Category: Benefit Cap


Hello again Folks… It’s been a while again I know…

Well where are we now… When last we spoke, J was waiting for his big ops that where going to take him back 100% and hopefully solve the amazing no bendy knee problem… J was due in on the 14th of October 2014… Which was cancelled… To make way for an emergency… He was re scheduled for the end of October… So he dutifully said goodby to us yet again and went up to Oxford to prepair for the surgery, something which took a great deal of courage. It was to be a big surgery to remove his prosthetic knee and bones and replace it with a antibiotic cement prosthetic version for six weeks while they tried to eradicate his bone infection and then a second op to replace it all… Which would hopefully not only get rid of the infection but also get the very expensive but non bendy knee bending…

He arrived the day before and went through all the pre op assessments and tests that they couldn’t do before hand, because we live so far from the hospital, prepared as best he could, had his last meal so to speak and tried to get some rest before the big day…

Day of the op came round I was doing everything I could not to freak out down here so far away and trying to focus on work, yes it was a work day for me… Only to receive a text from J saying the Dr wants some more tests done before he does the surgery… Fair enough I though he needs the most up to date information…
Two hours later I finish work, not knowing if J was in surgery or not and drive to my mums to pick her up before going home because, well honestly I really didn’t want to be alone while my partner underwent such serious surgery so far away… J phoned when I got home…

His surgery had been canceled less than an hour before he went in… His orthopaedic surgeon and plastic surgeon had just been to visit him and had explained that they didn’t think the surgery was worth the risk of further infection and potential further loss of mobility. They where worried that he was potentially infection free and thought that further surgery may give him another infection, that might get out of control. That unless they where sure he still had the infection or had some other reason to go in they where not prepared to put him at risk for possibly little improvement in his mobility. The high risk of another bone infection, that are notoriously difficult to get under control and cure, out weighed the other potential benefits….
Could they not have decided that 8 months ago before we lived off his redundancy money because it was pointless him getting a job?…

So he was coming home… Grrr and phew all in the same breath…

His doctors decided to take him off the two different antibiotics he had been on for eighteen months and wait and see if the bone infection re surfaced… His GP is testing him regularly and he has had a slight increase in his infection markers but we won’t know for some time if it’s significant…

So J came home relived he hadn’t had to go through more extremely painful surgery but frustrated that he would be more significantly disabled than expected for the rest of his life. However grateful that as a cancer patient in remission… thankfully still no new tumours have been detected… Touch wood… He still has a life to lead.

So now has begun the next journey for J, which is the journey back to work, and although his leg doesn’t bend and is still very swollen and painful he feels he can’t put his life on hold any longer, he needs to get a job… The ESA 365day rule dictates that we can’t afford not to… But what job, doing what? His previous experience had made him realise that most employers are not interested in employing someone with his health history or his disability, despite what the government says, he has come to dread that moment when in the job application process he has to disclose what he has been through knowing that far from thinking how tough and amazing he is to have survived all he’s been through, they will just see him as an employment risk and reject his application before he even gets a chance to talk to them…

So I suggested he went to see our local JCP disabilities specialist a lovely lady who I have had help from in the past, we made an appointment for later in November… In the mean time J found a job he was convinced he could do, cleaning in a local supermarket p/t… That was soul destroying for both him and me as I had to make him realise he couldn’t do manual work on his feet any more. All the jobs he has had in his life have been on his feet physical work. With the help of our physio, the lady who realised J had something more than a knee strain in the beginning, we managed to get him to realise he couldn’t be on his feet working like he had been in his previous job even part time, because of the strain it would put on his already not very well leg. But he also can’t do a sit down job because his leg loses feeling after sitting in a chair with out his leg up after only a short while… And like J said in a fit of frustration one day…

BUT WHAT F***ING JOB CAN I GET WHERE I CAN HAVE MY LEG UP ALL DAY… FFS…

I didn’t know but said lets wait to see ŵhat the JCP have to say…

I understand his frustration and I know it’s not all about his leg or his job but it’s also about suddenly being dependant… And being dependant on the person that you used to be the carer off, and who used to be dependant on you… must be very hard… I know it is for me…

