#Housebound #ESA and Surviving #Coronavirus

I am one of an unknown number of people unable to leave their home for much or all of the time; I live with a number of Chronic conditions all of which mean I function on a High dose of Medication.
This is a person post outlining the problems I, along with doubtless many many others, are facing during the Corvid19 Crisis.
Before I begin I do want to say how very pleased I am to see self employed people and those who’s jobs are at risk, supported £ during this time.
However, I’m also Very Concerned for the number of #Sick & #Disabled people Surviving on #ESA, and maybe #PIP. Firstly lets look at Food & Household Essentials; how the Heck are we supposed to manage the Increase in aforementioned goods AND How are we Even supposed to Access the #Essentials??
The Supermarkets are talking well, with special shopping hours for Vulnerable people but; what use is that to those of us unable to get to these venues?
It has just taken me over half an hour to desperately struggle to unload my delivered shopping from the crates stacked on my doorstep, into my hall, all the while feeling the need to apologise to the delivery driver who stood watching.  I then grappled with the transfer of goods to my kitchen;  and then of course I had to put it away. Usually the drivers bring my goods into the kitchen and help me unload onto the worksurfaces meaning I do not have to bend; and with osteoarthritis of the spine, This is an Amazing help.
All the above took place without me receiving over 50% of my order, including potatoes, bread and mince; all of which were supposedly available last night?! So now I have to go over another week without basics before another delivery slot is available!
Is it too much for supermarkets to consider not only providing shopping Times for #Vulnerable people, to line up their online shopping sites with their stock and Prioritise #Basics for housebound Shoppers?
I am actually fortunate at the minute as my daughter, who is also disabled,  is braving the virus to help me and my 90 year old mum; but not everyone is as lucky.
The second issue is medication & Pain support, I have only recently been forced to wait for a week without one lot of my meds; and the withdrawal was sheer torment. The virus is causing problems with both accessing and delivering essential medication to us housebound folk and I am hearing NO support form the government for this. Further my appointment for steroid injections next week has been cancelled; I do accept this might seem petty to those who do not Exist in Chronic pain but, I assure you it is not. These injections are the ONLY respite I get; once a year,  for a while, I live without the feeling of constantly being stabbed in my neck.
I do get this is not a priority over those who are fighting to survive Coronavirus but they are one of lifelines.
Lastly for today the problem is surviving the issues my Mental Health problems are causing during isolation; like everyone else I’m inundated with often contradictory tales of what we should or should not do to manage the virus. Personally my chronic depression is really playing the ‘what is the point of life’ game; and the problems outlined above, along with the worries of financially coping are causing these thoughts to blow up expedientially.
I am turning to online learning, You Tube, and my lifesaving Kindle for ways to distract both the news and my inner voices.
If anyone is experiencing similar issues to me, and fancies setting up an online campaign about the problems of disabled, housebound people, or wants to sound off Please leave me a comment; a like minded bunch of people online is just what I need right now
Hoping you ALL Stay Safe and As Well as possible xx

From Terror Stricken to Rage – Thanks Theresa May

Imagine for one moment you have been subjected to the most draconian cuts in income, been subject to the most vile rhetoric from those responsible for supporting you and withstood being abused when you leave your home. Further more you have witnessed thousands of yours peers die as a result of these experiences; if you can do this you have a small idea of what my life, along with 13 million or more others disabled people in Tory Britain. And this is a mere snapshot of the ever growing pressures many of us find ourselves going through.

Much of these burdens began whilst a certain Iain Duncan Smith, with his loyal sidekick Esther McVey was in charge of the Dept for Work & Pensions; so imagine Awaking to the fact is BACK caused immediate Panic Attack.

An hour later the terror has settled and I’m now Furious and Disgusted, quite simply this  promotion for #McVile is the Biggest F”*K You @theresa_may could give people; and therefore I urge everyone to use their fear to galvanise them into ensuring 2018 sees the back of the Tories, because #TogetherWeCAN

There is a petition on 38 degrees –  you hopefully will support

To: Prime Minister Theresa May

Sack Esther McVey
https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/sack-esther-mcvey?bucket=&source=twitter-share-button

DEAEP Desperately Needs Your Help:

DEAEP Desperately Needs Your Help: Click to Donate: http://gofund.me/deaepleics?pc=tw_cr_n … …

deaeper

Disability Enabling and Empowerment Project are a group of people who are helping disabled people with the problems that arise from the disgusting treatment from the Ian Duncan Smith and the disgraceful department that he runs.

