on it and was sleeping 16+ hours a day and to be honest I have never been the same since I came off it. So after that I was always very reluctent to take preventative medication. I did take Imitrex and pain killer but also tried homeopathy, herbalism, massage, special magnets, Reiki, Osteopathy etc some offered some temporary relief but nothing major.

The general trend was for the migranes to get worse as I got older. I had to give up the job I love in TV as the erratic schedule was making my migraines worse. Last year I did go back to my GP and asked to try another preventative mostly because my headaches were causing problems in my relationship i.e. my boyfriend was fed up of me always being ill and needing to lie down.

I went on beta blockers for 2 months and they didn't do a thing but make me cold and very tired. Again I was disheartened and put off speaking to my GP but someone said a local hosptial had a Headache clinic so I went back to my GP to ask about that it was a locum who seemed to be suggesting that I was just medication adverse and wanted a fancy treatment like accupuncture for free. I was really cross about this as I take so many Imitrex and Ibuprofen I worry about how they are affecting me long term I'd be happy to take a preventative that worked lobg term with acceptable side effects. Eventually she agreed to refer me but never sent the letter. When the surgery realised the mistake three months later then refered me again and eventually I was seen by a neurologist who after examining me and seeeing my migraine diary etc diagnosed me with Chronic Migraine (averaging 18 migraine days a month with 10 of those being bedridden). He put me on Topiramate tapering up to 100mg over weeks (only on 25 mg now) as well as continuing with imitrex and giving me Naproxen and Domperidone to take during an attack. He also diagnosed my dizzy spells as BPPV.

About a week after this I went to my appointment at my work programme provider I had a new advisor she was going though all my details and asked about my migraines and the neurology appointment I had told them I was waiting for. I said I had been and she then quizzed me on what had happened and about my migraine. I told her and she then said based on what I had told her I wasn't eligable for JSA and that I would need to get a medical certificate from my GP and apply for ESA. I said that I didn't feel that my Migraine should stop me from working but that I would need some adjustments and an understanding employer. The advisor made it very clear that this just wasn't reasonable at all. Her implication was that as I am on JSA she would be sending me for various full time work trials doing anything including shift work, work in bright, loud and polluted enviroments and that if I was failed to turn up due to illness I'd face sanctions and lose my benefits for up to 3 years. She was basically saying jump now before your pushed.


She then made it sound like ESA which I knew nothing about was just a kind of modified JSA where my Migraine could be taken into account, that I would still go in and see her and look for work but that my health issues could be taken into account. I didn't even know that ESA is paid at a higher rate than JSA. I was made nervous by what she said and made an appointment to see my GP who very happily wrote me a line for 6 months and the next day I cancelled my JSA and applied for ESA. Thinking I would be ok while I got used to the new medication and hopefully saw some improvement in my migraines.


However now after reading about ESA online I think I might have made a mistake. It seems it will be impossible to prove during the medical how I am on my worse days when my condition varies so much. I do think fall between JSA and ESA not fit enough to work but not ill enough to ESA. I could work but at the moment only a very flexible arrangement or homebased work would be suitable as that would allow me to rest when I needed to and of course it would need to be part time. it is however not easy to find such work and claiming JSA would mean I'd have to be seeking all and any work. Previously I was doing this but worrying all the time about the legalities of declaring prexisting medical conditions as I knew it would be an issue.

So if any one has ever go ESA for Migraine I'd love to hear about it. I do think I only need this support for a short time say 6 months or so as I am hopeful that my headaches will improve, they haven't yet but it is early days yet.

It is so frustrating with Migraine as it can be disabling at it's worst but people are so dismissve of it. I did try to talk to the job centre some time ago aout my concerns regarding my headaches and the advisor said "everyone gets headaches". Basically if you've never had a migraine you just don't understand.

Even the specialist charities aren't that helpful Migraine Action seem to charge a fee for most things which as benefit claiment I can't afford and the Migraine Trust don't offer any advice on benefits so I feel very in the dark about what to do when other action groups for conditions like M.E. etc offer loads of advice for free to suffers.

Has anyone ever successfully claimed ESA for Chronic Migraine? Especially a new claim, how do you deal with a medical which looks at your daily life when your condition is variable?

Any advice would be great

Thanks!

pandora77

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Re: Claiming ESA for Migraine?

Post by usedtobejolly on Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:20 pm

Hi

I don't know how far along with this you are, but I had to apply for ESA from August last year because I had resigned from my job because I couldn't cope any more (should have gone off sick but didn't understant), then was doing freelance bits and it was so stressful and I was so slow. I saw a specialist who said I should focus on getting better.

I have been receiving ESA since August, and have just had the call to a medical, and I am a bit nervous, and if they don't believe me I will be furious. Am having the medical next wednesday.
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Re: Claiming ESA for Migraine?

Post by pandora77 on Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:10 am

Hi,

I posted in another thread that I recently had notification that I have been placed in the suppport group of ESA due to Chronic Migraine. It isn't for a long period and i will be reassessed but hopefully I should have the time I need to get better.

I think it is important you have someone doing your medical who has an neurology background if possible as otherwise they may not understand just how migraine impacts on your life and your ability to work.

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Re: Claiming ESA for Migraine?

Post by usedtobejolly on Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:38 am

Will look out your other thread. Have never heard of this.
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Re: Claiming ESA for Migraine?

Post by Loki on Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:42 am

I've just started claiming ESA now most for the Migraines and a few other pain issues with my legs and back as well. but chronic daily headache I figure would be enough to claim for it.

When I was in work before I really had to quit because it was killing me.

