sailor_jerry: (Default)
Graceless Lady ([personal profile] sailor_jerry) wrote2010-01-19 11:06 pm
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The DWP

Today I got a letter from the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions - the people that deal with benefits) saying, essentially, that I don't fulfil their criteria for being unwell, and therefore am no longer entitled to my Employment and Support allowance. And as such have no income whatsoever.



So according to their 'point system' I am a 0 out of the 15 points needed to qualify for benefits.

Now, when I read the letter i cried for half an hour. Cried so much my throat hurt. But now, now I'm just angry.
I have all my life, and still do, like many or most people with mental health problems, struggled with coming to terms with there being something wrong. With the fact that I'm not a 'fail' I'm 'ill' and it's not always going to be like this. And an awful lot of that is because although one in four people suffer from mental health problems, they're incredibly misunderstood and under represented.
And you know what, I also struggle every fucking day with feeling like a fucking failure. I had to leave University. I still live at home. I lost fucking relationships to my mental health problems. I spent months and months in a psychiatric institution because of it.
And it's taken me this long to actually feel like it's not all my fault, it's something that's screwed with me that needs help with.
And then the DWP send me a letter saying, what essentially is, 'you've failed a test you didn't even know you were taking, and no, we didn't consult your doctors. But as far as we're concerned there's nothing wrong with you, get back to work and stop sponging.'
So I failed at even being a failure.

Yes, I can appeal. But tomorrow I'm going to have to phone some faceless telephone person who I'm either going to shout it, which they don't deserve, or cry at, which doesn't help. And fuck me if this doesn't seem like a system that discriminates against those who are most vulnerable.

what the fuck do I have to do to be 'ill' ? Do my scars not show it? My hours of psychiatric appointments? My failed relationships, degrees or hospitalizations for overdoses?
I'm bipolar and have a personality disorder. I also have an eating disorder which I'm in ongoing recovery for and is part of my diagnosis. I.. it feels like what do they want me to do to prove I'm not well? What the fuck am I meant to do?

Fuck this. Fuck. This.

[identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_lady_vanilla_/ 2010-01-19 11:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh God, I'm so sorry honey. *hugs*

All I can suggest is that, yes, you do appeal. You'll get some sort of money whilst the appeal process is going on and you can give them all the proof they need to know you need this. The phone call will be horrid but I am more than hopeful it will be worth it.

Having worked at the DWP for six months now I find so many circumstances where ESA/Incapacity seems badly mismanaged and does the wrong thing. I just hope you can get what you need. Get doctor's notes, medical history and fucking cram it down their throats. They deserve it.

[identity profile] landfill-sky.livejournal.com 2010-01-19 11:49 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you so much, any advice you can give me would be totally appreciated. Gemma is pretty savvy in this area and is helping as best she can but I just feel once again - impotent. and it's just horrible.

Thank you for the kind thoughts *hugs

The DWP

[identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_lady_vanilla_/ 2010-01-20 03:22 pm (UTC)(link)
If you haven't phoned them yet I could send you the appeal form you need you don't have to call them. Just private message me your address and I'll do it today.

[identity profile] mirabehn.livejournal.com 2010-01-19 11:35 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, gods. :-(

I'm so sorry to hear this, and I share your rage. I helped [livejournal.com profile] mirrorshard go through six months of waiting for his money, though he did get it in the end without having to appeal.

I hate that system. I hate it so much. It is so vilely biased against the mentally ill.

What you may find comforting, however, is that lots of people do succeed on appeal. They've made a mistake here, and now you have a chance to prove them wrong. [livejournal.com profile] _lady_vanilla_ has some very wise advice.

Thinking of you.

[identity profile] landfill-sky.livejournal.com 2010-01-19 11:52 pm (UTC)(link)
Well they recently gave me my backdated payments which I thought was a step up. (btw I started following you on Twitter, I'm sailor_jerry)

It is vile, and it's wonderful Gemma is so used to it and calm and level when I'm in a fuzz. I'm so grateful for her experience and patience.

It's just - sometimes it feels like I should shout at them 'WOULD IT BE EASIER IF I HAD A PHYSICAL DISABILITY?!'

*hugs*

[identity profile] mirabehn.livejournal.com 2010-01-19 11:59 pm (UTC)(link)
*hugs you*

sometimes it feels like I should shout at them 'WOULD IT BE EASIER IF I HAD A PHYSICAL DISABILITY?!'

