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I'm disabled but want to start craft business

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  • I'm disabled but want to start craft business

    I hope this is the right place to post this.
    I'm not sure if anyone can help but if I don't ask I won't know.

    I am disabled, I have fibromyalgia and I'm partially deaf, I can't walk far and I need a wheelchair for shopping etc. At 39 years old I was told by my doctor that I will not work in a regular job again. I get Disability Living Allowance(DLA) and my son gets carers allowance for looking after me.

    I'm only 42 now but can't stand not working. I've started a website which I am about to put google adsense on. I also hope to sell some of my crafts, ebooks and craft kits for kids.

    I have checked with housing benefit and I will still get help with my rent until I'm earning enough to cover it.
    I can't find any information on whether I am able to work whilst getting disability living allowance or how much work I can do. I have tried the job centre, they said to phone DLA office but I can't hear on the phone. I have tried citizens advice but have to wait 2 weeks for an appointment.

    Can anyone here help or do you know where else I could go to get advice?

    Thanks for reading,
    My website
    My blog

  • #2
    Not too sure if these will have the answers you need, but good luck in all you do.

    Jan x
    My Blog
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    • #3
      I have no idea myself Maria as I am fortunate enough not to have needed to claim any benefits but plenty of people have and do need too and so I'm 'bumping' this for you. Someone will know I'm sure.
      ~ Rachael
      My etsy Shop Blog


      • #4
        Hi Maria

        I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia about 5 years ago but was one of the lucky ones and have (fingers crossed) made a full recovery. I'm certainly no expert on disability and your situation is clearly very different from mine but your doctor saying you will never work again sounds pretty defeatest and well done you for trying to find a way to work in spite of this!

        There are a few ways to contact the Disability Benefits Helpline:

        If you have a text phone: 08457 22 44 33
        Email: [email protected]
        You can also use the Text Relay service, presumably using their phone line: 08457 123 456. If you don't have a mobile yourself, I'm sure someone will loan you one in this instance.

        I wish you all the best in your business, I started mine when I could no longer work through ill health and so far it's going well (touching the wooden coffee table right now...).
        For craft materials and supplies:

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        • #5
          Hi Jan, Thanks for the link I have looked at the direct gov website but it has a lot of very general information and nothing really specific. Thanks for the good wishes from you and Rachael.

          Hi StickyTiger,
          Thank you For the email address I will Email them I think at least I will have it all in writing then.
          Thanks for the good wishes too, I'm so pleased to hear that you have got better it is good to know it is possible to beat this. So little seems to be known about fibromyalgia that I think the Dr's are just guessing most of the time. They are not even sure what triggered mine, they think it was a stroke but not sure. I'm not sure if they are certain that it is fibromyalgia because they keep sending me for more tests. It was the easy answer though as my Mum has fibromyalgia but she is no where near as bad as I am. I can't actually move some days as the pain is so bad.

          Oh well I would never have slowed down enough to concentrate on my crafts if I hadn't become ill. I loved my full-time job as a cook but I also used to do part-time gardening as well as my crafts, oh and I'm a single parent of 3 kids too.
          Every cloud has a silver lining and I love it that I can now concentrate on my craft business.

          Thanks for the advice so far if anyone else has anything to add please do.

          My website
          My blog


          • #6
            Hi Maria sorry to hear the FM has affected you so badly. I've had it for about 15 years (we think it was glandular fever that triggered mine) but now have it managed most of the time and for the past 5 years I've definitely had more good days than bad, I'm now even off the meds and generally manage it with diet, supplements and listening to my body.

            I started my business up when I had to go part-time in my employed job due to the FM so have never been on benefits so can't talk from personal experience but I was disgusted to hear of the attitude you were faced with at the Job Centre. If I was you I would go back, explain that you are unable to use the phone due to your disability and insist they contact the DLA office for you - you are potentially trying to get yourself off benefits in the longer term and they are putting barriers up for you, play the discrimination card if you need to because I think their attitude stinks.

            I've looked at your website and was very very impressed, so much information on there.

            Good luck
            Last edited by nattynetty; 05-04-2011, 09:02 PM.
            Visit Natty Netty for a huge selection of Iris Folding supplies


            • #7
              there's nothing in the law to say you can't work and get DLA at the same time but it's more the nature of the job and what your DLA is awarded for. here's a very basic example, you can't really get high rate mobility (for having severe mobility restrictions) but also work as a postman who is obviously walking all day long or another example could be getting low rate care for not being able to make a main meal for yourself but have a job as a chef. do you see where i am going? it depends what the DLA is being paid for and what the job entails. hope this makes it a it clearer but def even email your local CAB office for help.


              • #8
                If I was you I would make a complaint about the service you received at the job centre, they are meant to be there to help you. I had a similar situation at my local job centre, the way you are treated if you happen to have the misfortune of being on benefits is disgusting, after all you are trying to improve you situation as it is known that people with long term illness who don't have something to positive to focus on can end up in a depression spiral.

