Sunday, 20 February 2011

Suffering from Irritable Duncan Smith-itis or why my doctor is a liar

A Guest/Cross Post from my friend The Purple Fairy

"Apparently I am a fraud!  Hey!  How exciting, now I am labelled as something other than average or invisible!  Not that I have been officially told I am a fraud.  No, that would be to allocate a humanity to me that the Tribunal were incapable of expressing.  It seems that not only am I unimportant enough not to benefit from assistance but they have written to tell my friend this is the case BUT NOT ME!  How hard must it have been for her to have had to tell me over the 'phone? 

So, there you go - you know those headlines that tell you your taxes are being wasted on wastrels; the ne-er do wells, the scroungers, those citizens that can't be arsed to get off their fat backsides and do a day's work? Those who are profligate with their reproduction resources and leech as permanent parasites from the State?  Well according to three honest, upright citizens, I AM ONE OF THEM!   

But!  Wait!  Not only that!  I am also a benefit cheat!  Under the rather wonderful Welfare to Work programme (thanks to the last government) I was encouraged to seek Employment Support Allowance.  Only problem with that was that it was intended for individuals who did not have a job.  I did.  Not only did I have a job but I benefited from generous terms and conditions that saw me through the first part of my illness.  As I went into the zero pay stage under my sick note (oh! sorry that's out of fashion now - they are no longer sick notes but fit notes) I was required to be screened by the wonderfully named Atos on behalf of the DWP, then referred to TNG (for some reason I want to call them TCP) another organisation employed by the DWP to assess me for any training needs I may have to encourage me back into work.  To overcome my illness(es) and continue to contribute to the State.

The training I needed to get back to a job I already had was a diagnosis of one condition and the management of the excruciating pain of another condition to enable me to function nearly normally for a few hours a day.

Injunctions galore signposted the route back into work.  I must do this:  I must comply with that;  I must co-operate with any and all who asked me;  I must share my most intimate secrets with any 18 year old  spotty Kevin or Kevinette who I was directed to.  Failure to meet any such directions would result in hanging, drawing and quartering.  Oh alright then!  I exaggerate - a bit.  Any failure to follow instructions you could not understand would result in benefit being withdrawn.  To complicate matters further, if your ESA is granted on the basis of contributions paid via the National Insurance Tax you are  precluded from seeking financial assistance with things like poll tax.  If, however, it is granted on the grounds of income, then your poll tax is paid in full!!!   So an income 50 pence higher that the minimum set for a person to live on per day trumps four and a half decades of paying contributions.  A calculation process even the most greedy of bankers would have envied. 

I am sure there are people in this Country who are managing to defraud the system; who know the right words to say, who know how to complete the relevant 46 page forms accurately.  People who can adjust their bodies into the rigid boxes that have to be ticked by a faceless policy wonk who has no idea who or what you are.  I almost admire them!  They must be bloody clever to get around the system!  Perhaps it is a skill that could be added to the curriculum so that erstwhile students can add it to their cannon of qualifications.  I, clearly, have failed. Because I was daft enough to believe that TNG were acting in loco DWP and who shared my day to day information with them, and, because I was silly enough to report two weeks early a
proposed adjustment to employment mutually agreed between me and my employer prior to it's formal implementation, I am now marked as a cheat for receiving £282.00 too much money.  Oh and TNG still owe me the £50.00 shopping voucher they promised me for being a good girl and returning to work.

Having striven through the first age and the second age to make a decent life for me and my family, paying all my dues, obeying all the rules, I find myself progressing through to the third age discounted as a human being; called a liar, labelled a cheat and unworthy of help from all the State.    If I was the only one then I could easily mange the rage I feel because after all, if you are called worthless long enough, you do believe it and there is no need to trouble with how others perceive you.  But I am only one.  There is a large, silently suffering population hidden away under the skirts of Mother England. 

Mr Irritable Duncan Smith is quite right!  The feckless and the foolish should be discouraged from milking the state.  However the tools to be used for such a process need to be much finer than the blunt boxing of people into shapes that do not fit them.  The decision process sidelines the GP's report (the one prepared for me clearly detailed my difficulties and my needs so she too must be a liar) the focus isn't even on any additional consultants' reports (ditto previous comment), it is on the ticked boxes, on strict narrow parameters.  Step outside the line by a toe and you are automatically discounted as a cheat and a liar.

Am I vexed!  Am I filled with rage!  Too bloody right I am! Me and half a dozen people involved in my care have been called liars, but worse, thousands more are deprived or dissuaded from seeking help because the authorities cannot manage the handful of thieves who do plunder the system.  Once more the tail wags the dog. I wonder if any of the people who sit on these appeal tribunals ever trouble to reflect and research on their decisions.  Of course not. That would credit them with an empathy they clearly do not possess.

Love and Peace

THE Purple Fairy xxx"

Originally posted here

No comments: