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Is SAH a negative on the job front?

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I have read quite a few accounts on BTG of peoples return to work following SAH on this site. Seems usually where the employers are large corporations with HR depts that will actually try and take care and offer a nice phased level of activity. But what I'm wondering is whether anyone has any thoughts or experiences of revealing their SAH history to new employers or even just to acquaintances known to be influential in your own particular industry (concern being that word gets around etc)?

Instinct tells me just to keep quiet but on the other hand I think that, depending on the role and the person, there is some mileage in being upfront. It's just one of those things where once said you can't back track.

Do people think SAH is a real negative on the job front?



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I am in the same situation in that if I went back to work it would be a new employer.Not sure this is right but I'm sure I heard somewhere that by law you have to declare your SAH to any employer but its up to you when you disclose it (but I think it has to be before you start working for them) Lynne is your best bet to get proper info on this as I am only 50% sure this is a fact!!


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I would be "outed" as I live in a small town. If I had to change jobs at 52 I would need one that would offer insurance which is hard to find these days if not impossible. If I did not tell anyone about the SAH I would be viewed as dense. But again I look at some of my co workers and their brains work like that daily and they have no excuse other than they are born that way. Living in the USA I do not think I as a woman can switch jobs and get health insurance ever again so I cannot lose the job I have now even though it is slowly breaking me with the noise and fast pace. 1/3 of my paycheck goes to health insurance coverage. I feel as if I am between a rock & a hard place. Maybe 5 months out things will be better later on but it was hard on me prior to my SAH so I don't know. I was wanted part time before I had to get the insurance. My boss is great about it but it takes one crazy morning and I am shot for the day. If I could somehow be content with not working so hard and stand around more I may be ok but it is not my nature. It is also illegal I beleive to ask those questions here on your job applications about chronic health.

I was hired by personality type and being a hard worker by my boss 15 1/2 years ago........ I had been working elsewhere when she offered me a job as her assistant.

Edited by MaryB
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Hey there

I've had two jobs since my SAH (both in Educational establishments as an Administrator) I declared my SAH on both applications. Itsa catch 22 situation - do you state it or do you answer the questions on the form?? i.e. Any serious illnesses in the last three years? My answer would be no, but I did state that I'd had an SAH and that I was fully fit for work - I got the job and according to the Head Teacher, I was by far the best applicant.

Personally, I would declare it - you never know, not saying so could come back and bite you on the bum at some point.

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I would always declare that I'd had the SAH and be honest on a job application form. (I worked in Personnel/HR for a few years) It would be pretty easy for an Employer to dismiss you, if you hadn't been totally honest on the application form and had signed the same, stating that the information you've given is true. However, I would also state that I had been "fixed" or declared fit for work and the likelihood of this happening to me again, is no more than the general population and perhaps even less, as I've been given the all clear with scans. Most Employers wouldn't have a clue what a SAH is, but as Sami says, if you don't declare it, then it could backfire, especially if you need time off for scans etc.

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Oo, my favourite topic!!

(Thanks for the endorsement Gill!)

Whether to disclose your SAH history to a new employer is a personal choice.

Under the Disability Discrimination Act, you do not have to tell a prospective employer about your disability, condition or impairment. However, if you choose not to disclose your condition, your employer cannot make the necessary adaptions to assist you. This could place you under stress and you may not be able to sustain work long term.

It is a matter for the individual as to whether they feel that they could cope with the demands of work without the symptoms of their condition becoming apparent.

I know of a person with a brain injury who has not disclosed his condition to his new work placement, fearing he would not get the job; and as a result he is permanently exhausted. He is unable to engage in social events because all spare energy is needed for work. I haven’t seen him in a while and I do worry about him.

Let’s say a person does not disclose. It could be awkward if the employer subsequently finds out; as it is relevant information that bosses may feel they should have been told at the outset. Not declaring a condition, when in fact you have one, could be considered ‘misleading information’. It is not unrealistic to foresee that this could lead to disciplinary procedures for some.

It is a delicate balancing act, as some employers can be reluctant to recruit a person with a disability/condition. This is the reason why people do not like to disclose their condition. It is true that disabled people are heavily underrepresented in the employment market, so the fear of discrimination is not misplaced.

Some employers however, will be committed to equal opportunities and may wish to recruit a certain percentage of people with disabilities. Look out for the ‘two ticks’ logo, which means that the employer has signed up to the ‘guaranteed interview scheme’. This means that they are committed to offering all disabled applicants an interview if they meet the minimum requirements for the job. ('Disability' is a broad term in an employment sense and includes conditions / impairements.)

Some employers are better than others. The best statistically are larger companies or public sector employers (e.g. local authorities.)

Some people speak positively about the ‘two ticks’ scheme and it has led to employment; others feel it has been a waste of their time. I cannot comment yet, as I have not been through it.

