I have multiple sclerosis and have been shocked at how hostile the environment is towards people with disabilities

With my condition in particular I’m in a very frustrating spot. The government has said recently that those with lifelong conditions would only face ‘light touch’ assessment every 10 years – however they have not disclosed what conditions this might cover and it is obvious that no thought has been put into relapsing remitting conditions like mine. On my best day I still have substantial nerve damage which effects my mobility and that will never get better so I believe I should be included in the ‘life long conditions’ group.

However – because of the nature of my condition which will inevitably flare up in the future, potentially making me disabled in a whole new way – I’m forced to go through the horrific assessment process all over again because it’s considered a change of circumstances when that relapse inevitably happens.¬† At my worst this was happening every 3 months (thankfully my relapses have become less frequent due to treatment) and that is an unreasonable rate at which to be reassessed for benefits and to go through the mental strain of potentially losing them or getting them reduced to a lower rate (both of which have happened and thankfully got reinstated after appeals)

I have also found this pattern where the DWP will write to me saying that they haven’t received any of the paperwork I’ve sent to them regarding my assessment even though I sent it in a timely manner. I’m not sure if this is a tactic to delay the assessment process or if it is just general incompetence but it’s lead to me sending every file through royal mail’s signed for delivery service – even then when I phone up about the letter which asks me to send everything again, they don’t have a record of receiving it until after I mention that I have proof that it was signed for , which prompts them to look on there system again and it mysteriously turns up. If this happened once or twice I’d understand. However it happens every time.

I don’t want to be on benefits. I’m 22. I want to have a normal, active life and explore the world. It’s totally illogical that I’d want to commit fraud so I can stay locked up in my house forever in fear that I’ll be treated as a criminal for enjoying what’s left of my life. Even going to the supermarket has been made to induce paranoia because of the stories you hear where the DWP is getting surveillance tapes from shop’s security systems. Isn’t my disability bad enough for my mental health without having to feel like I’m a criminal?.

 

Phil

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