The horrifying reality of the so called welfare reform.
An independent report by Mo Stewart
In the UK there are three words that identify the government enforced suffering of sick and disabled people, and they are: Work Capability Assessment (WCA). This report identifies the influence of an American healthcare insurance giant with successive UK governments since 1992, the influence of a former government Chief Medical Officer and the use of the WCA, conducted by the private sector, as the government permit state crime by proxy when justified as welfare reform.
Historically, the United Kingdom’s (UK) welfare state provided a guaranteed financial safety net for those in greatest need, from the Beveridge Report (Beveridge 1942) until recently. However, with people living longer and the cost of the welfare budget rising, in 2006 the New Labour government identified future welfare reforms (DWP 2006) to reduce the growing costs of out-of-work disability benefits. Identified as ‘a political choice and not…
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How to cut public services following a bank bailout.
1) Take several months to reframe the situation in peoples heads, talk a lot about tough decisions, and deep financial crisis. Scare people enough that they don’t sit back and consider what caused the mess in the first place. Do not under any circumstances discuss the fact that the cost of the bail out is escalating by £50billion a quarter.
2) Prepare public for ‘hard choices’. (In preparation for step 6 it is a good idea to also start demonising unions about now. If there are any industrial disputes occuring I advise hijacking them for this purpose.)
3) Identify a public service that is relatively cheap and voter friendly- pledge to ringfence it. Surestart is a good example. Vocal commitment to a scheme like this, can distract people from the cuts you are making everywhere else. A pledge to protect aspects…
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Note: This should now be read alongside my next blog on Muddled language, as it appears that the DWP did not mean what it said in answer to the FOI request.
From time to time I have been invited to help seriously disabled people attain their rights after their applications for appropriate benefits have been turned down by agents appointed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
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In response to the latest Government attack on benefits claimants with mental health and physical disabilities, the Alliance has written to the press and to the major psy-organisations, who we call…
To our government we disabled people, together with people living with long-term ill health, have become a revolting group who have the temerity to be unable to work, and as such threaten the fisca…
Source: Living a Half Life
Date:19th September 2016
MANDATORY RECONSIDERATION REQUEST
I request that you reconsider your decision dated september 1st 2016 -finding me capable of work.
Please also send me a copy of the medical report known as the ESA85 you used to make your decision. I consider that I provided enough evidence for a finding to be made that I do have limited capability for work ).
I do not consider that the decision maker took full account of the severity of my condition or of the way that it affects my everyday activities and bodily functions.
the following is a statement regarding how my medical condition severely limits my capability for work.
I do not have any further evidence to add at this stage. I will present any new evidence to the Tribunal service if I need to appeal your mandatory reconsideration decision.
it is a full time occupation trying to cope with this.
how it is unpredictable due to fluctuations in levels of pain and discomfort.
if there was a scale from 1 – 10 of discomfort and zero to unbearable agony, my current condition fluctuates between 7 to 10.
it has considerably deteriorated over the last 2 years from 4 to 10 as was.
this account is broken and possibly repeats itself.
i have had to try and do it over the last 2 weeks when i have been able to focus and type in lumps of about 10 minutes, and may well include repeats.
i would add to this but that will take a long time to complete and i am aware that there is a time limit on the mandatory reconsideration.
i cannot make anything more than tentative arrangements for anything based upon how much i can move on that day at that time, how much my perception of the situation will be affected by the level of discomfort i am in and how much walking, sitting or standing i will be able to tolerate.
usually (80%of the time) it is impossible.
i wake up in pain and muscle spasm/locked up from my neck to my feet every day.
i can not judge accurately whether i will be able to function that day at this stage, but a good indication seems to be the severity of this will affect what i can and cannot do that day.
i have realised that i can only do about 20% of the things i used to do due to this.
this could be summed up in constant pain and discomfort, inability to move without causing more pain and discomfort, and lack of energy/needing to rest 60% of the time due to the stress of living with this condition.
the discomfort, with or without medication, limits every movement.
i have to decide upon every movement whether it is firstly vital to my existence.
this would include having to obtain food.
i have no choice in shopping in small amounts. this is so that i know i will be able to carry whatever i buy back to the car. hopefully it will be in 2 bags balanced each side. sugar, jars, potatoes, canned goods and vegetables are a particular problem.
i went for 9 months last year without buying these due to the pain of taking them to the car. and having to leave them in the car while i went inside to rest for 30 mins after going shopping.
using cash machines is very complicated as i have to wait sitting until the queue is gone, and go through the stress pain and discomfort of standing up again.
