Terminally ill woman lost her ESA, home and all her belongings after being told she was fit for work

 


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Claire Hardwicke

Claire Hardwicke has stage four thyroid cancer. This means that it has spread to other parts of her body, and sadly, Claire was told that her cancer is terminal. She also has chronic osteoarthritis. Despite taking 80mg of morphine a day to cope, she still experiences considerable pain.

Additionally, Claire already had a life-threatening, acute allergy to latex. This means that she has to carry an EpiPen at all times, which is an epinephrine (adrenaline) injection to treat life-threatening anaphylaxis. Developing a severe allergy to latex unfortunately meant that Claire could no longer continue working as a mental health nurse. 

Claire first became ill 9 years ago with uterine/ovarian cancer, but it was the allergy that made her unemployable and ended her career as a mental-health nurse, her partner, Alan King, told me

Claire’s first bout of cancer was treated and she made a recovery, which lasted only 7 years. Sadly, the diagnosis of her more recent thyroid cancer and metastases wasn’t diagnosed until it was incurable. The tumours had spread throughout her thyroid gland, neck, lymph system and adrenal glands.   

All Claire can hope for now is palliative care, which is alleviatory only, as a cure isn’t possible. 

Unbelievably, Claire was assessed as “fit for work” by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) last year. Her Employment and Support Allowance was stopped. All of her financial support ended. This was despite being told by the Capita assessor (for Personal Independence Payments) that the report to the DWP would state that Claire was in need of more support, not less. 

Overnight the couple lost every bit of financial support they had previously been entitled to, so Alan decided to use what little financial resources he had left to help Claire to fulfill some of  her”Bucket List.”

The couple were forced to say goodbye to their rented bungalow and 99% of their possessions because their housing benefit was stopped. They had no income, as Claire’s Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) was stopped, and the Carer’s Allowance also ended.

Claire explained to me that when she lost her lifeline support, the wait for appeal hearings was over 18 months. The couple couldn’t afford to wait that long, as they had no income. They also didn’t know if Claire would survive the wait.

Claire and Alan went to visit family members around the UK before setting off, in October 2016, on a Mediterranean cruise for a month, which Alan paid for, using his credit cards. They already owed a lot of money on their credit cards, but with no income at all, the couple were facing destitution.  The incredible distress the couple suffered took its toll on Claire’s already poor health, too.   

On the return journey, both of them realised that coming all the way back to the UK – where they were homeless, with no income, and they no longer even qualified for free prescriptions – would be pointless. So the couple left the cruise when they got to Portugal, where it’s significantly warmer than the UK (and therefore less painful for Claire) – and they’ve been there ever since, living in a very basic, rented room.

Alan told me: “Claire’s cancer hasn’t claimed her life as quickly as we both had imagined, (which is good), but with medications, food and board, we’re now out of funds and out of options unless we can somehow fundraise for some subsistence.”

The couple have paid money in advance for their single room in Portugal, which covers rent until 14th March, after which time they will have absolutely nowhere to go.

Claire says: “There are new trial therapies for extreme cases of thyroid cancer like mine.

 I wish I had a pot of gold to pay for the experimental cancer therapy.
I don’t want to die, but choices and chances aren’t given to the poor people. We need a miracle, a winning lotto ticket. There should be equal opportunities for all patients.”

The treatment would possibly extend Claire’s life and improve the quality of the time she has left. She says: “I could have a chance of a longer, fuller life…. but I don’t have that option open to me….”

Tiffany Williams, a friend of Claire’s in the UK, has set up a crowdfunding page on JustGiving to raise £800 to help pay for her treatment. So far, 53% of the sum has been raised. 

It’s such a modest amount for a treatment that will make a huge difference to Claire and Alan, who have lost their home and everything else they had in the UK. Now they are at risk of losing their room in Portugal, too. 

You can make a donation at:  https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/tiffany-williams

Update

Claire informs me that the gofundme collection has now closed. But for those wishing to help in some way, there is a beautiful painting of Claire by Jason Pearce, which is up for auction with funds going to her medical fees.  

She says many thanks. 