I'm being couched by my friend who has been doing this for year just not with migraines, she has basically told me that you have to tell these people what you worst case scenario is. Even though your instinct is to say what you best case is, like I'm sure I could do X and X. When you know that you are going to have trouble doing both, tell them you have trouble doing both, exactly what trouble, and how much pain you will have, just kind of chant to yourself "worst case scenario".....

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Re: Claiming ESA for Migraine?

Post by Kala on Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:05 am

Just to inform you all there is a charity based in Liverpool called Neurosupport, which provides support and advice to anyone in the UK with a neurological condition. They can help with benefits, employment issues, and even about retraining. If you google them you'll find their website. They are brilliant and DO NOT charge for their help and advice!
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Re: Claiming ESA for Migraine?

Post by Kala on Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:14 am

Oh just to add I have a meeting with my employer on 11th April to terminate my contract if I cannot come up with any reasonable adjustments that they can consider. Unfortunately my job is frontline and so if I'm not there then the whole service suffers and unfortunately there is no way round it. My GP has said that due to my condition I'm just too unreliable, meaning it is my condition that is unreliable! So I will now have to also go down the ESA route as well as DLA.
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Re: Claiming ESA for Migraine?

Post by pandora77 on Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:28 pm

Thank you for the advice about neurosupport Kala, I am on ESA for the time being but have been thinking about my long term future and while I hope to improve my chronic migraine I am aware a return to regualr work could very likely cause me to fall ill again so I am considering the future possibility of working from home in a way that allows me to manage my health so perhaps they could help with that.

Good luck with applying for ESA and DLA you I didn't apply for DLA only ESA which I got but only for a limited time it's very difficult to get ESA long term in fact everyone gets reassesed frequently now mostly on a 3 to 12 monthly basis.

The problem with migraine is how unreliable it makes you as you say. I could be on ESA for a year really see an improvement in my migraine frequency and duration and then be found fit to work and after a couple of months in just about any work enviroment office, shop, outdoors etc I have been exposed to so many stressors be they mental, emotional or enviromental that my migraine frequency is back up to chronic levels in a matter of months and while some adjustments can be made often they are not enough. In many ways a chronic migraine sufferer is less able than many people with other more visable disabilities (a bit of a generalisation I know but it can be the case, see WHO guidelines).

There is also the question of employability, you could be found fit for work but are you employable? Especially in a time when employers can pick and choose I seems very likely that if you disclose a recent medical issue with chronic migraine you are going to be overlooked and if you do not disclose it to get a job and your migraines interfere with your work then you could well lose your job for failure to disclose. Its a very difficult position to be in.

However I don't like to think of myself on benefits forever I just worry about my future employability. Self employment does seem like a good option but not with out it's own "stressors". I believe there is or was assistance you could claim if you have health issues and were self employed but needed a bit of help financially to get by but not sure if this has been removed in the shake up!

Other than that it's back to praying for a miracle!

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Re: Claiming ESA for Migraine?

Post by pīwakawaka on Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:30 pm

Out of curiosity, in the UK can you get a disability allowance if your spouse/partner is employable, or is it only available if you live alone?

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Re: Claiming ESA for Migraine?

Post by Tee on Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:13 pm

I have gone down the ESA route and met with a nice doc who helped me complete the forms and he said that you need to highlight all the aspects of the illness which take you out of work on a mental level!....... its crazy, but the fact that I had to be in a dark room and could be paralysed for a while, could not think straight or hold a conversation did not count.... but the fact that I had depersonalisation and lost 'me' in reality did.......... he talked me through the new system which sounds crazy - the doctors no longer have a say - they have to write the report based on a set of set questions and then it goes to a committee - which and I quote 'could include the old granny from down the road with no medical experience'

In one way I can understand why they are doing this as they seem to trying to get the addicts to get help and if they are not seeking help they do not get the benefit.......... but the questions they use are not enough to cover the aspects of chronic migs....... They put me in a support group to get back to work, which seemed silly at the time as I have a job waiting for me.... but it gives me a little more money and all I had to do was attend an interview, which lasted all of 15 mins..... Not a lot they can do for someone who already has a job............ would have been interesting to see what they would suggest you could do if you did not have a job waiting...

And yes Pikakawka - you can get (in theory) DLA for you if your other half works in the UK - but getting DLA is getting harder and harder...


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Re: Claiming ESA for Migraine?

Post by Kala on Tue Apr 10, 2012 2:10 am

Also, you can claim DLA if you yourself works, as it is a non-means tested allowance.
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Re: Claiming ESA for Migraine?

Post by brainbox on Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:31 pm

got my esa decision in post today - i got into support group Very Happy

doesnt say for how long? does anyone know do i still need to send in sick notes?
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Re: Claiming ESA for Migraine?

Post by Tee on Mon Sep 03, 2012 8:00 am

Just been through this again....... what a day - I had a level 8 the day before and refused to cancel as I hate doing these - the lady doc this time was not supportive at all...very business like.... I had the tail end of vertigo and she only softened when I threw up in her bin!

Barinbox - You can get your doctor to sign off permantly - so you do not have to get sick notes xx

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Re: Claiming ESA for Migraine?

Post by h.tomlinson on Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:08 am

Just logged on for advise on claiming ESA as I am back on sick notes. I was sent for an assessment last nov which ending in sick pay withdrawn. I didn't appeal at the the cis I thougt I would have to go back to work for the money. Tried that couldn't cope so back on sick. I have just received my new assessment appointment reading the links doesn't give me much hope for success! This time round I won't under play the pain etc. will let you know what happens!
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