bigleyma is thinking…

Karen’s Story

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Social Welfare Advocacy blog has recently posted this personal account by Karen, someone who suffers from multiple serious health issues that severely limit her daily life. By any reasonable measure Karen should be eligible for the ESA Support Group, indefinitely. Instead she has been subjected to exceptionally poor treatment  by ‘the system’, including at the hands of a ‘stern and intimidating’ appeal tribunal, exposing her to  further distress, and has been placed in the WRAG (Work Related Activity Group).

At the end of my assessment she said;

“The people who check the forms, I believe are quite understanding and will have your best interests at heart and be sympathetic to your needs and place you in the right (support) group. If they do not place you in this group appeal it and you will win.”

“You are a genuinely ill person and are unemployable due to your multiple medical conditions.”

It is a courageous account of mistreatment at the hands of not only Atos, but also the tribunal part of the system. It hurts to read stories like these. And it inspires anger on behalf of these victims, for that is what they are. It is stories like this, and they are by far the norm, not the exeption, which give the lie to the government’s claims that this process is fair. It is anything but.

It is nothing but a systematic way of denying people their legitimate benefits. And it operates in a fearfully Kafkaesque way. I know that Atos have visited my blog recently. I know too that they have viewed my section on ‘my WCA experience, among other categories. Well, here you are Atos. Here is yet another real person whose life has been trampled on, and who has been caused extra suffering on top of her already considerable health issues. I hope you are proud.

And you, Iain Duncan Smith, Chris Grayling et al, you should certainly be hanging your heads in shame. Even were it only one person who could be said to be suffering in this way, it would be enough to discredit the whole process. Instead there are masses. No wonder more and more people are drawing comparisons with the nazis’ treatment of the disabled. This is a purge of the sick and vulnerable, those who should expect to be afforded some respect and allowed some dignity in their daily struggle against illness.

I never feel entirely comfortable with adopting a high moral tone in this way, because its what politicians do and we all know how that tends to turn out. But, come on, this is a no-brainer. Its only the thin shield of compliant press and media that is preventing the truth about this becoming a national scandal of the highest magnitude. But,as the purge continues, the number of people who will learn first hand, either through family or friendship networks, what a deceitful, shameful process this is will grow, and eventually the truth will out. Such a disgrace that so many will have had to suffer in order to make that happen.

We can only hope the ”tipping point’ of these stories is reached soon, and broader society is no longer able to ignore this state abuse of the sick and disabled, and those who support them.


Written by bigleyma

March 19, 2012 at 10:18 pm

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