Argh, yes. :-( The prejudice against the mentally ill is as rife in the DWP as anywhere, if not more so. It's a complete disgrace.

Mind you, I have a mental disability and an invisible disability, and my benefit was cut off a few years ago after they decided to ignore all of the physical component in my case (and decided the mental component wasn't bad enough). And then they lost my P45, but that's another story.

[identity profile] landfill-sky.livejournal.com 2010-01-20 12:07 am (UTC)(link)
Oh sweetheart, that's awful.

I've had to spend the evening being reassured by Gemma and family that this is an incomplete analysis which can be altered.
But like I say it feels like they're telling mentally ill people 'we can't see your problem so it doesn't count' and my LJ friends have helped more than I can say.

[identity profile] mirabehn.livejournal.com 2010-01-20 12:06 am (UTC)(link)
Also: I know that when I was helping Sam with his applications, I came across some sites that give advice and support, including for those on appeal.

I don't have the energy tonight, but I'll try to look back at what I found and give you the links before I head north on Thursday.

If I look like forgetting, do please remind me: I would like to be able to help, I'm just rather scatty right now.

[identity profile] landfill-sky.livejournal.com 2010-01-20 12:11 am (UTC)(link)
Sweetheart that would do me the world of good, and please go for it whenever you're ok to do so.

[identity profile] mirabehn.livejournal.com 2010-01-20 11:57 pm (UTC)(link)
*hugs*

Haven't been able to find everything I did last time. But here's a couple of things that may be useful:

A relevant thread on the BBC Ouch forums, some official guidelines on the appeals service.

I recommend wandering about the Ouch forums generally, and possibly posting there. It seems to be quite a supportive place.

This link contains all the criteria on the wretched assessments. Might help to check exactly what boxes they should have ticked and shouldn't, so you can target the medical evidence your doctors can give you.

The CAB will probably be able to help you more.

*more hugs* Rooting for you.

[identity profile] miss-next.livejournal.com 2010-01-19 11:38 pm (UTC)(link)
That is appalling. Yes indeed, bombard them with all the medical evidence you have, and the very best of luck with it. If you keep at them, you do have some chance that they'll give in.

[identity profile] landfill-sky.livejournal.com 2010-01-19 11:54 pm (UTC)(link)
*many hugs*

I've got an appointment with my psychologist on Thursday so I'm going to talk to her about contacting the DWP with nearly 10 years of info about me.
*cuddles*

[identity profile] steerpikelet.livejournal.com 2010-01-19 11:50 pm (UTC)(link)
I am so fucking sorry. And so fucking angry. For FUCK'S sake. I actually shouted at David Blunkett about this in a questions session today when he DARED to fucking claim that the difference between Labour and the Tories is that 'tories will farm out the aspects of the welfare state to private companies who don't care about people.'

Actually, can I quote/link to this post in a write-up? THIS is why they are going to lose the goddamn election, the BASTARDS.

[identity profile] landfill-sky.livejournal.com 2010-01-19 11:59 pm (UTC)(link)
Sweetheart, use this as much as you want/need. If you need my angst about this don't hesitate to ask.

*hugs*

If you want me to make this public I have no fucking problem with it at all.

[identity profile] steerpikelet.livejournal.com 2010-01-20 12:07 am (UTC)(link)
If you felt like making it public, that would be useful. I was meant to go to bed, but I'm actually going to stay up and blog this all over the internet, after that fucking toad had the fucking gall to fucking LIE to us about this. I've been through this with my partner, after we'd spent a year getting to the point where he could admit that no, he's not making it up, he has fucking Fairbank's disease.

One thing to check - did you actually have an ESA interview? or did they just send you this out of the blue?

I just want to get on the train and give you a hug. I'm so sorry.

[identity profile] landfill-sky.livejournal.com 2010-01-20 12:17 am (UTC)(link)
Yes. They cited in the letter that my 'questionnaire' and interview were the basis for their decision, where my views were HORRIFICALLY unrepresented. I.. I don't even know how the conclusions were made that were gleamed from what I wrote/said.

Please, source this and spread the word. Like i say, just let me know and I'll make the post public if it's helpful.

*hugs*

[identity profile] landfill-sky.livejournal.com 2010-01-20 12:20 am (UTC)(link)
*is public*

Re: here!

[identity profile] landfill-sky.livejournal.com 2010-01-20 04:28 am (UTC)(link)
You are some kind of liberal genius! Hurrah!

