The DWP

Jan. 19th, 2010 11:06 pm
sailor_jerry: (Default)
[personal profile] sailor_jerry
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.

Date: 2010-01-20 12:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirabehn.livejournal.com
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.

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

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

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