So as you may have read in my previous post ‘Three Billy Goats Guff Retold’ I’m still waiting to hear about my Employment and Support Allowance.
My medical was back in April, it’s September now and I still haven’t heard anything, but news from my friend is making me very nervous.
Like myself, one of my friends, Barry, claims Employment and Support Allowance.
Yesterday I had a call from him, telling me that he had received a phone call from the Department of Work and Pensions, informing him he was no longer allowed to claim.
They told him he had two options.
Option One: He could go to the job centre and sign on for Job Seekers Allowance.
Option Two: He could appeal against the decision but he would only be entitled to the most minimum of incomes whilst doing so.
So what was their reason for deciding he was (in those three famous words) ‘fit for work’?
Because Barry has been doing one day a week voluntary work, at a local radio station, as the website update guy, they claim he is now fit to work.
Yes, that is what I said. ONE DAY A WEEK! Wow! Yes! He is capable! How silly of me.
The fact is since Barry has had his medical, like me, everything has gone down hill for him.
He too suffers with depression and since his medical has found that he has been unable to attend his volunteer work anymore, as like me, the not knowing, the waiting, the pressure and the fear have driven him backwards.
It amazes me what reasons the Department for Work and Pensions will come up with to get people off of benefits.
I’m waiting for mine.
What do you think my reason will be?
Because I attend Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?
Because I volunteer for a drama group very occasionally?
Or maybe because I can manage to get out my house when accompanied by someone?
I’m sure they will come up with some ridiculous reason.
So why has Barry’s news all of a sudden made me so nervous?
Because Barry’s medical was actually three days after mine.
So why has he heard and I haven’t? Also why did they call him? They usually send out a letter.
As a result I now find myself screaming when my phone rings and hiding when the post comes through.
I don’t know whether I’m coming or going!
To answer the phone or just break it.
To open the post or just burn it.
Of course I won’t break my phone or burn the post, but I can’t help wanting to.
I’m stuck in limbo at the moment and the waiting game is killing me!
I suppose when I find out I will be in a better place either way, as it is the not knowing that has me running in circles. At least when I know their decision I can start to do something about it.
After hearing from Barry though I doubt I will be allowed to carry on claiming, so like him I will have all of two options…
- Appeal and go through the long process of waiting (again) for another decision, living on the appeal allowance of £50 a week.
- Become in debt due to the appeal allowance amount and face losing the house.
- Cry a lot and feel very low about the situation.
- Eat beans on toast for weeks on end to save money.
- Due to stress, have the very likely prospect of anxiety, agoraphobia, panic attacks, paranoia, and depression all coming back with vengeance.
- Find out after months of waiting that I have lost my appeal and need to choose from these two options again.
- Sign up to Job Seekers Allowance and be made to apply for jobs each week.
- Feel frustrated and alone because no one understands the difficulty of opening my own front door.
- Become pressured into finding any kind of work quickly regardless of my mental health state.
- Uncontrollably enter depressive episodes on a more regular basis probably resulting in self harm.
- Have a mental break down whilst in the Job Centre, consequently leading to a spout of wild anger, resulting in the harm of the Job Centre Workers and myself which then see’s me sectioned.
Sounds like the odds are against me.
Maybe I should just break my phone and burn the post?