ESA

DWP death squad strikes again

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.

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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.

 

 

 

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So over the DWP

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It has been almost a full year since my personal independence payments were stopped on the 27th January, a whole year sat around waiting on a tribunal and I still haven’t heard anything. A whole 550 pounds taken off my budget, impacting my recovery in ways that have only become apparent this many months on. I was awarded the higher level, based on my conditions and medical reports. My spine is fusing at L5/S1 following two surgeries to remove a prolapsed disc that had caused marked damage to the nerves in my left foot, leg and buttock. The second op was an emergency and doctors were amazed to discover I wasn’t incontinent considering the position of the disc. A stroke of luck. Adhesions following the surgeries have left me with chronic pain in my lower back and surrounding areas. I also suffer from complex post traumatic stress disorder. Commonly affecting prisoners of war, this condition was inflicted on me. PTSD happens when a life threatening event causes trauma that is still evident more than a month later. Complex PTSD arises when your life has been threatened multiple times. I am due to see a rheumatologist, to find out whether I have lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that seems to affect groups affected by white supremacist imperialism, funnily enough.

Of course I would rather have a life filled with new experiences. I would have liked to do a bungee jump. I would have loved to travel the world a bit more, gone to more music festivals, and taken that foodie holiday I used to dream about. A tour of all the foodie heavens; Italy, France, Spain.. I also wanted to go on a walking holiday, Camino de Santiago, even as a non believer, because it sounds delightful and you get to meet lots of people along the way, and I love people, despite all their bullshit. I would have liked to take in the world’s ruins and visited Frida Kahlo’s Blue House. I would eventually settle far away from the rainy fascist island I was birthed on, once I’d got my bearings in the world.

Life dealt me another hand. One full of pain and suffering, of unfulfilled potential. I don’t like asking for my dues. I don’t appreciate having to reel off my trauma history every time my status is called into question. That’s what doctors are there for surely? To confirm the treatment you have been receiving, to give their expert opinions on the state of your health? I asked for a supporting letter to send to the DWP who were insisting I come in for another ESA assessment, a thing I absolutely could not do. They are aware of my mental health, they’ve been advised numerous times. The admin service said a supporting letter would cost £46, approx 1/3 of the emergency rate they have now placed me on (because I failed to provide a GP’s letter). When I explained my circumstances they sent an identical email reiterating the cost and clarifying that supporting letters are considered ‘private work’ and not available on the NHS.

So this is how they’re going to kill us now is it? Make it impossible to jump through the hoops they expect you to jump in exchange for their meagre offerings?

I’ve stopped talking to everyone. I’ve stopped asking the GP for help, stopped bothering the DWP, don’t see any point in talking to my therapist or advocate. I guess I’m resigned, hurtling towards the inevitable. I’m calm, eerily so. I just haven’t enough fight left in me to tackle the system. I haven’t even told my family, because what good would come of it? Nobody is in a position to carry me. I have survived this long only because of the kindness of friends and even strangers. I don’t really have that access any more. I can’t be bothered to do anything about it either.

The British government has wilfuly caused the deaths of many thousands of sick and disabled British citizens. I have seen firsthand how they’ve implemented this, every step of the way. I have only made it this far because of all the support I receive but even that is insufficient now. I truly have no vision for tomorrow. I don’t see how my circumstances will improve and more to the point, I am done trying. This isn’t a statement of intent, just a heads up that I’m sitting down now and I’m not getting up.