Personally, I cannot hide my brain injury. I react badly if I have no structure to my week and cope badly with spontaneous requests. Crowded venues are very confusing and I do not like loud noise. I become tired without regular breaks and too many tasks at once lead to my reactions becoming slower. At the end of a working day, (voluntary work,) I look visibly shattered and so I am unsure how I would hide this. People certainly notice and comment upon it.

The way I see it, is that I am capable of work – providing the employer makes some adaptions to help me sustain work. The adaptions I need are concenring hours of work and the pace of work. If I do not disclose, I cannot request adaptions. If I have no adaptions, I cannot sustain work.

As I said, the decision to disclose is a personal one and it is my choice to tell prospective employers about my SAH; but choosing the correct working environment undoubtedly helps too.

Here is a link of a factsheet from Headway, titled ‘Returning to work after a brain injury.’


Good luck,


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I've found this thread really interesting. I may in the future be looking for work again so may well need the advice offered on here!

I don't know how I feel about the legal aspects of this but, like Lynne, I would not be able to hide the fact that I have some issues with 'ability' so for me personally it would be pointless not to disclose the information. I'm equally not sure I like the two ticks thing. Does this mean the employer has to at least interview a certain amount of 'disabled' people (even if they have no intention of offering them the job) or does it mean they actively want to encourage these people to work for them? Lin Lin - HELP!!!

Michelle xx

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Hi JellyB.

Returning to work is a massive endevour.

Lynne is right , when she says some employers are committed to equal opportunities and some aren't.

They all say they are, but experience tell us that some just pay lip- service.

Following my event, I re- trained as a teacher.

I was lucky enough to be supported though my training and initial appointment , by a group of people who were damaged in other ways.

I realize that this is just the luck of draw.

Being able to dictate your own hours and set the the perimeters of your working conditions is vital, to the success of your return.

I have played the disability card many times in my present job, not in a negative way, but in a way that highlights the company's positive support of

recoverers of a range of conditions.

Being the resident "Brain injury" man works to my advantage now, and I revel in the role.

Small companies are unlikely to employ you if disclose your history. They cannot afford the risk.

Large corporations, councils and the education system, on the other hand, will accommodate you, in all your damaged glory.

You are not obliged to disclose any of your previous medical history, but it may come to haunt you, when you request special treatment,

related to your condition.

Personally , I would disclose the SAH and trust the HR dept to do the right thing.

There are no comebacks when you have been honest.

I have been amazed how sympathetic everyone has been. I feel the need to soldier- on through illness, because of the fair treatment I have received.

Make no mistake, rebuilding your life is difficult, but the insight gained from your event can lead to great things.

I say all of this in great humility. I know I have been incredibly lucky with all the circumstances of my own recovery and not everyone has had the same


So, is SAH a negative on the job front?

Yes..... and no...... it all depends on you.

All the best.

Bill B.


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Hi there as wrong as this may seem but yes I do think it makes a difference there are alot of people out of work most of which haven't had a sah I feel had I have gone to tescos after my sah I wouldn't have got the job. Not when they have as many as they do applying for the jobs. And this is where I would fail to tell them and the reason for that is companys lie too. They say they don't discriminate but they do, they wouldn't have set me on if it had happened before I got the job. Jess.xxx

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Hello - thanks all for your thoughts and thanks Lynne for the detail. And MaryB - thats painful paying so much in health insurence. Our NHS has its problems but if you are an emergency they will fix you up. Our private system here in UK doesn't deal with emergencies.

Anyway, I'm not sure what conclusion to draw. Sounds like a roll of the dice depending on the people.

I've worked for 3 multi-national corporations each of which had the HR depts you might expect. These are great places to work if you get struck down with illness / injury. But they started going a bit bonkers sometime around the early 2000's. For example outsourcing HR to Hungary which isn't a huge amount of use when you are in UK and you could use a bit of help from occupational therapy. Not that it mattered much really as all the UK jobs soon followed and were off-shored to various countries / cities you've never heard of let alone can pronounce (eg. Székesfehérvár). And so the decline of the west continues....... Remember cheap goods and services now means no jobs soon ....

Next I joined a privately owned company of approx 100 souls. And nothing. No benefits. No sick. Only the absolute bare minimum to comply with UK law. And they did that begrudgingly. If you work for these types of companies its likely to be a struggle after SAH I think because they really don't care about people only money and productivity (even though, strangely they were hopelessly inefficient).

Then I went contracting and thats even trickier. They pay well but of course its all up to you. No nothing there either. They only want a job doing. If you cant do it then they'll get someone else who can. It's just as simple as that.

I think I'm going to conclude that gut feeling might be best when it comes to declaring SAH history.

If you can find work with a great environment then treasure it.


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Hi Michelle, Bill and Jess,

Thank you for your very good contributions to this thread. But to answer Michelle’s post: ‘Two ticks’ or not ‘two ticks’ that is the question!

I know of some people who have been employed for years through the ‘disability route’ and so they talk very positively about it. Others, who have been to one failed interview after the other, feel that the ‘two tick’ scheme has been a waste of their time.

