One of the DWP’s major concerns is that people assessed as unfit for work then wrongly believe that they are unfit for work, because that is what they have been told. If only the assessments told us we were fit for work, we’d go out to work and get better.
Presumably it’s the same with PIP assessments. I don’t struggle to walk or to take care of myself due to illness; I struggle with these because a First-Tier Tribunal told me I did. Obviously, if only a PIP assessor would tell me I can walk and wash and cook etc then I would realise that I can, and I would get up and do these things and save the country some money.
I’m not quite sure, in that case, why I took my last two PIP cases to appeal. Someone must have told me not to believe the assessor, but I can’t remember who.
If only that person would tell me this time that I’m fine. That when the decision maker decided I can walk 20-50 metres at the same speed as anyone else, the decision made it true. That when the decision maker decided I don’t need someone to help me cook, my fingers gained strength and my pain went away. I wonder why I still feel pain and fatigue?
It’s frustrating, not actually feeling any better when someone I’ve never met has told me I am.
And it feels intrusive. I had to talk to a stranger for an hour, in great detail, about what I can and can’t do and why. The assessor seemed friendly, caring and thorough, as most do, though I’ve had one who gave the impression of being hostile and of disliking and disbelieving me as a person. Yet afterwards, every time, the result is that everything I’ve said and attested to has been downgraded. Whatever was going through the assessors’ heads, however they actually felt about me personally, it feels like they must have despised me. Like they’ve looked at me and spoken with me and decided that what I am is a benefit cheat, a liar and a layabout.
I’m not. I beg you to believe that I am not, because it is so utterly horrible to have even just four people in the country believe that I am, when they are four people who tell another four people that an entire government department can and should reject me.
It feels like inviting a friend into your home only to have them steal your most precious and important items, and run away laughing. Like being stabbed in the back by someone you intimately trusted when you asked them for help. Like going for surgery to remove a tumour and being told that actually, your whole body is a tumour, you are a tumour, and you should be thrown out. Like an orchid that needs a supporting frame being told its actually a weed, and being dug up and broken and thrown away.
These assessors come into my memories and my life; they share some of the most intimate and most desperate situations; and they come to the conclusion that I, as a person, am not just lying but am a liar. That it isn’t that parts of my body don’t physically work, but that my whole personhood, who I am, is deceitful and pathetic and diseased, and needs to be burned before I infect other people with my personality.
I’d write a pithy conclusion here, but I can’t think of one.