An Open Letter to David Cameron & Ian Duncan-Smith

(47 Posts)
Pen66 Tue 28-Aug-12 11:59:26

An Open Letter to David Cameron & Ian Duncan Smith.

Hitler would have been proud of your treatment of the Disabled. Since you came to power you have both vilified and marginalized us. You started what is tantamount to a witch hunt because of the few bad apples that abused the system and you have tarred us all with the same brush and the media has played its part in this. Headline news when disability benefit fraud is reported, but the news never reports when those who desperately need, and have legitimate claims are denied help, unless that is, it affects wounded military personnel.

When you came to power and announced these reforms you stated that those in genuine need of help would get it, and yet you have devised a medical assessment that is not fit for purpose. If the medical assessment is fit for purpose then why are 40% of appeals overturned in favour of the claimant? Instead of saving money, your medical assessment is costing you more in the long run because of the sheer number of appeals, because it has failed those who really need the help, the same people that you told they had nothing to fear.

I am a single parent and a Carer and I’m also disabled, I have Chronic Fibromyalgia Syndrome. I have two sons, one is 19, Autistic with a speech & language communication disorder who needs 24/7 care. My elder son is 20, he suffers from Grand Mal Epileptic Seizures and has a recurrent type 1 dislocation of his right shoulder, the damage to his socket is such that he needs surgery but cannot have the surgery because his epilepsy is treatment resistant and should he have post op seizures it would rip the repairs to his shoulder apart.
Because of this we have been told that unless the seizures come under control he will NEVER have the operation. This leaves my son in the situation of having an arm that has a 90% risk of dislocation performing everyday tasks and a 99% risk of dislocation when he has a seizure.
I am also his carer as he needs 24/7 supervision, but I am not recognised as his carer as I am already the named carer of my younger son, you can only get carer’s allowance for one person, which I receive for my younger son. And just so as people are clear on this issue, that carer’s allowance is classed as an income so it gets deducted from my income support.

You also state that “the bill” for Disability payments has to be cut and yet the Carer’s of this country save the Government £119 BILLION a year. If this is the case then why can’t the money we save you as carer’s go to those who desperately need it?
You also say that the DLA system has to be changed because it is open to so much abuse, making it sound like anyone can get it, you never go into how many genuine people were denied it.
When I first applied for DLA on behalf of my epileptic son he was denied as the decision maker stated “He was not at risk of epileptic seizures”
I myself was also denied until my consultant wrote a very strong letter to them about their decision and how debilitating my condition is.
I also had to appeal for the mobility component of DLA for my Autistic son, because despite the reams of information I’d sent them from Ed psych, Social workers, Learning Support and the Learning Disabilities Clinic & his Clinical Nurse, they chose to use a statement from his head teacher who had only been in the school for six months and didn’t know him very well as their evidence. Even the judges at the appeal were disgusted with this and overturned the decision in favour of my son, there and then after only 5 mins deliberation, it was unprecedented to be given a decision on the day, normally it is sent in writing.

My eldest son had to have his ATOS “medical assessment” in June. Up until Monday 20th August we did not know the result. It was only after phoning the DWP about another matter that we were told they had sent us the decision on Aug 2nd. My son had failed the assessment, we were told he had only scored 6 pts. Apparently he is “fit for work” despite QUALIFIED doctors saying he isn’t fit for work. At no point during this assessment did ATOS or the DWP contact any of my son’s doctor’s or specialists
We were informed by welfare rights that he only has a month in which to appeal, but we still have not received the decision letter or appeal forms. During the phone call on Monday they said they would resend everything and it should take three days to get to us, I had to phone again on Friday to say we had still not received them. I therefore am wondering if this another ploy by the DWP to put people beyond the appeal date?

My eldest son spent two years training to be a plumber, he had his career all planned out, but he had to give up as his epilepsy got worse and the damage to his shoulder was revealed after an MRI.
Now he is literally housebound, he cannot go anywhere without someone with him, he gets no warning to his seizures, they occur regularly both night and day, and when his arm dislocates, which is frequently, he needs to go to A&E. It is not the life of a normal 20 year old.
This is just one example: On the 24th July at 12 a.m he had a seizure luckily this time his shoulder stayed in, but the following afternoon at 1.15 p.m he had another and his shoulder dislocated. I took him to A&E, they relocated the arm and then had another. It took five of the A&E staff to get him on a trolley and into resus. We didn’t leave the hospital that day until 8pm.

