I last wrote about the situation with my disability benefits on 1 May 2012. At that time I had been verbally informed that my benefits had been reinstated and that they’d finally accepted my level of disability and that I was not fit for work and I was awaiting written confirmation of all that.
It took another week for the letters to arrive. They came the day after the early May bank holiday. The first letter stated that their records now recognise that I’m not fit for work and I will no longer be required to attend any work-focused interviews and similar activities until the next review. The DWP have placed me in the ‘support group’ for people to sick and disabled to work rather than in the ‘work-related activity group’.
It’s a massive relief to finally have been put in the right group and to no longer be considered fit for work.
Being found fit for work put enormous pressure on me to prove that I wasn’t. It was also eye-opening how much the DWP misrepresented me by producing a fraudulent medical report. It was very shocking and very traumatic to go through. It’s phenomenal to know I’m not going to have to go through a tribunal to prove it – this time anyway.
They backdated the decision to find me not fit for work to 22 March 2012, which didn’t tie with their original decision date which was 2 March 2012 but it wasn’t worth quibbling that, as it’s only worth £16.80 in unpaid benefit. I decided it’s not worth the stress to argue for that tiny amount.
It was a huge relief to read that although it does not state the time period until the next review. It may be annual or it may be in line with the prognosis on their medical report which was a minimum of two years. However, there are more huge shake-ups coming to disability benefits during the next 18 months so it’ll probably be some time next year. I’m relieved that whatever happens to my benefits in the future I’m not facing those changes with huge debts which I had no hope of ever paying. That makes such a difference!!
I’m hoping I will now have at least 9-10 months of peace and quiet now to get on with my healing journey rather than having to deal with hassle from the DWP.
The second letter was informing me of the rates of benefit I will be paid going forward as well as confirming back payment of unpaid benefit. After all the stress of the last few weeks I am now £5.60 a week better off as a result of being put in the ‘support group’.
I’ve now received all money due to me. My flat is now secure over my head again and I can begin to relax and focus on what I want to focus on – what I need to do to move forward in my healing instead of being distracted and expending energy on battles that take my focus away from that.
I’m very pleased that it’s all resolved before I head north for a trip to the Keswick Mountain Festival and catch up with friends. I can go away, relax and enjoy myself next week without fearing what letters I may be facing when I go home. It’s been a very tough couple of months that have taken a lot out of me. It has traumatised me in very deep places. That trauma is going to take some healing. I’d gotten to the point where I was fearful every time I saw a brown envelope from the DWP on my doormat.
After weeks of living with high levels of stress hormones going round my system and living on nervous energy I’ve gone quite flat and I’m noticing deep mental and emotional exhaustion.
So my trip north has come at a really good time. I’m going to have to take it gently and pace myself carefully but hopefully it will kick start the healing processes.
It feels really strange to be able to relax now, that’s an alien feeling to me. But it feels good too!!