As you may already know, I won a PIP tribunal on the 22nd February, more than a year after my payments were stopped. They reduced the rates I was entitled to and although I feel this is incorrect I won’t challenge it because I want as little to do with the authorities as possible. Prior to this win I was in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance at the reduced rate of £245 per fortnight, because disability premiums were removed along with personal independence payments. My rent alone was £550 a month never mind bills and other expenses.
With PIP renewed I was due a backdate of various premiums. PIP is a passported benefit meaning it enhances any other benefits you might be claiming and unlocks others. Imagine my surprise then (not) when I received a letter from ESA a fortnight after the tribunal informing me I was no longer entitled to it because I failed to attend a work capability assessment on the 21st February. That was the day before the pip tribunal.
Never mind that I had already spoken to someone at the benefits centre informing them I could not attend two assessments in as many days because I struggle to ready myself for these interactions at the best of times. Never mind that they had insisted I attend an assessment a few weeks prior to this and my non attendance was met with a visit from an official who reported back to them that even a home visit was a distressing event, as he personally witnessed. Never mind that my representative had supplied all the paperwork that was made available to the pip tribunal on two separate occasions to two different departments concerned with ESA, who kept insisting communication was slow but now that they had everything, it wouldn’t be a problem.
They still cut me off.
This is a deliberate move to destabilise me. They did it last time I applied for pip, in 2013, told me I was coming in for a pip assessment, used that to deny me ESA (they tell you to relax in pip assessments as they are not assessing your capability to work). Now that I am in receipt of pip, I’m down £245 a fortnight. I’m actually worse off because pip only amounts to approx £300 a month.
I’ve faxed all the paperwork over to my rep along with my statement of entitlement from the pip tribunal. No doubt it will take some weeks to clarify, as it always does.
120,000 dead from this government’s inhumane policies and I could be one of them, were it not for the exceptional support I get.