“There is a huge problem with benefits causing crises in women with mental health problems. It all started with the new ESA forms and has now been compounded by the PIP fiasco with many women being driven into panic by being denied benefits and then having to face long processes of challenge leading to tribunals which seem generally to be far more willing to understand and hear the real truth about the women’s situation and often give high rates for long periods.
“What is really messing everyone up is that there is no facility for support for most applicants. Staff know nothing about the forms, the process, the rights for exemption that can be written into the letters they are being asked to write by everyone claiming benefits and hoping to get PIP.
“Mental health workers, social workers, nurses, psychiatrists are responsible for supporting everyone who is in the community. Again, they are overloaded with people demanding letters, forms filled in. So many of us are lurching into crisis and the staff there really don’t understand the impact these forms and this process is having. I worry that they are working to standards that everyone has to go through the interview process.
“I just wanted to let you know, it is with a happy heart I read the opened letter from the DWP this afternoon with my PIP results. I am most grateful for the advice that it is OK to ask my psychiatrist specifically for a paper based assessment. I know not everyone is like this and that particularly with the disabled people’s movement, a lot of work and effort goes into asserting good self-image. In mental health, addictions, abuse/domestic violence situations, I think there is something very unseen and unaddressed going on that makes women like me and others, more likely to be unable to meet the demands of the benefits system. More likely to fall between the cracks.”