‘Brown Envelope Day’ – and the horror it holds for sick and disabled people

[Image: Black Triangle Campaign]

[Image: Black Triangle Campaign]

Look at the blood pressure reading and pulse count mentioned in Julia Smith’s Facebook comment (copied below). Does that really tally with the claim by Damian Green and the DWP to be “helping” people? Really?

Of course it does not.

The Work Capability Assessment and everything associated with it is inimical to health – inherently harmful, as anybody who has even witnessed one will know.

It is carried out, not by a “medical professional”, as the Department for Work and Pensions is still – pathetically – trying to claim, but by the employee of a private company hired to reduce the number of people claiming benefits. They have a multiple choice test on their computers; their questions demand simple yes/no answers that are intended to hide the nature of a person’s condition rather than explain it; and their intention is to deny that real conditions exist.

This is just one of the reasons the United Nations has condemned the UK for systematic violations of the human rights of sick and disabled people.

Oh, and a new wave of them seems to have been sent out to do their worst just before Christmas, in what can only be seen as a campaign of demoralisation against the vulnerable. As This Blog has explained, Christmas is a very unhappy time of year for many people – particularly those who have few friends and family around them, possibly because of an illness. Deprivation of benefit, and the few luxuries it may provide, might just push people over the cliff edge Ms Smith mentions. Damian Green knows this very well.

That is why Ms Smith is in despair.

That is why she is saying her Christmas is ruined; she must fight this latest attempt to force her into destitution. How would you feel, if it was you?

And yet people keep voting Conservative, in order to allow this torture to continue.

They might make alternative claims – “The Tories are the only ones who can be trusted with the economy” (not true, for reasons that have been trotted out many times over the last couple of days, the gist being that they have deliberately harmed the UK’s industrial base and increased the national debt) or “Labour can’t be trusted” (Heaven forbid that those horrible socialists should come along and actually help the people of the UK) – but they know that the torture is taking place.

Therefore, by passing their vote for the Conservatives, they know that they are supporting the torture of the sick, disabled and vulnerable.

Fortunately, Ms Smith is not alone. There is a large support network available to her, should she fall foul of the system, and the long-term effect on her may – and I stress that it is only a possibility – be minimised.

But in the short term her life is disrupted, her plans for Christmas are thrown into chaos, and her mental and physical health are threatened.

All while millions of people protest helplessness, in full knowledge of the fact that they could stop it at once, if they only had the will.


Never mind ‘Black Friday’… this is definitely ‘Black Wednesday’ for me.

IT’S BROWN ENVELOPE DAY. Only my fellow disabled friends will truly understand the chilling significance of that.

It means I face yet another corrupt assessment.

It means that once again I am in despair.

It means Christmas is ruined.

I feel like I can’t cope, but somehow I will have to.

I refuse to just lay down and die like the Tories want me to.

My blood pressure is 190/125 and my pulse is racing at 110 per min, but at least I get to see the heart specialist on Monday.

This needs saying…for all you people who keep voting Conservative, you are voting for me and my disabled friends to be continually bullied, abused, harassed, criminalised, our human rights deliberately violated and our already challenging lives destroyed. The stress from this oppression is unbearable.

They are pushing hundreds of thousands of us off the cliff.

I am considering publishing a page with links to organisations that provide support for people who face continual interference from the Department for Work and Pensions. If you are a member or organiser of such a group and you wish to be listed, please send me details of your organisation and how it may be contacted by a member of the public, via the form below. THIS IS NOT A COMMENT FORM, SO PLEASE DO NOT USE IT TO COMMENT ON THE ARTICLE!

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19 thoughts on “‘Brown Envelope Day’ – and the horror it holds for sick and disabled people

  1. Dave Rowlands

    The ultimate decision that you are entitled to your “benefit” is dependant on the DWP, there have been many stories pushed around that lay blame on the people doing the assessment, true, they now do it the DWP way, but when I had mine a few years ago the “Health Professional” put on my assessment results that I “Was not likely to return to work in the foreseeable future” but the DWP overrode his decision (he was a real doctor and knew my condition) and placed me in the WRAG.

    I believe the DWP have weeded out these “Health Professionals” that actually cared about the person they were assessing with those that followed the party line of “The more you get off benefits the more you will make.

    And still people vote for this kind of punishment to the most vulnerable people in society. I’m alright Jack, or should that be Judy?

