Support and Benefits
Three in 10 working-age stroke survivors have lost their job
Some 100,000 strokes occur every year in the UK, leading to 38,000 deaths, and are a leading cause of death and disability
Three in 10 working-age stroke survivors have lost their job as a result of having a stroke, a new poll suggests.
The Stroke Association said that the physical and emotional impact of having a stroke can be “severe” as it released the results of a poll of stroke survivors.
Some 100,000 strokes occur every year in the UK, leading to 38,000 deaths, and are a leading cause of death and disability, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
Strokes, which occur when the blood flow to part of the brain is cut off, are a medical emergency and even short delays to treatment can be deadly or leave patients with life-altering disabilities.
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30% of those under the age of 60 who survived a stroke said it directly led to them losing their job.
6% of under-60s said it led to them losing their home.
23% of stroke survivors under the age of 60 said their stroke had a negative impact on their relationship with their partner and 20% said they lost friends as a result.
60% of stroke survivors under the age of 50 said they never emotionally recovered from the impact of having a stroke, compared with 44% over the age of 50.
Half of all stroke survivors surveyed said they have not physically recovered from their stroke.
The charity released the results of the poll as it called for people to donate funds to give stroke survivors “hope” after a stroke.
It said that 76 per cent of stroke survivors said that hope played an important role in recovery.
The Stroke Association is trying to raise funds for its specialist services including a helpline, peer support service, support groups and support co-ordinators.
Juliet Bouverie, chief executive of the Stroke Association, said: “Every five minutes, someone in the UK will have a stroke and in a flash, their life is changed.
“Two thirds of people who survive a stroke find themselves living with a disability.
“The physical impact of a stroke is severe, but for many, the emotional aspects of coming to terms with having a stroke are just as significant.
“Finding hope is a crucial part of the recovery process. Without it, recovery can seem impossible.
“At the Stroke Association, we support and help people to find this hope, and rebuild their lives, but with 1.3 million people in the UK now living with the effects of a stroke, our services have never been more stretched.
How to get back to work after a stroke
Going back to work after a stroke can be a big change.
Whether you are returning to your current job or finding a new role, support is available to help make the transition easier. At APM, we help people like you get back to work with confidence.
A stroke happens when there is not enough blood supply to the brain. This may be caused by a blocked or burst artery. Blood carries oxygen and important nutrients to the brain, so when the blood supply is cut off, brain cells begin to die.
Strokes affect everyone differently. People may experience a wide range of effects depending on what area of the brain is damaged and other health factors.
The effects of a stroke may include:
- Difficulty with speech and language comprehension
- Memory loss
- Vision loss
- Coordination issues
- Changes to your mood
The effects someone experiences after a stroke may impact their ability to work. With the right support and care, many people return to work after a stroke, though not always in the same capacity.
After a stroke, it is natural to feel apprehensive about returning to work, especially if your ability level has changed.
If you are worried about losing your job after a stroke, APM can help. Speak with us today about our government funded support services.
In this guide you will find information about:
- Returning to your current job
- Finding new job opportunities / changing careers
- Managing in the workplace after a stroke
- Where to find help if you need it
- Will I be able to get back to work?
Will I be able to get back to work?
Many people do return to work after having a stroke. With the right care and support, you may be able to start working again.
A person’s ability to return to work will depend on the effects the stroke had on them and the progress of their recovery. Some people make a full recovery after a stroke and others live with permanent side effects.
The effects of a stroke are different for everyone. Stroke survivors may experience weakness, fatigue, difficulty with balance, language difficulties, vision loss, mobility issues or problems with memory.
Working with an occupational therapist can help you understand your limitations and the possibility of recovery.
It’s important to set realistic goals around returning to work. Some people may be able to return to their current job while others may need to reassess their career.
Your employer may be eligible for funding from the government for workplace adjustments to help you perform your job well. Workplace adjustments can help you feel more confident about returning to work after a stroke.
Can I return to my current job?
Some people are able to return to their previous job after having a stroke. This depends on the nature of the job, the person’s level of recovery and how much support the employer can offer.
If you can no longer perform essential job tasks of your previous role, you may be able to return to the same workplace in a different or modified role.
Many employers want to support their employees in returning to work but they may need professional advice about how they can do so.
At APM, we can work with you and your employer to find solutions to help you feel confident about returning to work.
The recovery period for a stroke can be quite long and it’s important to return to work in your own time. Your occupational therapist may suggest phasing your duties back in slowly or returning to your job in a part time capacity at first.
