Tag Archives: incapacity benefit

Benefits Street

I felt I just had to comment on this programme. I didn’t really want to watch it, knowing before I did exactly what impression it would be making to the wider public. I was going to post a link but am not sure I want to up the viewing figures but I suppose in order to form an opinion you need it so http://www.channel4.com/programmes/benefits-street.

Having been in the position of being on benefits for a while I know it isn’t possible to live comfortably on them. You have to make sacrifices which in the opinion of some people is only right for something which isn’t meant to be forever. For those who find themselves unable to work through illness or can’t find a job no matter how hard they try, it may be something they have to do for the foreseeable future or for the rest of their life. It is not possible, contrary to popular opinion to have HD tv’s, the latest iPhone or computer, fantastic holidays (or any holiday in most cases) or posh cars on benefits. The reason people have these things can be many.

1)  They already had them before they claimed benefits.

2) A kind family member has gifted the item(s)

3) They are getting money from elsewhere.

Whilst I can’t condone people working on the side, shoplifting or drug taking I can understand getting to the point where you no longer care about anything but getting money from somewhere to feed your family or heat your home. It amazes me that people are so quick to label benefits claimants as scroungers but no one gives as much publicity to MP’s scrounging. What about the thousands paid by Diane Abbott or Iain Duncan Smith from taxpayers pockets for their portraits!  Surely in a country where children are going hungry this is wrong on every level!

I know the people on the street portrayed in Benefits Street could be classed as rough and ready, but one thing they do seem to have that a lot of us lack is community spirit and I applaud that. No one knows today where they will be in a year’s time. Poverty can be a paycheck away. Please look a little deeper before you judge these people. Circumstances have made them into the people they are. No one wants to live a stressful life like theirs.

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Major meltdown

Not written for a while as not much to report. Our friends have moved and are very unhappy, in fact unhappy isn’t strong enough they have sunk into a depression. The place they’ve moved to is a shit hole and they have no money to fix it up. There is nothing you can say to them is there? Personally I would have stuck it out until I could’nt go on any longer but realistically unless the jobs market changes there is little chance of them getting employment so perhaps they had no choice. It’s a really sad place to be – pushing 60 with nothing to show for it.:(

Here my partner has had a letter saying he’s in the WRAG group and detailing his benefits breakdown but we aren’t sure if this is the result of his medical or not as there wasn’t any points breakdown. Or do you only get that if they refuse you ESA? He has also had a letter with an appointment for a work related interview next month. We’ll see what happens!

Myself I’ve just had enough. I’m in the process of trying to start a business but it is off-putting when they are changing the benefit rules to penalize even this. I’ve applied for a few jobs but no joy, have applied to volunteer, no joy, it seems I’m stuck in this trap. To be honest and I’m sorry if this sounds callous but I don’t want to be where the buck stops any more. I don’t want to be the one who sorts out all the bills, keeps the house something like clean, feeds everyone, washes and irons the clothes, sits doing anything they can to make a bit of extra cash on the internet, just so we can have the things we need. I don’t want to go out shopping and come back to find the same mess I left when I went out because him indoors can’t be bothered to do anything. I’m losing the plot. Being the one who runs the house I could cope with but being the one who runs the house and has to deal with someone who is negative from the minute he rises everyday is just too much and I want out. I’ve had enough!!!

 

Back on the ATOS medical merry go round.

Less than a year after winning our case at appeal my partner was again summoned for his ESA medical. The first one had to be cancelled due to the stress and worry causing a panic attack, but this time we made it. The bloke doing the medical tried to make small talk as we went in but after last time we weren’t going to be drawn into that. I now have too much information on how they work and realize that you are under scrutiny from the minute they set eyes on you! The examiner was trying to be friendly but now and then his mask would slip and I could see how he was trying to trip my partner up. I’m fully expecting nil points again as most of his problems are mental health issues which you can’t see and in my opinion can never really understand unless you’ve been there. I can understand why people give up bothering to claim ESA even as in some cases I know of, they are clearly to any normal person unfit for work, because the stress really isn’t worth the very small amount of extra money gained by getting it. Our household has lost over £100 in the last month with the ESA becoming income related and my son no longer a dependant but an apprentice on a very poor wage. So once again we are in the process of cutting back spending in the face of having to pay council tax we were previously exempt from as well as the cut in money. I pride myself on being financially capable ( in fact I could show CaMORON and his friends in Westminster a thing or two) but if you haven’t got enough to live on no amount of budgeting will help! The policies of this government are and will continue to result in vulnerable people facing extreme hardship. We really are going back to Victorian values and not in a good way.

Here we go again!

