Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Limited Capability For Work Assessment

One of my friends sent me a couple of links a couple of weeks ago. On these links they go through the criteria you are assessed on in the Medical Assessment. She suggested I go through the websites and work out what points I think I should have scored on the assessment. Since she sent them though I've been too foggy to make any sense of the websites, let alone go through them. This evening I have felt up to going through them. I hope this doesn't mean I'll slip back into fog land tomorrow.

Bare in mind I was scored zero on every criteria. Also bare in mind that M.E. is a fluctuating condition. I have gone through and been as honest with myself as I can. I've made notes regarding how I am at the moment, and added notes regarding how I am at my worst, and how I am when I'm not as bad as I am now. I have found that the least I think I should have been scored is 69 points. The maximum would have been 108 points. To put this in perspective; the minimum you need to pass is 15 points. 

Anyway .. here's my assessment of myself:

1. Mobilising unaided by another person with or without a walking stick, manual wheelchair or other aid if such aid can reasonable be used.

c or d

I use a shooting stick. I had it at the assessment, and it was discussed. I use it for walking to take the pressure from my lower back because I have back problems that cause me a lot of pain.

I am uncertain of how far 100 or 200 metres are. If I walk without the stick I will be in pain very quickly.

2. Standing and sitting

C) Cannot, for the majority of the time remain at a work station for more than an hour before needing to move away in order to avoid significant discomfort or exhaustion.

She asked me how long I use a computer for. I guess they assume that using a computer means at a desk. I can't sit at a desk for more than ten to fifteen minutes, because it is uncomfortable. I cannot explain the sort of discomfort; it's an ME thing. Sort of as if being up right feels wrong. I sit on the settee with my laptop .. I still have to change position every half hour or so to avoid back discomfort though.

3. Reaching

None of the above apply.
a) Cannot raise either arm as if to put something in the top pocket of a coat or jacket.

Recently I went through a phase where I just could not lift my arms at all. I want to get benefits in situ before I get back to that state again, as I simply will not be able to  make applications and stuff in such a state.

4. Picking up and moving or transferring by the use of upper body and arms.

d) None of the above apply.

5. Manual dexterity

Varies between
b) Cannot pick up a £1 coin or equivalent with either hand
d) None of the above apply.

I have phases when it feels like I'm wearing boxing gloves on my hands. It's so clumsy that I just can't hold things. This is not the norm though.

6. Making self understood through speaking, writing, typing or other means normally used; unaided by another person.

Has some difficulty conveying a simple message to strangers.

I am fine at communicating with instant messengers and the likes of Facebook. Putting a letter together will take me a couple of days to make it make sense. I am telephobic, so if you get me on the phone I freeze up. And apparently I am not good at communicting my meaning verbally (according to my counsellor).

7. Understanding communication by both verbal means (such as hearing or lip reading) and non-verbal means (such as reading 16 point print) using any aid if reasonable used; unaided by another person.

None of the above apply.

My vision is fine and my hearing is nearly fine. I struggle sometimes to consciously acknowledge that I am being spoken to, but that's not a sensory issue.

8. Navigation and maintaining safety, using a guide dog or other aid if normally used.

None of the above apply.

All of the available options involve sensory impairment again. And again, it's only because of brainfog that I struggle with this.

9. Absence of loss of control leading to extensive evacuation of the bowel and/or bladder, despite the presence of any aids or adaptations normally used.

none of the above

My back problem can cause incontinence at times, but Tenna lady pretty much sort it out til my osteopath fixes me again.

10. Consciousness during waking moments.

At least once a week, has an involuntary episode of lost or altered consciousness resulting in significantly disrupted awareness or concentration.

Brain fog!
I'm not sure I'd actually want to admit this though in case they took away my driving license.
It's hard to explain brain fog to those not familiar with it themselves. It's like trying to think through soup. Like everything I see or hear has a bit of a delay on it, like it's in queue waiting to be processed. I'm often mistaken for being drunk when I'm fogged; both by friends online and people in real life. Usually it comes on slowly, but sometimes it feels like a switch is flicked in my brain and I go from being fine to fogged. (This is why I'd rather have someone with me all the time).

11. Learning tasks.

c or d
c) Cannot learn anything beyond a moderately complex task, such as the steps involved in operating a washing machine to clean clothes.
d) none of the above apply.

Since I've had CFS I've developed what is very much like a learning difficulty. I normally tell people I'm dyslexic coz it's the easier way to get round it. The reason I'm not sure which to put, is because I *can* learn things, but I have to do them myself .. multiple times .. and even then they won't necessarily stick in my brain. I won't learn by reading, or by someone showing me.

12. Awareness of every day hazards (such as boiling water or sharp objects).

Reduced awareness of every day hazards leads to a significant risk of injury to others or damage to property or possessions, such that they occasionally require supervision to maintain safety.

It's hard to explain this. I've been ill for ten years, so my entire house and life are geared towards me not having such problems.

13. Initiating and completing personal action (which means planning, organisation, problem solving, prioritising or switching tasks).

None of the above apply

Brain fog. I will frequently forget what I am doing, what I was about to do, or what I just did.

14. Coping with change

Cannot cope with minor unplanned change (such as the timing of an appointment on the day it is due to occur), to the extent that overall, day to day life is made significantly more difficult.

I plan my time meticulously so that I can rest before and after any actions. If someone changes the times of anything I'm required to do ... erm .. I'm bollocksed!

15. Getting about

Is unable to get to a specified place with which the claimint is unfamiliar without being accompanied by another person.

When navigating by foot I often forget where I'm going even when going somewhere familiar. If going somewhere unfamiliar I have to repeatedly ask people for directions, and then still go the wrong way.  I generally avoid trying to find new places because of the extra fatigue the stress causes, and the pain walking round in circles causes to my back.

16. Coping with social engagement due to cognitive impairment or mental discorder.

Engagement in social contact with someone unfamiliar to the claimant is precluded for the majority of the time due to difficulty relating to others or significant distress experienced by the individual.

I am assuming that precluded means avoided, or cut short. Ten years with no social life has rendered me terrified of meeting new people. Very high anxiety levels. The fact that I'm forcing myself to do it since my husband left is probably something I shouldn't mention to the DWP.

17. Appropriateness of behaviour with other people, due to cognitive impairment or mental disorder.

Occasionally has uncontrollable episodes of aggressive or disinhibited behaviour that would be unreasonable in any workplace.

Apparently. The way I behave seems natural and normal to me .. I'm never really aware that it makes people uncomfortable until someone tells me :(

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