+ Are you disabled or a carer?
+ Have you been affected by the perfect storm of cuts to benefits and services?
+ Are you prepared for journalists or film makers to tell your story?
Then CarerWatch and Pat's Petition invite you to register for Pat's List. Click here to share your story.
If you are a member of the press, please contact email@example.com and let us know which story from Pat's List you are interested in. We will then share your details with the person in question.
I have a physical disability, mobility impairments, sensory impairments, disabling medical conditions, mental health issues and learning difficulties. I have faced challenges with my disabilities since birth and have acquired other disabilities during my 50 yrs of life on this planet. I have been fighting for suitable accommodation and adjustments with adaptations for a decade now and have also had to make a number of changes to my life and how I manage living day-to-day with my disabilities and facing the discrimination that I encounter within Society and from the Local Authority Services & Resources. I am not sufficiently disabled in any one disability, condition and/or impairment, but with all the issues I have together, my needs are far greater than many of those that are deemed at having a significant disabling condition.
One day I hope to live with dignity in my local community without the fear, prejudice and objections that I face every day and also be ale to live independently and use services and resources that I know will help me achieve my dreams and aspirations rather then be dictated to and given support that does not meet my needs.
One day I will feel like a member of Society rather than be seen as a pariah and drain on Society and face the discriminations that I do.
One day I hope to be able to leave my home and go about my business without knowing that I am fearful of what I will experience by way of physical, verbal and emotional abuse that I face every day of my life at present.
One day I hope to be able to engage with Society without the fear of being spat at, sworn at, told that I am solely to blame for the financial crisis of this great Nation and also not fear being tipped out of my wheelchair or have my walking aids kicked away from beneath me to see if I am really disabled or just faking my conditions to get free money from the state, one day I hope to feel safe enough to be able to wait at a traffic crossing without the fear that I will be pushed into oncoming traffic.
One day I hope to be able to feel safe enough to be able to protest outside the Department of Works & Pensions Headquarters in Central London without being attacked by Police Officers charging wheelchair users and trying to pull them out of their wheelchairs and breaking peoples shoulders and wreaking their wheelchairs where they are then scrapped, leaving people with no way of getting out and about to do basic things that everyone one enjoys in their life, like going to the shops and buying basics like, bread and milk etc... One day...
My name is Ali and although I have an IQ of over 140 and have a nursing qualification and adult education qualification I also suffer from three disabilities: Dyslexia, severe Dyspraxia (which is why typing is very difficult) and Asperger’s syndrome. These handicaps and my extreme bad nerves mean I have struggled all my life to keep a job, mainly because of melt down and problems with getting along in a team. I did well with cleaning for individuals in their own homes but its never been enough money to make a living from, just enough for extra food really. I enjoyed teaching adults with learning difficulties but would end up being their friend and that was seen as crossing the boundaries. I would then lose jobs. I was married to a man who had a good job but the marriage was insecure and my inability to have a child resulted in a breakdown and I lost the plot. The marriage ended, I found myself going from Mrs. middle class to living in one room in a shared house in a rough part of Leeds at age 34. I lost my reason and lost my job and ended up back home with mum and dad, gibbering in a corner. Either it would have been there or the mental home. I formed a relationship with Scott, an ex-student of mine with Mild learning disability and mobility problems and in spite of our age gap (I am 14 years his senior) we get along wonderfully. He is also unable to work due to his "mental handicap" and associated difficulties. We do volunteer work as we want to give something back to society.
We worked as volunteers, helping with looking after unwanted pets, cleaning for old people and in historic houses. We rent a lovely little cottage after years of renting many different places in rough areas with dodgy land lords, damp and noise pollution. For the first time in 12 years I have a home that’s good for my nerves. Mum helps us a bit with the extra rent that housing benefit doesn't give us (they want us in a rough area in a noisy flat where I can't cope). We have just enough to for the rent, bills, food and a little bit to put in a tin to save up for a caravan holiday with those Sun newspaper offers once a year. We don't smoke or drink and even our TV and computer were gifts. We don't watch the TV to save on TV license bill and watch DVDs instead, and yet its still a struggle is life.
If our DLA is stopped or our housing benefit taken away or we end up on food tokens, we will not be able to afford to rent this house. Scott will have to go back to his mother's home at 32 and me to my mum, as neither of us would cope in a rough area in a high rise flat which is what we would end up with and I'd end up maybe in a hospital in the end, it would break us up and ruin our health and I'd loose my cats which are my replacement children.
We are both really scared of the future and my mum is getting old, I am now almost 46 and normal people my age have careers, homes, and family but these things have always slipped away from me. I dread what happens when mum goes, we feel unsettled and frightened of the future.
It just happened to me, with atos claiming I'm fit for work. My head is done in good and proper caring for my 82 year old mam. No holiday breaks in 3 years. What am I going to do? I'm 61 soon, I've got health issues all over my body, mental health break down and having to cope with atos agenda. It is getting too much.
