Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Money is far from the only reason for appealing.

So I’m appealing against my claim for benefits being rejected.

This whole business started for me in June last year. I had a call from DWP today. My appeal will probably be heard in July/August/September this year.

Let’s just assume that I’m as ill as I say I am, subject to ‘moderately severe’ and often ‘severe’ depression: 15 months kept hanging around, you might agree, is not just intolerable but actively cruel.

Obviously, the most immediate issue is money. (Last week, I cracked a tooth, which I do quite often, since I grind my teeth badly in my sleep. Do I pay for tooth, food or heating? At the moment, I can go for two out of the three.)

But subsistence is not the only reason for my appeal. In the long term it may not even be the most important.

Reasons to fight:

1. I need the money. Of course.

2. A matter of principle. I have a contract with the government, and I did my part for three decades. Now they’re reneging.

3. Anger. When I was a child, my condition was treated negligently – and dismissed – even though I was in real trouble by the time I was 15. [The nearest I got to a diagnosis was to be told – out of the blue and on no basis - that I suffered from a masturbation complex: half a century on, I’m still reduced to gibbering fury by that...] As recently as 1990 I was told by a GP that there was no such thing as depression, and by another to ‘pull myself together’. In recent years, at last, I started to get the support I desperately needed.

The trouble is that I thought attitudes to mental health conditions had changed...

4. One of the problems with being ill is that I find it very difficult to focus. There is a number 4, but while writing the first three I’ve completely forgotten what it is. I’ll fill it in if it comes back to me. How in tarnation I’m meant to organise my appeal, I have no idea.

There’s a number 5, too: that, before all this started, I was taking active steps to get myself off benefits under my own steam, and DWP has squashed that completely. I want to write at length about this, but when I’m a bit less ill, so please ignore it for now.

Now DWP, on the basis of a short interview by a physiotherapist (why not an architect, or a professor of ancient languages?), has told me that there’s nothing wrong with me – in almost so many words that I’m lying. I am back to where I was at 15, treated like a waster. And I can’t – and won’t – forgive them for it.


It may be that Duncan Smith believes that I should be disposed of... [Funnily enough, I would accept that viewpoint as rational, if a bit National Socialist.. At least I could fight it.] He is, after all, doing everything to encompass my death. But while he and his would be far too cowardly to come out and say it, I am willing to stake what little honour I have left that there are MPs who secretly - or not so secretly - believe exactly that.

To be continued.

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