For some people, the effects of a stroke may directly impact their ability to perform their previous job. For example, if you previously worked as a taxi driver and the stroke has impacted your ability to drive safely, you may need to seek support about changing careers.
How to get a new job after a stroke
It can feel discouraging if you are unable to return to your previous job or have experienced losing a job after a stroke.
At APM, we have helped many stroke survivors find new roles where they feel fulfilled and empowered.
Talking with one of our employment consultants can help you understand your options, including possibilities you may not have considered.
Some people find work in the same industry they previously worked in. The skills and knowledge they learned in their previous roles can be transferred to their new role.
Other people see their stroke as a chance to re-evaluate their career direction and life goals. You may already have the skills and experience to apply for certain roles. Others roles may require you to undergo training to become qualified.
Looking for suitable job opportunities can be a long process. If you are having trouble finding a job after a stroke, APM is here for you. We can help with:
- Writing resumes, cover letters and job applications
- Preparing for job interviews
- Accessing mental health support
- Accessing funding for any required workplace modifications
- Short and long term workplace support in your new job
- Assistance with transport costs and personal protective wear required for your job
Good jobs for stroke survivors
When thinking about what types of jobs might be right for you, think about your interests, skills and abilities.
You may wish to speak to an occupational therapist about how the stroke has affected your ability to perform certain tasks. It’s important to be realistic about what you can do and set achievable goals that you can work towards.
With the right support, people who have had a stroke can work in a range of job roles and workplaces. At APM, we have helped many stroke survivors find meaningful long term employment.
Take Tansy for example. After experiencing a stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain, Tansy has restricted use of her right eye, arm and leg. When Tansy came to APM, she was struggling to find long term employment.
Her APM employment consultant helped her find her dream job working in a primary school library where she is valued by the staff and students. Now Tansy is studying to become a teacher with the support of her employer and APM.
Managing in the workplace after a stroke
When you return to work after a stroke, you may encounter challenges. It’s important to monitor how you are going and reach out for help if you need it.
Regaining confidence in the workplace can take time. At APM, we can work closely with you and your employer to make sure you have the support you need to feel confident about doing your job.
This may include workplace adjustments such as:
- Limiting certain movements or tasks that are out of your range
- Reducing the amount of meetings / phone calls etc relative to your speaking ability
- Days off for appointments
- Flexible start/end times so you can avoid peak hour traffic if transport is an issue
- Regular breaks to cope with fatigue
- Special equipment such as keyboards designed to be used with one hand or speech recognition software
- Mobility aids
- Working from home
Support is available
If you are worried about losing your job after a stroke or need help looking for a new role, APM is here for you.
We can support you every step of the way, whether you are hoping to return to your previous job or are wondering how to get a new job after a stroke.
Did you know that you could be eligible for Disability Employment Services or Work Assist?
These government funded programs can help you find a job and feel empowered in the workplace. When you register with APM, a dedicated employment consultant will work closely with you to find solutions that are right for you.
For more information about how we can support you in returning to work, get in touch today.
Who can help me decide the right time?
If you’re unsure about when to return to work you could get help from somebody who has been supporting you during your recovery. They can assist with discussions between you and your employer. You could ask someone like an Occupational Therapist, Psychologist or other key worker. A Disability Employment Adviser (DEA), from the Disability Service Team at your local Job Centre, is another person who can provide advice and support. If support is unavailable, discuss your situation with your employer and GP. Consider taking a family member or friend with you. If you do this, be clear with your supporter about their role. Again, take advice from other stroke survivors wherever possible.
Financial changes after a stroke
Coping with the aftermath of stroke can be tough. You might be faced with financial difficulties if you are off work, or a family member reduces their working hours to be a carer. If you have a disability, you may need to pay more for things like heating, transport and specialist equipment. People tell us that this is a real worry.
Some financial help is available through the benefits system. You may also be able to get help via your employer, local council and other organisations.
You can check what benefits you might be able to get by using an online benefits calculator. These can also tell you about support available if you have been financially affected by coronavirus (Covid-19).
Online benefits calculators to try:
More details about each benefit and how to claim are on the gov.uk website. You can also get individual advice from organisations including Citizen’s Advice, Independent Age and Age UK.
Benefit claims and coronavirus (Covid-19)
Because of Covid-19, many claims and assessments are done online or over the phone. Check the gov.uk website to find out more about the procedures for each benefit.
Help with energy bills and the cost of living
To help with higher costs this year, there are some extra payments and energy bill discounts. This government web page lists the main help available.
