House of Lords
Dear Lord Bach,
I read with interest what you had to say in the Lords and as printed
I had today an appointment with my MP David Willetts at his surgery in
Havant I came out very disheartened even though he said he would write
to the Jobcentre when in fact he should be writing to the DWP as it is
they and ATOS I have issues with.
My MP was more interested in and raised the fact that I had worked
full-time for 17yrs post stroke and could not see why I could not work
again he did not seem interested in the barriers I face or the attitude
of some employers when under interview.
I am 49 years and had an SAH that caused a Stroke I had a deep invasive
craniotomy in April 1990 to clip the massive bleed of my middle
cerebral artery this operation was successful and is a great testament
to our wonderful NHS, however after 2 months of induced coma I faced an
uphill struggle to get my fitness back so I could return to my
full-time work this was all the more harder as it was my strongest
right side that was effected and thus even the simplest tasks like shoe
laces holding a cup was again all new to me and had to relearn, I even
had to learn to write again with my left as computers were not what
they are now.
18 months later I returned to work a proud moment indeed because
throughout this near death illness I never claimed a penny in
government help and that remained the case until September 2007 as I
had morals and felt the need to be self-sufficient what our government
would aspire too yes?
I have never believed in getting money of the government unless their
was a real need and even though I had an entitlement to disability help
I never claimed it until April 2008 after redundancy in September 2007.
Despite this redundancy I was not going to give up and thus search hard
for more employment only it was at a difficult time with the financial
problems this county faced and with my disabilities it was even harder.
After countless interviews and getting nowhere and after one employer
stating to me I had no hope with the many able bodied citizens chasing
the same jobs and that I should be claiming disability benefits I
thought about this because I was originally cross with his comments but
then thought maybe he is right why am I beating myself up with this so
with that I took the decision to move onto option 2 which was claim the
benefits I am entitled too which I never claimed all those years before
which added to the millions that went unclaimed every year and move
into voluntary work working with people who had more of an
understanding of my medical conditions.
Everything was fine with the Incapacity Benefit and little bit of
Disability Living Allowance I was getting not a great sum of money but
enough to survive and meet the mortgage and bills along with my wife’s
I was happy doing very worthwhile work with The Stroke Association
raising awareness and fundraising and being a pillar in the community
for other less fortunate citizens then came the ESA and ATOS and I was
on a slippery slope with the worries and fear setting in.
I am sure you are aware of the MHRN Court case that I am eagerly
waiting Judgment on? because it will rule on the fairness of the WCA
for mental health patients and survivors like me.
I was put straight into the WRAG Group without an assessment obviously
they think I will be able to return to work in a year with the wide
ranging health conditions I have which are both mental and physical I
live each day with pain in my hip caused by the gait I have, pain in my
ankle due to drop foot, pain in my shoulder wrist and hand due to
degenerative joints as well as poor working memory and executive
functioning issues please tell me who is going to think I am a good
These conditions are life long and will not get any better this year,
next year, or any other year I have accepted that and thus work
voluntary because they are mindful and thus can and do make allowances.
So why was I put in WRAG Group as that is for citizens who have a
prospect of returning for work in one year and furthermore what happens
to me when my WRAG entitlement runs out in 8 mths time surely I cannot
sign on for JSA with the health conditions I have? The whole system is
I believe that the DWP knew I would appeal if I was sent for ATOS
ASSESSMENT and knew I would struggle to return the appeal forms in the
30 day time limit due to the executive functioning I suffer with after
all that is why the ESA 50 form was sent back late.
I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place through no fault of my own
and can see no way out and a very bleak future when all the other cuts
I pay my mortgage now in full every month with no help from the
government with the interest that I am proud off and can truly call it
my home as I will have paid for it all however I am very mindful of any
interest rate rises because if they do increase to past levels we as a
family will be homeless as I cannot afford any more and thus will be
evicted which is not a good prospect as my wife also cares for her
elderly mum at this address and again we are proud to do so as it is
our duty not the governments.
I have tried to explain the impact all this is having on our family and
why Mr Cameron’s policy and legislation on the most vulnerable in
society is so wrong and fear all the work the labour Government did in
bringing families out of poverty will be lost as they will be heading
straight back their how can that be right?
I believe in Mr Milibands “ONE NATION” but feel he still has much work
to do before May 2015 to ensure everyone is counted in fairly.
I hope that this email has been informative to you and that you can
help me in seeking rightful justice.
I am still working voluntary with The Stroke Association and looking
forward to Stroke awareness month in May indeed much work to do for
that as many citizens still do not understand the barriers we face
including many MP’s in the commons.
However I hope I will not be forced onto Mandatory Work because I am
happy where I am and that means more to me than anything else.