Disabled? I think not!

With Brexit on the horizon and the financial debt of our country getting worse by the day, our current oppressive Tory government had the ingenious idea of introducing the PIP system (the Personal Independence Payment System) into society to help the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) decide how much they can screw you over –sorry, I meant decide how much help an individual deserves to be given. In recent years, the guidelines for being classed as disabled have drastically altered and it is now harder than ever to get the help ardently needed to ensure that your quality of life, as a disabled individual, is at least along similar lines to the average Joe.

Recently, a good friend of mine undertook their PIP assessment and the outcome of it was less than desired; they are now deemed not disabled after 7 years of being so. Now, please bear in mind that my friend has only been assessed for the first time this year due to the increasingly restrictive guidelines and … wait for it … they only have one leg. Yes, you read it right, they only have one leg – and even though they try to make the best out of their situation and experience most of life’s great wonders, they still struggle to do the most basic things like walk up the stairs. So, you may ask, how can the DWP justify excluding my friend from the help they require? Especially after they experienced 4 years of intensive treatment to prevent Leukaemia, Osteosarcoma (bone cancer to you and I) and chronic liver failure from cutting their life shorter than they deserved. This being in addition to the largely experimental treatment they underwent to give them the quality of life they now have; being only the third person in the entire United Kingdom to undergo the particularly difficult and unpredictable surgery that was performed. I don’t know about you, but I find this pretty amazing. The courage and bravery my friend displayed at only 16 years old – whilst still doing their GCSEs and attending school as much as they humanly could is absolutely phenomenal. This is why when I heard the verdict from the PIP assessment this morning I was absolutely disgusted with the current practices of our health system, and why I felt so compelled to share this story. Because I don’t know about you, but I damn well am sure that they deserve it.

It is a well known fact across the country that the DWP has come under the firing line in recent years, due to their despicable new guidelines and the disastrous effects they have had on those affected by the PIP assessments. In addition to this, there has also been substantial criticism for the actual description of the PIP assessments on websites, such as the Citizens Advice, as the PIP assessment is described as ‘not a diagnosis of your condition or a medical examination’. Yet, you are assessed by a health professional that will write a report of your conditions in the assessment and send it to the DWP. Furthermore, The Disability News Service Website published an article earlier this year stating the appalling fact that they were made aware of the 100th case in which as PIP claimant has alleged that a health professional working for government contractors produced a dishonest assessment report. After reading Dan Bloom’s Daily Mirror article from earlier this year, I can’t say I was surprised at the thought of the false reports; the DWP warned the government that to maintain PIP at the current rate would cost £3.7 billion extra by 2022 – something that would clearly not do!

I find it comforting to know that our government puts money before the quality of life of more vulnerable individuals – they are disgracefully letting these people down.  Now I’m not suggesting that everyone who claims PIP deserves it; some people exaggerate their disabilities to benefit from extra government funding. But people like my friend and many others across the country do need this money and I think it is unbelievably insulting to cut their benefits because you restrict their lives in ways we couldn’t even imagine.

Lauren Walker

(Image courtesy of Third Force News)

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