Cost of living help
- Cost of Living Payment – To help people on low incomes, payments will be made to households on means-tested benefits including Universal Credit, Pension Credit and Tax Credits.
- Disability Cost of Living Payment – For people claiming disability-related benefits including Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance.
- Pensioner Cost of Living Payment – For people eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment, this payment is made in addition to other cost of living payments with benefits.
Energy costs help
- Energy Bill Discount – Automatic, non-repayable discount on your energy bills for all households in Great Britain from October. This applies in England, Scotland and Wales.
- Winter Fuel Payments – The government runs a scheme to help older people pay their energy bills. A Winter Fuel Payment is tax-free and paid regardless of your income or savings.
- Cold Weather Payments – If you’re not the right age to receive a Winter Fuel Payment, you may be able to receive Cold Weather Payments instead. You will only get these payments if you are receiving certain benefits.
Grants to help with heating costs
Many energy companies have trusts or funds that can help people who are struggling to pay their gas and electricity bills.
Check online for advice on reducing energy bills on the simpleenergyadvice.org.uk website and funding that may be available locally to you on the gov.uk improve energy efficiency page.
Citizens Advice provides information about grants available from energy suppliers to help you pay off energy debts.
Help with one-off expenses
Loans are available from the government to help pay for essential things like furniture, household equipment or hire purchase debts. These Budgeting Loans have to be paid back, but they are interest free, so you only pay back what you borrow.
How do I apply for a Budgeting Loan?
- If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, apply online on the gov.uk budgeting loanspage or contact the Social Fund on 0800 169 0140, Relay UK (if you can’t hear or speak on the phone) 18001 0800 169 0140, Welsh language line 0800 169 0240.
- If you live in Northern Ireland contact your local Jobs and Benefits Office.
Help in a crisis
Some local councils in England offer welfare assistance schemes to help people on a low income. Contact your local council to find out what grants you can apply for.
In Scotland, local councils offer Crisis Grants and Community Care Grants through the Scottish Welfare Fund. Visit the mygov.scot websitefor information about grants.
In Wales the Discretionary Assistance Fund provides grants to people who need help in an emergency or with immediate costs of living. Find out more online at the gov.wales website or call 0800 859 5924.
In Northern Ireland you can sign up for Discretionary Support, which provides grants and interest-free loans for people in a crisis situation. You can apply online at the nidirect.gov.uk website, or call the Finance Support Service on 0800 587 2750 or contact your local Social Security or Jobs and Benefits Office.
There are also grants available from some charities to help with one-off expenses.
- Headway offer an emergency fund of up to £1000 in the immediate aftermath of a brain injury.
- Independence at Homeprovides grants to people of all ages who have a physical or learning disability or long-term illness and who are in financial need.
Phone: 0208 427 7929
- National Benevolent Charity provide grants that can help with utility costs.
- The Tavistock Trust for Aphasiaoffer grants for people with aphasia for up to £1000.
Useful websites for grant information
- Sense offer information on grants for disabled people.
- Grants Onlineoffer information about many of the Cost of Living Grants available.
- Turn2us has a grants search available.
- Lightening Reach is a service enabling access to a wide range of financial support.
Universal Credit (UC)
Universal Credit (UC) is the main benefit for working-age people. UC is now in place for most new benefit claims across the UK.
The benefits replaced by Universal Credit are: Income Support, income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) income-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. These are now known as ‘legacy benefits’.
How do I claim Universal Credit?
To claim Universal Credit, visit the gov.uk website. All claims are made online. You will need a bank account.
If you don’t have internet access, or you have a problem with your online account, call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644,textphone 0800 328 1344. To make a claim in Welsh call 0800 328 1744.
Benefits if you have an illness or disability
Sick pay from your employer
If you were working before your stroke, your employer may have a company sick pay scheme, which will entitle you to pay while you are off work. How much you get and how long you receive it will depend on the contract you have, so speak to your employer about what you are entitled to.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
If your company does not have a sick pay scheme, you can still get up to £96.35 statutory sick pay (SSP) a week if you are too ill to work. This is paid by your employer in the same way as your normal wages.
Check the gov.uk statutory sick pay page for the latest information on SSP for self-isolating.
New-style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
If you cannot work because of an illness or disability you may be able to claim ESA. You must be under State Pension age and not receiving Statutory Sick Pay. This benefit is now part of Universal Credit for most new applications. If you have paid enough National Insurance contributions, you can claim ‘new style ESA’. It is contribution-based, and is not affected by your partner’s income and savings.