Jason Pearce is an administrator for a very popular political group, and like me, he was originally contacted and asked if a member (Alan) could post a gofundme page to raise money for treatment costs to the group, as his wife, Claire, is seriously ill. Jason agreed, and offered to help. As Jason is an artist, it was suggested that he could paint a portrait of Claire and it could then be auctioned online to help raise some more money towards Claire’s ongoing treatment.

This is Jason’s lovely painting of Claire.

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“Claire”

20″ x 16″ Mixed media on canvas.

 


My work is unfunded and I don’t make any money from it. I am disabled because of illness and struggle to get by. But you can support Politics and Insights and contribute by making a donation which will help me continue to research and write informative, insightful and independent articles, and to provide support to others.  DonatenowButton

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84 thoughts on “Terminally ill woman lost her ESA, home and all her belongings after being told she was fit for work

    1. I’ve just copied this story and sent it to Granada reports the dwp want to be ashamed of themselves honestly loads of family’s near me on the sick but drink all day and this poor lady gets treated like this I hope sending this helps her

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Alcoholism is also an illness. The “deserving” and “undeserving” narrative is precisely how the government have tried to justify their terrible programme of cuts to disability support. There is always more to a someone’s story than appears on the surface. I know this, as I worked with young people who used substances such as cannabis, alchohol and other drugs to self medicate following psychological trauma or distressing circumstances. This happens particularly when people going through hardship have noone to turn to – no support.

        Liked by 8 people

      2. Alcohol like recreational drugs, gambling, coffee, computers…. are highly addictive, as is smoking and affect the brain. Addiction is very hard to beat. It is not about getting drunk all day. The brain grows little dendrites to soak up the alcohol, or the drug, but to get the same ‘high’ or desired effect, you have to take more drink and drug, but as the dosage goes up, the brain grows more dendrites, the ‘desired effect’ goes down to the point you end up killing yourself. Essentially, recreational drugs, drink and smoking are mind altering. I know you mean well basically, but please do google the effects of these substances on the brain before making such comments.

        Liked by 5 people

      3. If you are turned down for PIP under the terminal illness rules, as some people are, you can still apply in the standard way. Not many people know this, though. Also, not everyone knows about the DS1500 form.

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      4. These people who are ranting about alcohol and drugs DUH- Cancer isn’t asked for or wanted. It’s not a try it once and see how we go. Alcohol and drugs – well don’t get me started, who in their right minds try drugs? alcohol isn’t particularly nice. If you have and addictive personality stay away. This lady has been let down badly by this government just to save money for their rich pals and to send abroad

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    2. This should not be allowed to happen but it does all the time do this goverment who are suppose to run the country for us realise they are killing us all off 1 by 1 well it is a conservative goverment where the rich get richer and the sick get sicker …..DISGUSTING …

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  1. So sorry to hear this, l think it’s about time someone assessed the assesser as weither they are fit to work? I am sure they must sit on their common sense most of the time,

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  2. Hmm something doesn’t fit hear, ESP with a donation page at the end, I know people have been turned down for ESA who are terminal, BUT have always appealed with or without the support of NHS, social services palitave care team or McMillan all of which in the UK you immediately are under once diagnosed with a terminal illness, so find it rather strange. The way it’s written is odd too so rather dubious will do some more investigating as no one regardless of person condition would just exsept this and live on credit cards when for the sake of getting McMillan or ss- palitave team involved for no less then six weeks to resolve and reverse it !!! Humm

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Terminally I’ll people are given what I think is a DS1500 and this is usually completed by the Macmillan nurse to avoid distress. This is fast tracked and the extra allowances eg to allow for more heat, starts quite soon. I know this from very recent experience with a close relative.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Other people I know are unaware of this and were not given it. I don’t know if Claire was. We assume that there is a safety net in place, but I know from experience that many people have fallen through it to end up destitute, sadly

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Very synical this kind of thing is the norm now not an exception .having served in the forces hardly ever claimed benefits then braking an ankle at work , i was told i wasnt entiltled to anything how strange as i have never asked before and wont again this country is in a massive media onslaught against the poor.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Linda Collins…… I think you have the wrong information…
        FORM DS1500. This is a form, completed by a GP, Consultant, hospital doctor or specialist nurse, which enables someone who is terminally ill to claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Attendance Allowance (AA) under what the DWP calls “Special Rules.”

