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19 January 2010 @ 11:06 pm
The DWP  
Today I got a letter from the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions - the people that deal with benefits) saying, essentially, that I don't fulfil their criteria for being unwell, and therefore am no longer entitled to my Employment and Support allowance. And as such have no income whatsoever.



So according to their 'point system' I am a 0 out of the 15 points needed to qualify for benefits.

Now, when I read the letter i cried for half an hour. Cried so much my throat hurt. But now, now I'm just angry.
I have all my life, and still do, like many or most people with mental health problems, struggled with coming to terms with there being something wrong. With the fact that I'm not a 'fail' I'm 'ill' and it's not always going to be like this. And an awful lot of that is because although one in four people suffer from mental health problems, they're incredibly misunderstood and under represented.
And you know what, I also struggle every fucking day with feeling like a fucking failure. I had to leave University. I still live at home. I lost fucking relationships to my mental health problems. I spent months and months in a psychiatric institution because of it.
And it's taken me this long to actually feel like it's not all my fault, it's something that's screwed with me that needs help with.
And then the DWP send me a letter saying, what essentially is, 'you've failed a test you didn't even know you were taking, and no, we didn't consult your doctors. But as far as we're concerned there's nothing wrong with you, get back to work and stop sponging.'
So I failed at even being a failure.

Yes, I can appeal. But tomorrow I'm going to have to phone some faceless telephone person who I'm either going to shout it, which they don't deserve, or cry at, which doesn't help. And fuck me if this doesn't seem like a system that discriminates against those who are most vulnerable.

what the fuck do I have to do to be 'ill' ? Do my scars not show it? My hours of psychiatric appointments? My failed relationships, degrees or hospitalizations for overdoses?
I'm bipolar and have a personality disorder. I also have an eating disorder which I'm in ongoing recovery for and is part of my diagnosis. I.. it feels like what do they want me to do to prove I'm not well? What the fuck am I meant to do?

Fuck this. Fuck. This.
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Any Moment Now: from Sannamirabehn on January 19th, 2010 11:59 pm (UTC)
*hugs you*

sometimes it feels like I should shout at them 'WOULD IT BE EASIER IF I HAD A PHYSICAL DISABILITY?!'

Argh, yes. :-( The prejudice against the mentally ill is as rife in the DWP as anywhere, if not more so. It's a complete disgrace.

Mind you, I have a mental disability and an invisible disability, and my benefit was cut off a few years ago after they decided to ignore all of the physical component in my case (and decided the mental component wasn't bad enough). And then they lost my P45, but that's another story.

Graceless Lady: Misc - Rick Dagelsslandfill_sky on January 20th, 2010 12:07 am (UTC)
Oh sweetheart, that's awful.

I've had to spend the evening being reassured by Gemma and family that this is an incomplete analysis which can be altered.
But like I say it feels like they're telling mentally ill people 'we can't see your problem so it doesn't count' and my LJ friends have helped more than I can say.