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Dear Mr Chisti. (MP for Gillingham)
i hope that this is the correct way to engage with you, via this response.
if i can put aside the previous correspondence for a moment, regarding atos and the WCA, i would like your help with the following.
i have now failed the WCA, as i predicted and was the reasons for my previous complaints.my last payment of benefit is on the 22nd october.
i have been receiving high rate IB, and i recieve DLA minimum rate of £19 per week.
i will also lose housing benefit and council tax benefit then.
this has left me with the only option of appeal.. i have been offered to go onto JSA, but this would be inappropriate as i am not in a position to offer full time work to an employer due to my health problems, which are getting worse.
when i was originally contacted by atos and told “there is a new scheme to help people like yourself who have been on incapacity benefit find work”, i was overjoyed.
i have felt that there is no real help for people to engage with whatever they can, in returning to work previously.
i was very lucky in being able to accept the offer of part time work at my local community centre, the Sunlight in 2009 when a position became available.
i have worked there for 5 hours per week since then.
this came about due to my volunteer work there which i have done all the way through my incapacity, whenever i was able, and am grateful for the support that the sunlight gave to me all the way, which they continue to do.
i have also participated in running various musical therapy groups there for others who are in a similar postion to me, whenever i could.
this work, paid and voluntary has been a juggling act with my mental health problems, and chronic spinal condition, but i have been able to cope in various ways, but it is always a choice, needing to take care of myself when necessary, but always being prepared to scarifice myself to the pain and stress induced by working and participating, to be able to engage with these activities for their own therapeutic value. and i hope a contribution to my community.
i am now in the position that, needing to appeal, i might qualify for “appeal rate ESA” but even that is not clear.
this leaves me in the postion of needing to sell my car, as i can’t afford to insure it now. i will not either be able to pay my bills,use the internet etc and
my car is a vital part of my work, and the voluntary activities. i have to take a chance and leave the tools i need for my work in the boot.
my job is radio technician, which i studied for by passing an electronics HNC in the 90’s.
it also allows me to limit the lifting and carrying that walking, which is impossible, to the voluntary activities or the impossibility of taking tools, equipment and musical instruments on public transport would entail.as with my tools for my radio job.
it means that i can, when necessary, carry any gear from the flat to the car. reducing the amount of pain such would cause, but otherwise without my own transport it will be impossible, i fear, to complete my activities. it may even require me to cease my employmet and therapeutic activities as i will have no transport.
surely this is the opposite of what was promised by atos originally, and totally against the current govt policy of “getting people back to work”.
i am asking you to intervene here, to find ways that this will not be the case. this is an impossible situation for me. and the prospect of not being able to engage with either my paid work or the therapeutic voluntary work is terrifying. it is also causing a big relapse with my depression, something that these activities have gone a long way to help me deal with.
surely this situation is unacceptable, and how many others are in similar situations?
please can you intervene on my behalf with the DWP system, as i can see no other way to avoid what is for me, and i am sure many others, a tragedy.