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Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Poor, Sick And Disabled Just Do Not Count In Tory Britain

Here are four post from the Guardian about how people are treated in the UK now for the crimes of being unemployed, poor or sick.

Everything is meant to catch you out

I’ve filled out the ESA50 form for my wife…and it is like something out of the Salem witch trials. Short of ducking you in the mill pond and declaring you innocent if you drown and guilty if you float, it has to be a document the Spanish Inquisition would have been proud of. You can sense from the first page that your default status is guilty…and you are worse than a witch, you are a ‘scrounger’.

You wade your way through questions designed by some fiend with a Ph.D in trick questions. Every atom of the document being there to catch you out. And you sense that if you put so much as a full stop in the wrong place, some devilish voice from hell will exclaim ‘ Muahaha….we got you ! ‘ in a deep Machiavellian voice. Anyone who has filled in the document knows that is not hyperbole.

So it’s not even a test of how ill you are, but of just how cunning you can be…or if you have a spouse or friend who is cunning and can fill it in for you. You really need someone who can give all the trick questions the answers they deserve. Then maybe you might even avoid being called by the Inquisition for an ‘assessment’ of whether you have the Devil’s mark or a third nipple or any other sign that you are a heretical ‘scrounger’.

People are being punished for being sick

The Jobcentre stressed me out so much four years ago, not only did I wear my carpets thin pacing and worrying I actually had a big old heart attack. 15 months later they stressed me out so much again, my GP had to put me on the sick to prevent them from giving me another one. This is how we now treat the unemployed. It is no place for sick people (and I was healthy at the time).

The problem is when you don’t liook after people they deteriorate quite quickly. Particularly sick people and forcing sick people, people with mental illness or people who have had heart attack or anxiety to claim jobseekers and sign a claimant commitment (that is eight pages long in my case and is so vague it is basically iced to terrorise and sanction me for absolutely and keep me on tenterhooks ) isn’t looking after them. It is punishing them. I showed my claimant commitment (all eight pages of it) to my Mrs the other day and she was speechless. She said it is incredible that people think we actually live in a free country.

Shame the establishment into change

I work with vulnerable adults and have seen so many things that are wrong. Letters sent out requesting attendance at a meeting the next day – to adults who have told the DWP they can’t read. The result? Sanction time, you evil non reader! I saw one person with chronic incontinence being told they had to poo their pants in an interview, literally, as if they left their benefits would be stopped for 2 weeks and the toilet is ‘just for staff’. Need to phone the DWP for help as you have no money and your benefits are delayed? That will be several 40 minute phonecalls, at full rate please. We might help you then – but if we request evidence, at least 50% of the time we will lose it, and then you will have to give us another 40 minute call to find out what happens….before sending it again and waiting. And there’s a lot more….one guy, for instance, very confused, with a serious mental health problem, walked 6 miles to my office as he could not afford the bus fare! He had lived for a week off one tin of beans. At first I told him I couldn’t help. He collapsed crying. I contacted a colleague in another organisation who was, fortunately, able to secure the vouchers you need to get food at a food bank. You can get those from the job centre by the way. But no matter how worried they are the advisers are instructed not to tell you unless you ask. It is a national scandal in a country as rich as ours that we starve people! So I say: Never stop telling your story till the whole fucking establishment is red with shame! And I also say: thank you.

They’ve opened up a hole at the bottom of the ladder

I am a carer for my disabled daughter. I also have health problems of my own. I was on ESA, my daughter received DLA and we had tax credits. We got by together, she got what she needed, and so did I. Then earlier this year I missed an ESA appointment due to being ill. They took it off me completely. I have elevated it to tribunal and am still waiting for a date for my case to be heard. My daughter left college in July, meaning she is entitled to benefits in her own right now in the form of ESA. I no longer get tax credits or child benefit, or the meagre amount from her absent father in child support. I was so ill that I decided to ask social services to deal with my daughter’s finances. She was entitled to her benefits from the beginning of September, yet we are still waiting for the DWP to make a decision. Then we have to wait for social services to assess her because she has to contribute to her care costs. She has had no money in almost 2 months.

