I watched the above documentary earlier this evening. Unfortunately, I am unable to link it due to the program not being available on demand. I have talked about the benefit system in regard to disabled people (myself included) on multiple occasions via the blog. That is due to how anxious the whole system makes me. I have my review coming up in the next 18 months for both ESA and PIP. It terrifies me in case all my money is dropped like it was in 2018 when they last did an annual review.
I had to fight the entire year to get them back and only managed to do it in that time period due to the tribunal accepting my case on an urgent hearing request. The list was so long without putting in for that option; they literally estimated over a years more waiting time on the phone. I managed to get into ESA support group on their review two months before I won my PIP tribunal which helped reinstate some of my rent allowance because being under 35 at the time I was only entitled to a single room rate when they took my disability premiums away. As soon as I was told that I weren’t disabled enough to claim PIP after they discontinued DLA (which I had been granted indefinitely as a teenager) the rest of the things I was granted due to that earlier ’indefinite’ decision was swiftly stopped overnight.
I put a copy of my first PIP refusal letter on here. They basically said that I wasn’t disabled in any of the qualifying categories. The person that did my assessment was a physiotherapist who had no idea about autism or mental health. I didn’t really have the strength to fight whatever nonsense came back written in their evaluation. I only fought the decision due to already being primed up ready for my turn when the system got to reviewing my benefit entitlement from the DLA phase out process.
I had to go to two major cities (isn’t easy for me to do on public transport due to anxiety so it was fortunate I could just about afford to still run my car). I was taken to the initial PIP assessment in Birmingham by a support worker that barely knew me who I got through the probation service after getting into trouble. I was not even prepared to drive there as it is a huge city and I had no idea where the Capita offices were. Later I found out that someone else local had to go to Leicesters Capita office which would have been so much more convenient for me.
Luckily, when it came to the ESA review and PIP tribunal hearing it was in Leicester which at least was familiar surroundings to me. I had to keep using the phone to check on things which really sky-rocked my anxiety. Many of us with lifelong conditions have tried to put pressure on the system to grant PIP on an indefinite basis instead of having review dates that induce a load of stress on those of us that already have a stressful existence living with our disabilities affects. ESA is due to be phased out (the non-contributory one for those that have never had employment) so my next review is going to consist of being terrified that I will get pushed onto Universal credit. Some people have been put on to the new style ESA but they were physically disabled rather than just suffering mental health issues etc. It is highly doubtful that anyone from the government will even read blogs by disabled people. 35% of the public apparently see us all as a burden. I may have never been employed a day in my life but everything I have done was voluntary and I never expected payment. I am disabled, that affects my ability to function, yes, however, I am by no means a scrounger! That attitudes is the one that pisses me off the most and fuels negative attitudes against those of us unable to hold down employment.