How do I claim ESA?
If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, apply by phone. To claim New Style ESA online visit the gov.uk employment support allowance page. You can also apply by phone using the Universal Credit helpline 0800 328 5644, textphone 0800 328 1344.
If you live in Northern Ireland, you can apply at the ndirect.gov.uk website or call the ESA Centre on 0800 085 6318.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
PIP helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill health or disability. It replaces a benefit called Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
To qualify for PIP you must be aged between 16 and 64. You must have a long-term illness or disability that affects your ability to get around or complete daily activities such as preparing food or managing your medication. You must have been experiencing difficulties for three months and expect them to last for at least another nine months.
How do I claim PIP?
If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, call the PIP claim line on 0800 917 2222 textphone 0800 917 7777.
If you live in Northern Ireland, call the PIP Centre on 0800 012 1573, textphone 0800 587 0937.
Attendance Allowance (AA)
If you have reached state pension age and need help with your personal care because you have a disability, you may be able to claim AA. In most cases, you must have needed help for at least six months before you can receive AA.
How do I claim AA?
If you live in England, Scotland or Wales call the AA Helpline on 0800 731 0122, textphone 0800 731 0317.
If you live in Northern Ireland call the Disability and Carers’ Service on 0800 587 0912, textphone 0800 012 1574.
Council Tax Reduction (England, Scotland and Wales)
If your income is low, you live alone, or you are claiming benefits you may be able to get a Council Tax Reduction (sometimes called Council Tax Support). This has replaced Council Tax Benefit.
Go to the gov.uk council tax discount for disabled people page for more information.
How do I apply for a Council Tax Reduction?
- Contact your local council.
- In Northern Ireland, home owners can apply for Rate Relief, and people on Universal Credit can apply for Rate Rebate, via the nidirect.gov.uk website.
There is a cap on the total amount of benefits that people can receive. To work out whether your benefits will be reduced because of the cap, visit the gov.uk benefit cap calculator here.
What if I am not happy with a decision about my benefit?
If your claim is rejected, or you think you are getting the wrong amount, you can appeal against the decision.
Visit the gov.uk appeals page for information on the appeals process. Appealing against a benefits decision can be a complex process so it is a good idea to get expert advice.
Loans and grants for home adaptations
Disabled Facilities Grants (England, Northern Ireland and Wales)
If you have a disability and need to make changes to your home so that you can continue to live there (such as installing a stairlift or a downstairs bathroom, for example) you may be able to get a grant from your local council to help you.
These grants are only available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
If you live in Scotland, ask your local Social Services department if there are any grants you may be able to apply for.
How do I apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant?
- If you live in England or Wales contact your local council or social worker if you have one.
- If you live in Northern Ireland, contact your local Health and Social Services Trust. You can also speak to your GP or social worker.
Help with health costs
NHS Low Income Scheme
In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland prescriptions are free for everyone. In England they are free for certain people, including those over 60 and under 16.
If you are on a low income you could get help with health costs such as prescriptions, dental care, fares to appointments, eye tests and glasses. For more information go to NHS Low Income Scheme page.
How do I apply for the NHS Low Income Scheme?
- Fill in form HC1 and return it by post. You can get the form from Jobcentre Plus office, hospital or GP surgery. You can order the form online from the nhs.uk help with health costs page.
If you have questions you can call 0300 330 1343.
For more information visit nhsbsa.nhs.uk low income scheme page to apply online.
Prescription prepayment certificates (England only)
If you’re not eligible for the NHS Low Income Scheme, but pay for a lot of prescriptions, a Prescription Prepayment Certificate could still save you money.
Like a season ticket, it covers you for all of your NHS prescriptions within that time.
How do I buy a Prescription Prepayment Certificate (PPC)?
Buy online at the nhsbsa.nhs.uk help with NHS prescription costs page. Some pharmacies are registered to sell PPCs, or you can buy over the phone 0300 330 1341.
- Download Benefits and financial assistance guide (PDF)
Where to get help and information from the Stroke Association
Call us on 0303 3033 100,from a textphone 1800 0303 3033 100
Our Helpline offers information and support for anyone affected by stroke, including family, friends and carers.
Read our information
Call the Helpline to ask for printed copies of our guides.
Other sources of help and information
Provides information for disabled people and their carers on issues such as employment, benefits and entitlements.
Local council Use the postcode search to get contact details for your local council
NI Direct Information on employment, benefits, tax credits and grants and how to claim in Northern Irel