The benefits advisor was amusingly torn between two conflicting emotions and interests,
As he filled in Sarah of Stepping Forward about the treatment inflicted upon the nation’s vulnerable by the Department of Work and Pensions;
He recounted a recent example of somebody winning a case against the DWP, on some particular definition,
And how, obviously,
The DWP has now updated the assessment definition in question to prevent similar cases in future from winning;
The benefits advisor is hired by Stepping Forward to help their clients with benefits applications and appeals,
And Sarah runs Stepping Forward;
Sarah isn’t used to working with people like me— adults with no family supporting them,
Or friends to live with,
Who are also seen as ‘high functioning’ with past educational achievements working against them,
And disabled enough to be limited but not enough to tick the boxes,
Nor old enough to reach automatic eligibility for things like housing;
Her son goes to a whole separate school to suit his needs;
So occasionally in working with the two of them, Sarah is herself gaining greater insights into the harshness and uselessness of the system;
I am the person who perfectly falls through all the gaps,
Whilst being able to sit there laughing sardonically at the absurdity and cynicism of it all,
All too aware of the grave consequences of the DWP’s actions,
And of the many philosophical discussions it raises;
Kevin the benefits advisor whilst like me he is motivated and determined (also autistic),
He shares my dark sense of humour and jadedness,
So as he sits there giving Sarah the new horrific details of the DWP’s latest antics,
Chuckling in despair whilst trying not to cry,
Sarah being the empathetic person she is, has her head in her hands,
And she has seen a lot!
And there’s me, smirking along with Kevin but glancing at Sarah as she mutters—
“Are they trying to kill people!?”,
And I’m empathising with Sarah as I know she’s empathising with the dreadful plights of all those people,
Not wanting to be too disrespectful during her own moment of reckoning,
Then there’s Kevin glancing back at me trying to look more serious, realising he doesn’t want to appear to be making light of my situation,
Yet understandably he cannot recount the facts with a straight face, nor deny the truth of Sarah’s rhetorical question,
And I know exactly how he’s feeling too,
As I reassure him, oh no, you laugh away! I totally share your point of view.
Sarah’s face says it all.
My independent PIP tribunal hearing is on Monday morning :). Whilst before COVID it would’ve been done in person at one of two nearby locations (where Kevin has some rapport with the people involved), they are now done either over the phone or a video call, with any random test centre in the cuntry. Kevin described the three types of tribunal panels which he’s come across recently:
Knowledgeable and understanding,
Knowledgeable and non-understanding,
Unknowledgeable and non-understanding.
The first category (which I will absolutely require) comprise ~15% of hearings. Ha!
I am already planning my second application.