We actually ended this week back down A&E at 5 a.m.
And this is someone you expect to go out and find full time work? His seizures are aggressive and in the words of his Neurologist…“epilepsy can prove to be fatal that’s why we try to treat it with medication” unfortunately in my son’s case he is in the 20% of epileptics that prove to be treatment resistant.
How can he look for work when he can not go anywhere alone? How can he work with his right arm dangling out of his socket and being in constant pain? How can he work with uncontrollable epilepsy?
I shouldn’t have been surprised really after ATOS’ & the DWP’s track record..the man with the heart condition declared fit for work who died 39 days later, a man with motor neurone disease declared fit for work as he lost use of his limbs..what chance did my son have?
How can you sit there and condone this system and what it is doing to people? It takes the likes of someone dropping dead for it to become a newsworthy story, how many more will this happen to?

You sit in your ivory towers completely out of touch, you strip us of our dignity labelling us all as “malingerers and liars” blaming us for costing the tax payer so much money, causing hatred against us.
How about telling the taxpayers how much money the Carer’s save you? But then that would have to be telling the truth and that is something that Politicians seem to be allergic to.
It seems to me and many others that I have spoken to that this Government would like nothing more than to see us all eradicated. You have made sure that the entire country sees us a burden.
My carer’s allowance is £58.45 per week, I care for my sons for 168 hours per week which equates to 0.34p per hour, but that’s just for one of them, divide that 0.34 by two and I am being paid an astonishing 0.17p per hour, well I would be if they didn’t deduct it from my income support.
I do not get any respite, I do not get to go on holiday, I do not get to retire…I rarely even get any sleep, and yet what I do goes completely unrecognised by this Government.

So for all those people who seem to think those on DLA have an easy life and are swanning around on holiday all the time…nothing could be further from the truth, and its about time they realised this.
I have had to fight tooth and nail for the past 19 years for any help at all, the education system, the care system and the benefit system, I’ve had to fight them all. I used to be fit and healthy but now I am one of 625,000 people to suffer mental and physical ill health as a direct consequence of the stress and physical demands of caring long term, not to mention the additional stress that you, the government put us under.
I, like many others in my situation, am at the end of my tether, sick to my stomach at your treatment of us and this nightmare world you have created for us. What’s next? Put us all in workhouses??

I find it abhorrent that in this “civilised” society that you are crucifying the most vulnerable people of all, and subjecting us to emotional and psychological abuse.

Yours Most Sincerely Distressed
Penny Brooks

flatpackhamster Tue 28-Aug-12 12:23:29
SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Tue 28-Aug-12 12:32:03

Pen - have you received any advice about appealing against the decision? I have no personal experience of the system, but from reading posts on here it does seem that getting support from someone like the CAB can make a big difference!

Also, it might be an idea to ask to have this thread moved to the SN boards, you'll find the people there a lot more friendly and knowledgeable.

SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Tue 28-Aug-12 12:32:29

Flatpack hmm

pinklantern Tue 28-Aug-12 12:34:45

Thank you for this OP

niceguy2 Tue 28-Aug-12 12:57:35

I'm really sorry to hear about your plight. Have you written to your MP or No 10? I doubt Cameron & Osbourne will be reading MN.

Secondly just wanted to point out that the ATOS system was introduced under the last Labour government, not the coalition.

That's not to say I think the current tests are good. I think it's obvious to most people that there are huge flaws in the current testing processes.

So should the coalition improve the testing, yes. Is it some Tory witch hunt? No.

SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Tue 28-Aug-12 13:12:48

NiceGuy makes a good point about writing to your MP and David Cameron. If you haven't already you can contact DC here and you can find your MP's contact details here.