[identity profile] mirabehn.livejournal.com 2010-01-20 12:05 am (UTC)(link)
*agrees wholeheartedly*

Thank you for shouting at David Blunkett, lovely.

I don't know if you saw but [livejournal.com profile] mirrorshard did a full write-up of his experiences claiming ESA last spring, here, which he has said he'd be very happy for you to use if it would help with what you're writing.

*more hugs to [livejournal.com profile] landfill_sky, and also to you*

[identity profile] landfill-sky.livejournal.com 2010-01-20 12:25 am (UTC)(link)
*hugs to everyone involved in the madness that is the DWP*
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[identity profile] megamole.livejournal.com 2010-01-20 09:37 am (UTC)(link)
I posted Sam's experiences to my MP, who's a shadow minister, and he said he would look seriously into it. I have this on record.

[identity profile] richsc.livejournal.com 2010-01-20 12:47 am (UTC)(link)
I've had nothing but trouble with them. They seem to be happy with me now that I'm working a part time job and am still looking for work on top of that, which feels a bit FML, even with my rubbish degree.

If you want to go and throw rocks at them at any point, you know where I am, yeah?

[identity profile] wakeupsid.livejournal.com 2010-01-20 01:41 am (UTC)(link)
I am so sorry. I honestly don't know how that system works but it's so unfair and I really hope you decide to appeal and get your benefits back. That is sickening. <33

[identity profile] angelislington.livejournal.com 2010-01-20 02:15 am (UTC)(link)
ARRRGHHHHH I am so, so sorry this had to happen to you. *squeeezes tight*

I've been wondering if I should apply for benefits once I'm finally legal (hopefully soon, please god let the paperwork be accepted - they took my money, but I know that doesn't guarantee approval, and since the government pulls shit like this it makes me very worried indeed), but I don't know if I should, because if I'm not approved I'll feel just like you, a failure even at being a failure :(

I definitely feel like I shouldn't apply, because I'm not 'properly' disabled, and would be rude or even lying to claim that my mental health affects me enough to be a disability. It does affect me very much - I haven't had a panic attack in a while thank god, but I still have a crippling anxiety disorder that infects every aspect of my life. I was really hoping that the UK benefits system might be more understanding and helpful, since one at least exists here - there's no such assistance in the US, none at all, except if you're very lucky (and rich) you can have therapy included in your health insurance, but that rarely happens. (Also, in the states the DWP is the Department of Water and Power, which still throws me off when I see it written here. *small smile*)

I can't believe they didn't even consider your patient history, and especially the fact you were in an institution - surely that's unequivocal evidence that you need and deserve help? Surely it's illegal not to notice something so blindingly obvious? WTF D:

This SUCKS. I'm so sorry :(

[identity profile] forgottendreamz.livejournal.com 2010-01-20 06:27 am (UTC)(link)
point me in the right direction and i will help with the buttkicking. i swear, the system always makes it so difficult for people to receive the help that they need. i love you, hun. let me know if there's anything i can do to help. stay strong. i hope it all works out. <33

[identity profile] natatree.livejournal.com 2010-01-20 07:09 am (UTC)(link)
Argh, that really does suck! I'm sorry that this is happening. *BIG HUGS*

[identity profile] maddock-ist-rad.livejournal.com 2010-01-20 08:37 am (UTC)(link)
How the hell can that be 0 out of 15? Is there some kind of detail on this points system of theirs somewhere, because I'd love to see what actually scores under mental health. Ridiculous reactionary "get people back to work" policy in action. Good to see this got blog'd though. Huuuuugs =\
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[identity profile] megamole.livejournal.com 2010-01-20 09:37 am (UTC)(link)
Oh FUCK.

Sweetheart, this is terrible. Not sure what I can say at the moment other than offer my deepest sympathy and say I'm here if you want to talk.

Like Laurie, I'm wondering how best to publicise this appalling situation.
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[identity profile] orbitaldiamonds.livejournal.com 2010-01-22 05:49 am (UTC)(link)
*squishyhugs*

Check another square on the Invisible Disabilities Bingo card.

(Anonymous) 2010-01-24 09:16 pm (UTC)(link)
If you haven't done so all ready goto your local Citizen Advice Bureau - we see many appeals - also you could phone Community Legal Services on 0845 345 4345 - they dealt with all the paperwork amd obtaining evedence for my IB appeal which was successful

Best of luck