Life Under the Regime of Three Capital Letters
Life Under The Régime Of Three Capital Letters
DDD – DLA – PIP – ATW
Please bear with me and read to the end, this is to all my brothers and sisters that live with mental health and physical health problems every waking moment of every day.
I am not afraid to say openly I have suffered with depression for many years, mostly associated with my DDD (Degenerative Disc Disease) of the spine which has lead me to now needing help with all aspects of Daily Living. Once a proud individual and a typical bloke that would never ask for directions even when lost, I find I have no privacy now, no dignity left, strangers needing to know the most private of bodily functions, etc. There is only a downward slope for me until this condition claims me through chest infection or the like. I love the phrase they use now, ‘life-limiting’ – fab isn’t it 😉
I have two wonderful daughters and a partner in life who keeps me going and whom I love more than i have words, but it is a double edged sword too, as i hate what I am putting my Angel & Sproglettes through, this isn’t the lives with me they deserve, not what i want for them at all. But with some support I at least could run my own business from home, Foreshore Fossils and felt I could contribute in the form of being a tax payer.
I have had Access to Work (ATW) for 15 years, helping me as i have become unable to do anything for myself, but now I have been told they will not renew my claim as my needs are social care based – NOT WHEN I AM AT WORK THEY’RE NOT! but social care (who fund support for me when at home, supporting my family) wont fund for hours focusing on employment.
In one call to Access to Work (ATW) I was told “you’re too disabled to work” and “your physical needs are too high”, I nearly choked, but they refused to renew the support, so my business is closing and i will have to claim benefits.
But then I get another broadside when I am told that I am moving from DLA (which I get the higher rate for care and mobility). I filled in the form with my wife, and submitted reports from, various consultants, GPs, OTs, Social Workers, I think 8 or 9 detail reports about both the physical and mental health problems i have. We ask for a home assessment, and were refused, a really rude women on the phone, dreadful customer services (sorry I forgot they don’t care anyway). We did explain I have real problems with meeting new people and claustrophobia but they just said no.
We attended the disability assessment centre, after the GP prescribing Valium to keep me subdued, the centre was a small office space split into several assessment rooms, linked by a corridor that served as a waiting area, with an open plan kitchen and the toilets next to the kitchen. The smell was awful and we assumed they had problems with the drains; the corridor was not wide enough to turn around in my wheelchair so I had to reverse if I wanted to move up or down the corridor.
50 minutes after we arrived and following a further dose of Valium the assessor came out of one of the rooms, she was a Physio-Assistant in her main job, took one look at my wheelchair and said that there was no way any of the assessment room doors were wide enough for a wheelchair. She said she had looked through all the notes and reports we had sent and said we should have asked for a home visit!!!!!!!!!!!
My angel, my loving wife got angry and explained what we had been through to get here, and the women said that she didn’t understand why we were being seen as the supporting evidence was overwhelming. Again my angel, my loving wife was angry, especially having taken the day off and turning up to a disability assessment centre where wheelchair users could not be seen. We offered to do the assessment in the corridor and even in the van which transports my wheelchair and me, but they said this wouldn’t be appropriate, but treating me and my wife like this is?!?!
The woman said she would ask her manager for a home visit when she saw how upset and distressed I had become. This was Thursday the 1st of February and we still do not know what is happening.
I am emailing you this as the whole process is designed to abuse, brutalise and cause as much distress as possible, I assume hoping as many people as possible will just give up. The transfer from DLA to PIP isn’t needed, a useless exercise that only serves to marginalise disabled people, forcing them to the subclass of unemployed where they are seen as “scroungers”, “cheats”, those not to be tolerated.
If this does have to be undertaken (I see in the news that the Gov’s stance over mental health is costing some £4 billion to rectify) then it should be done by qualified people and with compassion, from a starting point that people are NOT cheating the system, as at the current time the starting point is that people ARE fraudulent and you have to prove you’re not. It is a Gov initiative that would happily fit in with strategies being evolved in the mid to late 1930’s Germany.
I wonder how many disabled people have taken their own lives having been pushed beyond what is bearable by this process, as I can tell you from my own experience the line between life being bearable and being unliveable is very narrow, it doesn’t take much to push one into a place where death becomes a release from a life of torment.
I have poor mental health anyway, what on earth do they (Government) think putting people such as me (and all those like me) through a brutalising system will cause. If you didn’t have depression and anxiety before they put you in the change process of DLA to PIP, you blinking well had massive mental health problems after the beating you get.
My brothers and sisters who have mental health problems and/or physical barriers must support each other, share our stories so we know we are not alone (sounds like a quote out the X-Files) in our anguish, and it isn’t paranoia as the Gov are out to get us!
With respect to you all
Jon W @AbleNotDisabled
17th February 2018