So today we helped a lady living on her own. She had been in receipt of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and as she receives Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and no one claims carers allowance for her, then she was entitled to be paid a Severe Disability Premium (SDP). Her PIP is still in payment, however at her last face to face assessment, the assessor rushed her through the assessment and wouldn’t allow her to elaborate on any of her questions, telling her to hurry up and just answer yes or no! So despite the fact that she has PIP in payment, because she was considered by a different assessor to be in need of additional help, this assessor for her ESA felt differently and contradicted the previous assessor and found her fit for work. The consequences of this decision were that her money went down considerably as she lost the ESA and the SDP, and had to sign on for Job Seekers, despite the fact that she is too poorly to work. When we came across her, she told us she was having to stay in bed because it was the only way she could keep warm as she couldn’t afford to top up her meters, or buy any food. We sent across a small sum of money to help tide her over until her advance payment of JSA could be made. We gave her some contact details of places she could go to on Monday in her local area to get some help in appealing this dreadful and quite stupid decision.
She later told us this: “Because of what you did with your kindness today, I have realised there are people out there that care and can help, I thought I was alone. I’m going to check out the links you sent me and get some help. I realise now it is okay to ask for help. I need help with a lot of things but I’m now going to ask for it in future. I thought if I ignored the problem long enough it would go away, but it didn’t. Your help to me today truly has made a massive difference.”