We give our time to people for nothing but if we are going to carry on helping people then we will need financial help to carry on helping and training people. To date we have funded all admin and travel costs ourselves but our benefits will no longer allow us to do this; to this end we have set up our GoFundMe account.

We have so far successfully won over a dozen cases and helped numerous people with their benefit problems. We have also trained 6 people to be Peer Support workers and are looking to run more courses throughout the UK.

If you can spare even £1.00 this will help us to continue…

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How DEAEP helped Former soldier with ESA Claim

One of the long term cases we are dealing with at  DEAEP  is Burt, he initially came to us for help in January 2014, a deterioration of his health had left him unable to work and in October 2013 he’d claimed ESA. He received an award in January and he’d been placed into WRAG, his range of physical and mental health difficulties were such it was clear he was in the wrong group, therefore  he we supported him submit a mandatory reconsideration (MR) claim to be moved into the Support Group.

In October 2014, Burt received the letter informing him his 365 limit for NI contribution based ESA was ending, so we reapplied for Income based ESA including up to date health information from his specialists demonstrating his further health deterioration.  He was immediately re-awarded and the decision maker had again placed him in WRAG, ergo we resubmitted a MR for inclusion into the Support group.

A fortnight ago Burt received a mandatory Work-focussed interview for today, which we arranged to attend at, and everything was running smoothly until Friday when he received another two letters; one for him to attend a conditionality interview on the following day (Saturday) and the second was the start date for him to begin The Work Programme with A4 on Thursday this week!

Burt immediately phoned the DWP and said he could not possibly get to the JobCentre the next day, but he would be attending today; the call centre operator said this was fine and she believed the letters to be duplicates and to ignore them!

We attended Burt’s interview with him this morning, and after the interviewer explained the reasons for the meeting today, (the changes under Welfare Reform) we entered into a debate as to why Burt was not fit for work. We explained how Burt’s Army induced PTSD and Depression, along with his crushed Spine, Osteoarthritis, Chronic Sciatica and Emphysema; meant he is in constant pain and is fatigued from perpetual Nightmares. Fortunately the personal advisor (PA) we met with was not only willing to listen, she was also suffering from disillusionment with Welfare Reform; she shared with us that before the changes, she as his PA, had the authority to decide which group Burt ought to be in, and in her opinion he should be in the support group. When we asked if there were any approximate  time scales for  MR she said No but the decision makers were still considering our request submitted in January!

She then cancelled  the Conditionality interview and completed the Work Programme Action plan, which was due to be filled at Thursdays appointment, with the statement “customer will respond to or attend all appointments booked by work coach or external advisors“; this allowing either Burt or ourselves the option to advise A4 of non-attendance, until such time the decision makers determine the mandatory reconsideration request.

For me there are Three key points arising from this experience:

The Personal Advisor is the one who communicates directly with the customer, therefore they are best paced to determine which group ESA claimants should be in?

There are far too many  ‘sections’ (14 according to the PA today) in the JobCentre, all dealing with small parts of the ‘customers journey’, and as with Burt, claimants can be called in for each separate part; this causes major difficulties for sick,  disabled and financially vulnerable claimants and obvious confusion for call centre staff. Claimants should have One PA who manages their claims for beginning to end?

Some staff at JobCentre are as sick of the ludicrous outcomes of Welfare Reform as we are, and are trying doing their job; but they’re not medically trained and therefore are not be best paced to make such vital decisions.

If anyone finds themselves in similar situations and would like support please contact us at DEAEP, we’re here to help.

 

 

Reasons for Supporting the TRUTH Campaign – IDS Time to Stop the Lies

Earlier this week Debbie and I started the latest stage in the TRUTH campaign, and launched a petition demanding Kathryn Hudson Parliamentary Commissioner For Standards investigate #IDS for persistently misleading both Parliament and the Public.

There are two primary reasons for our campaign; the ongoing misuse of statistics is not only a breach of the code of conduct #IDS is obliged as a Member of Parliament to abide by, but they result in the dangerous and inappropriate Policies disabled people are suffering from. The raft of Policies forming the Welfare Reform Act have been built on these distorted truths and the consequences are as numerous as the Polices:

The above examples are not the whole picture, particularly when we consider the negative outcomes on our health:

I could go on but I think you get the picture, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation got it right when they said     “our current welfare system doesn’t work“.

