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Rain
15-02-11, 11:44
I have very extreme social anxiety and agoraphobia.

To give some examples of how bad it is- I haven't been into a shop in six years. The last person I spoke to face to face except my partner was 6 months ago. Taking my dogs into the garden for a pee several times a day causes me enormous anxiety. Just being in the garden alone makes me hyperventilate and if a car or person goes by I totally panic and drag
the dog indoors. I feel total relief once I have taken them out, knowing I can relax for a couple of hours before I have
to face the garden again.

I have had psychotherapy, CBT and hypnotherapy in the past. The CBT was free but I had to pay for the other two treatments. I made some headway but went backwards again after the treatment. I cannot afford any more private treatment and it has been years since I had any. I also had a complete mental breakdown in 2003 and was hospitalised. Since then I have had to take anti-psychotics daily. I have been completely well on that front for the last 8 years.

I live a very sheltered existance. I guess you could say I am a hermit. My partner takes care of buying food and collects my meds for me. I need glasses for distance but can't force myself to go to the opticians. I did force myself to go to the dentist 3 times last year and I went to the doctors about a year ago too. I couldn't manage to sit in the waiting room. My partner waited in there and called me from the car when it was my turn.

My doctor asked if I was on any benefits and when I said I wasn't he said I should apply for disability benefit. (The CBT lady I had in 2005 told me I should apply too.) I admitted that what stops me is the fear of going to the benefit office which I imagine will be crowded and he said he would be happy to give me a vallium tablet for the day, so I could get there.

We live solely on my partner's wage. Because of the recession it is getting harder and harder to manage and I feel I ought to try to apply for benefits. Just thinking about being quizzed in a public place makes my stomach churn and my legs go week. I really fear being judged. I am scared they won't believe me and scared I will have to go through all sorts
of psychiactric evaluations, each involving another trip to a busy place. But I really feel I ought to try to help us finacially. Things have been so bad we had our electricity cut off for 3 days a few months back.

I was wondering if any of you have applied for benefits on the basis of social anxiety and agoraphobia and what the evaluations were like. Do you have to be continuously assessed in the future or is it a one off thing? Can anybody give me any advice? I am scared to start this ball rolling because I know how terrified I get when I have an appointment anywhere. Any encouragement would be very much appreciated.

nomorepanic
15-02-11, 12:08
Hi Rain

I just wanted to do a quick reply though I am not the best person to advise on this.

They changed all the benefits at the end of last year and I would have previously been classed as having a disability with the Crohn's and the heart attack but I am now not as I am able to get up, wash myself, get dressed and prepare a meal.

They said cos I can do basic things like that I won't get any benefits for those illnesses.

Hopefully someone will post you some more info about it all but just be aware they are really clamping down on things.

Not sure if this is the same in Ireland though

Rain
15-02-11, 12:26
Thanks for replying Nic.
I am shocked to hear that you are not entitled to benefits with your conditions.
I am certainly able to rise,wash, dress and prepare a meal.
The thing is, it would be pointless for me to apply for any kind of job-seeker's allowance (I am not well versed on the actual names of all these benefits) as I know I am nowhere near able to go out and work.
I wonder what a person like me is meant to do for income, being not at all physically disabled but mentally virtually unable to leave the house.
I don't know if the benefit system is different over here. I guess I just thought as two health workers had suggested it to me I might be eligible.
However, I do know there are big budget cuts going on in every walk of life.

diane07
15-02-11, 12:31
Rain,

Why don't you give the Benefits Office a call and explain your situation, they should be able to tell you if you are eligible or not.

di xx

Rain
15-02-11, 12:33
That makes sense, Diane. Thanks

diane07
15-02-11, 12:59
I am sure in certain circumstances Rain that they will come to your house if you really feel you can't get there, so if you're eligible ask them about a home visit too.

nomorepanic
15-02-11, 13:07
I am on Job Seekers allowance Rain but you do HAVE to go to the job centre every 2 weeks and you have to be able to work to claim it.

There is something called ESA you may be able to get.

I rang the benefits office and they advised me on what to do when I was made redundant.

Don't forget that any income from your book sales (not sure how that is coming along) will be deducted from any benefit as well.

Good luck with it.

harasgenster
15-02-11, 13:30
Hi
Yes, the incapacity benefits have become much harder to obtain. My Mam finds it difficult to go upstairs and got NO points in her assessment (partly because she was able to sit up for the duration of the 30 minute appointment!)

But don't let this scare you. A recent report about severe mental health difficulties and conditions that may not be picked up at assessment has been heeded by the gov (as far as I read very quickly the other day!) so they may become more lenient in time.