I was diagnosed with Syringomyelia and Fibromyalgia 4 years ago. I'm in the substantial critical criteria of social care, I recieved direct payments and I've support from OT. I've been told I'm never going to get better. I've the backing of my MP, social worker, Barnardos (13 yr old daughter is my carer). I'm in a wheelchair, have seizures falls and my mobility is non-existant, but I cant get dla.
I have Cyclothymia Mood Disorder, Hybermobility Joint Syndrome, Asthma, and Rheumatoid Arthritis.... I have had mental health problems since a teenager, and HMS since the age of 9, and RA in the last 12 months.... the cuts are causing havoc here in the area I live in Bromley...my local NHS trust is in administration which is south London NHS Trust, I need to use the services because of being on chemotherapy medications I need regular blood tests, and careful monitoring, and I am on Lithium for my mental health conditions which also need careful monitoring...I require regular check ups with my GP, and Rheumatologist and mental health team....within mental health, our local trust for the past year has had in our area £150,0000 taken from their budget, people with severe and enduring mental health problems are discharged back to their GP, and left with nothing...the services are losing their funding and patients are suffering. We are facing private health care companies here in the NHS, for me I dread to think how this will end up for me.
In our local area, we lost one of our CAB's with no warning. We have two for the borough of Bromley serving a million people and they are facing a £76,000 cut in funding in April... with more welfare benefits changes coming to into effect... the effect from that funding will be devastating.
Because of the horrendous problems with the NHS and our trust, I am still awaiting important medication that could make a difference to my life, because of no money, I doubt if I will get it. I don’t even know within a few months if there will be a trust for me to see my doctors at... we have just heard that Lewisham Hospital A&E is to close. We lost Queen Mary's in 2010... there are two A&E departments to serve three boroughs, well four now because of Lewisham... people are dying because of these cuts, our hospitals are in a mess. We used to have three benefit welfare advisors now... we have one. He doesn’t have time to see us... so I had to fill out my ESA questionnaire with help from my family with guides from an Internet site. I didn’t have any professional help. There wasn’t any.
I live in fear of what will happen with PIP and other changes.
In Bromley we had £30m in cuts, and we have lost all but three sure start centres, and more is coming... I have been told they are taking another £30m off the budget... our local mind day centres are taking £74,000 in funding from 1.4.13 which means local mind are looking at charging service users to make the short fall up, I cant afford that so will not be able to go meaning i will be isolated from society.
I have found out that our local service user involvement project is under threat too, this is a charity that helps people with mental health problems live independently in the community, we lose that we have no voice, and all our groups will go, including those in the evenings for people to have something to do.
Mind in our area due to the cuts, lost their out of hours service on a Monday evenings and our Sunday lunch club, it excluded so many in society by doing this as it took away people's company, and support, now there is nothing. I have just found out that our local council here are looking at shedding 2500 staff leaving them with 300, the staff at the council are thinking of going on strike in October because of their pay and conditions could be swopped from national to local conditions... we are the biggest borough in London, with more cuts to come, and more welfare benefit changes, the future looks absolutely frightening... I honestly do not think I have one.
In 1996 I became a full time carer for my mum who had a terrible illness and made her very much dependant on others, during this time I was working full time but had to gibe that up as her care became more and harder, when I left work I had the stress and headache of trying to get what benefits where available for my mum and for me. After some battling and a lot of stress she got Disability Living Allowance - DLA and Mobility allowance, I was told to claim carers which was around I think £44 per week, a far cry from £150 a week running a residential home as I was before. Whilst I was trying to get the benefits my mum was entitled to I became involved in my local Welfare Rights and my passion for helping people get benefits began, helping people around my area with forms etc, this was great as it was the only outlet I had from caring for my mum and when I wasn't at the hospital with her, as she was admitted a lot over the time. In 1999 my mums health became critical and was told by the hospital there was nothing more they could do, so she was a ticking time bomb and she got worse by the week and then the day and the hour, until she lost her battle and passed away in July 2000. Whilst caring for my mum I put my own health to one side and never gave it thought even though I was struggling but like many carers I just got on with it.
In 2002 I became ill and my health hasn't been the same since, I was born with health problems and was in hospital for the first 2 years of my life due to being the way I born, so I struggled through my younger days and into adult live being bullied and having to fight for what I believed in.
I am fully disabled and all though I was on the incapacity benefits and DLA and also having my partner being my full time carer until this year after being very ill myself, we have struggled financially, people have said for years being on benefits is far better than working but in my view it's a myth and it is hard and also the stigma that comes with it being called a state sponger, scrounger, lazy sod, cripple, benefit cheat, it all comes with it.
