A lose-lose situation: the DWP’s Catch 22.

2015-09-23 13.05.22Last time I wrote about having my Personal Independence Payment assessment I said it felt like an exam I had to pass. As it turns out, this time I seem to have failed.

Yep, after doing my renewal application for my PIP, I was declined. I was half expecting this anyway but it still came as a shock. So now comes the mandatory reconsideration period and the appeals process. I’ve also requested a copy of my assessment to see if it’s as comedic as the last one was.

As an ill person, the expectations the DWP have of me are a bit confusing. I’m told that in order to be a productive member of society I have to work, that working is the best option for everyone and that their aim is to get everyone working. Yet, as soon as I try and be productive and proactive, I’m told I’m not ill enough to be receiving any help. Which means you cannot win. You cannot be productive while also being ill as the DWP don’t have a box for that. You can’t be a professional, an educated person because if you’re able to be educated and have a profession then you’re clearly not ill. The truth, as it always is, is far, far more complicated than that.

Me doing an MA does not means I don’t still have chronic pain. The fact I can write a blog entry doesn’t mean I won’t have to go to sleep for the afternoon due to chronic fatigue. Reading a book doesn’t mean I don’t need my pain medication. You’re told to be productive yet that means you’re not ill. If you’re ill you’re told you have to be productive.

No win.

27 Comments on “A lose-lose situation: the DWP’s Catch 22.”

  1. The DWP are Kafkaesque …

    Definition of KAFKAESQUE

    : of, relating to, or suggestive of Franz Kafka or his writings; especially : having a nightmarishly complex, bizarre, or illogical quality

  2. […] Source: A lose-lose situation: the DWP’s Catch 22. | EmsyBlog […]

  3. AndyH says:

    Well done on blogging about it – the more people know about this stuff the better – newspapers, MPs, forums, blogs – we have to break down the wall of silence.

  4. I can empathise as the same just happened to me. It seems that if you are intelligent and do not have learning difficulties, you cannot be ill. Their assessment criteria does not make sense to me. I feel things that counted against me were the fact I know how to get from a to b (not going to lie about that as it’s clear from speaking to me I’m capable of understanding) but it didn’t seem to matter that I couldn’t actually undergo the journey and I couldn’t travel by public transport due to my symptoms. There were a few other points that left me frustrated too. I have looked at ESA and feel the same thing will happen– I don’t think I can bring myself to go through all of the stresss and rigmarole that comes with it. It seems I don’t have the “right” illness when it comes to getting help from the UK government.

    • Emsy says:

      I want to be productive and do things because I WANT to have stuff to do, and I find ways to make it fit around my illness. My life fits around my illness, not the other way around, but it seems that if you have any semblance of a life then they take it to mean you can’t be that ill.

      • Absolutely. There are ways to make life work for you but it doesn’t mean you aren’t really restricted in what you can do. It just means you have learned to adapt. What other option do we have? Do nothing and be miserable? It is frustrating that you are penalised for being like this

  5. tipsforme says:

    There is a scary no man’s land between being so obviously ill you deserve benefits for it and being well enough for employers to think it would be sensible to employ you. My ATOS assessment for ESA was quite clear cut because I couldn’t even lift my legs. If you have chronic health issues that don’t limit you walking 50-200m it becomes a lot trickier. I’ve never had to cut back on working because of how far I can walk (if that was the only issue I’d get an electric wheelchair and in an accessible office there would be no problem). It’s much harder to work with brainfog, fatigue, constant viral symptoms, aching all over, dizziness etc etc.

    • Emsy says:

      It is. I haven’t worked for a couple of years but the fact I’ve been doing my MA (slowly, at home, in my PJs, resting) seemed to indicate I was fully functional. It’s always more complicated than they make it out to be.

  6. Spoonydoc says:

    I’m a bit at a loss for words, so sorry if this is clumsy. I just want to send you a hug and wish you strength and courage to appeal this decision. On the positive side I imagine you have a strong case since you were awarded it before. I just wish you didn’t have to go through this.

    • Emsy says:

      Thanks 🙂 I know it’ll be fine, I’m alright with dealing with this kind of stuff luckily. Once I have a “list of things to do” I can be all productive and feel like I’m achieving something.

  7. jeffrey davies says:

    dont forget to complain about that highly trained hcp jeff3

  8. sasson1 says:

    Reblogged this on Sasson Hann and commented:
    Reblogged on (after seeing on Vox Political first): https://sassonhann.wordpress.com/

    Comment: Yes, a ‘catch 22’ indeed! You used to be encouraged to pursue a professional career; they would allow you to study part time for that, but no longer I’m afraid.

