Disability, Health and politics, Mama mifsud blog, mental health, Politics, The DWP series PIP DLA

The waiting game.

It has been three weeks since I sent off my mandatory reconsideration, and it’s felt like years. I am stuck in limbo, unsure what my next move will be, I can do nothing more until I know my fate. The anxiety builds with each day that the post arrives, and I find myself sending my husband and kids to check far too regularly if there is another fat brown envelope waiting for me. From what I have read, I’ll know by the size of the envelope- a thin one is good news, a fat one is terrible, as it will contain the forms for a tribunal. The statistics I’m finding show a 50% overturn at mandatory reconsideration, then an 85% overturn at tribunal of PIP cases.

What a waste of money that is to the taxpayer.

You would think someone in a position of power would have noticed that there is a fundamental flaw in the new system, if so many decisions are being overturned? From both sides of the coin, the applicant and the decision maker, the process is ludicrous. Extremely time consuming, stressful and costly. All this money being ‘saved’, must be being spent twice as fast on staffing and legal costs to deal with so many cases. The complete lack of ability to look at the bigger picture by government agencies baffles me. It’s pretty simple maths… We have cut (saved) x amount but will be spending y (legal costs) + z (staffing) + b ( NHS on extra medical support based on decision x)  creating an increased cost to the taxpayer.

I am no mathematician but the figures don’t add up.

The more I read about austerity and welfare cuts, the more furious I get. 12-15 billion welfare cuts have been earmarked, with pensions protected (roughly half the welfare bill) the targets are all aimed at the vulnerable including working low income families. Currently 80 billion pounds is not being paid in corporate tax. 100 billion pound has been earmarked for trident, the nuclear armed submarines that patrol our waters, which most of Britain don’t want. We have evolved into a peace loving country generally. We learnt from the Blair years and are still on the journey to find the balance between helping those in need, and warmongering, but at least it’s on the table.

It’s a conversation that is actually happening.

It just seems ludicrous to be taking from people that have so little, when some big businesses aren’t paying their dues. I have spoken to plenty of small business owners that are taking the hit personally, to ensure their staff are ok, still paying their people and tax, why can’t the multimillion corporations do the same? After all they can afford to. My experiences have been part of a much bigger picture, one where the citizens of Britain have been convinced the devil doesn’t exist.

The enemy are people like me.

And immigrants.

I simply can’t get my brain to process how many people still choose to live in ignorant bliss, believing the hate spreading, becoming increasinly fearful of an enemy that isn’t really that much of a problem. You have seen my picture and learnt a bit about me by now. Do I seem like a person to be scared of? Am I the reason this country is in chaos?

Do I deserve to be punished and fearful for my future?

I spoke with an amazing lady last night, whose daughter has similar but different challenges to me. It was a mutually beneficial conversation where we shared our experiences of the NHS (amazing) and the DWP (horrific). She told me that she hasn’t told anyone before the intimacies of her journey as she feels ashamed, and judged. This poor woman, a proud mother of three, has an incredibly sick child who some days appears normal. The stress of having a child as ill as I am, I can’t imagine. I have always had profound respect for my parents for surviving my childhood, seperatly but intact. There was no support back then for them, and again the NHS, the unsung hero, has hugely increased the medical and mental health input that can be accessed as a patient or carer in the last 30 years.

This woman doesn’t deserve to feel judged or ashamed.

Neither do I.

We both have such huge physical, emotional and mental battles in our lives that will never end. We can not win them. The journey will be fraught, and full of highs and lows, but there is no negotiation with chronic lifelong illness, it is an utterly one sided battle.

We both know the ending.

To be forced to fight for what little we have seems so utterly wrong. I choose not to engage in self pity mostly, but seeing someone else’s case made me realise just how horrific what me and many others are going through is. I’ve spent weeks now feeling sick, stressed, not sleeping, being ill and totally uncertain of my future. I’m incredibly lucky to have been offered so much support, but I can’t put any of it into action until I know where I stand. My mind is constantly full of what ifs, trying to do the maths and work out the reality of what we face next, and what I can do to make it as easy as possible on my kids and us.

I feel utterly lost, adrift at sea.

Waiting, unable to help myself, to be saved.

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