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    3. I agree with you Justin. Why would their housing benefit be stopped? it’s based on income and you can’t get any lower than “no income”. I, myself have had periods with no income at all but still got housing benefit. There is also a little known system that entitles people on low or no income to free prescriptions – you can get a form (Hc1) from a doctor or even dentist to apply. I’ve done this myself too.

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      1. Firstly, as soon as your “passport” benefits such as DLA/PIP, ESA and carer’s allowance are stopped, your housing benefit is automatically stopped, too, since the DWP immediately notify the housing benefit office. You then have to fill in a nil income form, but you don’t get told about that, so unless you actually know about it, you won’t know to ask for it. Many people are unaware that you can claim housing benefit once you have lost your other benefits, and once your HB has been stopped. The nil income form is kept quiet precisely to prevent people claiming HB. It’s all about the government cutting costs and clawing back ordinary people’s entitlement to support.

        Secondly, as you correctly point out, there is a little known system where you can apply via HC1 for free or low cost prescriptions – but you have to know about it in order to ask for it. Not many people do.

        Finally, don’t you think £800 is rather a modest amount for their friend Tiffany to ask for, on their behalf, given their circumstances?

        I wasn’t asked to write this article. It was me that asked Alan and Claire if I could write about their situation after Alan asked permission to post the appeal in a group I admin on.

        There are others who have slipped through the safety net we assume is there, too. We can offer advice and say this or that form is available, or write to, ring this person or that, but facing the complete loss of income and their home, and having to cope with a terminal illness, it’s hardly surprising that most people in those circumstances don’t manage to jump through the invisible administrative hoops – and that’s if they are actually aware of their very limited options.

        I know when I have been seriously ill, what I can cope with is substantially reduced.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Believe me, Kitty, I know how the system works – I’m embroiled in it myself. Which is why I don’t think this story is entirely true. As soon as the HB was stopped they would have been asked by the council benefit dept to provide their current info if they wanted to continue claiming. Seems odd that they are perfectly capable of obtaining credit cards (and wouldn’t alarm bells have started to ring with the card companies when their “maxed out” cards were attempted to be used for such a large sum as a month’s cruise?), booking a cruise, jumping ship at Portugal and finding lodgings but they’re not capable of talking to the council? Or going on-line to find out about other help? Maybe this is a well intentioned attempt to highlight the shortcomings of the system but is likely to do more harm than good when it’s discovered to be a sham.

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      2. I am disabled through illness. I am also “embroiled” in the system. I also write about the impact of welfare policies, and believe me this story isn’t out of the ordinary.

        They already had the credit cards before Claire got ill – she was a mental health nurse. They had NO income and assumed they were no longer eligible for housing benefit, as it had been stopped. They used what limit was left on their credit cards.

        The Housing benefit office do NOT get in touch and ask people if they want to continue to claim and to provide proof of income once their benefits have been stopped, that does not happen. When people’s benefit claims are ended, the HB office assume people have found work, as a rule. They don’t contact you, unless you owe them money, you have to contact them.

        Who are we to judge what terminally ill people “should” and “shouldn’t” do?

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Yet this government gives all the immigrants a house car and everything else they want
    And they have paid nothing into the system …… what ashitty country we live in ….. bloody disgraceful
    Teresa may and her cronies who live a comfortable bloody life won’t ever know what it is to suffer
    Well one day I hope they do ……. bastards

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    1. No they don’t, asylum seekers are not entitled to any help from the State, they are provided with an allowance of £5/day. They cannot work nor gain housing until their asylum application is processed.
      Stop using migrants as scapegoats, the blame squarely lies with the psychopathic Tories.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. Which immigrant get a car? You’re a joke of a racist pig! Your coubtrybcreared thosenimmifranrs, and likely still disparaging their land, so get on another racist blog, not this one

