11.30 am, Sunday morning, and the telephone rings. The caller asks if I’m me, a disembodied voice from ATOS, the private medical arm employed by the DWP, proffering me a date to attend a medical in
The date suggested by the disembodied one is a Tuesday, to which I have to point out that I’d already explained on my form that Wednesdays are the only day when my beloved chauffeuse is available to transport me there. Of course, they had an available time on the Wednesday so they’ll be sending a confirmation letter regarding the date and time of the appointment.
In less than one year’s time, I shall be in receipt of a State Pension, as well as a couple of other policies maturing; the big question is, will I be in receipt of incapacity benefit until that time? The unpredictable nature of my condition, how I will be from one day to the next, (the only certainty being that if I overdo it I’ll be wrecked for several succeeding days), has prevented me from taking on any voluntary work or having what I used to consider a normal social life. To be honest, if I was to declare myself as being available for paid employment, I would be lying to myself as well as any potential employer. I’m sure they’d all rush for the opportunity to give employment on the basis that I would only attend when I was fit or alert enough to attend, at the whim of my erratic achingly exhausted body.
The only viable option, should they (under their remit to attack the most vulnerable members of society) deny my eligibility for IB, is to live off my savings, and make the necessary national insurance contributions, for the next eleven months.
Just something I had to get off my chest, at the same time acknowledging that there are far too many people in a worse predicament and condition than myself. I just wonder why I should be made to feel guilty about having a health condition which is not immediately obvious, except to those like my beloved who have to live with its effects.