So, I have my reply from the DWP, tucked into one of their notorious dung-brown envelopes.
I applied for a ‘Mandatory Reconsideration’, after their initial decision to massively decrease my lifetime Disability Living Allowance.
In a nutshell, according to them, I am a liar.
They even (and this kills me more than anything), use the word, ‘perceive’, as in, ‘You said you can’t do such and such, due to perceived pain and poor balance … yet …’
First off, I would love to know how perceived pain and poor balance feels (as opposed to the very real pain I feel, and have medication for), and secondly, how exactly is MS pain measured? Or indeed, balance?
Secondly, the decision of this mandatory assessor appears to be weighted heavily in favour of the so-called assessor who came to see me face to face in my house, and then proceeded to ignore me (but it’s ok, she was an A&E nurse and knows loads about MS).
It’s fascinating, how much she derived about living with MS, considering she was looking at her computer and checking her watch the whole time (she told us we were the ‘last of five or so and she was tired’).
What I experience is very real. No-one is on 600mg of Pregabalin a day (the limit) for nerve pain, if they don’t have nerve pain. And at my last three appointments with my neurologist, I have mentioned it doesn’t even touch the sides.
And as for balance? I have very well-documented balance issues, hence the name of my blog, which was created seven whole years ago, ‘Stumbling In Flats.’ The clue is in the name.
One of my first symptoms even before being diagnosed? Balance. Foot drop. Walking funny.
A large part of their letter concerned my work: I’m engaged, I walk, I converse. Yes, I do. But not always. There is a reason I work for my friend. There is a reason I was sacked from my last job.
It’s called Disability Discrimination and is heavily legislated, but it won’t stop firms, such as my previous employer, from sacking me the minute I had MS symptoms.
It would appear the DWP would prefer me to disengage entirely from society, merely to prove a point.
But which point/indicator on their scale would this qualify for?
NUL – Are You Dead Yet?