2old2beamum Tue 28-Aug-12 15:40:36

Pen I fully support your letter to DC and ID-S
I have as some will know adopted 8 children with SN (sadly 3 have died) all 5 remaining have high needs, 3 deaf, 1 blind, 2 tube fed, 2 epilepsy, 2 complex heart conditions, 2 in wheelchairs, and only 1 with a colostomy. We have saved this country ovar £6,000,000 in the last 30+ yeare.
DD attended an ATOS examination she has Down Syndrome, heart defect with pacemaker poorly controlled asthma OK probably not helped by her learning difficulties she too has to look for a job despite her cardiologist writing that any work would add to her morbidity!! I have appealed
Hitler would have been very proud Well done Pen for such a good post

Pen66 Tue 28-Aug-12 17:10:21

Thank you for your responses smile @flatpackhamster, firstly I really don't care about Godwins law, I say things as I see them and when the boot fits..well need I say more? @SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed, yes I have had advice and have a welfare rights worker on board, not to mention some very astonished doctors & specialists supporting us. @niceguy2 this letter has been sent to No.10, I've also emailed it to every newspaper I could find. It doesn't really matter who introduced the test as all politicians are the same and the flaws are on a scale of the grand canyon, and no one is admitting it, they just constantly defend it. I also did not say a Tory witch hunt, I said a Government witch hunt, because that is what it feels like for me and many others because nobody balances out the argument, nobody defends the legitimate claimants.
@2old2beamum thank you so much smile you my dear deserve a medal, and I take my hat off to you, its just beyond ridiculous about DD, I hope common sense prevails at the appeal...if there is any left in this country!! All the best to you all

NicholasTeakozy Tue 28-Aug-12 18:38:34

Man in coma loses DLA. Nothing these fuckers do surprises me anymore.

NicholasTeakozy Tue 28-Aug-12 18:40:37

Posted too soon. 32 people die every week after being cured by Atos.

flatpackhamster Tue 28-Aug-12 19:00:16

Pen66

@flatpackhamster, firstly I really don't care about Godwins law, I say things as I see them and when the boot fits..well need I say more?

Say what you like. Don't think for a minute that comparing our colossal welfare state to the extermination of the disabled by Nazis advances your argument one iota.

I agree it's a good letter, you are being appallingly treated and more people need to shout about this.

But I had to force myself to read it after you started with Hitler. He actively murdered people. Using him to advance your own cause is horribly disrespectful to and dismissive of the lives he ended in pain and torture.

FrothyOM Tue 28-Aug-12 19:06:57

Sorry to hear this. sad

Well said.

NicholasTeakozy Tue 28-Aug-12 19:15:43

Annie, if you read my second link you'll see that the Tories are killing people.

LineRunner Tue 28-Aug-12 19:18:39

OP, I would try to make letter shorter, which will mean that more people actually read it, and remove the reference to Hitler.

Sorry, but as Jew I take particular offence to anyone involved in anything short of a real holocaust playing the Hitler card. I do think what the government is doing to the disabled is despicable, I rant about it all the time to anyone who will listen. I wish I could actually do something useful about it.

But I think the fact that many posts on this thread are now about the inappropriateness of referencing Hitler instead of discussing how to make the government stop screwing the disables kinda proves my point that it's an unnecessary distraction from the real issue and should be removed.

flatpackhamster Tue 28-Aug-12 19:48:25

NicholasTeakozy

Annie, if you read my second link you'll see that the Tories are killing people.

That's correlation, not causation. There's no verifiable link between being assessed for work and dying. And really, citing an opinion piece in The Mirror...

2old2beamum Tue 28-Aug-12 21:53:50

Annie I too am Jewish and perhaps the disbelievers of the holocaust could explain where my Grandparents siblings and families went, nothing heard from them since 1940.
This however does not alter the fact that this fucking government cares nothing about the vulnerable.
Note for Pen66 thanks for your lovely comments but please remember we asked for our DC's you didn't so respect should be yours. I wish all of us
goodluck we will need it!!

NicholasTeakozy Tue 28-Aug-12 22:17:50

Are you going to refute that with a link to The Heil saying disabled people are being feted with flowers then FlatPack?

No, because you can't. Even one of their own is saying the demonisation of the disabled is wrong. You may claim they're benefit scroungers, I say they deserve their hard won reward. Never forget, it only takes a second to become disabled.

