I received my latest ESA50 in the post yesterday. It’s about my seventh or eighth Work Capability Assessment and I know how it will work because the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) do the same thing every time. Here’s how I recorded it’s impact on me last time around:
Every time, it’s the same. I don’t ‘score’ in their points system. Why? Because the narrative of their system has no room for people like me. I don’t exist so it fails to recognise me ~ nil points. Every single time. And every single time I’ve taken my case to tribunal level, the judicial decision was to exempt me from having to score points. That was when it was possible for someone like me to get to a tribunal ~ the Tories have made it all but impossible to get there now, and if I were to arrive I’d have to listen to some DWP representative explaining to the panel how I was actually fit for work. Basically, calling me a liar… again… using a system that is designed for me to fail. It’s enough to break an honest heart which, given my progressive heart disease, looks like it might oblige the DWP by breaking for good this time around.
The DWP’s repeating narrative, delivered by the WCA and heralded by the arrival of the ESA50 form, this time from Maximus, that I am somehow dishonest in my claim for ESA and must be subjected to repeated checking I experience as an all-out assault on my very existence. Everything my current life depends on for its continuance is placed at risk and the worst case scenarios speak in terms of my destitution, death or both. This same system has repeatedly placed me in this scenario. These days, I experience the arrival of the ESA50 as a personal death threat from a system intent on carrying it out by hook or by crook. It triggers my complex post-traumatic stress disorder, I go into shock, my psyche shatters and my fight-flight-freeze physiological response is triggered. Guess what that does to my blood pressure and then guess what effect it might have on a woman with progressive heart disease. This is not rocket science… it’s common sense.
Thousands of people are affected by the arrival of an ESA50 in exactly the same kind of way as me. We fall apart inside because we’re being faced with our whole world falling apart. We’re being threatened by a merciless system implementing a soul-destroying narrative to those of us already sick and/or disabled. The narrative repeats itself over and over, as if only through repetition can it force lies into ‘truth’. Each time, the process is harder, more threatening. And when people like us say to anyone who will listen, “This is killing us”; when research points in the direction of the real truth; when the United Nations starts investigating ‘alleged’ government violations of our human rights; how do the DWP respond?
They deny there’s a connection between what they are doing and the fact that, by sending me yet another ESA50, they are putting my life at direct risk. They’ve been denying it for years, even as the death toll they won’t fully release under FOI rules keeps rising and the research evidence against their claim of no connection has piled higher.
I am presented with a lose/lose scenario. Engage with the DWP narrative = destitution/death; tell DWP to go fuck itself = destitution/death. My living worth measured by a series of ‘points’ that don’t recognise my existence…? My living reality routinely denied by the very perpetrator’s violating my human right to existence, let alone my right to life?
Anyone down here on the receiving end of this DWP WCA narrative like how this story is being told?
Since I’m caught in web of the ESA50 process anyway, and I don’t like the way the DWP denies the link between the WCA and claimant deaths – I’m saying publicly that I believe this process will kill me and I also believe that is its ultimate intention. Since I don’t know when death will occur, while I live, I will go through the process of completing the ESA50 and share what my experience is like. This blog, for example, will be submitted as supporting evidence of a deterioration in my mental health likely to impact on my existing diagnosis of progressive heart disease as part of my additional evidence with the duly completed form. Copies of which will be provided to my GP, so he . When I say the WCA puts my life at risk, I want it recorded in my ESA50.
There is, however, one change I make to this narrative. Any personal expressions of mental anguish shared by blog or tweet are directed to my Coroner. If my own assessment of my health is accurate, there’s presently a 95% chance I’ll be a home alone death, which triggers a legal process to determine cause of death. I’m saying the additional stress caused by the arrival of the ESA50 is lethal to me and I’d like the specific link between the WCA process and my death to be fully examined by a Coroner. If Scotland can consider criminal prosecutions against Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling with regard to their. If I’m going to die, then I’d like prove the DWP is lying when it says there’s no link between my death and their system. I’d also hope my Coroner would hear evidence resulting from other deaths linked to the WCA because this would point to intent. I’m saying there is an underlying intent to cause death to ‘stock’ considered ‘economically unviable’. A competent Coroner would not be able to come a full and considered opinion without considering any pattern of evidence beyond simply that of my own.
I hope my shift in narrative helps focus the attention of the unfortunate DWP decision-maker in my case if they’re competent, they’ll have read this far… . To them I would say this:
If I’m still alive when you read this as part of my ESA50 supporting evidence, I hope you understand I’m drawing a line in the sand. If you decide that proceeding to a WCA is necessary in my case, and where my GP will continue to support my contention that it will put my life at risk, I will argue that your action points to intent to cause me lethal levels of harm. I’d remind you that your previous WCA provider, Atos, chose to cancel my TWO WCA appointments for this very reason and my diagnosis has deteriorated further since the last time I filled in one of your forms. There’s a reason its called progressive heart disease… because it progresses… and it progresses MUCH faster when I am forced into systems I experience as a threat to my life. That’s why proceeding to a WCA endangers my life further over and the increased risk caused by the arrival of the ESA50.
If you, as my ‘decision-make’ choose to require me to attend a WCA, given what I’ve already told you so far, how do you imagine a Coroner might view your decision?
I probably sound crazy. I hope I do – this process sends me into crazy land and unless I show you, decision-maker, what receiving the ESA50 is doing to me, how can you come to an informed decision.
What is certain, however, is that whatever you decide, your decision will say far more about you as a human being than it could ever say about me.
There’s many more PTSD responses I need to unpack but, for now, I need to stop… and post this.
I Thought About Quitting… by Kameron Hurley