In February 2012, I was notified, to attend an assessment as to the receiving of incapacity benefit.
I was informed, to attend at 8.30am on 02 April 2012.
I have no transport of my own! I checked the bus times with the only bus, at that time in the morning, arriving at 7.10am.
I decided to use a bit more money ( which I couldn’t really afford) to use a taxi. I arrived at 8.15, only to find the place didn’t open before 9am. The receptionist arrived at 8.50 am, although I wasn’t allowed in before 9.15.
The doctor arrived at 9.10.
I finally went into the interview at 10.15am.
He asked me… if I suffered from depression. I replied “I have done, in the past quite severely, and had been admitted five times for treatment”.
I “scored” no points on the assessment as I seemed to be happy and social (?)
He then asked if I could get on with others… I replied ” Yes!”
He requested I stand up and hold both arms outstretched, level with my shoulders…. I complied.
During the interview, he was constantly either talking on the desk phone, on his cell phone, or clicking on his computer.
He then told me the interview was concluded..
Not once did he actually look at me, nor answer any of my questions, or ask me about my health.
He did agree that I get short of breath, but only when excerting myself. Obviously, he was listening when I told him,that my heart rate increases just going upstairs.
I was out of the building at 10.35am.
I had no credit on my phone and had to walk, approximately 900 yards, to catch the bus home. It took me almost 2 hours to walk to the bus stop.
In 2004, whilst living in Demark I had been diagnosed with Chronic Heart Failure. This consequently cost me my Business, my Family and my home.
During this time I was examined by several doctors, took numerous tests, during which, they also found a tumour on my adrenal gland. I started having depressive episodes.
The Danish Authorities deemed that I was unfit to work and I was placed on early retirement. I receive 25/40 of a Danish pension.
As I couldn’t recieve a full pension, the Danes contacted the International Benefits Centrein Newcastle and in order to supplement my ” pension” to the minimum level, I was awarded Incapcity benefit.
On my return to the UK, in January 2010, I contacted the local Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and was toldthat my benefits would be transferred to St Austell.
At the time I was staying with friends… where I became ill and collapsed. It appears that I had a burst ulcer. I spent several days in Intensive Care. I still suffer from internal bleeding
In June this year, I was informed, that my incapacity benefit would stop. However, I could appeal. If I wanted to continue payment during the appeal I was to enclose a Med 3 (fit note) and it was to be in before 11th July. I handed it in to my local DWP on the 2nd of July.
On the 14th of July I received a letter stating that I was not entitled to employment and support benefit. It also stated: “It is based on what a person is capable of doing, rather than assume that their health condition or disability prevents them from being able to work ” They also encouraged me to maintain close contact with the staff at my local JobCentre Plus.
I appealed this decision and was told to call 0191 218 7652, the International Benefits Centre, to discuss my case… I was told that they knew nothing of me, but I should call 0191 218 7640 and discuss “Pension Credits”. I was told that I was not entitled to this until 6th November 2012 but not to give up hope and call 0800 991 234. On doing so I was told to apply for Disability Living Allowance and that I’d been given the wrong information.
A week later I received an application for DLA. I could see for myself from the contents of the form that I would not be entitled to this benefit. I contacted them again and I was given yet another telephone number 0845 608 8503 to ring, this time St Helens Jobcentre (?). Here I was told that my files had been sent by courier service (Tract) to the International Benefits Centre in Newcastle. I called Newcastle only to be told I had to call St Helens. Once again I contacted St Helens to speak to another person who informed me that I would be paid benefits during the appeal, but at a reduced rate. It was to be no longer at £45 per week but now £34.18 a week and she would issue a giro immediately by first class post, dated 27th July. It arrived on 3rd August.
The telephone conversations took place between 14th and 20th of July.
I am 61 years old and suffer, due to my heart condition, severe shortage of breath. I can walk and talk and do small things around the house. I have difficulty climbing stairs… I have regular scans and xrays to ensure my tumour is not increasing and that I have an irregular heartbeart… It can start to fluctuate whether or not I am walking, talking or sleeping.
I am not useless! As long as I do things slowly I can look after myself. I can cook, albeit, I have to sit to peel potatoes. Vacuum cleaning proves to be a task though and I have to sit down almost every 10 minutes. I like to take a walk. However, to walk to the nearest shop, which is mainly uphill and only 500 yards, takes on average of an hour… so I can kiss DLA goodbye, as I don’t need or have use of a carer.
Yet I am deemed fit for work.
The examining doctor also stated that he was unable to contact me… He never tried! I always have my phone with me, in case of emergencies.
He stated that I had no “mental health problems”.
He stated: ” there was no evidence of peripheral manifestations of heart failure”
The clinical examination was to take my pulse and blood pressure.
Yet my own GP demands that I have regular ECG’s so that he can keep an eye on me. I have to see him once a month to regulate my medication. I am on pills to slow my heart down, blood thinners, and ulcer medication.
Recently, I fell over in the kitchen, while “excerting” myself. I now have a ruptured achilles tendon.
I must admit that this Doctor must have been extremely good. He found many others in his profession (in two countries), including “Rigssyghus” in Copenhagen, one of the main heart units in Europe and doctors at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth and several other GP’s, to have all been mistaken!