      Liked by 1 person

    3. I’m sorry that’s nonsense. I am engaged to a foreign man and he had to prove how long he’d been working over here and paying tax for, before he could even join a Doctors and Dentist (I made him). When the company he was working for liquidated, the hoops he had to jump though just to get job seekers allowance!! (again I made him as he didn’t feel entitled, which I explained what we pay tax for). It was a long complicated process, much more than normal. No one gave him a house or car and he had to prove all the taxes paid just to get £48 a week whilst he was job hunting. People that say the above should maybe get to no more foreign people and realise this is not often the case unless someone is a refugee with children. Refugee and immigrant are 2 different things.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Whilst my illness is nothing like Claire’s I was retired on ill health by my employer,and applied for ESA.I received my allowance,and was asked to attend an assessment.All seemed to go well,but a couple of weeks later I received a call from the DWP informing me I didn’t warrant my ESA.I was very upset,and got quite emotional,at this the person on the other end of the line told me to hold the line then came back on and said after listening to me they would carry on paying my Benefit.A few months later I was again summoned for another assessment,the same thing happened and again I got emotional,and again was told after hearing from me I would retain the Benefit.These people are playing with peoples lives,but my story proves its not the assessor that makes the final decision,its the person at the DWP.I am now 65 and no longer clain ESA but I feel for all the people being put through this torture……..

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Your right Leslie, the assessor ask the stupid questions set by the government, so no matter what your disability/illness is, its a nurse who fills in a form they know nothing about your medical history they totally discard what your GP surgeons and specialist have diagnosed you with so in effect Atos are saying these professionals are liars, all the tests you had and the medical reports are useless because there is nothing wrong with you, so unless you are literally a talking head your f###ed, this report is then sent to a decision maker at the DWP who has no medical training no idea how your condition affects you personally the short/long-term outlook etc etc it’s disgraceful the way the long term disabled are being treated.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. The assessor makes the decision….by writing/presenting the report to the DWP.
      On that report the assessor will itemises each activity and score it on a points system. This system has an a/b or c answer for each activity. The “activity” is based on meeting you in person on that day ! If you do not reach 15 points or more then you will be found fit for work. The assessor rang you to tell you initially that your ESA would be stopped. Your disress both times changed their minds. But they are the decision makers. If you ask for a mandatory reconsideration. That will go straight back to the assessor or a colleague…then they will look at it. And to date no one has had that decision changed. The appeal is next. Thats when the DWP become involved.

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    3. Yes, I agree, the DWP make the decision, though assessors quite often make it easy for them to stop your money by finding ways of discrediting your accont of your level of disability.

      I had a doctor at my last ESA assessment who was actually decent. He told me he would recommend I was put into the support group after the assessment was completed, off the record. I asked if he had any say in the decision. He told me the DWP always make the final decision but they do take into account the assessment reports and recommendations, when they are made. My first assessment was nothing like that. I was given nil points and told I was fit for work. I appealed and won. But it took so much effort and meanwhile I was left with so little to live on for various reasons. The distress and strain it caused for months exacerbated my illness and made me really poorly. I actually cried at the tribunal when I was told that the panel had already reached a decision before I got there, so I didn’t have to go through a hearing. My tribunal was 10 minutes. But I waited 9 months for the hearing.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. If I were terminally ill, I’d want the support I was entitled to in my own country. I have worked and paid into the pot for it, after all, as Claire did. Failing that, I would want to spend the last part of my life at least doing one thing that is life-affirming. Like a holiday. Perish the thought that disabled people may want to do something ordinary like take a break, eh?

      Would you prefer she slept on the streets in the UK, with no income and support? And yes, they could have got a place, but without eligibility for Carer’s Allowance, ESA and PIP, they also wouldn’t have money to sustain rent payments here

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Is husband not working? and if not then he’d be eligible for JSA. They’d be entitled to Housing Benefit anyway, regardless. Also, £800 for a new medical treatment? I’m sure it would cost a LOT more than that. £800 doesn’t even cover an overnight stay in a private hospital – which is surely where this treatment would be taking place if she had to pay for it? I’d love to be proved wrong but I think you’ve been had.