    No matter that PIP like DLA is supposed to be an ‘in work’ benefit; you can even claim it if you’re eligible for JSA for goodness sakes. No, now you have to be completely disabled, and then some, and then some more. OK paraplegic. Oops they’re being found fit for work too. Learning Difficulties with a mental age of 4? Nah, you’re just not sick enough; you’re swinging the lead mate.

    This is where disability benefits are headed. If you can attend a part time course, you’re fit to work part time doing something; it doesn’t matter if you’re working towards something that will mean you can survive on part time wages (as a professional or with a certain skill). It doesn’t matter if you cannot go onto the work programme, you’ll have to attend their ‘ready for work’ courses, not studying for actual qualifications.

    And there was always going to be a 3rd section that the DWP would put you in. In their document ’21st Century Welfare’ it said that those who are found fit for work, but who aren’t fit enough to claim JSA, then these people ‘will have to find their own means of support’.

    Now come on, you know that you have that trust fund tucked away somewhere now don’t you. Or a wealthy relative; I mean EVERYONE has a wealthy auntie or uncle don’t they?

    Kafkaesque Catch 22.

  9. Reblogged this on perfectlyfadeddelusions and commented:
    That is fucked up, we are now robots and slaves that have numbers instead of names. When I say numbers I mean how much we are worth to the government.

    It’s fucking sick.

  10. I’ve just been going through this and thanks to a strongly worded letter from my GP, I got an award during the mandatory re evaluation but I’m writing to my MP about it because they need as many people as possible to tell them how messed up the system is. I would suggest you do the same if you can. Wishing you luck for a good outcome as soon as possible

    • Emsy says:

      Thank you 🙂 I’ve asked for a copy of the assessment to be sent to me so I can go through it, say exactly which bits are a load of rubbish and then I’m going to send it to the DWP for mandatory reconsideration AND copy it to my MP. I’m sorry you’ve had to go through this too and I’m really glad you finally got it!!

  11. ravenswyrd1 says:

    Reblogged this on Ramblings of a Fibro Fogged Mind and commented:
    A problem many of us who study or work a little face… Dxxx

  12. Fizzbw says:

    I’m so sorry you are going through this, it’s ridiculous. Have you looked up to see what the pass rate in your constituency is? According to Benefits and Work there’s a huge difference – just might be added ammunition for your MP.

    I daren’t make a claim for PIP, I was refused DLA as apparently chronic severe pain doesn’t need any additional adjustments….people keep saying I should try but I’m afraid of my ESA Support Group being looked at. I only got that when migrated due to my (now ex) MP.

    I’m so fed up of the way we are treated, and you say it so well, it’s so scary being able, lucid and well educated and being able to hold it together so you look “normal”. Very few see the real situations, not even many of my closest friends. When you are disabled/ill in the DWPs view, you don’t have happy, you don’t have positive, you don’t have any kind of life or quality of life. I find the whole process deeply depressing and it leaches the determined build up of my positive thinking and not allowing myself to dwell on the pile of shit my life really is. It’s dangerous and very harmful.

    • Emsy says:

      It’s horrific, and the fact that people are afraid to claim things they are entitled to is a clear indication of the fear and suspicion sick and disabled people live under.

      If you can find somewhere that will help you apply for PIP I would always say it’s worth it. We shouldn’t be scared to ask for help we’re entitled to but of course that’s much easier said than done. Thank you for your comment. 🙂

    • Campertess says:

      Like Fizzbw I am also concerned about applying for pip….I am just thankful that I got ESA Support Group & don’t want to push for anything else I don’t know if I could take the stress of another assessment anyway. Good luck Emsy in your MA 👍

  13. […] Source: A lose-lose situation: the DWP’s Catch 22. […]

  14. wildthing666 says:

    The DWP, whether assessing for PIP or ESA, do not work by the rules they made for the benefits, it’s up to the claimant to produce the evidence but at the same time they state that they will contact anyone named on the PIP or ESA50 forms. I have found that the best way is to get your medical records and send them a copy of only the relevant stuff for your illness as well as info from a website you can hide the fact it’s off a website by changing your header and footer to CUSTOM and putting in your NAME, POSTCODE & NINO (national insurance number), this with selective info from your medical records can work wonders if you attend F2F assessments£45.49 just for broadband, certainly dearer than the £26 plus line rental I pay.

  15. […] September 21st 2015 I had a letter telling me my Personal Independence Payments had been stopped after my re-assessment. On 12th October, I put in a written request for mandatory reconsideration of my […]

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