Securing income: a patient’s testimonial
Claude, a brain cancer patient, now suffers from invisible handicaps; he can no longer practice his profession and suffers a loss of more than 80% of his income. Despite the difficulties, he has managed to assert his social rights. He tells us about his career path and, more specifically, the recognition of his status as a disabled worker (RQTH) and the disability pension he has obtained.
Mr. Claude Forget, you had to go through a lot of trouble to get what you were entitled to. It has not been easy, you say…
In 2011, I was diagnosed with a grade II brain tumour and underwent surgery. A second operation in 2014, followed by one year of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, treated a recurrence.
I suffered a significant loss of income. At the end of my entitlement to unemployment benefit, I only had the Disabled Adults Allowance (AAH) from the family allowance fund (CAF), i.e. around €900 per month. I therefore took steps to have it recognized:
1 – my state of invalidity by the CPAM;
2 – my status as a disabled worker by the Maison Départementale des Personnes Handicapées (MDPH);
3 – the activation of the “Total Temporary Incapacity (TTI)” guarantee of my compulsory loan insurance, for my property loan.
A real obstacle course that lasted nearly fifteen months!
Which organizations did you contact?
The CPAM, the MDPH, the CAF, the insurance company?
It should be noted that the attending physician plays a central role. The medical certificates that he or she will draw up will be crucial to the success of your claims. You should not expect them to tell you what you are entitled to. Decreasing budgets do not encourage them to “advertise”. So I had to go fishing for information to identify my rights and what was at stake:
1 – The invalidity pension 2nd category which can reach 1350 € net per month but which is often lower because the amount depends on the average of the last 10 years of activity and its calculation only takes into account half of this average… My retirement quarters have all been validated with retroactive effect and I benefit from a full pension at the age of 62.
2 – The Recognition of the Quality of Disabled Worker (RQTH) entitles me to :
– a 20-month paid training course in a professional reconversion centre with a diploma;
– an additional half share for income tax;
– a disability card.
3 – The loan insurance that I had taken out when I took out a real estate loan covers all of my loan payments.
What was the most difficult?
Everything is complicated but nothing is insurmountable.
The questionnaires are voluminous, the answers are rarely sufficient, requests for additional information are frequent, and the appraisal process is long (six to eight months for each application). The information is available and often of good quality, but it is scattered over a very large number of sources. It’s a jungle! There is no one-stop shop for patients.
Were there any obstacles?
Of course, but never from people. You have to understand that they have procedures to follow and a hierarchy in place to apply the rules. It is important to respect them, if only for the sake of efficiency. The pathologies of brain tumour patients are sufficiently disabling that their rights are most of the time recognized in the end?
What made you succeed?
First I looked at what I was entitled to and how to get it, and then I took the steps.
My main message is what I call the golden rules:
– Don’t feel guilty about being a welfare recipient. These are rights whose application is requested, no more and no less;
– be stubborn and patient, don’t give up, but don’t get angry and spend the necessary time on it;
– to be highly organized: it is a part-time and sometimes full-time job;
– to solicit your family and friends, but also your medical staff for certificates, for example;
– get help from a social worker. There are some at the hospital, at the MDPH, in the pension funds, at the CPAM, etc…
– have a legal aid contract in case…
It should also be noted that in the event of a refusal to award a contract, an amicable or even contentious appeal is always possible, but it is preferable not to have to reach this point because unfortunately most often the initial decision is confirmed.
Do you have any suggestions to facilitate these procedures?
It takes a long time to change rights. In the short term, the best thing is to be well informed about your personal situation, to prepare your case with the right support and to start the process when the case is well supported.
I am convinced that we can facilitate the process by sharing patient feedback. This is the objective of this testimony.
Beyond the consolidation of the financial situation, the fact of seeing these procedures succeed has a very positive effect on morale. It contributes to improving self-confidence because you feel you are in charge of your own destiny in a period of extreme fragility. This success contributes to preserving the patient’s dignity and thus to reducing the risk of depression.
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