Posts Tagged ‘ESA’

Not OK

I have severe, clinical and ongoing depression with suicidal ideation and intrusive thought, crippling anxiety issues and DPD. I have had these conditions since 2007, am considered disabled and am unlikely to ever get better.

In December I discovered that my PIP (Personal Independence Payment) had been stopped (In October), without warning or communication by the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions).

Apparently I’d hit the time for reassessment, but because I hadn’t contacted them (because they hadn’t contacted me) my payments had stopped.

So I couldn’t restart my old claim, oh no, I had to reapply from scratch. A process that took over a year last time I had to apply.

I was getting PIP and ESA (Employment Support Allowance), both on the basis of a tribunal appeal on my original claim. Tribunal is the third and last stage of appeal, quasi-independent of the process and able to overturn earlier decisions. Something like 80% of claims rejections are overturned on appeal. That goes to show how bullshitty the entire rest of the process is.

PIP only accounts for about £240 per month, but it’s money that can really ease mental stress and strain, pay for takeout when you can’t cook, a taxi when you can’t face the crowds on public transport and various other little things that make for a more secure income and better life when you’re struggling with mental health.

Of course, over a year that’s nearly £3000, a not inconsiderable amount of money and for many people in a worse situation than me, a lifeline.

Being on disability-related benefits is not easy. Applying for this help is stressful, humiliating and ultimately unnecessary. Your GP should really be the one making the decision, not this clumsy and hostile apparatus that has been created, purposefully to deny people and put them off applying.

It’s hard to explain quite how humiliating it is. We all have illusions about ourselves, or make conscious and subconcious accomodations of our disabilities. In this process however, you’re allowed no pride, no illusions, you must reveal every weakness and trouble that you have – to a total stranger – who will then, like as not, reject your claim. So you’ve done all that, bared your soul, stripped yourself bare, for nothing.

Needless to say, this is horrendous and horrible, and weighs heavily on the health and mental health of those of us who have to jump through these hoops to get the slightest of help. Needless to say, this has been linked to a great deal of self-harm, suicide, and hardship.

For what?

Benefit fraud accounts for ~1%, and that’s all benefits. 99% of people are put through this wringer – and many people denied the help they need – for thte sake of one person. Perverse, but that’s how absurd people seem to be. They’d rather see 99 people unjustly treated for the sake of the 1% of actual cheats.

I think this hits harder, this time, because of recent arguments in my creative community, where people seem dead-set on denying that disability is limiting, on corroding escapism, and denying my disabilities simply because I disagree with them. The ‘wrong kind’ of disabled, which, ironically is a big part of the problem with getting help.

People suck, they really do – disabled people as much or as little as anyone.

Read Full Post »