I remember the 'debate' in the House of Commons where various Tory MPs described disabilities as 'lifestyle choices'. How do you explain that?

topknob Tue 28-Aug-12 22:22:12

My son is 10 and has ASD and quite a few other disabilties, I am so worried for his future sad our next battle and it will be, is to secure him a place in a special school for his secondary education, we cannot send him to mainstream as they will tear him limb from limb ( I have two other boys in mainstream secondary). OP I hear you and I understand, the disabled are treated like scum these days, as if they are workshy and benefit frauds, yet the reality is they really cannot do what is being asked of them.

Nicholas - hmm Flatpack hasn't said anything about the disabled being scroungers or argued that what is happening isn't awful. Only that the Hitler references aren't appropriate. Not sure what you're picking her up on.

Chubfuddler Tue 28-Aug-12 22:46:37

The Tories are not killing anyone. If you were to sit down and go through stats of the morbidity rate of the working population I think you would find there is nothing unusual or causative about 32 people dying after being taking off DLA.

Redbindy Tue 28-Aug-12 22:50:48

Nicholas* which Tories are actually carrying out these murders? I don't like the bastards but hyperbole like yours helps nobody. It might even be the lib dems who are carrying out the alleged killings.

ShirtRipper Tue 28-Aug-12 23:15:23

Well it looks as though the shrills are out tonight then grin

I am not offended by the Hitler comparison, I have Jewish heritage and lost a lot of my family during the holocaust and more during the war.

It is eugenics plain and simple, so the comparison is fair imo. Hitler started with the disabled and mentally ill first. Im sure at the time most people looked the other way, Similar is happening nw actually. Also the use of propaganda is somewhat reminiscent of The Third Reich.

We afford illegal wars and bailouts yet deprive our own to the point where they lose all means to support themselves. People are driven to homelessness and suicide because of this.

Nay sayers are also out of touch a little. The effects that these changes have on the individuals that they are affecting are huge, and rather than discussing our disgusting government people would rather pick nits about comparisons and being offended ffs hmm

niceguy2 Tue 28-Aug-12 23:18:24

Leaving the Hitler reference for a moment, you wrote the following:

I also did not say a Tory witch hunt Yes you did. You wrote

"Since you came to power you have both vilified and marginalized us. You started what is tantamount to a witch hunt"

In effect you have said that since the Tories came to power they've started a witch hunt.

I can only imagine how angry and frustrated you are with the system we've currently got. But unfortunately when you start to distort the truth, hurl insults and the reference to Hitler you really don't help your own cause one bit and your letter will probably find it's way into the nearest bin.

I honestly think your letter would be taken more seriously if you remove the emotive statements like "You sit in your ivory towers completely out of touch, you strip us of our dignity labelling us all as “malingerers and liars" unless you can back those up with evidence. I don't recall any MP standing up and calling anyone a liar or malingerer.

Have you also been to see your MP in person to put your case across? It's far more effective and harder for them to ignore if you are staring them in the eye.

mcmooncup Tue 28-Aug-12 23:30:08

I completely sympathise with you OP.

I work with unemployed people and we have people declared fit for work who are literally dying, and I don't say that lightly - I mean to the extent of rotting flesh smells they are that ill - and if they don't turn up for appointments they are sanctioned and lose all their benefits, i.e. food, house. It is a total disgrace and I exaggerate in no way at all.

We also have another one brewing when the universal benefit is introduced.........homelessness is to SOAR. I'm frightened for some of the kids I work with. For their lives. Not meaning to be dramatic but it is that bad.

mcmooncup Tue 28-Aug-12 23:36:16

interesting piece by Owen Jones

I know people from the right think "oh just another attack on the tories" but this is truly something that no civilised society of any leaning should be justifying. There is no excuse.

EightiesChick Tue 28-Aug-12 23:43:25

You have very good points to make, and specific examples to offer, but I have to agree that the Hitler reference, in the first line, will make you sound like a stereotypical deranged letter writer. Don't give people the excuse of dismissing what you have to say on that basis.

Likewise, if you are going to write to MPs (which I think you should) I would think about specific requests you want to make. Spell out clearly which bits of the current, unfair system you most want dismantled and changed, and then ask them directly what they're prepared to do and that you expect a straight response.