The ESA 365 day rule is trapping people in to financial dependency on their partners leaving them with no financial independence from people that they may have difficult or abusive relationships with. This rule that states that a person on NI contrabution based ESA, can only receive Employment and Support Allowance for ill health for 365days regardless of how many years they have paid in to the pot. Must after this time be assess for income related ESA a fact they won’t tell you about… your money just stops, you have to request a reassessment for income based. Will only be awarded Income related ESA if the family income is below £7,000 a year. £7,000 a year for two people and in our case three people to live on… My working tax credit takes us over the top of that thresh hold despite my business making zero income for another year. But only just. Because of the tax credits we also do not qualify for school meals for our son and lots of other little bits and bobs that can make the difference. We are left three people living off the wage from a few hrs teaching and our tax credit…
Robbing Peter to pay Paul is becoming a way of life except Peter has no money either😊…

So the appointment for the JCP specialist rolls round, and she is as lovely as ever and tells J about a re training scheme he can do which he may be able to do from home but would most likely be a thirteen week residential course up in Plymouth as there are no centres closer to us that are doing the courses… We have many colleges and a university in Cornwall… Go figure… Or he can go on to work choice who will be able to help him look for work or go self employed or both… But agrees finding a job he can do will be tough…
We come home not much uplifted it has to be said… Me trying to be positive says well think about it at the very least we can go up to Plymouth to see what’s on offer… We’ve made it through the last few years what’s thirteen weeks… J just looks on with a face like thunder not at all impressed…

So at this point I decided I need to look for more work, obviously it needs to be something I can manage with the Fibro and ME, nothing to physical, to emotionally draining or requiring to much brain use as the effect on my cognitive skills that thinking has is huge… (No giggling) So I start looking… And I find a p/t job working for the SU at the local Uni, working to ensure the students get all they are entitled to… I think mmmm might be possible… But it turns out that the hours clash with my teaching so I don’t go for it in the end…
A few weeks later via another campaign I’ve become involved in saving the contemporary Crafts Course at Fal Uni… #saveourcrafts @saveourcrafts. I hear about another job vacancy one that involves teaching ceramics to adults and kids and folks with disabilities, that seems right up my street. It’s a bit far to drive being in StIves but I think we’ll I won’t know if I don’t try, so I decide what the hell I’m gonna try I’m not the best thrower, I’ve not thrown on the wheel for years but I know how to teach it… But I decide to run it past my boss first, I can’t afford to lose the little job I have. As it so happens I had an appraisal scheduled for the following week, so I get to the end of my appraisal which was glowing by the way… 😊 Lol… And I ask her if the college would mind me having a second although technically third job and she says no not at all but I must add that staffing levels at the college are like the Mary Celeste and if you want more hrs you can have them… So I said yes… Obviously needing to build up slowly but yes…
We went on to talk about other things including J… I had to disclose J’s cancer way back in 2011 when he fist got ill because it might have effected my ability to work. Caring for cancer patients being what it is…
We talked about his op that never was and his employment problems and she suggested he come to work for the college basically doing what I do… He’s got the same degree as me, he has experience as a carer and a non medical helper all he would need is a teaching qualification which he could do while teaching, and we don’t care if he teaches from standing up, sitting down or moving about and we already know about his health problems… I was gobsmacked, astonished but very grateful that not everyone sees disability as a problem. She gave me some info to see the college career adviser and told me to get back to her if J was interested…

Needless to say J was interested…
We had an appointment with the careers adviser and apart from J having to wait till next September to start a PGCE its all looking kinda good… He will need to do some voluntary work and shadowing but assuming that all goes ok it’s looking promising…
Except…
And here’s where I need advice he needs to do the PTTLS course first or what ever the equivalent is (it had a name change) Preparing to Teach in Life Long Learning Sector… And that is a thirteen week course that is not funded… It’s going to cost around £600 for him to do it and we are so beyond broke its not funny… How do we fund it? Has anyone got any inside funding knowledge that might help?

So this is where we are… Is there light at the end of this very dark tunnel or am I just seeing things….

Hugs to you all Dxxx
Ps to see the whole story so far select the access to work category and scroll to the bottom…

A few nights ago after six pm, I received an urgent cry for help and advice from a lady I know, who has herself faced major health issues with her son and is disabled herself. When completely out of the blue her brother who is also a vulnerable adult with health problems received a accelerated eviction notice from his landlord stating he had to leave the property the next day.