Good luck, I hope everything works out well for you :)

leeroy
15-02-11, 13:43
Rain,

Why don't you give the Benefits Office a call and explain your situation, they should be able to tell you if you are eligible or not.

di xx

HI Rain

I agree with Diane

you sound like a genuine candidate for benefits

I have a friend who recieves benefits for various mental conditions, yet lives a very full life.... in fact it annoys me a great deal, he gets help with all sorts of things yet does so much, he was even recieving income support as he was deemed unable to work yet has a full and busy social life. Don't get me wrong he does have some issues bi polar amongst others but I think he gets off for too lightly. I suffer far more than him at times, yet hold down a full time job and pay my taxes.... I begrudge them going towards someone like him as he could cope and contribute a lot more to society. But someone like you thoroughly deserves the support of the gov / society even if its just something to help out with the weekly shop / funding for any treatments

I really think you should look into it

ditzygirl
15-02-11, 14:13
Here's what to do : go to your GP and get sick notes and discuss how you are feeling. Then apply for ESA as the others say, it is a total nightmare and mindfield believeme. I have sick notes going back to last september and no money. Last week I got a call saying I would get payment, today I get another letter saying that's not happening.

You do qualify for ESA, but the DWP just have standard answers they are under pressure to keep benefits to a minimum. I, however wrote to MP's and Mr Cameron.

Still not convinced I will get any money but I am going to keep trying.

If anyone is brave enough to help me fight for Anxiety and Depression sufferers then let me know - its time we made people aware of the horrors of this illness.

And Rain I was like you last year, me to a T!!! but I am improving a little so don't give up.

Good luck xxx

PoppyC
15-02-11, 14:23
Hi
You can apply for ESA - it used to be Incap Benefit. You can get it, even if you live with your husband/partner. You don't have to sign on if they think you are unwell enough to. It will also help to get your gp involved with it.
You can also ask for home visits by the DHSS if you cannot get out of the house.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/FinancialSupport/esa/index.htm

Diane's suggestion about contacting Citizen Advice is a good one. They are so helpful.
All the best!

saffy
15-02-11, 14:24
hi rain

i would have thought that you would qualify for disability living allowance or esa.

perhaps you could take the benefits advisory test to see what you might be entitled to.

https://www.dwpe-services.direct.gov.uk/portal/page/portal/ba/lp

take care

b x :hugs:

Jucklebutt
17-02-11, 02:16
Hi all my first post here.

I started claiming ESA last year, I filled in the form online and then they rang me to confirm details. I have no partner or husband so i dont know what benefit you may be entiled too.

Being agoraphobic like you I was unable to go to the medical assessment.
When I received my appointment through from the medical services I phoned and told them that I would not be able to go, and iirc they asked that my doctor fax through a letter, after they had notification of my phobia I was then told that I would be able to have a home visit.
However, it does take a while. My original appointment at the centre was in 2nd week in May and I never got a home visit until about 10 weeks later and that was after I chased them up, apparently because no doctor would have been in the area.
As it turned out the doctor that did visit me had driven just over 60 miles and was here for all of about 10 minutes! hth :)

Jac

amandaj
17-02-11, 10:07
hi rain not sure if it same in ireland ,but because i couldnt go out i did my claims over the phone ,they rang me back and we filled the forms in on the phone maybe worth asking about that when you ring them good luck xx

Rain
17-02-11, 10:10
Thanks everyone for all the useful advice.

tomo777
21-02-11, 01:03
rain im 21 and suffer from anxiety so dont socilase with friends and dont really go out. i havent worked since i left school. my mum sorted all my benefits out for me, but basically i didnt want to even go into the benefits office or anything just like you the thougth made me feel very anxious. i didnt want to even speak on the fone so my mum organised for a lady to do a home visit and do it that way i explained that i basically couldnt leave the house so odviously couldnt work ect...... so basically the lady sorted it all out and i was getting about 180 every 2 weeks from disability living allowance and incapasity, ive been getting that for the last 4 years or so but the only snag is recently they wantede me to go into the offices to have a meeting to asses me if you like, and i refused, so they stopped my money so i dont get anything now. so for me now im trying to sort out a way to get better to even go to the office. vicous circle. hope this helps ul be ok x

london
21-02-11, 01:21
hard to say what to do as your not in the uk but the psychiactric evaluations can be done at your home the forms can be done by post theres always a away
dont give up god bless

london
21-02-11, 01:30
rain im 21 and suffer from anxiety so dont socilase with friends and dont really go out. i havent worked since i left school. my mum sorted all my benefits out for me, but basically i didnt want to even go into the benefits office or anything just like you the thougth made me feel very anxious. i didnt want to even speak on the fone so my mum organised for a lady to do a home visit and do it that way i explained that i basically couldnt leave the house so odviously couldnt work ect...... so basically the lady sorted it all out and i was getting about 180 every 2 weeks from disability living allowance and incapasity, ive been getting that for the last 4 years or so but the only snag is recently they wantede me to go into the offices to have a meeting to asses me if you like, and i refused, so they stopped my money so i dont get anything now. so for me now im trying to sort out a way to get better to even go to the office. vicous circle. hope this helps ul be ok x

what you do now is get a letter from your doctor send it to DWP the people who stopped it your money are a firm the govermet use called atos thay find everyone fit for work but you can win on appeil dont give up
fight them god bless