BeanieStats Wed 29-Aug-12 10:25:55

Stopped reading when you mentioned Hitler in the first line.

Pen66 Wed 29-Aug-12 14:10:09

Well there are some varied responses, to which I am not offended as isn't true we are all entitled to our opinions. Seems slightly odd to me though as to why a Jewish person can be offended by a reference to Hitler, but as a Disabled person with Disabled Children, none of which we asked for, and as shirtstripper said, the Disabled were the first to fall prey to the madman. He instigated hatred of the disabled, the romanies,& the jews but for some reason I am not allowed to compare what he did then to what is happening now, it starts with words, convincing the public that we are a burden.._that's the point_..it all starts somewhere, and that's the point that a few seem to be missing
Seems you can't say anything without offending somebodies sensibilities these days. I thought we were supposed to have freedom of speech.

Why should I remove emotion from my letter?? when it is an extremely emotional issue?? I am not a machine..have you been in the position where you've had to stop your son choking to death?

I firmly believe that the word "civilisation" should be classified as a "myth"

Some seem to think I'm having a go at the Tories...I am just sick to death of all politicians full stop be it labour, tory, liberal..it wouldn't matter to me who was in Power, they are all as bad as each other
A few years ago I wrote to EVERY single member of parliament, regardless of constituency or political inclination about the plight of carer's, no references to hitler, no ranting, concise factual letters and do you know where it got me? NOWHERE, the reponses I got were quite frankly pathetic, and they couldn't care less

When you're desperate for help and have been begging people to listen for years and have gotten nowhere, what options are left?? sad
I sincerely hope all those who have their health enjoy and cherish it, and never end up in the position that I and my son's are in.

2old2beamum Wed 29-Aug-12 14:42:12

Well Penn66 I am with you all the way it seems very obvious to me that most people do not care a stuff about the disabled. I would willingly pay more tax on my paltry NHS pension (now paying 20%) if it went to the right coffers.
Cares get a raw deal now DH and I are OAP's we cannot claim carer's allowance but still do the care. What would it cost the country if we said "they are all yours we have had enough" DS deafblind 9 years ago when age 5 was costing the taxpayer £5000/week Give us that and they can stuff all my childrens benefits and our pensions where the sun doesn't shine.Very angry
Goodluck to all who are in good health NOW

EightiesChick Wed 29-Aug-12 15:20:24

I'm not offended. I just don't think this approach will persuade many of the people you'd write to. You say you've tried that tack, though, so by all means try something different.

I do think you should not make assumptions though about those responding to you here. I have considerable experience of poor health, as may many other posters. We aren't. supporting the govt policies, just disagreeing on your approach to criticising them.

Pen66 Wed 29-Aug-12 15:51:04

I wasn't making assumptions about those responding to me and their individual health. That was a statement, a final parting, to everyone and anyone, that has their health to enjoy it, because I'm sure you would agree that none of us would wish our ill health on our worst enemy...I would give anything to have my health back, my son would give anything not to have Epilepsy,..you can never take health for granted, life can change in an instant, and I apologise if you thought I was referring to you personally.

niceguy2 Wed 29-Aug-12 16:19:51

I don't think it's a case of people not caring. It's probably more a case of what other choices do we have?

Do you have any suggestions about how to tame the deficit without impacting benefits? You are understandably incensed by cuts to the DLA. But if we ringfence the DLA then presumably we must cut deeper in other areas such as pensions or the NHS. Just how do we save £150 billion pounds a year without affecting anyone?

2old2beamum Wed 29-Aug-12 16:20:43

EightiesChick I can understand your point, but how do we go about changing things? At least Pen66 is doing something, far more than me!

flatpackhamster Wed 29-Aug-12 17:39:50

Pen66

Well there are some varied responses, to which I am not offended as isn't true we are all entitled to our opinions.

Except you, apparently.