Having sought advice from a welfare rights centre it seems that yes it is correct that you can be reviewed six months after winning an appeal for ESA. So it seems here we go again! Obviously the idea is to put off those who aren’t genuine but this is causing immense stress to those who are genuine and their families. It is not good for the health of anyone to be put through this stress on a regular basis. I have always borne the burden of the paperwork from DWP as my partner can’t cope with it all, but I’m now finding myself in the position of feeling as if I’m struggling to cope also. It’s beginning to affect my health and not for the better! I have been suffering with stomach problems since xmas, together with low mood/depression. I haven’t yet sought medical treatment but will have to if it continues. As the claim for ESA isn’t mine none of my problems are taken into account but all this uncertainty and stress is very hard for me to cope with so I really feel for people who have numerous medical issues as well as having to deal with ESA claims, bedroom tax problems and the impending changes to DLA. I have to come to the conclusion that this is the idea, make us all so ill that we roll over and take all that is thrown at us or worse decide this life isn’t worth living anymore, as so many have already done. I’d challenge the likes of Cameron, Clegg, Osborne and IDS to travel on buses around my deprived area of Britain and listen to what people really think and have to contend with on a daily basis. I regularly overhear people struggling to apply for the number of jobs asked for by the jobcentre, worrying about being ill in case they lose their job, talking about committing a crime so they’ll get help to find a home because they’re sick of sofa surfing and have exhausted every other avenue of help, and wondering what they have to look forward to. Do they want us all to turn to crime?
I for one know I can’t carry on like this. I am trying to better my prospects of getting off benefits but if this keeps on I won’t have the will or health to do anything. How does that help either the country or the individual?

Happy New Year!!

Happy new year everyone!! Unfortunately the start to mine has been a bit mixed, the depression/low mood has reared its ugly head again and have been left feeling less than healthy which is why I haven’t felt like posting.

Just before xmas we received a new ESA 50 form to fill in even though it is only about 6 months since we won the appeal for the last one. I’m not sure if this means we may have to go through it all again but just the thought of it fills me with dread. I really cannot go through this every 6-12 months but I suppose that’s the idea.

The stress of it all last time was immense and I don’t think the Government realizes or cares about the impact of all this stress on our health. The friends of ours who face the bedroom tax have spent the whole of xmas being ill, and having to deal with one relative overdosing due to the hopelessness caused by their situation. Thankfully they were ok after treatment.

Despite all the spotlight on ATOS, DWP and the Government regarding their treatment of the disadvantaged little seems to be changing as the case of the man with heart failure on the news a few days ago highlighted. Despite the fact he wore a box with wires fixed to his heart in order to remain alive he received no points and was found fit for work. Needless to say he is appealing but at what cost to his health. So we see the demonization goes on………

Bedroom tax

What should have been an opportunity to put across the barbarity of the changes in the welfare system last night on Question Time turned into a discussion on, well to be honest apart from Israel/Palestine I can’t remember what! There was a very small section about the cap on housing benefit during which Iain Duncan Smith was heard to say the changes don’t come in til April as if that makes it ok. He also expressed the view that he was changing people’s lives for the better and that he was proud of doing so. For the first time for a while there was a significant amount of shouting from the audience. Try telling the people who are set to lose their homes or face paying the bedroom tax in April that he’s improved their lives. Where are all the supporters of those unfortunate to be jobless? Why does everyone believe it is our fault we have no job? Do those fortunate enough to have a job really believe this is a life choice and that there are jobs out there for the taking that will provide us with the means to leave the world of benefits behind? This government has demonized those on welfare  benefits making it all our own fault. Whilst they milk the system we are financially discriminated against because we are so downtrodden we don’t know where to turn for support. Please join the campaign against this grossly unfair tax on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/antibedroomtax

This also affects those on low wages in receipt of housing benefit so in effect it’s not just demonizing the unemployed, sick and disabled but also those in jobs which do not pay a living wage. It is financial discrimination! And there aren’t enough smaller properties to go round anyway. Please write to your local paper and your MP and stop this unfair tax.

Lets get this stopped before there are devastating consequences as people become increasingly desperate in the face of the increasing futility of existence on society’s scrap heap.  Make the bastards at downing street see they are doing the exact opposite of improving our lives. More houses are needed – this is what happens when social houses aren’t built and the floodgates to Europe are opened whilst private rents are allowed to soar. We need to fight not lie down in the gutter and let them wipe their feet on us. Please join us.

 

ATOS STRIKES AGAIN!!!!!!!

Despite all the publicity surrounding Atos medicals it seems they have learned nothing! An acquaintance of mine, lets call her Mrs X was telling me of her experience at the medical and it’s the same story we’ve been hearing since these medicals began. Mrs X worked doing manual and driving jobs until about ten years ago when she developed a back problem and could no longer manage to work. An operation was advised but Mrs X was reluctant due to the possibility of the op leaving her in a worse position. Her husband persuaded her that she should go ahead with the op despite the fact it could leave her paralysed. Fortunately though this didn’t happen, unfortunately neither did significant improvement and Mrs X resigned herself to the fact that return to her previous normality wasn’t an option. Mrs X can’t walk very far, is in constant pain, walks slowly, can neither sit or stand for long periods and uses a mobility scooter to get about.

Fast forward to the Atos medical which was held on the third floor of the building. Upon entering she was told she couldn’t go up on the lift in her scooter and was asked if she would be able to use the stairs should there be a fire. Her response was a truthful yes she could but by the time she got to the bottom the building might well be burnt to the ground. Deciding this was too risky they asked the nurse conducting the medical to come to the ground floor and conduct her medical there.

The nurse could clearly see Mrs X needed to use the scooter, had access to the doctor’s report about medical conditions and yet guess what Mrs X like many that have gone before her received nil points. How can someone needing help to get around get no points at all? It beggars belief! Mrs X is of course appealing so it will cost the DWP time and money to fight their case which on past experience I would hazard a guess they will lose. They have learned nothing!!! Their quest to get the ‘spongers’ goes on!!!