According to Benefit assessors, dementia sufferers can now progress. I’m overwhelmed with excitement, I didn’t realise that medical science had advanced that greatly. Is there something that is not being reported, and are we being kept in the dark?
Numerous people living with degenerative infirmities such as dementia, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis (MS) are losing part or all of their disability benefits after being reassessed. Wendy Mitchell, who has early onset dementia, told that her benefits have been terminated following a reassessment, despite her knowledge that her health has got worse.
It took her independence away completely, it was terrible, by this, we immediately know that the system is completely broken. How can they tell this sick woman that she is better than she was? Hundreds and thousands live with an incurable illness, a sickness that can only get worse. Many depend on the state to fund the additional expenses of getting about, however, that help is being taken away.
It’s like having an especially bad dose of the flu, and you can’t walk like you usually do. Some days are better than others, some days people are much more mobile. Eight years ago Diane Barrett was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Diane has trouble walking, but when she’s on the proper medicine she can drive small distances.
Diane did remark to her children that she was concerned as she had learned from people who had lost their mobility part of their allowance and lost their car, and all her relatives said, that wouldn’t happen to Diane because she’s got a debilitating illness that’s not going to get any better, it’s only going to get more serious.
But she was completely gobsmacked when the letter came. For 7 years Diane got disability living allowance, however, DLA is gradually being phased out, and being succeeded by Personal Independence Payments (PIP). The idea is to base the amount you get, not just on the disability but how it affects your daily life.
The change indicates that everyone has to be assessed. Diane was told her needs had changed and the amount that she received for getting about fell from £57.45 to 0. Without the Mobility Allowance Diane can’t have a car and she doesn’t have any additional money.
It completely affected her life, it has taken her independence away entirely. Without a car, she would find it extremely difficult to get about. There is a bus, but she finds it really hard to get on and off the bus, and they don’t wait for her to sit down, and she has fallen on them before she had the car.
She was really afraid, and it made her realise how serious her Parkinson’s was, and plus it’s very depressing, and with Parkinson’s you can get a little low sometimes. Therefore, Diane had to give up her old car, but she asked for the ruling to be reviewed and lost the second time. Six months later, she took it to a full appeal in front of the judge, the tribunal took just ten minutes to conclude the government was wrong.
Diane was so relieved because at last somebody was hearing her and accepting that she was speaking the truth.
The government would state that they are paying out much more as a nation on things like disability benefits, and that they have to run these checks and that they have to do this to people to make certain the right people get it.
Diane accepts that, but she believes straight away they see a piece of paper and it states somebody has Parkinson’s disease, Dementia, MS, any continuous things, that person is not going to get over it, they are just not going to get better.
To pass for a car under the government’s mobility scheme you have to get the highest rate of PIP, which gives you further other benefits, a disabled badge, and free road tax, but faced with that increasing bill for disability payments, the government has been toughening the rules, and say the evaluation method is more difficult.
This explains how this is affecting people with serious conditions. Under the former DLA system 82% of people with Parkinson’s disease received full payment, but under PIP that amount has fallen to 40%. It’s the identical fundamental design with other conditions like MS at 93% and arthritis at 83%, MS reduced to 50% and arthritis to 24% with PIP.
The government states that in general, more people get the highest degree of assistance under PIP than under DLA. Plus more people with MS, Osteoarthritis and Parkinson’s are getting the highest possible rate for daily living expenses.
That wouldn’t cover the mobility allowance, people who lose a car can get additional assistance to purchase their old vehicle outright, though that is paid for by a non-profit making organisation, rather than the government.
At Parkinson’s UK, they have set up a devoted organisation to deal with benefit cases. The foundation states that people with a degenerative illness, already on the highest level of support should not have their needs continually reassessed.
The experience of going for an assessment is very demanding, and people with Parkinson’s go to the trouble to look well and take their medicine and get up early in the morning to get to the assessment, and because they seem well on that day the assessor frequently says well you don’t look sick, you don’t require that support any longer.
