I have been unable to work for a few years now and am in receipt of ESA and PIP.
I am nervous about writing this because I may be targeted by the DWP and Jobcentre. This likely would result in my benefits being removed or at best suspended.
I have several chronic illnesses that make life difficult and at times more than challenging. I live with constant pain, and though occasionally people will see me about looking as if I am what is perceived as ‘normal’ and living my life, most of my days are simply existing with the pain, the exhaustion and sadly the soiling my illnesses cause.
I get very low and often so suicidal that I sit with several insulin pens in my hands fighting to find reason to stay alive. One day I may very well lose that battle.
I also become scared of answering the phone or worse the door. Keeping my curtains closed in order to hide from the postman or the rest of the world.
Anxiety and depression often develop alongside chronic illness, for me, the only person I can truly talk about, illness stripped me of my strength, dignity, purpose and worth. It isolated me from friends and strained my family relationships even beyond breaking point. It allowed my children’s mother to describe me as a useless cripple to my kids and others.
Britain judges me and hundreds of thousands of others as scroungers, living off their money. Not contributing to society. My journey was one of working, college, university, and developing my career. I started out working in a belt and brace factory in Manchester, driving buses in Manchester, Wales and Derbyshire, with youth work, residential care work and finally child protection Social Work to management level.
My career was my life, after my kids. When ill health stole it from me along with most of the other things I held dear I thought I could never be of any ‘use’ again.
My path was my own, others have similar or different ones, some may continue to undertake some work, some folk may have never been able to work. The point of national insurance (NI) and tax is to ensure all in society, whether they have been able to contribute or not should be able to live a safe, nurturing, happy and worthwhile life. At least for all those years I paid into the system it’s what I was led to believe.
I now realise I will never be able to work for anyone else, my health issues ensure that I cannot plan to work one day to the next. I can have two or three good days then spiral down for a month.
I can however possibly commit to complete a court report over a six or eight week period. That may give me the option of setting up as an independent social worker. There is a bit more to it but that’s the gist of my current thinking.
I needed more information about what support would be there and how my benefits (entitlements as its not a benefit) would be effected.
I called the Jobcentre on their 0800 number and was on hold for forty minutes. My call was then answered. I was despite the wait still in good spirits as finally there maybe some hope that I once again would be able to contribute towards the people of the UK and pay something back once more.
I explained the reason for my call and was promptly told by an officious nameless female voice that I need to go into the job centre. Well again I cannot yet make appointments, especially at this time of year, I therefore asked that after the forty minute wait upon the phone for her please not to just fob me off. Her answer was to snarl (only word to describe her demeanour) “I am not fobbing you off”. I asked her to change her attitude and suggested I may be recording the call and was sure the press would be interested in the manner she dealt with people. She said “if your recording this I will hang up” and she did so.
If I had been at my lowest ebb this would have destroyed me.
This was a civil servant employed to work with vulnerable people. There is no way to complain and if you do you become ridiculed.
A few months ago I had phoned the DWP and was again after a substantial wait explaining to a male worker how the additional PIP assessment process was making me want to kill myself, the line was quiet as if he had hung up but then came back to life with him laughing to an unknown collegue about a photo someone was sending around their office. It was only the intervention of a friend that stopped me ending my life there and then.
I am so far lucky that I a here to moan about the way I am being treated, over a hundred and fifty thousand others are not. They have died through the callous actions of these vile people.
It’s not only the Jobcentre staff that are horrific to the vulnerable, I have had abusive behaviour from the police, I have been attacked three times due to my disabilities and daring to use my crutches in public. The police accepted it was hate crime, but failed to act. I have been called names such as scrounger or cripple by members of the public and my ex wife.
Today’s society is truly abusive towards anyone seen as vulnerable. I saw it as a social worker in the communities of England and Wales, but never realised just how truly terrible it is.
We are singled out by programs such as Benefits Britain, Kyle and the like, which make out that folks with disabilities are scroungers, thieves and fraudsters. The press villifies the poor and who they see as weak easy targets. They create anger at those who cannot defend themselves, from the homeless, the mentally and physically ill, the poor, the refugees, the list goes on.
Why? Because whilst you are angry at us you no longer focus upon those who really steal from society. I won’t point fingers, work it out for yourselves, but if it’s not the sick, disabled, weak, poor then who is it? Who is forming your opinions? Who is allowing these modern day SS administrators to behave like they do? Who rewards their inhumanity?
This has been my experience to date after four years of illness. I cannot begin to imagine what it will be like for those who have always lived this life, that will continue to be dealt with as if we disabled are scum.