I haven’t had the Brown Envelope of Doom yet, but today is the day my PIP benefit is paid into the bank and it would appear I’m being paid around £70 less than I’ve been getting over the past three years despite my illness being worse than it was when I was initially assessed. I’m on more medication, under a psychologist and a nurse, visited A&E a bunch of times and have a different diagnosis for fucks sake.
I’m fortunate to at least be still getting money, unlike so many other folks in the UK who are being so horribly let down by Capita and the DWP that are losing their money completely. I’m also looking at more sustainable ways to support myself through my art and other creative means – because, just like I said to the Woman From Capita, I have tried working a job like A Normal Person and apparently I just can’t do it like I’m supposed to. And of course, I have the support of Husband and my family, but it still makes me angry that someone has read what someone else has written about me and decided that somehow I am less entitled to this benefit. I claim no other benefits and would love to be able to support myself fully through employment. There are thousands of disabled people out there, physically and mentally that would love nothing more than to be able to get out of the house and go to work like everyone else does.
PIP is a piss-poor substitute for the former Disability Living Allowance that used to be awarded to those living with a disability. When you’re on Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA) you are entitled to help with your housing costs, free prescriptions, dental and eye care. Prescriptions aren’t cheap, especially with the cost being per item rather than prescription. You have to pay for prescriptions on PIP, despite the benefit being for those who might actually require more than a few medications and treatments. How does that even make sense? If you get PIP but not ESA, you can say goodbye to living independently, you won’t be able to afford it. Nobody asked to be disabled, and yet here we are.
There is a very big problem in the UK right now, and it is that our government is working against people with less visible illnesses such mental illnesses. George Freeman, aide to the PM and No. 10 policy unit head said this to the BBC just last month;
“These tweaks are actually about rolling back some bizarre decisions by tribunals that now mean benefits are being given to people who are taking pills at home, who suffer from anxiety,” he said. “We want to make sure we get the money to the really disabled people who need it.”
This coming from a man who says he too has suffered from anxiety and depression his childhood. Benefits might cost the government money, but compassion is free you dick.
Nothing will really change for me when the Brown Envelope Of Doom finally arrives. But I’m angry all the same. And so I should be. People are being punished for not meeting the criteria that a government of able-minded and able-bodied politicians has come up with. We are supposed to jump their hoops all just to save them a bit of money. Oh, I’m sorry you find my mental illness inconvenient for your budget, it’s not like hard-working British pay taxes to a system that is supposed to be for those who need it. I guess it’s easy to forget that when the suits in charge are pissing that money away on things we didn’t ask for.
How has the DWP let you down? Is Capita worse than its predecessor ATOS? How does your disability affect you financially? Please comment on this post or send me a private message, I’m really interested in hearing stories from other folks on this fuckery.
Here’s the best kind of therapist you’ll ever see on the internet;