She desperately needed advice on whether the landlord could do this. Having had issues with private renting, I advised her about his rights re his section 21notice and googled some info on accelerated evictions, as well as who else might be able to advice such as Shelter and her local councils housing department. As well as advising that she spoke to a solicitor first thing in the morning…

This has seriously stressed two vulnerable disabled adults trying to sort this out…

Thankfully they managed to get hold of a solicitor, and their agency agreed he had not been given a section 21 along side not meeting the terms of an accelerated eviction notice so his landlord has to go back to the courts before anything can happen giving them more time to find him a new place…

And what caused all this? Yep you guessed it… the ESA backlog, it had taken so long for his claim to be sorted that his landlord decided he didn’t want him as a tenant even though his benefits had been sorted and his rent paid…

I can only image what would have happened to the vulnerable man if he hadn’t had a loving sister to help him out…

the solicitor who is helping this lady out also deserves a shout out and has been highly recommended by the lady in question as being very supportive and helpful re benefits and the BT as well as other things and works with legal aid is… Laura Webster… http://www.hopkins-solicitors.co.uk 01623 460460

This is what your propaganda and welfare reform fiasco has wort Mr IDS you are beyond saving and you will be judged one day…

#impeachDWP #NowPetition

So say we all… Dxxx

I know ive not been around since london but to be honest ive been wiped out both physically and mentally and unable to really get it together. On top of which my sons been ill just a virus but it takes its toll on sleepless nights… Anyway this piece is Written by Sue Marsh. and Cross posted in the interests of viralness.

I can hardly bear it any more. Day after day after day. Terrible stories of suffering, despair and suicide.

I’m know you don’t believe it. I know what you’re told. “It’s getting better, we’re taking action, we’re improving the process, these people don’t try hard enough, they’re not really sick enough.”

People say I shouldn’t beg. But I’m not proud. If getting down on my knees and begging you would make a difference, I’d do it gladly. I promise you now, you’ll be remembered for this. If you’re sitting at home right now, thinking about your legacy, I promise you it will be this. It will be that you turned away from the pain and suffering before your very eyes. I’ll make sure of it if it takes me 20 years.

It will be that you allowed your Department for Work and Pensions to lie and cheat and mislead whilst people – millions of people – suffered.

I know, I don’t usually click on video links either. But you found time to watch Strictly Come Dancing,you said so at the Downing St charity reception. And we know you loved Fruit Ninja. And you have time to take countless holidays.

So even if you’re convinced I’m wrong, absolutely certain I’m just a trouble making leftie, please, I’ll beg you, I’m not proud, find ten minutes – just ten minutes to watch

This film. 

Work Capability Assessments have been found in law to discriminate against people with mental health conditions. Your government appealed but the appeal was overturned. Not only are you on the wrong side of the argument, you’re on the wrong side of the law.

You have to stop this. You can pause the migration of Incapacity Benefit claimants until the process can be made safe. YOU can do it. Today if you chose to. You could stop this dreadful social crisis unravelling before our eyes.

And I’m begging you. For what it’s worth.

Well, we finally did it! We submitted the petition on Monday 18th at 2pm and here’s the article in the Mirror as proof… keep your eyes peeled for an article in the Independent on line as well… Thank you all so much for helping us to get there, we are forever in your debt… when i get a chance to catch my breath I’ll tell you a bit about the day… D and Jxxx http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/how-iain-duncan-smiths-inaccurate-2809297

As many of you know Jayne Linney & I wrote an open letter to Esther McVey back in April which 866 people signed; we are still awaiting a proper reply hence the following…

Dear Esther McVey MP

Further to your reply to our letter of April 14 2013.