    1. Tilotma varia

      I have just gone through the exact thing myself. THE DWP PAY these assessors to help them stop their benefits. When I was assessed and I was in so much pain the assessor ignored that I have Parkinson’s the tremor on my right hand seemed to her as mild and the few tests she did and which I admit that I managed because I do yoga she could not see how difficult and in pain I was according to her because I managed she reported there was nothing wrong with me .for goodness I have and still am on sick leave since last 4 months because I can’t stand or walk she decided that I was ok.and also because I drive a short distance of 10 mins to my local asda she decided that I M ok.but she failed to understand I live by myself I don’t always have help that I have to do things by myself that I have no choice but to manage even with the disability she decided nothing wrong with me because I do THESE DAILY Activities by myshjf she assessed me as being capable.so what does DWP think that it’s OK M managing asI but why can’t they understand I have to do things because I M live alone and HAVE TO EAT.

  2. Fibro confused

    There is one day a week we are spared the nightmare post delivery, a Sunday. Every other day in the week is spent waiting for the postie to walk up your path or go to the next house, I peer to see if there is a brown envelope if there is I hold my breath till I can’t see the DWP logo, then it’s back to waiting for the next day. How people can be kidded into thinking we choose this life, the pain fatigue and everything else our disabilities plague us with and the absolute nightmare of not knowing what your future holds financially, it’s beyond me. We now live in such a selfish nasty world on the whole.

  3. lambtonwyrm

    My wife is going from DLA to PIP and it has been a nightmare getting the form in. Yesterday a dreaded letter from Atos Healthcare (there’s an oxymoron if ever there was) for a PIP assessment at the house.
    It gives a 2 hour slot when they will turn up and says if she is not there then the claim will be disallowed. Nothing apparently about rescheduling it.

    1. Florence

      Be warned the book of dirty tricks of ATOS & MAXIMUS. One is to drive up to your front door, take a photo if it and drive away claiming your were out, so you need to have someone who is a look out taking number plates of all cars that park and then leave. Then there is the arriving early. Thus is to catch you out doing activities that are covered in the examination. It is also to try and have the meeting before your support arrives , They cannot insist in being allowed in until the actual time of the appointment. Also beware those who pretend to be nice. There may be one or two, but it is another way of getting you to drop your guard. . There are a number of other dirty tricks deployed but these are the favourite ATM.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        Taking a photo of the front door is a common dodge.
        My landlord (housing association) had a new boiler fitted in the house a few months ago. The job was half-done because the installers were cowboys who wanted to bag their £300 bonus and move on to the next job quick (apparently). So far, we’ve been waiting more than three months for the job to be finished properly. We kept getting told people had come but had been unable to access the property, which was a complete lie because I was in at all times. Eventually, the job was part-done by a different operative, who told me about the “front door photograph” dodge and that it had been used on me. I’m still waiting for the job to be finished as he wasn’t an electrician.

    2. Olive hall

      I don’t understand why is your wife needing to change from dla to this other benefit . It is a disgrace how people are treated, I Daniel Blake the film out now is all about this government, I do hope your wife is treated well, I am sorry for this trouble you have

  4. jeffrey davies

    ah those very highly trained hcp assassins brought to by the dwp run by the government whose only goal is money money money and that bonus we forget they get for being a very very good assassin yet you write to their union only to be put through more well i cant explain but atos resides there under the guise of kpmg oh dear the worlds gone mad jeff3

  5. Florence

    I too live under the shadow of brown envelopes. I decided the only way to deal with this was to become angry, then belligerent, and then informed. As I never know when it will arrive I make sure I know as much as possible, and have been able to use this knowledge to help others having their own brown envelope black hole. One lady was suicidal, she had tried to fill out her form with a friend who worked for the DWP in the past, and been given 0 point PIP. They’re now waiting for MR. It is so difficult to try and explain if you haven’t been there how the ground opens up beneath your entire self worth.

    So my defence is to help others however I can, give my time and support freely, because that’s all we can do. I can’t march, or travel to London to lobby my MP, not that it would matter as it’s Stephen Crabb.

    I worry for those who are not internet connected or without support, most, the “unknown unknowns” out there.

  6. mrmarcpc

    We all dread that brown envelope coming through the letterbox, our stress and anxiety reaches uncontrollable levels, while the tories love the thought of that, evil, fascist, Hitler loving scum!

  7. Pjay Mac

    I had my Nazi Style Interrogation ( this is not an assessment as an assessment is Fair and open minded) a week ago I now await my Fate which has been decided in advance by the Sinister Entity “THE DECISION MAKER” the questions asked during the Governments DWP Department are seemingly inane the inquisitor was a seemingly very pleasant Lassie but a word of advice to my fellow persecuted who’s Crime in the eyes of the Tory Government and it’s Ministry of Cruelty is to be Disabled do not at anytime drop your guard or lose your concentration. My own conditions are threefold Heart Bowel and a crippling foot injury I am in chronic pain with two conditions and the other could at any time make THE DECISION MAKER VERY HAPPY. Trick questions will be aimed at you and the inquisitor at all times pretends to be sympathetic and knowledgeable please friends do not drop your guard, example from my Interrogation is this I was asked on the phone and it was very high up on the inquisitors list was do you have a Mobility Car or Scooter my answer was the Car which is a lifeline for myself and my Wife. After this query she asked mainly inane questions then asked about my foot I had already given information then is the car automatic she asked yes said I and how is your foot pain whilst driving exactly the same as when I’m sitting on the Sofa like I am now said I. Now I await The Brown Envelope from Caeser I wish all my fellow Disabled awaiting the Blow Before Christmas the Very Best of Luck Take Care and a Merry Christmas and Hopefully a Happy New Year To All.