Seems slightly odd to me though as to why a Jewish person can be offended by a reference to Hitler, but as a Disabled person with Disabled Children, none of which we asked for, and as shirtstripper said, the Disabled were the first to fall prey to the madman.He instigated hatred of the disabled, the romanies,& the jews but for some reason I am not allowed to compare what he did then to what is happening now, it starts with words, convincing the public that we are a burden.._that's the point_..it all starts somewhere, and that's the point that a few seem to be missing

She isn't offended by the reference to Hitler. She's offended - and so are plenty of other people - by your ridiculous claim that you're in the same boat as the people murdered by Hitler. You aren't. Now you could be insensitive, or a bit vague on what the Nazis did, or possibly both - but nobody with an ounce of sensitivity or a knowledge of the Nazis would make such a comparison.

Seems you can't say anything without offending somebodies sensibilities these days. I thought we were supposed to have freedom of speech.

We have. But freedom means freedom to take the consequences of your actions, not just freedom to do whatever you please.

Why should I remove emotion from my letter?? when it is an extremely emotional issue?? I am not a machine..have you been in the position where you've had to stop your son choking to death?

There's a place for emotion, but hyperbole does not advance your case.

BeanieStats Wed 29-Aug-12 20:08:30

I'm going to be charitable as this is obviously an issue close to your heart.

You don't advance your cause by making comparisons to Hitler. Straight away it marks you as someone who is spectacularly ignorant or spectacularly stupid, either way it doesn't add value to your argument - which I still haven't read past the first line.

EightiesChick Wed 29-Aug-12 20:16:43

Pen66 No need to apologise, though thank you for doing so. I didn't feel personally got at; it was more a general thing. And I totally agree about not wishing ill health on your worst enemy. It's a terrible shock when something you have taken for granted is whisked away.

2old2beamum Fair point - I don't have the answer. My comments on Pen66's letter, like many others, were made with a genuine desire to help by making her statement more persuasive. Of course it is ultimately up to her how she phrases anything and she has said she's tried the neutral factual approach already. I don't think the Hitler reference helps but I think continuing to chip away with reasons and facts in a calm manner is the best approach to a dismal and profoundly unfair situation.

niceguy2 'Do you have any suggestions about how to tame the deficit without impacting benefits?' Yes. TAX THE RICH. And tax the super-rich even more. Benefits cuts would bring in very little compared to this. But can't see this government entertaining that for a minute.

ArthurPewty Wed 29-Aug-12 20:30:08

OP, i am so sorry. I fear for what will happen when my two are grown, and we get off "lightly" with only high functioning autism x 2 kids and DH... i am unwell with various problems and still care for the kids...

ouryve Wed 29-Aug-12 20:31:44

Pen - I have tweeted this thread. I don't know if you're on twitter, but it's a great way of making a lot of noise and gathering up support.

ArthurPewty Wed 29-Aug-12 20:34:31

retweeted.

NicholasTeakozy Wed 29-Aug-12 20:49:12

Do you have any suggestions about how to tame the deficit without impacting benefits?

Why yes NiceGuy, yes I do. Stop invading other countries just to plunder their resources. We are no longer a colonial power.

Oh yeah, tax the rich instead of taking from the poor. HTH.

My suggestion would be getting all those fucking big businesses to pay their fucking tax bills. "Oh, but if they have to pay tax they might leave the UK". Really? I doubt every big company we have here would run for the hills if they had to actually pay their way. And while we're at it, every other country in the world should make them pay their tax.

Don't tax the rich more, they're still small potatoes compared to the huge corporations who pay less in tax than a person on minimum wage.

I would agree about us getting the heck out of other countries and worrying about our own problems.

2old2beamum Wed 29-Aug-12 22:13:48

Having thought long and hard over this debate I would like to put simply as parents about our concerns. As the government bring in the draconian measures many of our lovely children will be doomed to poverty when we are dead. We have identified a young couple who will support 4 of our children (1 will need residential care due to his very complex health needs)
None of the other 4 are capable of working, due to their limited abilities so what do we do? I cannot expect the couple to take my children with no financial support.I am somewhat staggered that my 28yr old DD with Down syndrome with complex health needs (backed up by cardiologist, GP, SW and Support Worker) has been told to prepare for work! I have 4 more assessments to go through. I might shoot myself.
My children are not benefit scroungers but will need money to survive----they ask for very little

threesocksmorgan Wed 29-Aug-12 22:18:30

2old2beamum but give such a lot x

2old2beamum Wed 29-Aug-12 22:37:13

Yep sad

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