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Living on thin air, thank you DWP.

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Omnis cum in tenebris praesertim vita laboret.

(As the Roman poet Lucretius said).

The powers that be really seem to think people can live on thin air, as we (my wife and I) have experienced:

For nearly seven years, I have been unable to work on medical grounds, mind you, I would have liked it deifferently, given the fact that I loved my job and also the fact that I earned a lot more than what I got on the benefits I was placed on.

Anyway, a few months ago, I receive a letter from the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) telling me I have to go for a medical assessment.

(No problem so far, even though my GP (who knows me and my medical circumstances) already said "why do you still have to be assessed in your condition"?)

The only problem is, the Assessment Centre is quite far away and for me it is impossible to travel by public transport (train, bus etc.) due to my limited mobility and a taxi fare from my home to the centre and back would be far too expensive.

I remember that, when I had my previous assessment, they sent me a taxi, at their expense, so I assumed it would be the same this time and I double checked.

My reply I got was that, if I wanted a taxi I had to ask my GP to fax a letter to them explaining why I needed a taxi (which I assumed would have been the case).


Anyway, I went to see my doctor, explained things to him, I had to give him the contents of the letter myself, and it cost me £25 on top of that.

From then on the whole agony started.


A few days later I had to phone the Assessment Centre myself to check if there had been any progress: nothing, no fax, no nothing.

This went on a few times, until I phoned on the day of the deadline for the fax, still nothing, so I phoned th GP surgery, spoke to the doctor's secretary, who didn't even realise the letter had to be faxed 😡, in spite of my instructions.

Anyway, then the letter was finally faxed and then the struggle went on.


I waited a few days and the phoned the Assessment Centre again only to hear the were still waiting to make a decision, so they changed the date of my appointment.

The same thing went on four times, every time I had to phone up myself.


Until the final time, the day before the assessment, when I was told, "you have to be at the assessment tomorrow (which was a Saturday) and we are NOT providing a taxi".

I then asked him how I was going to be able to afford that and he said "Don't worry, if you do not attend you will get a letter which will allow you to explain your reasons for not attending".

Anyway, such a letter never came, the only letter that did come was a letter from the DWP telling me my money had been stopped, all this with Christmas around the corner.


Once again, phone call after phone call, this time to the DWP, only to be told different things by different people, until I decided to stop going along that route and to launch an appeal.

Then the person in the DWP told me that, once they had confirmation of the tribunal for my appeal, they would start paying me part of my benefit until the outcome of the tribunal.

When that confirmation came through (two days later) I rang up again, and the employee on the other end told me "you were misinformed, the colleague who told you that was mistaken".


So, in the mean time, we have been here, without income for six weeks, with bills and all that to pay, and the DWP?

For them it is no problem, their employees and certainly their CEOs don't have to struggle.

And, so far, a number of petitions have been going against ATOS (the organisation which runs the assessment Centres for DWP) and the DWP itself because of irregularities, so the people do know a lot of things are not right.

So, I have vented a bit of my anger, I could say lots more, but I don't want to crash the forum.



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