DWP ‘dirty tricks’ target welfare and disability rights campaigners?

Are the DWP using crude and underhand tactics to silence their critics and opponents?

by Gail Ward

I’m not normally a great believer in conspiracy theories generally, but we have exposed them (the Department for Work and Pensions) many times before for playing dirty tricks to deny claimants their rightful entitlements.

And we are witnessing a Government department, devoid of any compassion and understanding, who have seemingly gone rogue with more than a few questionable (sometimes unlawful) methods and practices.

So instructions must have come from the top and filtered through to managers to instruct staff on procedures. Or is it that the staff think they are administering social security payments as if it was coming out their own pockets, filled with prejudices instilled in them by the wild claims that people are fiddling the system and must be stopped at all costs? Especially given the recent damning report by UN Rapporteur Phillip Alston?

I have heard numerous stories over the last few months, where people are being denied their claims only to win on appeal.

This leaves them at risk of debt, homelessness, and isolation. Tales of the disastrous Universal Credit project leave many unable to pay their way and forced to turn to food banks in their droves.

Worse still, some claim that their children have been taken into care because they are deemed unable to meet the child’s basic needs, often due to benefit sanctions or income removal – some have even taken their own lives.

THIS HAS TO STOP!

I am now finding myself in the same position after many years claiming ESA and PIP, finding myself looking into the abyss.

Many Claimants are now in the process of being transferred from DLA to PIP, or from ESA to UC.

I had my letter informing me that I was subject to a DLA to PIP transfer, so dutifully I rang and started the process and was sent a PIP form to complete which had to be completed by a set date. I wasn’t too concerned with my medical problems.

I was diagnosed with a rare type of angina (Prinzmetals ) earlier in 2004 which was also causing me massive problems when a neighbour found me in the garden on the floor among washing I had planned to put on washing line.

I am in and out hospital like a blue ass fly due to attacks ever since. I have been partially since 2008 due to Cataracts, which came on very suddenly after major abdominal surgery later in 2004.

Four subsequent major surgeries and recurrent sepsis to rectify my first surgery resulted in a botch job which almost cost me my life. This left me chronically disabled.

In 2005 I had my first TIA ( Transcient Cerebal Isachemia) and I have had others since.

Furthermore, I was diagnosed with Congenital Bilateral Hip Dysplasia in 2014 after years of complaining about hip pain which was impacting on my walking ability.

I have a list other medical issues on top of all this which are so sensitive that I don’t want the whole world knowing about.

Despite this, and against all the odds, I’m still here fighting my corner in spite of being in constant pain.

In September 2018 I suffered a Retinal Eye Tear, which thanks to the quick thinking by my Opthalmologist I was sent for emergency surgery the same day to save my good eye, which had been fixed in 2008 with a new lens and becoming temporarily totally blind it was a bit of a shock I can tell you.

Anyway in October, I had my assessment and this ATOS assessor (Nurse) was obsessed with my ability to still legally be able to drive and I challenged her thinking during the assessment. Yes It is legal to drive with one eye if you pass the visual tests to DVLA standards.

I hadn’t been driving of late much as I broke my wrist in Feb and was in plaster for 6 weeks and the retinal tear also held life back a bit and had to get friends and neighbours to ferry me to my eye appointments. I requested a copy of the assessors report three times during October as I didn’t trust them one but – call it a gut feeling.

Lo-and-behold I get a compliance interview after someone reported me maliciously about my mobility issues, which was dismissed not for the first time. I firmly the assessor was to blame this time, because I had challenged her, not that I can prove it as they can accuse you of anything and you have no right to know who, or defend yourself against these malicious lies.

Then suddenly, by some miracle after numerous attempts to obtain my report, it lands on the mat. Well, as I read through it I began to feel absolute rage that it was full of inaccuracies and assumptions based on the assessors own prejudices.

When I emailed them for all info they hold I received a message left on phone saying anything over 6 years is destroyed. My award was for 10 years – call my cynical.

The Fight Goes On

Naturally, I will fight this all the way. However the consequences of the report are far ranging. It will result result in no award being made for either mobility and care.

It will almost certainly mean a huge drop in income and the removal of my only means of staying independent. But it will also affect my ESA award with removal of SDP and disability premiums, which will be another significant loss of income and most likely lead to a review of my support group status on ESA.

If this happens that could trigger a new assessment (likely) and change of circumstances, and removal of transitional protections in moving me onto Universal Credit, which has just gone full service in my area, plunging me into debt and destitution and unable to pay my way or eat.

So my question is, is this a deliberate attempt to target claimants to remove transitional protections when migrated to UC, together with the removal of SDP, so they pay out less long term and shift as many as possible onto UC?

There certainly something fishy going on. I’m been a leading welfare and disability rights activist for the last 10 years and don’t believe this to be a coincidence.

Are you a welfare or disability rights campaigner and believe you have been singled out for mistreatment when attempting to claim social security benefits? Get in touch: info@welfareweekly.com

 

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