Employment and Support Allowance: Re-tests axed for chronically ill claimants

Both ‘Official’ and Social Media are buzzing this morning with the above news – at last those of us who are chronically ill will no longer have to perpetually be tested for our ESA. This is very welcome news but…until I know exactly what ‘Chronically Ill’ constitutes, what illnesses and diseases (as reported on the 8.00 am news) make up the list, I will refrain from using 3 hours energy getting excited.

Before anyone accuses me of being negative, I encourage you to think back to the claims we heard under IDS – remember  more claimants are receiving maximum, unconditional disability benefit payments, and  The Government recognise that some people will not be able to work, or prepare for work, because of a disability. Those people will receive unconditional support; just two of many.

So the sooner the we know precisely what “the criteria” is and who the “health professionals” responsible for deciding the content the better. I for one will await the speech of Damien Green on Tuesday pm, with caution

I might be pleasantly surprised??

PIP – Permanently Irritation Persecution?

Recent experience leads me to ask the question what does is PIP – Personal Independence Payment OR Permanently Irritation Persecution?

In February  I wrote about how following the DWP rules resulted in my health deteriorating, since then it has been one thing after another. The report from Capita following this assessment  was dire, therefore it was back into the Mandatory Reconsideration process once again, and duly into the request for Tribunal.

I duly received my date for tribunal on May 26th and whilst preparing myself to attend at 10.00 am that morning I had a call from the court telling me the panel had adjourned the event as they wanted further information from my GP. This stunned me and I was left dealing with the vast amount of adrenalin coursing through my body, but I tried to focus on how this delay might well be a positive thing.

In regular circumstances I should have heard nothing more until the information had been accessed and the new date set; however this is the DWP we’re dealing with. Last Saturday (and I’m becoming convinced all of these letters are posted to arrive at the weekend), I received a letter from Capita stating as a result of my recent application for PIP I needed to arrange an assessment!! Yesterday whilst I was at my mums, my partner phoned the DWP and eventually was told this new assessment had been requested by the tribunal; he also called Capita who arranged for the assessment to be next Monday 13/6/16 .

Today I received a form from the tribunal  requesting my permission for them to contact my GP, so I called them to ask about the assessment request; only to be informed by the court they had not, nor could they, request another assessment!

I immediately phoned the DWP and after repeating the information to told my partner, was informed by this call centre person (Colin) they could not understand why he’d  been told this, and as far as Colin could see a new case (claim) had been opened on 25/5/16 and this was the reason for the assessment?!  After informing Colin of my Capita appointment he agreed to email the case manager for an urgent call back.

This is just another episode in the ongoing saga of my PIP claim; this causes me to question if the competence levels of the DWP are diminishing ever lower or is PIP merely another way for those in Government to further persecute the sickest members of society? What I do know is this seemingly endless torment is seriously screwing me up.

 

#ESA50 and all that

This is MY Story in the words of @wildwalkerwoman; it demonstrates how the destructive and unnecessary #WCA process is designed to drive us off #Benefits regardless of the Damage to us

pawprintsofthesoul

Bring forth what is within you Thomas Gospel

I received my latest ESA50 in the post yesterday. It’s about my seventh or eighth Work Capability Assessment and I know how it will work because the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) do the same thing every time. Here’s how I recorded it’s impact on me last time around:

Forward Planning

#Atos and the Day of Judgment

#Atos: Even when I win, I still feel guilty

Every time, it’s the same. I don’t ‘score’ in their points system. Why? Because the narrative of their system has no room for people like me. I don’t exist so it fails to recognise me ~ nil points. Every single time. And every single time I’ve taken my case to tribunal level, the judicial decision was to exempt me from having to score points. That was when it was possible for someone like me to get to a tribunal ~ the Tories have…

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Request For Evidence – PIP: Mobility Criterion

Please READ and share this vitally important post from https://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/request-for-evidence-pip-mobility-criterion.

 Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson requests that anyone who can walk less then 50 metres and who has lost their PIP, please get in touch with her: Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE –Email: greythompsont@parliament.uk

 

On May 4, there was a debate in the House of Lords about discussions with Disability Rights UK and the Disability Benefits Consortium on identifying a mobility criterion in the Personal Independenc…

Source: Request For Evidence – PIP: Mobility Criterion

Mental Health – Talk or Stay Silent?

Also at http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/jayne-linney/mental-health-talk-or-stay-silent_b_9416632.html

Today Mind have launched their “Take Off The Tape” Campaign which focusses on Anxiety; their website states “Do you talk about what’s most worrying you? Or do you keep your mouth shut about things that make you anxious?… Stop being silenced by your anxiety“.

