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The incompetent – or just plain cruel? – Tory government’s failure to make adequate provision for us all during the Covid-19 lockdown has been worst in the cases of disability benefit claimants, this story shows.
Cambridgeshire Live has published the story of Katy (not her real name), who said the stress caused to her by the Department for Work and Pensions’s assessment for Personal Independence Payment drove her to attempt suicide.
It seems she was put through an assessment interview with an employee of private contractor Capita – and it followed a traumatic pattern that readers of This Site should by now understand well.
Initially offered as a face-to-face interview, the assessment was rescheduled to be on the phone because of the pandemic – and rescheduled three times at the last minute, ensuring that Katy’s mental health support worker could not participate, despite that having been agreed.
The call was pleasant enough but – long-term readers of This Site will know what’s coming – the report that came back was riddled with “gross inaccuracies”.
Denied the benefit, she was forced to file a complaint about the assessor and request a mandatory consideration to receive the funds she deserved.
As a result she was pushed into debt.
In addition – in lockdown and isolated – she had to handle the “incorrect documentation” of a psychiatric assessment.
These symptoms of incompetence by the authorities could not help but exacerbate her condition, which forced her to cope with he side effects of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including nightmares and flashbacks, and limiting her from carrying out daily tasks like washing or shopping.
It all became too much and she tried to take her own life. Fortunately – and all-too-unusually – the attempt failed.
Now – after Katy’s case was taken up by her MP, Disability Cambridgeshire and Cambridgeshire Live, and may therefore be considered to have become a public relations problem – the government has granted her the highest rate of PIP.
Funny how that happens when there’s a whiff of bad publicity, isn’t it?
Both the DWP and Capita have offered the usual arse-covering soundbites about using all the information available and changing the decision when new facts come forward.
But the fact is that a woman was driven to take her life because of the cruelty of a so-called benefit system that the Tories have perverted into a death-by-deprivation scheme.
This Writer has been campaigning against this deadly policy for years, and the fact that there is now uncontradictable proof that the DWP has been driving people to suicide is welcome.
But I fear I know what will come of it: Absolutely nothing.
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