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      2. Her husband, Alan, is her carer. Claire is terminally ill. He had carer’s allowance until it was stopped because Claire ceased to receive ESA and PIP.

        She is being cared for in Portugal. Her care is palliative, not curative, though she is hoping to try treatment that may extend her life and improve the quality of her time left.

        Neither Claire nor Alan asked me to write this article. As far as I know, they haven’t approached anyone else to write about their circumstances either.

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    2. They wouldn’t have to pay for palliative care had they not lost all their income, their home and felt they couldn’t come back to this country…

      As for taking a cruise, for crying out loud, Claire is terminally ill. How can anyone resent someone who is dying having a last holiday?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry Kitty but this seems all wrong to me. I’m not convinced. Things in that photo of Claire also do not add up. I’ve seen people scam many thousands of dollars from well-meaning people through this technique. If Claire is genuinely in this position and people in these responses have made recommendations for how she can gain government assistance that clearly she should be able to get, why have you not made those investigations for her, if you are running this or promoting this; I do not know what your role is. Why do you just negate their responses with ‘unfortunately that doesn’t happen for everyone’. You keep taking people’s suggestions for action and tossing them away as, that’s not going to happen’. The nil income suggestion for one makes simple sense for a start off. If Claire is too ill to set things in motion, why don’t you do that for her? You seem pretty smart. Why are you just doing this? And yes, why the credit card cruise?? Why not lobby the local ministers; lobby the newspapers; lobby the hell out of those with the power to say yes? Get onto that if you are genuine. I do not believe you. If the nil income option is kept quiet, well, you know about it, don’t you? So why is that not being pursued as a starting point. And keep pushing from there! We would all sign a petition and so would many many others. 800 pounds? Yea, drop in a bucket for this. But nice to start with if there really is no problem, and you manage to gain a lot more than that from the good-hearted people. We all know the Tory government is making things hellish; we all know welfare is being slashed there and in Australia, where I am. So this story gets lots of credibility, it seems. But not nearly enough; too many holes here Kitty. Fill em up first! Then ask for money.

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      2. It’s your choice and right to be skeptical. I should point out that I wasn’t asked by Claire and Alan to write this. I spoke to them and have no reason to doubt their sincerity.

        I’ve lost several friends who have had similar experiences. Lottie, for example, was terminally ill with a brain tumour. She was asked to attend a work-related interview, and threatened with a benefit sanction if she didn’t attend. At the time, Lottie couldn’t even feed herself. She died not long after that letter was sent to her.

        There are many others I have written about. One person lost a leg because he had his money stopped and couldn’t manage his type-1 diabetes. His illness spiralled out of control because he couldn’t afford to eat and he got diabetic ulcers in his leg, that became gangrenous. Another person died when his benefit was stopped because he also couldn’t manage his diabetes. He had no money for his electric meter, and so couldn’t store his insulin in the fridge. He died of keytone acidosis because he couldn’t take his insulin. He also had not eaten anything for 3 days. Where was his safety net?

        We can all say “well he should have done this or that” but at the end of the day, noone who is so ill should be expected to know how to cope with hunger and destitution and know which form to ask for and how to go about challenging decisions that are brutal, callous and horrific. The hoops people are expected to jump though are also unsignposted. People are not being informed of how to challenge wrongful bureaucratic decision-making, which is designed intentionally to remove people’s entitlement to support.

        Again, if a person was wanting to scam people, they wouldn’t have asked for just £800. And it was Claire’s friend that started the fund page.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. Not enough info. ESA would stop after being abroad more than 4 weeks, so without more info it sounds like the author has made an assumption.

    As others have said on there, there’s so much in that piece that doesn’t fit. If this isn’t ‘fake news’, it’s misleading news.

