E.S.A...better known as the Employment Support Allowance in the UK.
ESA was brought in by the last Labour government to replace the decade
old Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance. The old system
was waaaaaaaaaay easy to cheat, and the reports from the wonderful news
papers like The Sun and the Daily Mail of 'millions of sick note
chancers' whilst over exaggerated (there are only currently 2.8 million
claiming ESA, DLA and the old IB combined...) is somewhat true. Most
folks in the UK know someone who is falsley claiming ESA or IB.
The new system of ESA was brought in to do one thing, weed out the 'sick
note culture' as that asshat Ian Duncan Smith (tory minion of doom) had
famously said half way through last year. The tabloid press caught
onto it and before anyone knew it ALL disabled folks was starting to be
labelled as scroungers who should just 'get a job'.
The ESA system IN PRINCIPLE could work, but is quite frankly falling apart, i know, i'm in the system.
In 2007 I was diagnosed with a non sliding hiatus hernia which the
doctor said would be too tricky to operate on, i'm now on PPI (proton
pump inhibitors) for the rest of my life. A hiatus hernia pain is
something similar to the crushing pain of a heart attack due to the
hernia aggravating the Vagus Nerve. I learned to live with the pain.
In 2008 I was diagnosed with Aural Chronic Migraine. An aural migraine
is a strange sort of pain. It starts off with a set of coloured zig zag
lines which totally block your field of vision, you are in effect
mostly blind while this is going on. When the lines vanish, the
...still, i worked through it as best i can.
In the middle of 2010 I was diagnosed with something i've never heard
of... M.E and I was also tested positive for Rheumatoid Arthritis.
The constant pain of the migraines and hernia coupled with the lack of
sleep knocked seven shades of shit out of me for an entire year.
Testing positive for Rheumatic pain and then coupled with the full out
symptoms of M.E which I have had on going for the past two years led my
Doctor to basically write me off as unfit for work. Under the OLD
system...that would have been enough.
However, during Labours term, they brought in ESA. Under ESA you need
to have a second "medical" with a company called ATOS Healthcare.
Google ATOS and you will see blog, after blog, newspaper article after
newspaper article on just how bad this french run private IT company
(yes, they are actually an IT company) have been running things.
Beginning of last year i went to the assessment exam...and i got 18
points. You need over 15 points to be able to claim ESA. You are
examined every year.
I went to my second exam last week, i have the same symptoms and in some cases worse symptoms from last year...
...i scored 0 out of 15, and was proclaimed 'fit for work'.
I cant walk more than 50 meters without stopping to ease the pain, i
cant bed down to touch my toes, i cant sit for more than 30 minutes
without getting up to ease the pain on my back and most of my morning is
spent looking at zig zag coloured lines and waiting for the inevitable
pounding headache to hit which lasts for about 2 hours.
I went to the Job Centre to see if i could claim Jobseekers Allowance,
when they seen my doctors medical report, the Job Centre (which is ran
by the same government organization who runs ESA) proclaimed me not
eligible for JSA.
...i now have no money coming in...at all.
This week I will start the long and drawn out procedure of the 'ATOS
Lourdes Appeal' which is what the media calls it, because for some
reason every ATOS 'health center' has turned into Lourdes...you walk in
disabled or sick, and you walk straight back out 'fit for work'.
The next time you see the tabloids drone on about 'Benefit Scroungers'
and you sit and agree with them...remember this post, some of us out
there simply can't work.