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I was awarded DLA for the rest of my life, turns out that according to the DWP and the imbeciles at ATOS that was January 2017.
I suffered a major head injury from a racial assault in 2011 that resulted in a bifrontal craniotomy and a 6-week coma. Thanks to the amazing NHS I am still alive.
In December 2016, I received a letter from the DWP explaining that my DLA would be stopped and that I would have to apply for PIP. The first thing I did was to check my pulse to clarify that I was still alive. I had a pulse, I was alive! I thought that’s odd I was awarded DLA for life, I called the DWP to tell them that I was still alive and that I had been awarded DLA until I die. I was rudely told that DLA no longer existed so I would have to apply for PIP, the lady on the phone said that if had been awarded DLA for life it was just a case of doing the paperwork and going to an ATOS meeting to check my health. I begrudgingly agreed as I had no other choice. I booked an appointment at The Citizens Advice Bureau to help me complete the forms as since my head injury I struggle to read and write.
I completed the forms and sent them in to the DWP along with Doctors reports, I received a date for my ATOS meeting which I attended. The meeting was a bit strange and more interested in assessing my physical capabilities than my actual mental health problems. In the brief discussion, we had regarding my day to day life I explained that I struggled in remembering to do things including taking medication, I explained that I had ended up in hospital by mistake as I had forgotten that I had taken my medication 3 times in one evening resulting in an overdose.
The main issue that I have after my head injury is anosmia and the loss of taste, while I was on DLA I could afford to have someone help me cook and make sure that everything that I was cooking was edible and not going to make me ill and to make sure that I turn off cookers and ovens, since my DLA has stopped I have had food poisoning twice and have left the oven on for several days at a time without realising, I explained all this to the lady at ATOS who I thought was a Doctor but as I discovered is not.
I eventually received a response to my PIP application, the news was not good. DECLINED! I did not understand, I went back to The Citizens Advice Bureau, they helped me compose a Mandatory Reconsideration letter, I sent that in to the DWP then over a month later I received the same reply. I am now going through the Tribunal Process, I received the DWP response, they claim that I said that I do not take any medication and have no problems with my day to day life. According to the DWP medical overdoses and food poisoning are standard in day to day life.
The most frustrating thing is that at the beginning of Theresa Mays role as Prime Minister she was adamant about helping people with mental health illnesses. Both Prince William and Prince Harry have acknowledged that mental health illnesses are a disability but the people who make the decisions on whether I should have a life which is not restricted to only eating microwave food or takeaways have not.
To top this off I was on ESA as not only my GP but my Neurosurgeon and the Professor in charge of my rehabilitation have all said that I am not fit to work at the moment and especially not fit to work in my previous career which was a Chef, not only do I have anosmia and the lack of taste but the heat in a professional kitchen could increase the pressure in my head causing me to need more medical attention than is necessary. The lady at ATOS who is not a Doctor nor has she ever met me before or know all about my problems has decided that I am fit to work, the Job Centre have insisted that I apply for chef roles. I have refused and because of this my Universal Credit has been cut.
I am lost. I have no idea what to do apart from not take medication, eat horrific microwave food while I can afford it and wait to die.
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