                I have lupus and hypoadrenalism and was treated with disdain in the chemist when I was on income support, due to the hypoadrenalism I qualify for a medical exemption certificate and was treated completely differently, despite going to the same chemist for the same medication, its madness cause I'm still the same person.

                If you email them make sure you keep the automated response and expect it to take them a while to respond. You can work and receive DLA as long as your needs mean you still qualify, they are usually very supportive of people attempting some form of work as long as the work isn't going to be detrimental to your health.

                Check out disabled tax credits too as they are also meant to help people with disabilities get back into work if you qualify. There is the theraputic rules on DWP benefits such as incapacity and income support but often it involves lots of form filling and constantly checking back with the DWP which can be very stressful.


                • #9
                  As far as i know, i am disabled too, and u can work while getting D.L.A, its payed to u so u can get help, because of your disability not because u can't work or get a job......
                  If u working you will still be disabled so you still get the D.L.A....

                  hope that helps.....


                  • #10
                    DLA is not means-tested, and yes you can definitely work while in receipt of it. MY OH works full time and receives DLA. He has MS and some days are worse than others - his boss is understanding, which helps a lot.

                    If you are self-employed, you can work at your own pace and on your own terms. I have frequent migraines (which were much more severe than they are now) and this was a big factor in me leaving my full-time job and becoming self-employed.
                    digital stamps for cardmakers:
                    hand painted personalised plaques, clocks, canvases, etc:


                    • #11
                      Thank you for all your help I really appreciate it.
                      I have looked at the business link website and they have a lot of info about starting a business with a disability. I've emailed them and hoping that I can arrange an appointment to see one of their advisers.
                      I'm also going to pop into my local CAB, they have a drop in centre where you don't need an appointment, and just see if they can give me some advise on the spot. I'm hoping that they will phone DLA on my behalf. I will tell them I am not happy about the job centres attitude as well.
                      I have been given anti-depressants by the doctor not long after I was diagnosed as I got so depressed by being unable to work or contribute to society. I have not needed to take them since I started my website and started planning how to become self employed. I feel useful again and it gives my days structure so I won't give up.

                      I will let you know how I get on as it may be useful information to someone else in my position.

                      All the best
                      My website
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                      • #12
                        Just a quick update.
                        I finally found an email address for the disability employment advisor at my local jobcentre, and they have emailed me back. We are in the process now of arranging an interview so they can make sure I don't lose out on any benefits I'm entitled to during the start-up.
                        As I don't expect to be making much to start with I will need all the help I can get initially.

                        I have been emailing someone from business link and they have been very helpful. They are going to send me some start-up info through the post and book me onto one of their free courses. With the information I have found on their web site I have almost managed to get my business plan written.

                        On the downside my doctor now wants me to have another hearing test as my hearing is getting a lot worse. I have been partially deaf since I was 12 years old so it's just normal to me. However he thinks now that I will be registered as deaf. On the bright side it does mean I will be entitled to a text phone and other equipment to make my life and business easier.

                        I will update again when I have more news.
                        Mods if you would prefer me to start a new post rather than updating an old one please let me know.

                        My website
                        My blog


                        • #13
                          I'm in a very similar position to the OP and can relate to the (often frustrating!!) experience of trying to start a business while relying on benefits.

                          As a family we live on benefits - not through choice but neccessity - we recieve carers allowance, and DLA for our child, who is severely disabled and will require 24/7 care for as long as they are with us.

                          From experience, being part of the benefits system makes it difficult to start a business - they offer lots of advice on returning to the workplace as an employee, and don't aknowledge that not everyone wants to work for someone else - that some people in this position do have the ambition and drive to work for themselves and indeed that some people with a disability or caring responsibilities may actually prefer to work for themselves - I can arrange things around medical appointments, school holidays, sleepless nights!! etc.. much easier than having to go through an employer (who in the past have seen us as 'unreliable' due to our childs needs!!).

                          I was told by the Jobcentre that 'carers don't start businesses - they care' and no help was available for us. All avenues we have tried have ended with the same thing - that we don't 'fit' the typical business starter so no help is available, it's also a worrying thought that by starting a business we may become financially worse off to begin with - something we simply can't afford to be, we also have no savings or equity - so securing funding is also impossible as the banks class us as 'unemployed' yet the government class us as f/t carers!

                          It's a minefield but I'm determined to start something rather than stay as I am..

                          I'd love to know how you get on with this - I have my fingers crossed that it all goes well for you - and if I find out anything that may help I'll let you know!

                          Good Luck!!
                          Last edited by hobbyhooks; 20-06-2011, 08:31 PM. Reason: added info


                          • #14
                            I'm on DLA too, and I work. It's not an income or work-related benefit. The reason I started my business was because I was ill too often to keep down a 'proper' job, and I've got worse since, but working from home with my partner doing the post side of it is fine. Plus it doesn't matter if I have a bad day, or if I can't sleep until five in the morning; I can work at whatever hour I want.

                            Have you got a text phone? If you have, the DLA people should have too. If you haven't, it would be worth contacting whatever passes for a Disability Employment Adviser these days.

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