I have multiple disabilities. As well as long term mental and learning disabilities, I developed a pain condition over a year ago, which prevented me working for 6 months at it’s worst. It means I need to use a wheelchair most days and I struggle with many basic care tasks.
Cuts to the NHS meant it took over 9 months to be diagnosed and seen by a pain specialist. Applying for disability benefits require evidence as to diagnosis and prognosis of the problem. Faster diagnosis would have enabled me to apply for access to work sooner and enabled me to return to part-time work sooner. Faster diagnosis would have also enabled me to apply for PIP sooner and could have stopped me losing 20% of my body weight from being unable to feed myself.
I was only able to apply for these benefits due to support from a dedicated supporter at ReEmploy who assisted me in staying in work. Due to cuts, he has now lost his job and ReEmploy is no longer offering continued support after you get a job. Without this support, I strongly doubt I would have been able to navigate the access to work taxi system or been able to continue working at all. I would be attempting to claim ESA instead.
It is likely that applying for ESA on top of PIP might have killed me. Applying for PIP caused a dramatic worsening of my mental health, to the point of strong suicidal impulses, due to the lies and refusal to acknowledge my diagnoses in my medical evidence by the assessor.
I need mental health treatment, but I am not ill enough to need inpatient treatment and am too ill for the only outpatient depression service. Cuts to CMHT mean there is no service available to address my health issues, all they can offer is to monitor until my condition changes.
Cuts to services disproportionately accumulate on disabled people.