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Thread: Benefits for Social Anxiety and Agoraphobia

  1. #1
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    Feb 2007
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    Benefits for Social Anxiety and Agoraphobia

    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.

  2. #2
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    Re: Benefits for Social Anxiety and Agoraphobia

    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
    __________________
    Nicola

    “Don't be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don't have to live forever, you just have to live.” - Natalie Babbitt

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  3. #3
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    Feb 2007
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    Re: Benefits for Social Anxiety and Agoraphobia

    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.

  4. #4
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    Apr 2008
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    Re: Benefits for Social Anxiety and Agoraphobia

    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

  5. #5
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    Re: Benefits for Social Anxiety and Agoraphobia

    That makes sense, Diane. Thanks

  6. #6
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    Re: Benefits for Social Anxiety and Agoraphobia

    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.

  7. #7
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    Re: Benefits for Social Anxiety and Agoraphobia

    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.
    __________________
    Nicola

    “Don't be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don't have to live forever, you just have to live.” - Natalie Babbitt

    Please help keep NMP running and donate to the running costs: http://www.nomorepanic.co.uk/donate




  8. #8
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    Sep 2009
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    Re: Benefits for Social Anxiety and Agoraphobia

    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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Re: Benefits for Social Anxiety and Agoraphobia

    Quote Originally Posted by diane07 View Post
    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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    597

    Re: Benefits for Social Anxiety and Agoraphobia

    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

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