Your response offers no answers to our questions, therefore we reiterate the following:

We ask you revise your statement of April 8 2013 where you claimed “At the moment the vast majority of claimants get the benefit for life without any systematic reassessments and around 50% of decisions are made on the basis of the claim form alone – without any additional corroborating medical evidence…The Personal Independence Payment will include a new face-to-face assessment and regular reviews – something missing in the current system”

We offered multiple examples of evidence which disproved the individual points in your statement; to save you time we recap – the vast majority of claimants get the benefit for life without any systematic reassessments is misleading as there never have been ‘lifetime awards – “In the past, the use of the term “Life Award” proved to be confusing amongst people who received Disability Living Allowance (DLA) It was taken by many to mean that once awarded, benefit could not be taken away. That is, and was never, the case” Source: DWP Central FoI Team 30/3/12

““around 50 per cent of decisions are made on the basis of the claim form alone” the contrary evidence for this is overwhelming but most tellingly on the DWP’s own sitehttps://www.gov.uk/dla-disability-living-allowance-benefit/eligibility;

You also claimed in an interview with the Mail on Sunday that the introduction of PIP “ has produced an extraordinary ‘closing-down sale’ effect, with rocketing claims as people rush to get their hands on unchecked ‘welfare for life”; this is also unfounded as you can view by utilising  the DWP’s own  tabulation tool  http://tabulation-tool.dwp.gov.uk/100pc/dla_ent/ccdate/cnage/a_carate_r_ccdate_c_cnage.html

Given this we believe a more fair and balanced statement including the facts should be simple enough? We request you respond to our individual points as laid out above.

Dxxx

Hi folks we need your help,

Over what’s left of the summer and while we wait for October to roll around and the Work and Pensions Select Committee to give us a date to see them quiz IDS.

We have a project to do.

We need to collect together as many examples of DWP ministers misusing, twisting or completely making up statistics as we can find.  We would like to forward a report on said ministerial behaviour before the committee meet the secretary of state. Giving them a chance to look through it before meeting him… 

 

How can you help

We already have some notable  fellow seekers of the statistical truth on board to help make a report worth reading and we want to be sure we have it all… knowing that we are just two fairly unwell people it makes sense for us, to work together to find what evidence we can, to get this report in on time and covering all the bases.

We would like you to send us anything you get either direct from MPs or on line that you think would be of interest. Be aware we might receive lots of copies of articles from newspapers so if you see us sharing them on line it’s likely we already have them 🙂

If you have anything for us please send it to disabilitywatchuk@gmail.com

Thanks Jayne and Debbie

Such a good article please read… Dxxx

The benefit cap reveals the black centre of IDS’ mind.

via The benefit cap reveals the black centre of IDS’ mind.

Recently the We Are Spartacus Community released the Peoples Review if the WCA (Work Capability Assessment) it contained many harrowing accounts of how genuinely sick and disabled people where being denied ESA ( Employment Support Allowance).  Exposing the ritual humiliation and dehumanising process that is WCA.

Well as if that wasn’t bad enough the same thing has been happening to those applying for DLA (Disability Living Allowance)

Here i put forward another account of the same dehumanising and blatantly ignorant process that is becoming a rival to the WCA and appeal system the DLA application an appeals process… both of which are lengthy exhausting demoralising…

One woman’s story in her own words about her experience of applying for DLA in a letter she wrote to her MP…