Furthermore, the word ‘guaranteed’ is misleading. I know of some disabled people who didn’t get an interview, despite the ‘two ticks.’ There is a theory, that because hundreds of people are trying for one job at present, let us say, around 50 were disabled; it would be impossible to interview them all if the company only has one day to interview. I think that instead, companies interview a representation of their applicants; so some disabled people do get an interview, while others do not.

The point of the scheme is to help disabled people get a foot in the door, fearing that it may be the natural tendency of employers to dismiss recruiting a person with a disability without giving them a fair chance.

I have no personal experience of it and so I cannot comment; but I am not instinctively put off from trying it. Who knows, after many failed attempts, I may see it differently.

There is another method which can help people with disabilities re-enter employment.

I work as a volunteer with Sure Start, meaning the local health board is my employer. I wish to work for Sure Start one day and I hope that through voluntary work, it will become a greater possibility.

As a volunteer, I qualify to receive internal job applications and I am told a lot of vacancies are advertised internally.

The local Health Board is big enough an organisation to adapt to my condition. When they received my application for volunteering, which disclosed my SAH; I was whisked off to Occupational Health immediately and the conversation was centered on what adaptions to work did I need.

So if I go for an interview with Sure Start, to not disclose my SAH would seem a bit odd. They all know about it anyway.

I think I will try the ‘two tick’ route with Sure Start, but I feel that my voluntary work will be of help too.

It’s a longer route admittedly, but in a way, I need the time to acclimatise to the job gently. I become anxious in new situations, it’s ‘too much information overload;’ so applying for a job and starting it ‘cold’ is not something I feel comfortable with. In a way, I need a length of time volunteering, to get my brain used to new procedures and environments. To apply for a job which is familiar to me, makes the experience less daunting.

This is a highly individual experience however and there is no right or wrong way.


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Thank you Lin Lin for 'clarifying' the two ticks :crazy: It seems to be a gamble.

I am also in touch with an Employment Support Worker who helps people with illness or disability get back into work. I am only thinking about voluntary work and that won't be until later in the year. I am looking at this as a way to work out what I CAN do & adjust to it without outside pressure, pretty much in the same way as you explained that you are doing yourself. I will be looking to do work that I would actually like to do as paid employment if possible in the future & think you are right to say that having experience in the field may take me further than relying on (what appears to be) a slightly dodgy two ticks system.

Thank you for the info.

Michelle x

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Interesting to see other peoples opinions and experiences.

My SAH May 2007, couldn't return to my profession as an Optometrist due to ongoing near vision problems. ( I also have some cognitive probs that I have found ways to cope with.) Didn't see the disability lady at the Jobcentre as soon as I should have but as soon as I did in Dec 2007 she found me a part-time job which suited fairly well. In Oct 2008 we were all made redundant.

Did a 6 week M & S Xmas job but knew I couldn't do it longterm, need to be able to sit a bit when I get a giddy.

I was then writing off for jobs and getting nowhere and in fact I truly believe I wouldn't have been able to do most of them. Needed the Jobseekers though to be able to live!

June 2008 again with the help of the Jobcentre disability lady I had an interview with a small family run firm. I was interviewed as were many other non-medically-affected people and they chose me! As it turned out I had just the experience and skills and knowledge that they wanted. Did my self-esteem no end of good. Suits me down to the ground and I seem to suit them too.

I think employers need to know before they employ you, my boss has made various special arrangements to suit me which in fact help everyone else too.

Good luck to everyone hoping to find something to suit.

Best wishes Anne :-D

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My employer is knows I had an SAH. I still don't think they acknowledge the fact. I honestly feel that I have been put in the corner and will retire soon enough. Out of sight out of mind.

I have taken letters from my GP to work explaining some of the difficulties a person with SAH can have. To date the employer has ignored the comments and said " Glad you can do the duties of a labourer" which wouldnt be too bad if I had applied for a labourers job.

I know I may sound a little bitter. I really don't mean to.

I think a person needs to make a disclosure of limits a SAH stroke puts on you. We need to be our own advocates. I am not dumb, I am not lazy and I don't lie. I an frustrated, sometimes fatigued, and when I say I don't remember I honestly don't remember.

I am a dedicated employee and if you give me a chance I will prove it time and again.

I think if a good HR department knows your capabilities and is willing to apply them everyone will win.

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I emailed the Brain & Spine Foundation for their advice, this is the reply (pertinent to clipping as thats what I had)

Thank you for your e mail at the Brain and Spine Helpline.

If you do not have epilepsy or other problems following the clipping and if you will not use machines in your new work, you are under no obligation to tell your new employer about your previous medical condition. If though have an occupational health department, they may request a medical prior to starting work.

I hope this information is of some assistance to you.

Kind regards,

Eva Favva

Helpline and Information Officer

Brain and Spine Foundation

Helpline Monday to Thursday 9.00am- 2.00pm

Friday 9.00 am-1.00pm

Helpline: 08088081000

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