  8. casalealex

    Check out how DWP, and IDS especially, (and now Damian Green – The Omen), have used private companies Atos and Maximus to con the British people. They have all colluded with each other to systematically decimate our Social Security, once the pride of our Welfare State; and have been instrumental in thousands of people’s premature deaths.


  9. toocomplex4justice

    I try to predict what my Christmas (and bank holiday)presents from the DWP will be and notify them that the person responsible will be subject to prosecution for abuse of office. My present for Xmas 2013 was a cancellation of all of my benefits . I recorded phone calls and was able to get copies once from the DWP that were admissible in law. They gave 9 different reasons for having cancelled my benefits, none of them fitted the circumstances but some were funny…

    “usually income support is paid by the income support office and incapacity benefit is paid by the incapacity benefit team but in your case the incapacity benefit is paid by the income support office who will not have received your IS10 form because it will have been delivered to the wrong office and so we would automatically cancel it.”

    “I’m not concerned how this maladministration came about , can you correct it please ?”
    “It’s not maladministration, it’s because we will have lost your IS 10 form”

    One was very telling.
    “It says here that a decision has been made regarding your change of circumstances but there has been no notification sent to you. I don’t understand how they have done this because we have sent you a letter stating that we cannot make a decision until we have seen the evidence of your changes ”

    “So this was an illegal,decision ?”

    ” I can’t comment on decision makers reasons but I have asked them to explain what they have done”

    {i heard nothing and put a subject access request in for my notes. This decision was there, made on 19/12/13 and my benefits cancelled on 24/12/13 I made a formal complaint but received another call.

    ” we did not make a decision as to do so would have been illegal. This is not a decision on your notes it’s just to tell the decision maker what to decide when they are in a position to make that decision, ”

    ” how will they make a decision if they have to abide by that note? It is still a decision
    I requested that my benefits be paid until they could give a reason not to pay rthem but this was ignored.. in desperation I cashed in my pension. But informed them that I had another 5 weeks to change my mind and return the cash paid. After 7 weeks I got a letter apologising for the unexplained cancellation of my benefits which had been. Sterted again but they were deducting £23 per week as the pension I had cashed was considered to be income. They still deduct this and do not acknowledge complaints about it.

    I recently had a letter informing me that I was being investigated for fraud as I had failed to notify the DWP that the DWP had cancelled my DLA. I replied that I had no case to answer as they had called me,several times to mock,me, telling me that it was my choice to cash my pension even ( laughter ) if it was Hobsons choice. But before that one of the security questions is to ask what other benefits you are on so as I had passed this it meant they were aware that Inwas not getting DLA or PIP?

    I have asked if this years xmas present will be to fine me and cancel my benefits again because I have already received 4 consolitary payments for harassment and will report any further hate crime to the police for abuse of office as a thank you.

    The thing is that this will wind then up and at the end of the day they hold the purse strings so who knows what they will do but theat least know that I will not lie still and be shafted so I hope it ruins their Xmas fun

  10. wildswimmerpete

    “Therefore, by passing their vote for the Conservatives, they know that they are supporting the torture of the sick, disabled and vulnerable.”
    Those who support the Tory measures never think that they could be next in line for severe illness or disability, that only happens to someone else – until that heart attack or stroke hits them. Strokes in particular can happen to anyone, at any time, any age or gender and without any warning.

  11. Jay

    The first few lines of what she said is practically identical to my Facebook update a few weeks ago – my reassessment for ESA is in two days, because Autistic I can guarantee I’ll be found fit for work, just weeks before Christmas and when my disability makes it close to impossible to figure out what to do next re. appeal. I need support, there’s no support…DWP and job centre have only made my disabilities MUCH worse.

  12. Tilotma varia

    Hi understand wat u are going through. Same thing happened to me.I have been on sick leave for last 4 months due to Parkinson’s I can barely walk and sitting and standing up I M in axcruciating pain but the woman thought fine and nothing wrong with me.according to her I was walking with ease without any difficulty. All the things she put in her report were things I hadn’t even said.so with my Parkinson’s support advisor.The I am appealing. But you need to get some advice from your local citizens bureau.they have specialists who will advice you as to what you can do,please try this because I always do and they are the gest people to ask,

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