The Banality of Evil #2

Times are hard, yo.

I’ve had my benefits cut and without getting boring here’s the skinny.

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I am completely convinced that it is not in breach of Godwin’s Law to say that the sick and disabled are suffering Hannah Arend’s ‘banality of evil’ under this government.

I was awarded a benefit for disability about a year and a half ago, and in June was sent a form for reassessment. According to a Facebook friend who works in the arena

“Case law states that when previous award been made, the onus is on them to justify subsequent denial”

and a high percentage of people who appeal the decision to withdraw benefits are upheld. This is a time based and costly business. It *could* be that after jumping through all the hoops (twice, because having had the PIP pulled, the ESA have now withdrawn a percentage of their funding, just to add insult to injury) that after the initial ‘reconsideration’ process which is done within 28 days I will get my benefits reinstated or it could be that I then have to go through months of appeals. Last time I did that it was to secure my ESA and they cancelled twice, and my friend who was coming from Manchester to represent me lost those days of work, of course. You can read about it here.

So there are three things I want to say. I’m keeping this short, because I am much more ill than usual and very exhausted. First, people on social media and IRL have been AMAZING. And I don’t even know how I would be able to start fighting this without Help on Your Doorstep who have not only formulated the appeal letters and got me a lawyer, but also been incredibly kind. Friends, too numerous to mention have brought me food and helped out and sent me words of encouragement. I have even had multiple offers of financial help.

Secondly, this constant reassessment and forcing people to appeal is surely costly? We know about this, the whole idea that claimants like me are expensive to the country has been shown to be horse shit.

Thirdly, this is making any gains I may have made in my mental and physical wellbeing since having been given the initial award kind of moot. I am tanking migraine meds like no tomorrow, and having to do time sensitive tasks which is making me experience fatigues and other flare ups like crazy.

Maybe I am a statistical outlier, maybe I am not. What I have heard from people who have lifetime DLA awards is that as they move from putting initial claimants straight on to the new benefit, PIP, those who had had DLA awards will be progressively put onto this new benefit. Once on they are expected to be reassessed every 3 – 5 years.

The year before I was awarded PIP was when I had to fight tribunals for ESA. Now it is happening again I can say with some confidence that as well as being a monumental waste of time and taxpayers money, the reviews will cause individuals ridiculous amounts of stress which will add to their own physical and mental burden, they or their carers will maybe get a year every few years of actually being able to get on with just living their lives as best they can and the rest of the time they will be, put simply, living in fear and having to do many more things than they usually do just to get by day to day.

Note this – they, ATOS, do not even ask your GP his or her opinion of how you have been for the past year. They prefer to draw their own conclusions.

“Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.”
― Primo Levi

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2 responses to “The Banality of Evil #2

  1. I live the US version of this even though I have a chronic autoimmune illness that is widely recognized as incurable, plus a collection of other physical problems that don’t go away. I agree strongly with your assessment of what the increased stress does to us — dragging us backward while we’re giving it our all to make it from one day to the next, forget about forging a new life after the old one was chopped into oblivion. Solid research has proven that stress worsens such illnesses and increases pain, the frequency of flares, the likelihood of developing further AI illnesses, etc.
    There is a lot many of us could and would do if we were given proper support, making the ‘drain on the economy’ ‘useless mouths’ arguments even more wrong than they already are. Instead, stubbornly ignorant bureaucrats waste lots of money and worse, the scraps of Life we have left.
    Your ending quotation is especially apt and powerful.

    • So sorry this echoes your experience.

      I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but there are thousands of us across the world, who deserve to live as well as we can given our limitations, and deserve some compassion from others and from the state. We’ve often paid taxes, our families pay taxes, our friends do – why should we and they get such short shrift for our £/$?

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