Dear Steve Gilbert

I’m writing asking for help for the vulnerable and sick in your area,including my own family.
I worked for 18 years in your constituency but now I am unable to work because of my chronic illnesses. I have Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. These were triggered by the traumatic birth of my daughter ,now 5.It took a long time to get a diagnoses after being fobbed off as being depression for 4 years. After my diagnoses in June 2011 I was told that I needed to get some help. In October 2011 I applied for disability allowance after struggling for a long time without claiming the benefits I was entitled for. I was refused as I expected. I went to appeal in May 2012 at Plymouth Tribunal Centre and was awarded low rate care but I was told by the appeal court that I should get a doctors letter to confirm my deterioration of my conditions as I was now eligible for the mobility element. I did as instructed stating what the appeal court said and enclosed a doctors letter. I was refused again ,as expected, I went to appeal again last Friday at Pydar House Truro.
On Friday I went into my appeal hearing with my husband. As soon as I entered the room in my electric wheelchair one of the panel started tutting. I later found out she was the doctor. To cut a long story short I was treated like an animal. The Doctor kept asking me what exercise I did. I kept explaining that I have chronic fatigue. She kept saying,  “Yes I realise you get tired”. I don’t know what research she has done but Chronic fatigue if far more than tired. It takes me over an hour to dress then I’m so fatigued I need to sleep again. I crawl up our stairs due to the pain of the fibromyalgia. I use a wheelchair while out and crutches or sticks inside. If I didn’t use a wheelchair I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere or care for my family. If I do walk a short distance one day I wouldn’t be able to leave bed for days or weeks following but according to this tribunal that isn’t a detrimental effect to my health. The disability advisor and the doctor kept arguing so the lawyer had to keep intervening. They started interrogating my husband about his disability,he has young onset Parkinson’s. He was only there to support me. They asked personal questions and when I answered honestly they laughed and said  “it cant be that bad”. Well, I’m sorry they thought my answers were funny but it definitely isn’t funny when we have a five year old and a 3 year old we are trying to care for as well as each other. This interrogation went on for an hour and a quarter. By the end of that time I was getting so confused that I was having trouble answering their questions and was getting extremely fatigued. After telling me I should get out of my wheelchair,join a gym and walk everywhere, I was asked to leave while they made a decision. While we waited outside we could hear laughing and talking. I went back in for my decision(my husband couldn’t face going in there again). I was told that I could not get the mobility element because I can walk 100 meters,it didn’t matter what effect this would have on me. This appeal couldn’t have been more different than the Plymouth tribunal where I was treated with dignity and respect.
Yes, I know that some people abuse the benefit system but under the governments own statistics most are not trying to claim DLA/ESA.My husband and my self have always worked since leaving school. My husband was in the Military before then going into nursing. I was a joiner for 18 years. We both do voluntary work alongside youth work in our Local church when our disability’s allow and always have done along side our work. We didn’t choose to become ill. We had our children before our disabilities became apparent. We were bought up to care for those in need and to protect the vulnerable. It looks like this government does not accept those principles. I dint know what you can do,if anything but I need my local representative in the Government to know what’s going on, on your own doorstep. The disabled cannot go on like this. Some have died before they have got to their appeal. Most of us fear brown envelopes dropping onto our door mat. We no longer expect good news,we expect bad. Some cant take anymore rejection and end their own lives or die from the illnesses that the department of work and pensions have said they can actually work with. This is not acceptable in our modern world, what’s next extermination camps for the sick and disabled.
What are you going to do about it?
Yours Sincerely
Mrs CR

There are many thousands more stories just like this one… maybe ill bring you some more…

When will the Government recognise that a process that was designed to weed out fraud has actually become a way to punish the sick and disabled? And what are we punishing them for? you ask,  Well for being sick and disabled of course. Like it’s actually a choice to have your hopes and dreams ripped from you, to never have the career you worked for or the children you long for or to simply be able to have the independence and dignity that others take for granted…

Ignorance is no excuse! This Government needs to learn we have our own power and… We call for change!

So Say We All… Dxxx

If you would like to share your DLA experience feel free to contact me…

It seems that the sick are to be subjected to more conditionality to receive sickness benefit.

The government plan to announce a new 25 million  trial scheme (could they not think of better things to spend that much on?), possibly targeting alcohol and drug addicts. The scheme will force those on sickness benefit to accept treatment or loose their benefit, in a similar way as Job Seekers Allowance conditionality does. It seems a reasonable idea on the surface, but if it gets rolled out country and condition wide where will it stop…

When do you draw the line between refusal of treatment and treatment choice? For example many thousands choose to treat their health with diet or homeopathic medicine, will that be acceptable?

What will happen if you disagree with the diagnosis? Will you have to endure treatment for an illness you dont believe you have in order to get you benefit?

The crux of the matter for me is the freedom to choose, as a person with Fibromyalgia and CFS, I am very anti the idea that my health is caused by my emotional state… (CBT) which by the way is wrathful at the moment… I am not an emotional wreck… in fact I’m pretty stable for a woman who’s partner has recently been diagnosed with cancer… but that’s another story…

I object to the notion that, this government thinks, medical choices for long term addiction and illness is all about the patients refusal of treatment. In thousands if not millions of cases the lack of treatment of a medical condition is about lack of resources, resources continually cut by the very same government. Compounded often by neglectful policy handed down by the government that leads to lack of treatment. For example Fibro is not to be treated by Physio because it cant cure it, no it cant but the physio or body work as its termed in the USA is very effective at limiting the effects of Fibro and making it less debilitating.