The newest figures reveal the numbers appealing a ruling are expanding. There are presently more than 6,043 per month, and the vast proportion of 65% is overthrown by the judge. It’s shocking that 2 in every 3 PIP decisions appealed is successful, and its excellent that those decisions are then reversed and those people are getting the levels of assistance that they require, but we shouldn’t be in a situation where people have to depend on the appeals process to get that assistance in the first place, people should be able to expect that the first decision that they get will be the right one.
The government states that PIP assessments are carried out by qualified health professionals and that judgments are made following reflection of all the data provided, comprising supporting data from their GP.
Wendy Mitchell has dementia. And she began to forget the most ridiculous of words, and that’s when it hit her that something wasn’t quite right. Her life has changed, solely from the point that she had to leave work. Previously she could chat about anything and everything, but now she has loads of notes.
Wendy never got DLA, she was one of the first to be moved directly onto PIP following her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, under the current policy she still has to be reassessed every 18 months. When her latest decision came through she was told her requirements had changed, and her entire benefits would be slashed from £77 a week to nothing.
She just uses it to live, it allows her to live independently, that’s the entire goal of the benefit itself. It permits her to remain and to live in her own home.
Reliable statistics reveal that overall under PIP, numerous people with dementia, seem to be getting the higher rate of payments. The experts state that’s not the whole story, and the Alzheimer’s society maintains its gotten at least 250 calls from people having difficulties with the benefit covering the last 18 months.
Wendy doesn’t remember the content of the meeting, however, she remembers feeling that she wasn’t there very long and the person didn’t ask her many questions to encourage her to remember what she was supposed to be saying, and she didn’t believe that the person had any recognition of her health problems, and she thought that the person lacked any understanding of dementia whatsoever.
Furthermore, she then got the shocking letter that informed her that she was no longer going to get any payment whatsoever. Plus a list of all of the stuff that she was supposedly better at, that she was 18 months before. It’s absurd since she wishes that she was better, who wouldn’t when they have dementia.
It made her feel so demoralised. She immediately recognised that the system is broken since how can they tell her that she’s become better when obviously she will simply get worse, there is no cure for dementia, and there are specific situations when dealing with people who have dementia, MS and additional illnesses comparable to this, that are not reversible, and their infirmity will never get better.
You can’t just make them healthier with a snap of the finger, but their pain can be reduced a tiny bit if they are given the money that enables them to maybe live independently.
It’s a story we learn about in the papers every day, but these people haven’t hit the jackpot when given this money from PIP, it’s an indispensable component of their everyday life. People don’t simply wake one morning and pronounce, that they’ll be ill merely for the pleasure of it so they can get money and state they are sick.
PIP can spread faeces on the sick and disabled, they can present them as shirkers, but the critics know that is not actually the case.
Look about you when your out buying clothes, in a restaurant, or even simply out on the street passing people by. Observe and see, view with your soul, and you will see that almost every other person is impaired in one way or another.
See the person next to you, he/she has glasses, that is an impairment, or the person waiting at the bus stop with the hearing aid. Even your neighbour next door who is a Diabetic, or suffers from Epilepsy, we might not see these ailments, but they are there, right in front of our eyes, and simply because we do not see them, does not indicate they do not exist, and they are quite real.
My mum used to say to me that nobody else can feel somebody else’s pain, and that is very accurate. Just because you can’t see it or feel it, does not imply it’s not there, just because a person seems in good health, doesn’t indicate that they are. It’s called an invisible illness because that’s precisely what it is, invisible because it’s not visible on the outside, it’s on the inside destroying that person like a deadly growth.
Therefore, I urge people who work for PIP, when you next sit next to somebody on the bus or in a queue, take a careful look at that person, they might look well and in excellent health, but you have no concept of what’s going on within their body, and how it might affect their daily life.
As human beings, none of us are perfect, and the government should regard this message that one day it could be them that are in a comparable position as these sick disabled people that they are taking money away from, and if a hospital or doctor has confirmed that they are ill, and their situation will never get better, then that should be sufficient, full stop!