Benefits Change Everything

Yesterday was a big day for people who claim ESA (Employment Support Allowance). There was big debate in the House Of Commons about upcoming changes to the way the people who are claiming the benefit are tested. For more information about the changes read the (as always) excellent Diary Of A Benefit Scrounger . Sue Marsh lays out the changes and explains why the changes are going to be so devastatingly bad for disabled people.

Last year I made a promise that I was going to become more active in a more political way. At that time I was in a pretty good place and my benefit claim had been settled and I was ready to take the fight head on. I wanted to try and make a difference. I didn’t exactly achieve my goal but I was more active last year that I had been before.

Fast forward to the start of the Autumn last year and disabled politics took over the headlines again and things started to ramp up again. I started takiing more interest and I retweeted tweets and I read and commented on blog posts. Looking back it was a fairly lame attempt at getting involved. I knew the issues and I gave them a passing glance. As the year came to a close my health was taking a turn for the worse and I started to close down again. Weeks went by when I didn’t even open my Twitter clients and when I did I would usually just skip over the majority of tweets that had accumalated between my visits and maybe keep up for an hour or two and then I’d leave again for however long it was until I got curious again.

Now the debate rages again. Changes are afoot and I find myself getting those same pangs in my gut that I got when the talk of changing from Incapacity Benefit to ESA. It’s a messed up situation. DLA is being scrapped in favour of Personal Indipendance Payments and Work Capability Assessments are being reviewed and things are starting to worry me again.

Money is tight at the moment for everyone. At home here it’s crazy, I don’t think we (as a family) have been this broke. I don’t say this for pity or anything like that. This is just a plain fact. Circumstances are such here that Linda’s benefit is lumped with my benefit and she has just been sent the forms to fill out for a reassessment by ATOS. I am unsure what they are going to reassess her for as she has been told that she is no longer eligeble for benefits as she had claimed for over a year, hence why I am claiming for her on my claim. It’s a screwed up situation and to be honest it has added to my stress levels.

I read around on Wednesday about the upcoming debate yesterday and I got lost in my head about what “could be” and “what will be” and it scared the living crap out of me. I lost my internal shit and realised that I really was spiralling back into that place that put my Mental Health in a shocking state when I was being changed over. I have had to step back. I am making the choice not to get into the state I got into last time. I feel I am moving forward in making steps to get me out of the mire that has built up around me and my family for the past 8 or so years. I can’t afford anything to derail this plan.

To those brave campaigners, you have my full support but for now, it has to be silent support.

Until Next Time…

5 comments

  1. My hubby received his first letter today and is a wreck. They said that they will be in contact within 2 weeks. Like yourself, Paul, he has been following it closely especially with all the media attention. Normally I don’t go into the doctor with Adam (I trust his doc!) but I will be going with him to his interview. I’m expecting the worst as everyone seems to have to appeal the decisions made and I expect we will end up in a total nightmare with it.

    • Hi Sonya,

      The only real advice I can give that I have found useful is switch the news off. I know it sounds like putting the blinkers on after the fact but trying to minimise your exposure to all the crap that is floating about, it really did help me.

      I hope things improve for you both.

      • I totally agree and I’ll be sending him over here tomorrow to read your post. I have told him for months to try and put it out of his mind, as when it happens we will just have to deal with it. It is a worry, I know, but sometimes you do have to bury your head in the sand. We knew it would happen one day but we didn’t know if it would be weeks or even a year or two down the road. I’m so glad that you posted this as so many are worrying about this.