Recently I was contacted by a reader, asking what IIDB is and how can she get it. She said that no one seems to know about it (including her, who is an employment solicitor). Truth be told, I stumbled through the process and was told of it many years ago. There is no clear walk through of how to get it and what to expect in claiming Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB).
Most know my story, but in case this is the first time you have clicked on my website, I am a bit broken. A quick 101, whistle stop. I joined the police back in 2000 and thought I was invincible, that was until 2004 when I took on a bunch of blokes and one of them kicked me in the side of the knee. The result was six months off front line duty, a massive operation and lots and lots of physio.
Going back to see the surgeon so he could release me form under his care, he told me about IIDB. The conversation was odd. He told me to complete the form and submit it. I told him that I did not consider myself disabled and he replied that I needed to do it for my it for my future reference.
He told me was that many rugby players break all sorts of appendages (fingers, arms, ankles you name it). They do not stop playing rugby but they know that their careers are short lived and at some point they will have to hang up their boots. He said that they all submit paperwork for each and every injury and when they retire and can no longer walk up a set of stairs, there is a history of all these injuries and IIDB can see the build up.
What he was telling me was that my knee was fixed temporarily, the part of the conversation about my ACL going to snap at some point, and it being painful was the clincher.
When I got a chance I popped in a form to the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit dept, and thought no more of it. About six months later, I had a letter from IIDB asking me to go in for an assessment. By this time I was back at work, on the front line running around and was once again nicking criminals.
At the assessment I was completely open and honest, telling them where I was and what I was now capable of doing. I even took in my notes and knee scans to show the damage. I was told that I had been assessed at 8%, this meant nothing to me and was told that I was not going to get any form of payment. I thought it was a waste of time.
It would appear that the magic number is 15 and then on a sliding scale as people go up the assessment percentages. I carried on with life, not really caring about my knee or IIDB. I ran a number of road races for my Force (not really competitively, just trying to stay fit) kept doing my riot stuff and kept getting involved in the every day rough and tumble of the job.
Every now and again my knee would remind me it was damaged, mainly in the damp cold conditions but everything was quickly forgotten about. My PTSD triggering incident happened in 2011 and by 2016 my work life was struggling. Then one morning I woke up and my knee was in agony, I could not walk or do anything. I sat on the sofa, my legs shaking in pain. Pain killers were not touching anything, roll on my second knee op and being told my running days and operational commitments were over.
In 2018, after being diagnosed with PTSD and facing medical retirement, the job asked me to contact IIDB to ask for an assessment. Submitting my paper work again, I updated my latest knee problems and added my Mental Health diagnosis to the assessment.
A few months went by and another in person assessment was offered. Attending the appointment alone, and showing all my medical issues, it was hard going over what had happened to me. I broke down several times and the assessment staff were concerned about me leaving the building after being open and honest with them and my mental health.
I had to get on with life (although there were times I thought otherwise) but ultimately I endured through it all. Months later I was told that I had kept my knee 8% assessment but was given a few more points for my PTSD and it had taken me over the 15% barrier, and therefore was entitled to a small payment, that was to be paid into my bank account every 4 weeks.
This was and is not the end of it. I am assessed yearly, sometimes over the phone and sometimes in person. The pain of bringing up the PTSD condition is not nice, and it takes me weeks to get over the repercussions of it but I understand why they have to do it. If it was just for a physical injury, these things are bad enough but to bring up hidden mental health issues, that you have tried hard to manage, then asking the sufferer to relive a debilitating condition, is just wrong. If only there is a better way however I do not know the answer?
For those that wish to submit a claim, you will need to submit a BI100A form to your local assessment centre and go through the procedure. If you do decide to to ask for an assessment, my advice would be to collate and keep as much information and evidence as you can. Doctors/Hospital reports, X-rays, scans, diaries, prescriptions and even asking surgeons or medical staff for support in writing a letter/referral explaining the condition. If and when you are asked to attend an assessment, put in in a folder and make sure you separate and explain each section.
Top Tip – if you have a number of incidents that all relate to the same injury, make sure that you concentrate on just the ‘main’ trigger, focused on the date and time of this one. Everything if there are more that follow, that compounds the same/original injury, these are not to be treated as separate, best to think of them as an extended injury, of the original. List them all, dates and outcome in the ‘one’ injury.
Final bit of advice. As always, be kind to yourself. Make sure you take the time you need. Prepare everything and take someone with you to the assessment. They may have to wait outside the room, but at least you have someone to lean on as you leave the building. If you need help make sure you ask for it, life is for living.