i will have to go through a process with the intent, if possible, every day, to get out of the house.
this is effective nowadays approxiamately 4 days out of 7, but again is entirely unpredictable depending on the temperature, possibly how long i was active the day before and how long i have slept.
this process currently involves the use of hot water bottles and heat pads on my back and neck for up to 3 to 4 hours along with pain killers. 4 to 5 on a very bad day. 5/7 days.
if the pain is not too severe i may be able to do some stretching exercises to try and free up the muscles in my back. (2/7 days)
this will sometimes give me a bit more freedom and i can bend down to pick things from the floor or empty the bins. i also drop things a lot as when my nervous system is in overload – due to the pain it seems to affect my hands.
things will mostly stay on the floor for several hours or even days as the pain and fatigue it causes makes retrieving things not a priority. i drop things a lot.
i have to plan every movement carefully from reaching to pick up a cup of tea, to getting dressed.
i have to do this to avoid even more pain and discomfort; to not damage the muscles in my back any further by tearing them and to ensure that if i drop somethng or can’t reach it it will not injure me or others.
i have found that muscle spasms and sharp shooting pains can make my arms and legs jerk or lose strength in the middle of moving.
this also affects my driving. as my legs have lost at least 60% of their strength, about 50% of the time, and at times are almost impossible to move due to the pain in my back,. putting on trousers or using steps is very challenging 90% of the time.
i can only drive for short periods of about 10 minutes without needing to rest, even though getting out of the car is extremely difficult, painful uncomfortable and tiring.
the pain and spasms affect my legs, arms and hands. i cannot repeatedly, safely and consistently walk, pick up objects or move things without risking injury. my feet don’t go where i expect them to and i have to think about every step especially stairs.
my arms and hands are not where i think they are and i will walk into doorways, knock things over or drop things due to spasms and numbness.
every movement must be monitored constantly, visibly, in case they go astray.
this adds top the stress and tiredness already present in this condition
this morning process will culminate in the hottest bath i can stand to furher try and reduce the muscle spasms.
about 3/7 days i will get a good range of movement, and my perception will be fairly sharp for about 2 hours, before i have to take codeine again.
this is also as the fog from the codeine is starting to lift.
the pain medication gives short periods of relief usually for about an hour. it takes the edge off the unbearable pain, and allows my mind to be less stressed for this period.
the stress is as difficuklt to deal with as the pain. and may add to it.
but i will also be getting very tired by now from all the discomfort and the effort required to fill hot water bottles, put the kettle on, move around the flat etc.
i have no choice in this as firstly i live on my own, and movement gives me a sense of which part of my body is causing the most discomfort.
this on 2-4/7 days will allow me to engage with work in a way that is relatively productive.
just getting up and get out of the house is a nightmare and takes all of my energy due to the extreme pain and discomfort.
the 5 hours of work that i am paid for will take me between 12 to 15 hours to do. this is due to the massive cognitive impairment of both the constant stress and discomfort and the side effect of the painkillers i could not live without. without them life would become unbearable. thius level of pain is impossible to live with without at least an hour where it is lessened a couple of hours a day.
i will have to check my work at least three times as i lose concentration and focus constantly. it is impossible to learn anything new in these brief windows of awareness and constructive thought available to me.
although driving is difficult due to the discomfort in my back, neck and legs, and any bump in the road sends shooting pains from my feet to my head , i believe it is in my best interest to get out of the flat if at all possible.
to me, the emotional cost of staying at home is more than the amount of pain and discomfort i create by engaging with the world in the limited way i am able to.
the days when i have to stay at home being unable to move beyond my flat are mental torture.
Walking to the car has to be taken 1 slow careful step at a time. it is as if i were barefoot and watching for broken glass on the floor.
Getting into the car in time to avoid annoying other drivers is a constant stress as my legs are shaky due to the muscle spasms and i can only move very slowly, attempting to make it look as if I am completely relaxed and unhurried in case people see how vulnerable i would be to being attacked due to my weakened condition.
Getting out of the car causes stress discomfort and pain and i will need to rest by leaning against a wall or the car to regain some energy aftyer a short walk of about 30 feet or so.
this cannot be accomplished repeatedly or safely.
Can I walk to the crossing incurring even more pain or can I walk across the road safely, in case a car speeds up towards me, where I am , as I will have to walk back the same distance? this creates additional stress and tirerdness sometimes a feeling that i am about to pass out.
this also happens whenever i am standing in the queue at the checkout. i am simply unable to go into queues of over 2-3 people.
