Friday, 30 April 2010

An eventful week

This week is proving to be quite eventful.

It was my birthday on Tuesday which was lovely, Nathan took me down the local pub for a couple of drinks to get me out in the lovely weather we had that day and my best friend June joined us when she had finished work. Nathan got me an amazing bag which is so different and June got me a beautiful shirt from Next and some lovely flowers which are currently filling my room with the most gorgeous smell!
Wednesday was the day I got my DLA decision after waiting 2 months. As much I was expecting the result I think it angered me even more because they haven't even given me a medical. Needless to say I'm appealing and will take it as far as I can go. I also had to go with Charlotte to the hospital as she was called for another 24hr ECG to see how her heart is doing.
Thursday was my first 'pathways to work' meeting at the job centre. The advisor Mick was a lovely chap who explained everything to me and was genuinely shocked about my DLA decision and thought it was ridiculous I was even there as he could see how much I was struggling.  He gave me a bit more insight into the benefit itself, what I can and can't do and I learnt a few things which was good. He was really supportive and even arranged for me to have my travel expenses paid so I was given £5.25 for petrol in cash on the spot which was really nice!  I was also back at the hospital so they could take off Charlottes ECG machine and download the results.
Today I'm off to my mums later if I feel ok to collect my birthday goodies from her and my brother, I'm trying to conserve as much energy as I can as I've had such a busy week and I really want to see my mum, so today will be spent doing as little as possible so hopefully I'm ok to go this evening.
Sunday is another big day, my ESA medical, something I'm dreading and something I'm expecting to appeal like my DLA decision, I'm mostly expecting them to give me a big fat zero on my points so they'll say I'm fit for work. Time will tell.
The good thing about ESA is that they are actually on schedule with me, which considering the stories I read on a daily basis is a rare thing. I'm supposed to have my medical and the result within the first 13 weeks of claiming. I'm now in week 6 so it's going ok. I've read some people being on ESA for 6 months and no sign of a medical so I'm counting myself quite lucky because once the medical is done and the results are back, if I'm (like I should be) placed in either the care group (NO chance) or the working group (most likely) it'll be a raise of about £20 a week in my pocket which I shan't complain about. Before your medical you are on the 'assessment rate' of ESA which is pittance.
My medical is in Northampton which is about a 30-40 minute drive away so I'll be knackered before I even get there, but I was told you can claim petrol money back for going so I'll be making sure I do that!

I also got my letter through from Physiotherapy, there is now space for me so I need to call them to make an appointment. I'm really not sure how it will help me, but I'm not a doctor so I'll go and see how things are.

Please cross your fingers for me on Sunday!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Quelle Surprise.

Got my DLA decision today.

Turned down flat, no mobility component, no care component.

According to them, without even seeing me I can:
Walk up to 50 meters - WRONG
Wash, bathe, shower or dry myself - WRONG
Dress and undress - WRONG
Get up and down stairs - WRONG

I am:
Not at risk of falling - WRONG

I do not need help to:
Use a cooker - WRONG
Carry and lift safely - WRONG
Get in and out of a chair - WRONG

Amongst other things I'm frankly too angry to even type about at the moment.

I'll see them at the tribunal then.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

So pretend you're in a wheelchair...

Once again, a bombshell that could cause huge financial hardship to tens of thousands of claimants has been dropped, virtually unnoticed, by a government minister.
The shock plans, for ‘simplifying’ the work capability assessment for employment and support allowance (ESA) include docking points from amputees who can lift and carry with their stumps. Claimants with speech problems who can write a sign saying, for example, ‘The office is on fire!’ will score no points for speech and deaf claimants who can read the sign will lose all their points for hearing.
Meanwhile, for ‘health and safety reasons’ all points scored for problems with bending and kneeling are to be abolished and claimants who have difficulty walking can be assessed using imaginary wheelchairs
These changes, and many more, have already been approved by the secretary of state for work and pensions but have not yet passed into law. They will affect both ESA claimants and the 1.5 million incapacity benefits claimants waiting to be assessed for ESA.

Read the full story HERE 

I'm scared enough about my medical as it is. When Jeanine came round to help me with my form she told me about some cases she was helping to appeal. One that stuck in my mind was a woman that scored 0 points, one of the reasons for this was that the "doctor" believed she could "walk her dog for 20 minutes a day"....the woman didn't even have a dog.

I got a leaflet put through my door the other day from my local MP (Labour) spewing the usual crap but there was a check box to say you wanted to see him and they would be in touch.
I think I'm going to tick that box and see just want he thinks about the matter because unless he loudly condemns this AWFUL plan then he won't be getting my vote.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

"There's no such word as can't!" ...wanna bet?

It's taken me all afternoon to fill in (what I can) the ESA50 novel form and I could only complete about 20% of it the rest I have to wait to fill in when Jeanine comes over tomorrow.
I find all this form filling in more exhausting than physical activity half the time even when I try and be good to myself by typing my answers and printing them out so Jeanine can do the actual writing on the form for me. My back aches, my fingers ache from typing, I swap from the desktop to the laptop to try and keep the pain down and it mentally drains me because you spend the whole time fighting your built in coping mechanism.
The coping mechanism is the brave face, the 'don't worry about me!' facade, 'yeah, I'm tired but I'm ok' answers, the 'I do it because I have no choice' answers when in reality I haven't eaten or drank all day due to sheer exhaustion or haven't washed my hair for over a week because I didn't have someone to help me and to be perfectly blunt, I look a mess and I stink.
I just can't be that person that says 'I cant do this, this and this' because if I keep saying that I'll stop trying. But you can't be that way when filling out the benefit forms because if you put on your facade and your brave face then they presume you can do all these wonderful and physical things and you get no help.So down comes the facade and the brave face and you're painfully reminded of what exactly you can't do. The list gets longer and longer as you go through the form and the 'Can't's' woefully outnumber the 'Can's' by 20 to 1. Food for thought? More like a whole menu and the dessert list on top, and don't forget the complimentary mint with the bill too...