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    1. I don’t write “fake news”, and my reputation has developed because I write reliable accounts which I evidence. Claire’s ESA and DLA were stopped before she left the UK – her housing benefit was also stopped and they lost their home. Claire lost her ESA and DLA when she was reassessed. The couple also lost their carer’s allowance as Alan was Claire’s carer. I haven’t made any assumptions, I wrote after a discussion with Alan, and clarified all the points of the article with both Claire and Alan afterwards, again.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Boils my blood that you’ve had to endure all this when you should be able to get care at home.
    Please research cannabis oil. It has done amazing things, reversing terminal cancer. Much love from a 3 year survivor x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The treatment I am funding to try is the cannabis therapy. We have had many kind offers of accommodation from friends, but the warmth makes a huge difference to my levels of arthritis pain and that makes my medical costs lower considerably. I’m not ashamed for having a bucket list nor do I care that we are being hunted like dogs by the credit card companies for non payment…. what can they do to hurt me now? My original plan had been to euthanise myself before cruise ship got back to UK, but my partner talked me out of it. How many of you would wish to die in a DWP benefits hostel if you had the chance to grab at a dream of being somewhere beautiful? Ethics of credit card aside, we never asked anyone for help until just recently and that was only by approaching our friends on Facebook, all people who know us and our situation. We never asked for strangers to be involved and the £800 was supposed to be enough to give me enough pain relief and cannabis for a month staying with friends and to get my partner a plane ticket back home to try and start afresh despite the onus on the credit cards.

      Only those walking in the same shoes will understand the desperate choices and decisions.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I completely understand, I find all the people querying your situation and imagining it’s easy for you to battle the DWP a little strange really, I hope you get the cannabis treatment sorted and it is helpful and I hope you have as good a time as you can doing the things you want. Much love

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on Declaration Of Opinion and commented:
    When I read stories like this I feel saddened and angry in equal measures. What hope is there for the whole of humanity when such backward thinking, selfish, unfeeling people keep being placed in positions of power over the majority. I wish people would wake up to the fact that apathy towards who governs us as a whole is no longer an option if there is to be any hope for future generations.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Esa restarts once an appeal is lodged with tribubals service. Any citzens advice bureau would tell you that. The system is set up so that people who are appealing esa are not left without monetary support. This situation this lady claims does not happen otherwise imagine the amount of litigation the govt would be faced with as a fair number if people do win appeals. The govt will restart esa on appeal. This lady is running a sob story scam. Shame on them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ESA is stopped completely once you are deemed “fit for work” after the WCA. It doesn’t start again until you claim after the mandatory review, but you have to know to ask for that, and it is just at a basic rate. In order to appeal, you need to ask for a mandatory review,first, which has no limit set on the timescale – any Citizen’s advice will tell you that. Meanwhile you are left with no money at all to live on. And you also have to know to re-apply for ESA after the review, because it isn’t automatically reinstated. Your comment is misleading. People have been previously advised to try and claim Jobseekers allowance whilst waiting for their mandatory review, but people get turned down because they cannot be available for work due to being too ill.

      The government HAS faced court cases because of their welfare policies, and they have also been investigated by the United Nations and found to be “systematically violating” disabled people’s human rights because of their welfare policies.

      The appeals were taking up to 18 months, after Claire lost her ESA, and she did not know if she would survive the wait. Many people HAVE been left without money whilst waiting for appeal. The government does NOT automatically restart ESA after mandatory review. You should get your facts right before jumping in and making such serious accusations of other people – https://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/735/

      Liked by 3 people

  9. Kitty, thank you for your endless patience and endless repetition for pub geniuses who can’t be bothered to read the comments.

    I hope Claire and Alan get the paltry amount of money they’re asking for and the support of the MP who represents the area they once lived in.

