DWP, IB and me.
- 22 Jan 08, 3:00 PM
I'm waiting for an envelope. Well waiting for the contents of an envelope, to be more accurate. But the envelope is what I'm on the look-out for. An envelope in that fetching shade of brown, with my full name printed in that attractive government standard font, peeking out from behind its little plastic window. They seem to delight in letting the world know my middle name. My fate resides inside the envelope. Am I to be summoned to a medical examination or simply left to get on with my life, incapacity benefit intact? Not to be pessimistic but I get the feeling that the latter is a bit of a pipe dream. I shall be summoned to the ridiculous medical examination to discuss all of my invisible symptoms. They may as well call it a medical interrogation. No examination is going to help them assess my physical capabilities.
I have a hate-hate relationship with the DWP. Yes, I'm grateful for the benefits I receive. I'm glad there is a welfare state. But for goodness sake they need to get their act together and recognise that there are numerous illnesses and conditions for which their forms and examinations are about as relevant as a mobile phone to a hedgehog.
I loathe those forms with every atom of my being! Do they not understand that a disability can vary from day to day? Who knows if tomorrow I'll be able to pick up and carry a 2.5kg bag of potatoes? I seem to have to fill in every 'More information' section on the whole form to clarify and explain my answers. I have no problem walking up and down stairs - actually, I do have a problem walking up and down stairs but none of your options are applicable to me! It's blinking depressing having to think through every aspect of my life and how it is difficult for me without then having to formulate it into some sort of coherent paragraph that the lackeys at the DWP will understand. It's like talking to a small child - I have to spell it out to them, one syllable at a time!
I just about survived filling the Incapacity Benefit forms this time round but DLA still eludes me. Early last year I had a severe relapse and decided that it was worth my applying for it again. Before I had reached page four, my will to live had started to eye the exits and a few minutes later it made a beeline for the front door. Sad to say, I gave up. The stress of the whole exercise was too much for me in the state of health that I was. Even with my mum's help I just couldn't deal with it. David Cameron may be planning to cut the number of IB claimants but he needs to look further than that. The whole system needs a radical overall; starting with new, relevant forms for those of us with fluctuating disabilities.
All those in favour, say aye!
• Visit Ponderings and Ruminations