Whilst as a mental health sufferer and counsellor  I welcome this recognition of the dangers and devastation of living with poor mental health, and can understand how talking openly about their anxieties and concerns might be of some help in some cases. The relief of ‘getting things of your chest’ can help you feel lighter and may for  while,help with the symptoms but faced with a personal trigger and you’re right back where you were, because talking does not help deal with the cause of your mental health.

Mental Health is currently being widely acknowledged, from the media to government  as a real problem, This may have something to do with the growing numbers of people experiencing poor mental health, this rise is being witnessed in children, employees, new mums and the Armed forces, to name just a few of the recognised groups , but whatever the reason, most reports concur the rise is down to  cuts to services and the pressures of the Austerity agenda; even the Governments ‘pledge’ for a revolution in mental health treatment and the accompanying investment in services,  accepts poor Mental Health is to do with poverty.

Living in Poverty from the real fears of not being able to manage financially to the social isolation it causes is extremely stressful, and excessive stress is an established trigger for depression (i). Add to this ill health, another one of the biggest causes of stress , and you regularly have a situation for mental melt down; and we at DEAEP are seeing numerous examples of this. People are coming to us trapped in this viscous cycle of poverty & depression, most of them are experiencing benefit cuts and are being offered no option other surviving with less than they need; and in the most extreme cases or being institutionalised. Is it any wonder these people are finding themselves experiencing extreme pain, exasperation of existing conditions and Mental Health problems?

What I find most disconcerting, is whilst mental health as a health issue, is experiencing the benefits of publicity and recognition;what is less acknowledged is the associated rise in penalisation of those of us with poor mental health. We are at a much higher risk of being detained against our will, with a 9.8% increase, almost Double the figures for 1013/14,  of people being detained under the Mental Health Act; We are more likely to be sanctioned if we claim benefits with a 600% rise over the past four years, and whilst 6,122 of us over the age of 10 committed suicide in 2014, the rates for both women and men outside of  institutions rose.  Given this it seems we’re equally damned if we do admit our vulnerabilities and Talk.

 

 

 

i Makosky, V. P. (1982) ‘Sources of stress: Events or conditions? ‘ In: D. Belle (ed.) Lives in stress: Women and Depression, pp. 35–53. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage

G4S are employing Cognitive Behavioural Therapists to deliver “get to work therapy”

Here we have a Terrifying Tale of #G4 now employing people who “have experience of delivering #CBT”. Note there are NOT seeking to employ Qualified Therapists, so anyone whose read a comic on the topic and tried it on their 3 year old could then be paid to ‘Re-train the Brain of People without a job!! WTF

 

Background Last April, more than 400 psychologists, counsellors and academics signed an open letter condemning the profoundly disturbing psychological implications of the  government’s austerity an…

Source: G4S are employing Cognitive Behavioural Therapists to deliver “get to work therapy”

Sickness worsening? Beware following DWP rules

Before Christmas I attended an emergency interim appointment with my psychotherapist, (I’m still waiting regular appointments 2 years after referral); this was due to my continuous depression and dissociation becoming dangerous, I was constantly fighting thoughts of suicide . Because the S word was used, my therapist was obliged to write to my GP, which then led to my carer being compelled to inform the DWP of a change in my circumstances; what amazed me was, this reported change resulted in me having to complete a new claim!

Why the DWP feel a deterioration in mental health would be helped by having to go through the process of a new claim I’ve no idea? Anyway my carer duly filled in the form, and on page 31, other information, he stated HE was both my full time carer and would be acting as my representative, this was then sent off along with the appropriate report from my therapist.

I received a home visit fairly quickly from a pleasant man, who after numerous requests as to his qualifications, reluctantly admitted he was a paramedic; when it came to him asking me about my mental health he decided it would be a good idea to tell me of his experiences of dealing with people who had taken their own lives. In truth all this did, was inform me where not to carry out my thoughts, and in no way made me feel any more positive; if anything it caused me to focus on my suicide plan even more.

Two weeks ago the dreaded brown envelope arrived with the decision; which along with the usual errors of the decision makers (DM) not reading the information, this unknown DM had in their wisdom, determined, because I am still on the waiting list for regular therapy, my mental health wasn’t too bad!

As if this wasn’t enough to deal with, the same day my daughter phoned and said she had also received a copy of my decision; I went ballistic. The whole reason for Tony, my partner dealing with everything was because I didn’t want my daughter knowing just how ill I was.

As this was a Saturday, I stressed until the Monday morning when Tony rang to request a copy of the assessors report, he also asked why my information had been sent out to another person; the call centre operative checked and apparently a decision maker had decided to change him as my rep and add my daughter instead?!!

A complaint was immediately written and sent off and we’re awaiting the response; so be warned, if you have a change in circumstances be prepared to go through yet another claim and hope your info doesn’t get sent to anyone else.

I’ll update this when the reply arrives.