I, Daniel Blake. – The UK Benefits System.

I know that this sounds a bit odd but I actually cried during the programme. That system was a mess throughout last year. I saw something nearly every day resulting from the benefits system being a complete disaster. I can honestly say that last year was perhaps the worse year I can ever remember for those of us that have been reliant upon benefits. I know that some Tory is going to pop up with a comment stating that we should all work for money. That isn’t always possible for those of us with long term disabilities. I did want to work but everything I tried didn’t work out because of my social anxiety and Autism mixed together. Then there is the issue of lack of experience and my criminal label which also makes it challenging to get a foot in the employment door. I’m also in no fit state to venture down that path after the events of my life. I know that sounds rather lame but it’s true. I can never mentally be the same again after losing my son to adoption. The things I’ve experienced because of my behaviours associated with my Autism/Mental Health have also left mental scars. I literally have nightmares and major anxiety when I have to do social interaction during the day.

Sadly the system has the blood of many Daniel Blakes on their hands. I was fortunate enough to not lose everything before I got my disability benefits (PIP) reinstated. I was on DLA but on the switch over the DWP told me that I didn’t meet the PIP criteria enough to qualify for the replacement benefit. I always knew that I was going to take it all the way to tribunal because I will always have my long term disability. I managed to get into the Support Group for ESA after going to see an assessor. That was still not enough to pay all my bills and rent. I lost a percentage of rent due to being under 35 when I was denied PIP and DLA stopped. I applied to get discretionary housing payments but I never got them approved until October. I only got my appeal in November because I was insistent to HMCT’s admin staff that I could no longer financially afford to wait on the long list. I had been waiting since the beginning of the year after going through Mandatory reconsideration. I had to use the food bank or chose between eating and heating.

selective focus photography of child s hand on person s palm
Photo by Juan Pablo Arenas

However, the unlucky ones are most likely on the streets because they couldn’t afford to eat let alone pay their rent. There are so many homeless people in the city now. The numbers have increased dramatically and this is happening everywhere that benefits like Universal Credit is being introduced. Those of us on income related ESA are petrified of the change over. The DLA to PIP change over has already been stressful for those of us with long term disabilities. Those of us that have never worked won’t have a choice because we haven’t paid enough national insurance contributions within any year period. I’m making sure that I always have enough savings put aside to cope when it comes to these change overs. I have already found out how unwise it is to not have savings after being conned out of them by psychics online. The likes of them will never be getting my money ever again. I’m now very cautious with money because I know how easy things can change and when you’ve not got a job then there is nothing else to rely on.

The whole system is unfit for purpose and ‘I, Daniel Blake’ highlighted this in a very matter of fact way tonight. The sense of the system about to give the guy what he should have been entitled to get all along but it being too late in the end is a huge factor throughout all the current UK systems. Tragic deaths easily preventable if the system had worked quicker and more efficiently. There are so many crisis situations in our current system but all the government are focusing on is Brexit. Meanwhile there’s increasing numbers of homeless people on the streets which is such a major problem it’s becoming noticeable. The government can no longer send the homeless to different areas to make the numbers not appear so large now. The mental health provision is still far from adequate. Those of us that ideally need some form of social care can no longer access even a simple support worker service due to budget cuts. The NHS is stretched over it’s capacity. We are all stuck in a maze of overstretched services who have had their budgets cut to such a minimum that they simply cannot cater for the needs of the UK population.

2 thoughts on “I, Daniel Blake. – The UK Benefits System.

  1. The state of things is horrible at the moment: it’s never been great but has been getting rapidly worse over the last few years. It’s particularly bad because people can’t get the help they need due to failings of the NHS (not all down to lack of resources but often due to poor quality senior managers with entirely insufficient oversight) and then when people need to claim they’re accused of malingering and not doing enough to get better.

    Meanwhile, Brexit is the gift that keeps in giving as an ever-ready excuse to bury bad news and the press are entirely complicit in this as they would rather write about that to the almost total exclusion of other problems which are actually more serious. The politicians responsible for this ideology-based austerity must be laughing their arses off.


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