Will I have enough energy to go to 2 shops today or will I have to waituntil tomorrow.
Will I have enough energy to get home and up the stairs? after resting in the car i will attempt this.if i have been shopping i will need to rest for about 30 minutes before i can face putting the shopping in the fridge. i don’t buy potatoes or other heavy items as they cause too much pain and discomfort to move.
Learning new things – this ionvolves being able to focus, concentrate and respond. this is not possible with the amount of discomfort and stress this condition creates.
Doing housework is minimal at best. i have to prioritise my energy and the important use of it is to get out of the house if possible and try to engage with life even though this is severely limited. staying on my own with just the pain and discomfort is unbearable on the days that i have no choice but to do that.
Getting tired after 15 minutes – due to the constant physical discomfort, emotional stress and inability to focus, i will ahved to take a break from all activities after about 15 minutes. i will ahve to try and physically relax as much as possible and try to ease the areas which are causing the most discomfort.
Bending up or down
Putting on clothes
Taking 2 – 3 hours to do an hours work
Inability to go out in the evenings as this has caused inability to get out of the house 2 out of the 3 times i have done this in the last 2 years.
Uncertainty on ability to get safely home due to weakness in my hands and legs, unberable pain and discomfort and feeling as if i am going to pass out as my head spins.
Leg spasms while driving making only very short journeys of about 5 minutes bearable. my feet have spasms of pain nearly all the time.
Legs and back spasms while sitting or standing causing incredible discomfort and stress.
Dropping things while nerve system locks up in overdrive. if i am able to ease some of the spasms i can get a couple of hours a day where this is less likely to happen.
Social noise is like daggers and people don’t like it when you look miserable, therefore there would be no oint in going out anywhere that i am unable to control the environment.
Shaving doing washing up work in lumps of 20 minutes involving resting due to tiredness, as does doing any other task including my contracted 5 hours per week paid employment.
Having to slide into the car using the chair as support and resting before driving or getting out again.
restricting times that i stop and get out to the minimum to avoid unbearable pain and stress beyond endurable levels.
Being difficult to get in car later in the day as back won’t bend and hitting head as I get in.
Constant need to stretch and try to bend to avoid muscles from locking into spasm – works about 2 times in 10. very tiring and stressful.
Walking very slowly as if I’ve had a sports injury – to disguise the shame and fear of being attacked if i show how physically weak i am.
Leaning or sitting after walking trying to make it look like I meant to to send a text or check the phone while i try and find some energy to continue.
Having to think about every movement, bend, turn or reach as the increased pain, discomfort and stress is devastating.
Having no choice in getting shopping or going out. i only buy what i can safely carry in my arms to avoid heavy shopping bags which will cause unberable pain and discomfort.
Having to decide if the pain of getting up again justifies the benefit of sitting to rest although the feeling that i am about to pass out usually makes that decision.
the way in which this illness has removed 90% of my life activities, and severely limited the remainder is a constant source of despair, trying to adjust and constant disappointment of being unable to partake minimally in all activities.
all of my energy goes into coping with the varying amounts of pain, constant discomfort and shame/ depression of being unable to partake in any more than i currently do.
to be very clear – if there was any way of taking on any more work than the nominal 5 hours i currently struggle to do, i would of course do that. i could easily earn much more than the amount given on ESA payments. why would anyone not do this?
this condition affects my life so severely that it makes any other activity than the few i currently engage in impossible.
i have no choice in this until a sustainable way of dealing with my back pain and other symptoms is found.
a copy of this has been presented to my GP with the request that it be added to my medical notes for their information.
Important note: should I wish to withdraw this request I will only do so in writing. Under no circumstances will I withdraw this request verbally. If you speak to me on the telephone about this matter, nothing I say should be construed as a withdrawal unless and until it is confirmed in writing.
Yours faithfully, Paul Barnard
ESA claimants mind a new trick out of the DWP’s hat!
If you have worsened after failing an ESA test and claim ESA again, they can now make a new ‘assessment’ just a couple of days after your phone claim, without waiting for your new evidence.
They say they can ‘assess’ you on the basis of the previous evidence. They say that this counts as a new full Work Capability Assessment. Unfortunately, a judge has recently decided that they can do it, oh dear.
This means that you cannot claim ESA again because it is unlikely you worsen again in a few day. You will also have problem with claiming JSA. Since you were not paid a penny of ESA after your second claim the Jobcentre telephonists will tell you that you are not allowed to claim JSA and will direct you to Universal…
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