You may have noticed that I’ve not been posting much for a while. There have been some pretty significant things happening in my life that has made sitting down and focusing on anything pretty impossible. When I started this blog, I did it with the aim of raising awareness for disabilities, not a place to pour my heart out (too much). Although my health has been deteriorating, I haven’t opened up too much about that. But another of the challenges I have been going through are not a struggle I am facing alone, there are many thousands of people just like me all over the country.
I’ve been battling the Department of Work & Pensions since May of last year. I don’t use the word battle lightly – it has truly been that. I felt like a salmon fighting to make it upstream, to disprove the false statements and contradictions made by ATOS. There were a series of failings in the report that were then used as justification for my denial of Personal Independence Payment. I started using this information to build my response for the tribunal ahead.
After an anxious 6 month wait, I had my tribunal hearing last week. For the first time in this process, I was listened to and I was heard. The ATOS report was thrown out entirely, DWP decision was overturned. It is only now that I have climbed the mountain, that I am able to look back at my journey and to share this with you. Until now, it has simply been too devastating.
Only days ago, the government ruled on whether people with severe anxiety and depression should receive ‘PIP’, the new disability benefit. They stated that this benefit should be saved for those who are “really disabled”. But reviewing the facts – that even the most severely disabled are NOT receiving these benefits – you can read between the lines of the government’s plans; They do not want anyone receiving support.
I think many are clouded as to the reason these benefits exist; They are there to support disabled people so that they may live full lives as independently as is possible. Denying this benefit leaves disabled people unable to afford the care support they need to survive, not to mention basic care needs such as heating and food. As a country, I think we should be ashamed. We are treating the least able and worst off in society with distrust and disdain. Our media plays a huge part in this, but they aren’t solely to blame. We are repeatedly told that anyone who needs benefits is a scrounger. Those that need support are demonised and vilified by the media, and then by the masses. What will the history books say of this period in time?
We will not have the power to change it then, but we do have the power to change it now. If you believe something is important, stand up for it. We must not be complacent. We must use some of the spoons we have each day and fight the system. We must urge the government to stop these cuts, and fire ATOS & Capita. Take action; Call your local MP, write letters, join the fight and be enraged. Together we can affect change.
Here’s a few to-do’s to get you started:
- Find your local MP
- Write a letter to your MP
- Write a letter to Penny Mordaunt, Disability Minister
- Write a letter to Theresa May
- Join the fight
We mustn’t be complacent – this will only continue to get worse if we do not act.
I will be talking about the whole PIP process, my learnings, and advice in a future post. If you’re struggling with anything similar, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.