Today I have turned my negative experiences into positive ones and run a Not For Profit Organisation helping Disabled people with various issues, but more so with Employment Support Allowance - ESA and DLA forms, reconsiderations, appeals, so we see a lot of people who are on the edge, we have had people try to commit suicide rather than go to court to appeal there benefits, the same with the Atos medical and contact us panicking over the ESA50 Work Capability Assessment Questionnaires, the stuff we have seen recently I only used too see in fictional dramas on TV but now it's reality and I am worried that 2013 will bring even more if not treble the amount of people committing suicide due to the implementation of Personal Independence Payment - PIP, Universal Credit - UC
Ailments first, I’ve had two heart attacks, copd, early onset of emphysema, asthma, mini strokes, short term memory loss, arthritis, need a hip replacement, depression plus the genera problems that come with age if that's not bad enough. I’m 57 years old.
Five years ago I got the first letter from Atos calling me in for that dreaded medical, I thought no problem with the problems I have, what a fool I was back then, well I scored around 7 points and failed, so off I popped to the cab and got the ball rolling, at my appeal three people were sat in front of me, a judge a doctor and a layman member of the public. I ended up winning the appeal and got 23 points, all good I thought that would be the end of it.
Then a few months passed I was called in for another medical (?) by Atos. I phoned them to say I had just gone through one and ask them why I need to go through this again, I was told I must go to the medical again or my money will be stopped no reason was given why, off I popped to the cab again, well I failed the Atos test again despite having a report from my doctor. I got 9 points on this one, in my written statement I mentioned that I had depression well the judge picked up that I had not mentioned on my first appeal and adjourned the proceedings for more details about my depression, a few months later back in front of the panel after trying my best to explain that depression comes at any time its not a switch that I have control over, I was awarded 14 points 1 off the marks needed to pass. So it was turned to the upper tribunal to decide if I could have this one measly point that I needed to live some sort of life, I got that vital one point after nine months freezing in the winter. Eat or heat time.
The next appeal no 3 went pretty much the same way having to prove I’m ill to two strangers that, [the layman had been removed?] don't know me or how illness affects me or my life, I passed this one getting the full 15 points.
Appeal no 4 was a bit different after writing a letter to the panel asking them way my medical report was being ignored by Atos and the appeal panel, lots of shoulder shrugs at this point, I asked them where the layman had gone and what was the reasons for his absence from the panel, these issues were side stepped by the judge that was intent on me asking no questions to the panel, I had to insist they read my doctors report before we went ahead with the appeal and must go through it with me, if I’m in court I’m entitled to defend my self, I asked the judge if he was a judge or not, he stated he was the chair of the panel, my retort was so your not a judge then? He had no choice other than admit he was a judge. After this spat by both of us I asked the judge if he was willing to take my med/report into consideration he conceded that he would. We then went through the Atos checklist most of this was covered by my medical report, the outcome I won another appeal.
Year 5 of appeals started in November 2011, I went to the medical and a nurse was supposed to do this one, at the time I was having tests for carpel tunnel syndrome the nurse said I would need to see a doctor because of the tests I was having, so it was put back to February this year, well I don’t mind telling you I was passed after all the proof I had shown them I was still having to go through this charade so it was my turn to start digging the dirt and fight back at them, I visited the GMC site on it I found that the medical profession is bound to the Hippocratic oath to put the patient first and foremost and must follow it or face the GMC.
The night before my medical I wrote a letter to the person that would be carrying out the medical stating my illnesses were backed up by my doctors report, the doctor tried to go through the medical while ignoring my letter, I stood my ground with her and demanded she read the letter I had written, after reading that I was prepared to take her in front of the GMC. She refused to carry on with the medical, I asked her for the reasons for refusing to carry on, she said they is no way I’m going in front of them I’m not paid enough, at this she phoned Newcastle DWP for advice the medical was cancelled while they regrouped IMO. A week later I received a phone call from Newcastle DWP telling me if I refuse another medical my money would be stopped, I told the person I had not refused the doctor had, he stated what I was doing was classed as a refusal in the eyes of the DWP and must go to another medical, I agreed to go ahead with another appointment with Atos,
I followed my script showed the examiner my medical report and the letter to the GMC, he said he must follow the guidelines set out by the government and refused to take the medical report into consideration, after reading my letter to the GMC he still insisted we carry on with the medical, I wrote on the bottom of the GMC letter that the doctor refused to take my report into consideration and asked him to sign it for future use, those few words cost me points the doctor said I was taking notes during the examination and used this to say I’m well.
In total I got 9 points at this medical, his reason for the nine points I got angry with him for the way he handled the medical, I think he was a retired doctor so had nothing to lose by going in front of the GMC.
My appeal is 2 weeks away from now, living in hope for the 5th year is not a healthy way of life, this is either disability discrimination or abuse by the state, when or does it stop?
I’m looking for a solicitor that would take my case on, if any one can help please steer me their way. Thank you
- Tony "Year 5"