Addictions are as much about mental health as they are about the chemicals and damage to the system, so are they going to re fund a sector of our heath service, that they so recently stripped so effectively, Mental Health provision is on the verge of collapse, will they refund it so it can cope with an influx of clients seeking help to conform to their health benefit conditionality? I very much doubt it! They will hire a subsidiary of UNUM the USA’s second most disparaged heath care company or ATOS also equally disparaged, to asses people as well… job done…

Additionally as the NHS get overwhelmed with millions queuing up to full fill their conditionality, the government will have another example of why a privatised health service will be beneficial… not…

Personally I hope this comes back to bite them, I hope all the MS sufferers and Cancer sufferer’s that are being refused drugs because of cost, sue this government for not allowing them to meet their health benefit conditionality by refusing treatment based on COST…

SO SAY WE ALL… Dxxx

 

 

Hi Folks, It’s blogging against Disablism Day! So today I decided to think about…

Holding the Media to Account…

When I think of the thing, that for me, has probably been, one of the most marked changes, in the UK, other than the obvious benefit changes, that have wreaked havoc among the sick and disabled communities, It has been the way in which disabled people have been portrayed by the media.

It is interesting that where once upon a time the media’s attitude towards disabled people, was one of considering us  something that at best, they had a duty to protect and at worst, something to be pitied, has now changed to consider us something to revile…

Week after week we are now subjected to a torrent of abuse, about how we are a drain on society, how every single claimant of sickness and disability benefits, are accused, by simply applying, or being awarded disability benefit ,of cheating, society and the government, elevating the ‘law abiding,’ ‘Tax Payer’, to the point where they seem to think they are better than us… Because disabled people aren’t ‘Tax Payers’ are they?

Not only does this really annoy me and make me mad but it also infringes on our human rights… Branding 3.2 million people as something less than honest, should be sending warning signals all over the world. Not that I doubt, that there are benefit cheats among us, the 0.5% fraud rate of disability benefits prove that there are. But this new hounding of any one that has the temerity to step out side their front door and god forbid have any kind of fun, is going beyond inclusion and smacks of disablism…

But our media are clever, they never actually come out and say it, but use headlines such as 37% of all Incapacity Claimants ‘fit for work’ the inference being that all these people where somehow cheating the system to gain money they had no right to. When in fact the assessment criteria has been changed to exclude people, so consequently people are being excluded.  I wont repeat figures here that I have already given in my previous post but we know that this figure does not include the percentage of successful appeals, which will reduce the ‘fit for work’ figures dramatically…

Alongside this, we have to put up with articles written by such ’eminent’ journalists (ok I was trying to be funny) as Ron Liddle and his now infamous article entitled ‘Pretend disabled really are sick’ which started with the statement My New Year’s resolution for 2012 was to become disabled. Nothing too serious, maybe just a bit of a bad back or one of those newly invented illnesses which make you a bit peaky for decades – fibromyalgia, or M.E.” which as a Fibro sufferer made me really… cross.

And they simply retract any statement or article that gets to hot, like that makes it all better, rather than facing the full extent of the law, for inciting hate against disabled people…

So what do we do about this how do we start to try to stem the tide…

Do we stand like King Canute and shake our fists at the coming waves? Demonstrating our impotence in the face of such an onslaught or do we beat them, at there own game? Of all the Bloggers who blogg about health, disability and sickness their must be a few whose words could reach the masses, we need to grow a literary voice, that goes beyond the internet, we need to create more good journalists from with in our ranks to stand, with journalists like Sonia Poulton, among others,who has been fighting alongside disability campaigners to get the truth about what is happening to the benefits system,out there, with articles like, ‘This  is not wartime Nazi Germany and Cameron’s attacks on the vulnerable and needy must be stopped…http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2102484/This-wartime-Nazi-Germany-Camerons-attacks-vulnerable-needy-stopped.html a comment on Workfare for the sick and disabled. I’m not saying that there aren’t any good disabled or disability writers, just that there aren’t enough…

We need to fight this war on the media front… Because if we can’t convince the public that we are not the scroungers we have been portrayed as, we will never win the war…

But events like today’s Blogg against Disablism proves there is a need, and shows us where some of those writers may be found…. Dxxx

Blogging Against Disablism http://blobolobolob.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/blogging-against-disablism-day-2012.html

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