    Sadly, I think that the best that can be hoped for is that Claire lives out her life in a country that is not as disgusting as the UK, and has a pain free, peaceful death. I wish her and Alan love and strength.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I have been disabled after an accident 8yrs ago and I went from running a small business & working for a national charity to being 95% bedbound – part of which allowed me a desk in around 30 jobcentres in the East Midlands to work with young people on raising funds to get further education or go self employed etc so I got very used to being in the environment and as it was through agreement with the charity & the DWP high up I was treated with an agreeable amount of respect when in the offices etc. 2 months after my accident they insisted I went into the Jc for an interview (even though some benefits were put in place as being on sick pay & providing sick notes wasn’t as in depth as what I now needed having been told my injuries had left permanent damage and I wasn’t going to get better but worse) so my partner pulled up directly outside and as I knew most of the staff, was still coming to terms with what had happened and was emotional seeing people I knew, I insisted I went in on my crutches instead of my wheel chair also as I new how busy it could be inside and I couldn’t bend my right leg so the wheelchair took up a lot of space with a permanent leg raiser on. My disability had cause a bowel problem also so I wouldn’t even drink water if I had to go out. 20 min past my appointment time, my partner sat on the floor supporting my leg and in excruciating pain I need the toilet ‘urgently’ it was refused because it was only for disabled people, I explained I was and the reply I got was look at the picture – the disabled symbol – person in a wheelchair! I was refused again even though I was now crying as I knew I had to use the bathroom. I asked for the manager (who I had had coffee with in her office many times) and she greeted me to late as I had now messed myself in public to which I was obviously distraught and she confirmed to my partner the policy was wheelchair users only. We left, my benefits were stopped for non attendance as I had been there for 50 mins in total and in the months & months of fighting the DWP we were evicted but luckily managed to find a small place with a private landlord and family help. I now live alone (as my partner had to either leave his job and claim full benefits giving us everything or support us completely which was impossible on his income because obviously & rightly so his child maintenace came first but was counted as income) in a tiny bungalow and all i can afford to pay my Carer to do is paperwork to ensure my benefits are kept in place. Last year a paperwork error on there part (I have an apology ‘ish’ in writing) stopped everything AGAIN and the only help available was the advice to visit a food bank – I can just get from my bed to my bathroom which is 6 steps most days – not 1 penny for 2 & a half months! Relying on my only daughter who lives local to buy me food. I am 46 now and if I didn’t have my daughters and grandchildrens hurt to consider I would rather not wake up another day. The system is deplorable and depersonalises you – our suffering is of no consideration. When I told the adsorbs that I feel suicidal everyday, looking at my prescription her reply was ‘well with all that morphine what stops you’ – how very observant and helpful of her to point that out to me! To Justin who posted early one – there but for the grace of God go you! A slip, a car crash, an illness or cancer as poor Claire from is suffering everyday can stoke anyone of us – it’s then you’ll need to start the research mate!! Not on how suspicious you are of Claire’s story but how you will survive in a country that doesn’t CARE or know the meaning of the word!! It’s people like you that continue to make me lose faith in human beings – good luck cause I hope you never walk in Claire’s or my shoes for even a day!! To Claire and Alan I wish you all the best, enjoy every minute you have together, don’t read about this country, watch the wave and feel the sun on your face and know that you are in the right place xxx I will happily donate what to support your continued rent xx Gof bless you both xxx

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    1. Bless you Tracy for our kind support, along with that of so many others. Would like to keep in touch with you as we have so much in common, if you are happy to message Sue Jones, I would be happy for her to give you my fb and messenger details.

      Sorry this is very brief, but pain limits my communication these days.

      For those who disbelieve, all I can say I that I pray you or someone you love doesn’t have to face the true system of the UK establishment.

      Love to all, Claire Hardwicke xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I my self have a genetic illness no cure for me had over 250operations to remove tumours to stop me looking like the elephant man I had to life saving operations to remove 12 spinal tumours from my neck spinal cord decompression lost some body functions and have two chest tumours which can kill me or paralysed me one as turn pet positive now had that remove the other chest tumours is wrapped around my main artery that feeds the brain also got tumours all down my spinal cord in a lot of pain on morphine and amitriptyline and other morphine psin killers know on anti depressants because I want to take my life I save all my benefits for many years and for my children care as they have the same illness now I been told by the dwp I have broken the law because I did not tell them when I was claiming esa did not mean to do any thing wrong did not hide the money it was in the bank it was my dla as I could not go far I save this so scare now will lose all my saving I will need many more operations in the future cant take any more I know care is expensive my son has a brain tumour people say this is my felt o.k