I am currently scraping by on income support. I do claim carer’s allowance, but because she spends some time in residential care and some with me, I have to claim for the time she’s with me. I have JUST got the carer’s allowance money for the dates from May-August. I have to drive 120 miles a week to get my daughter from her residential placement to home and back, then she has a schedule of activities over the weekend which can’t be changed as it would upset and confuse her too much. So for the last 7 weeks I have had to pay for fuel, her activities, food for us both and the usual bills out of the basic amount of income support that is meant to be just enough for one person to survive on.

I was referred to the food bank 3 weeks ago when I broke down and admitted how hard it was getting. I had to miss one of my daughter’s weekend visits because I simply couldn’t afford it. Because of this, I miss out on a week’s worth of carer’s allowance, and she misses out on her DLA, which is also only payable for the time she spends at home with me.

I was so grateful to the food bank, I was embarrassed but humbled, and I have worked hard on making the most of the donated food so not a scrap is wasted. I would like to thank them for all their hard work, they are doing such amazing work. But when the Welfare State was set up, it was supposed to be there to prevent this. It was designed to help those in most need, to stop them from starving, to give them a basic standard of life so that they didn’t live in a tent on the streets. It was meant to help avoid poverty, malnutrition and unnecessary suffering. But this government has decided to open up that hole at the bottom of the ladder so that those people on the bottom rung can now be knocked off into the poverty that the Welfare State was designed to avoid.

This is not about immigrants, it’s not about junkies, it’s not about lazy layabouts pretending to be sick and disabled, it’s about ordinary people who worked in the steel works, or BHS, or any other business which has failed or been sold off by the government and their super rich cronies. People who have gone from highly trained and skilled jobs into having nothing. And it’s about the government deliberately sabotaging the Welfare State, making it go slower and slower, cutting people off from the support they desperately need or making them wait for weeks with nothing so they end up in debt and struggling to feed their children. It’s what they said they would do, offload as much as possible onto charities, no matter what suffering they inflict.

If it wasn’t for me having to make sure my daughter got what she needs, I wouldn’t be here now. I’ve contemplated suicide, I’ve thought about stealing, I’ve even thought about prostitution because of this situation. In the end I sold clothes and other belongings to get a few quid to keep me going and make sure I don’t end up in court as a criminal. I’m just an ordinary person, I’m not scum, I’m not a thief or a junkie, but when you are desperate you end up resorting to desperate means.

7 Responses “The Poor, Sick And Disabled Just Do Not Count In Tory Britain”

  1. 7th November 2016 at 3:48 am

    Welcome to Tory Fascist Britain. The stench stays with me, everywhere I go.

  2. keithffarrell
    7th November 2016 at 8:08 am

    Yes this is the evil. It destroyed my marriage being disabled. Simply because my spouse would not be punished for working. My spouse, would have to not only assist me but would have to take on the full financial burden. That is the problem. We are both dependant on two incomes to be able to live. One income would leave us unable to live.
    After three years of trying to be a couple, living apart. We were able to see each other because I had a mobility vehicle. When DWP changed the requirements for mobility. I found myself on the low rate. Now I have to pay my own car without the income. I still cannot walk far. Use a walking aid. But the stress was too much. I had a heart attach, I have bi lateral multi focal emboli. Means I cannot breath as well, cough a lot and feel like dying. I have no reason to live longer. Love was taken away. But I carry on. For the last four months I’ve been in reassessment. I don’t know if I will have PIP or any income in a weeks time. I live each four week period wondering if I still have PIP or not. Wondering if I loose my PIP and my ESA get reduced down to £70 a week. I’m in fear. Shortly I might not be able to afford to live. That will solve itself, either I will have the correct benefits or I will cease to exist. My going will hardly cause a ripple. Seeing as I have no family worth speaking of. Welcome to Tory Britain. Iain Duncan Smith should be tried in the Haig for crimes against humanity.

    • Anonymous
      7th November 2016 at 3:41 pm

      Utterly horrifying. Not only Duncan Smith, but every one of these obnoxious right wing Tory bastards ought to be tried for crimes against humanity.

  3. 9th November 2016 at 12:13 pm

    It will get much worse as the country gets poorer and the government is no longer constrained by EU standards of social decency. The next most likely moves will see the remains of the country sold to the US, China and India and the British population being subjected to the standards enjoyed by the populations in such countries. Soon we will be even denied the right to move to an EU state whose government does not abuse its population to this extent.

  4. Liz Douglas
    8th May 2017 at 7:10 am

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