If any of the above offends, upsets or concerns you, might I remind you these real life issues are ALL the responsibility of one man Iain Duncan Smith, as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has overall responsibility for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP); I’m not suggesting he personally designed the policies but he DID sign then off, he DOES regularly defend them with Lies, and it is this behaviour we are challenging.

Please SIGN our Petition, SHARE, BLOG, and  TWEET #IDSTimeForTruth about this Campaign

We may have started it but…it belongs to YOU.

 Disabled DYING

We’re DEAEP – Can WE Help YOU??

Disability Enabling & Empowerment Project, DEAEP, is a relatively new company run by disabled people and carers; we enable other disabled people to develop the confidence to regain control of their lives, supporting them through benefit claims and also training others to do the same.

Our Courses are aimed at disabled and chronically ill people, affording them the opportunities to expand their skill base and potentially improve their quality of life through enabling them to make positive steps towards Further Education and, or possible employment.

DEAEP has the capacity to offer not only, training and links to employment but we also aim to employ our successful trainees to act as peer supporters to others and potentially as other trainers.

DEAEP are currently running a Level 3 Peer Support in Action course which consists of 5 core modules aimed at anyone who wishes to train to help others. We also develop bespoke courses for other professionals engaged in working with disabled people and other disadvantaged groups

All the above is available in further detail on our website

DEAEP also run a professional representation service supporting people to complete benefit application forms, PIP/ESA, appeals etc; we will also attend assessments/ formal appointments with disabled or other disadvantaged people who find themselves needing support. DEAEP can support individuals from the start to completions of benefit claims.

If you or your company require any help whether it training or representation please contact us via our website.

DEAEP has the advantage of being the only company that aims solely to empower the disabled community and employs people with personal experience of the difficulties that disabled people face every day.

Here We Go Again – DWP to Repeat the ATOS Disaster ?

I’m sure I’m not alone in being totally unsurprised, albeit sick to my stomach at the latest revelation to be leaked from Tory proposals for Benefits, the drastic cutting of  ESA; it appears that new claimants placed in  WRAG will only receive 50 pence a week more than JSA. This has led me to wonder if this extreme reduction has anything to do with the increase in the number of people claiming out of work sickness or disability benefits?

The fact the cut was ‘leaked’ on the same day, and to the same source as the claim, Maximus will be the company taking over the contract from ATOS, also leaves me unsurprised. I can imagine the key players from DWP and Maximus sitting around the table and plotting this decimation of ESA as a part of the contract. The key aim of Welfare Reform has always been to slash Benefits, irrespective of need, and now seemingly wants to privatise all out of work benefits; therefore given Maximus’ existing  involvement in running the Work Programme, and the new Health and Work programme  this pairing seems a perfect match.

However when John Pring initially suggested, Maximus was the preferred bidder to replace ATOS, he also revealed the company’s “chilling” record of incompetence, discrimination and alleged fraud“. Thinking back to when ATOS was initially awarded the contract for WCAs, there were similar concerns around the unsuitability of ATOS, and we all know the outcome of that appointment.

It appears the DWP have completely failed to learn from the ATOS debacle and is planning to enter into another disastrous contract with a seemingly corrupt company, all for Corporate Greed.  Further the DWP seems to be continuing the rhetoric of  blaming us being ill; refusing to acknowledge their attacks on poorest and most vulnerable people through both the continuing  scapegoating and their discriminatory Policies, are in any way responsible.

The ‘leaking’ of these two announcements today suggest the DWP are maintaining their insidious behaviour, softly ensuring their plans emerge into the public psyche in an attempt to build public support:

‘the poorest people are choosing the higher paying benefit to avoid looking for work, because  they are lazy, the DWP are doing the majority a favour by stopping these idlers take the easy option, and are bringing in a company who will stamp this out’

What can we can fight back against this? Johnny Void suggests we gather the information necessary to take Maximus out of the picture and I agree; but I also believe we need to demonstrate WHY sick and disable people need the extra money to survive, lets collect your stories that demonstrates precisely what we do with the difference between JSA and ESA, because if we don’t – We Will Lose it!