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  11. There is a difference between being terminally ill and having an incurable cancer. You are not classed as terminally ill until it is estimated that you have 6 months to live or less. Having an incurable cancer is something many people live with for years. I know because I am one of those people. I am living with an incurable blood cancer. I too was refused ESA in 2015 after having been in a support group for 4 years following diagnosis. I’m not saying it is right, but I too have extreme fatigue and many other mobility issues and have had to forge a career for myself to gain an income. I now teach mindfulness meditation which I can do seated. I only work a few hours a week, but I am able to earn my own income. It is possible that claire could live with this cancer for many years to come, and with a mental health background, there are similar opportunities for her to provide 1:1 or group support to mental health patients and earn a modest crust. We all have so much to give and I believe we often get lost in a diagnosis and focus on our limitations rather than our talents.

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    1. It depends on how your illness affects you. And that may vary over time, too. I am not consistent in my work, some days I can’t even get out of bed, let alone think clearly enough to write articles, and I therefore can’t make a living using my previous education and professional skills. Added to the proalems of physical illness are the financial hardships that many ill and disabled people now face, which are of course a threat to survival. If you cannot raise the costs of meeting your basic physical needs, such as food, fuel and shelter, from your income, it’s highly unlikely that you will meet higher level psycho-social ones. No amount of individual “positive thinking” or “mindfulness” will change that. See Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs.

      I am not terminally ill, nor do I have cancer. I have lupus. I have not been well enough to work since 2010. Prior to that I worked as a young people’s mental health community social worker. I do my best to work raising awareness, but cannot manage that consistently enough to make a living doing so.

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      1. I have a genetic illness no cure for me had over 250operations to remove tumours to stop me looking like the elephant man I had 12spinal cord tumours remove from my neck lost some body functions and now need two more life saving operations to remove two chest tumours which can kill me or paralysed me from the neck down one is wrapped around my main artery that feeds the brain the other chest tumour as turn pet positive been put on palliative care by my macmillan nurses don’t know how long I have the worse of it my son as the Same illness he as a brain tumour I save all my dla for many years because I will need more care I have been told by the dwp I Have broken the law because I did not tell them I honestly did not this because I was claiming esa thedwp says they can take me to court I thought dla did not count as income now I am going to lose it all I want to take my life to much pain and I can’t take any more from the dwp I am under mental health care so scare

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      2. I am so sorry to hear about this situation, Michael. DLA is not means tested, so it shouldn’t need to be declared. But I think ESA income related may need you to declare DLA, however, I don’t think DLA or PIP actually affect your ESA award. If anything, if you are in the support group, you should be entitled to a severe disability premium. I will check this and get back to you.

        I’m just about to claim PIP, and have been on ESA for a while. No-one from the CAB or housing office told me that the PIP would affect my ESA award. They are the people supporting my claim.

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  12. If you claim esa income related you must declare all saving my savings come from my dla I was told by Welfare rights after a year your savings be capita my saving built up over many years because my consulant and dr told me I will need a lot ofof care also if effect your housing benefits now

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  13. Pip only effects you esa income related if you save more than £6000 I same for many years because I was told by my consultant that I will need a lot of palliative care I thought dla did not count as income but it does if you save after a year I told dwp and shown them medical letters they sais I have broken the law and will have to pay back so I will lose all my saving and this effects your housing benefits wich I will have to back please be careful and take care

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    1. Have you spoken to Citizen’s advice? They may be able to help. Or there are legal professionals that do pro bono work that may be able to help with this. It’s a terrible situation to be in, I’m so sorry for you

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  14. Please be careful I was on income related esa all the befits letters said dla do not count after saving my dla for many years because I did not go any were it built up and I was saving for my care and son care because he as a brain tumour my money was stop over easter when I phone dwp theu told me I did not declare my saving I thought dla did not count as income now the dwp toldmei have broken the law know they I stop my income related bendfit the dwp told me they can take me to court they said I will have to pay all the benefits back and stop my housing benefits so scare I will lose all my saving could lose my council home which is adapted for my illness I want to take my life to much pain can’t take any more from the dw I will need many more operations to save my life in the future living on a time bomb

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