A policy officer’s work is never done, I should have written this blog post a few days ago rather than just tell Long John Silver when I was alerted to the fact there is an up-coming EDM. That’s an Early Day Motion, that’s when an MP puts forward a discussion about a matter he or she feels is important, they then need as many other MPs as possible to support their EDM so therefore we, the public get in touch with our MPs and get them to sign the EDM and get behind the MP who’s put the EDM forward. There are a couple of reasons for my tardiness, one of course being bronchitis, I’m still coughing away, feeling drained, second being I’ve been in pain, hardly been able to move my neck and shoulders as a result of my annoying neck cracking tics and lastly an errant cat, yes Lili has gone AWOL yet AGAIN, this time he was found after 3 days in a garage full of bits of bike and wood. At least Pete’s found a new friend; our own garage is full of bits of bike also.
So to get down to business this is what I’d like you to do, I know there are plenty of people around who think that matters concerning ESA (employment and support allowance) and Incapacity Benefit don’t concern them, but you never know when you may find yourself unable to work and NEED ESA, and need the security that it brings rather than JSA and the conditions that are imposed by the DWP, my partner got sanctioned whilst we were on JSA (Job seekers allowance) and it’s no walk in the park having no money for a fortnight, the DWP at present have targets with regards to sanctioning people, so if you’re struggling with matters due to disability you’re more likely to get sanctioned. Even being on ESA has it’s stresses as I’ve probably written about before, I hope also you are aware of all those people who have died either driven to suicide or died whilst either deemed fit for work and transferred to JSA or placed in the Work Related Activity Group. From the perspective of a ticcer being in this cycle of having Work Capability Assessments and the dread of not knowing the outcome and worrying that you may lose your ESA be found fit for work and have to take part in the government’s workfare scheme. I know from my perspective that some days I might feel as though I’d be fit for work, but my psychiatrist would disagree with me as I’m up and down like a yo-yo and probably collapse in the corner at the end of day 2, so therefore almost unemployable despite all my positive points. So getting back to the EDM, here it is - parliament.uk/business/publ...
To make life a little easier for you what you can do is copy and paste this text, feel free to make any amendments, and then send to your MP, if you live in Doncaster, which is the constituency of Ed Miliband, please, please, please, don’t forget to do this!
Dear Mr. Byles (my MP, change to your MP’s name),
I am urging you to please sign EDM 295 ATOS, this EDM highlights the issue that many people up and the country have been experiencing. Currently, despite some amendments being made to the process following the report by Professor Harrington many people are experiencing extreme hardship due to the Work Capability Assessment. Currently 40% of those that have gone through the WCA and the appeals process have been successful, this fact on it’s own highlights how unreliable the WCA really is. Tourette’s syndrome for example (I have Tourette’s syndrome plus other co-morbidities, you can find out more about TS on the Tourettes Action website tourettes-action.org.uk/ ) is a complex neurological condition which varies greatly from person to person. I feel it would be very difficult, almost impossible for a healthcare professional that knows very little or next to nothing about TS and it’s effects to make a judgment on a person’s fitness to undertake work without evidence from their consultant and GP. Many people with TS also have Obsessive compulsive disorder and Anxiety; these conditions coupled with the bureaucracy that is involved with the WCA can make for an extremely distressing time profoundly affecting a person’s mental health, both for the person with TS and their families.
Recently the BMA have called for the WCA to be immediately abolished, On a weekly basis the numbers of deaths due to ATOS and the WCA rises, that’s those who have been driven to take their own lives and those who have died whilst waiting for appeals after being deemed fit to work or in the WRAG. Also please take note of the fact that ATOS are the top sponsor for the Paralympics, within the disabled community this makes little sense as ATOS has caused a lot of hardship and misery to people with disabilities.
Thank you for reading my email, it would mean a lot to myself and many other people with disabilities in the Bedworth area (change to where you live) if you were to sign EDM 295.
Catherine Mosey (your name, not mine)
Voluntary Policy Officer – Tourettes Action (this is me again, delete if you’re not me)
If you haven’t got your MP’s email address in your address book here’s where you can find it, findyourmp.parliament.uk/ just type in your postcode and Bob’s yer uncle. Also don't forget to include your postal address, email address and phone number.