After going to the cinema to watch I, Daniel Blake by Ken Loach, I felt the need to write a little bit about the film and how I can relate to the story.
The film itself was very powerful and successfully depicted the reality of being on the benefit merry go round. The film was centred around the story of a man who had suffered a heart attack and was therefore written off work. Unfortunately, as the current system in Britain does not care for those who are unfit for work, he was forced into the benefits world, battling with ESA, JSA and ultimately his health and well-being all at the same time. He befriended a woman with 2 children who have been denied payment and therefore, had to rely on Daniels kindness and food banks to get by. The film ended with the undignified and unnecessary death of such a caring and compassionate man, led to an early grave by the state on the day of his appeal. I felt so invested in the film and upset that this is how the benefits system treats people daily. I believe this film to be very factual and only those who have been through this shit can truly understand. I myself have suffered at the hands of the DWP.
Your life is left in the hands of an unqualified so-called ‘healthcare professional’ who has the ability to leave you helpless and vulnerable with just a tick of a box and an inconsistent array of questions. You feel like you are being interviewed by someone cold and robotic for a job that you don’t want and can’t do, which just falls on deaf ears, it makes you feel like a liar and a fraud. They follow a script that does not allow you to expand or explain but just simply answer with a yes or no. Your humanity sits in the balance as you wait for that automated, vague piece of paper to arrive that can ultimately change your life.
DWP 1 – You 0
Your health is put on the back burner as you are forced to delve into the working world without the strength or ability to do so. You dread that fateful phone call that offers you a job that you are incapable of proceeding with, leaving you to feel like you have not only wasted their time but your own (myself included). You become just a number, just a future taxpayer, just pound signs and ultimately just a government cash machine. While they are sitting at their desks, with their pay cheque sitting comfortably in their account at the end of the month, you are left inundated with stress and worry about how you will get by. That Friday feeling becomes the everlasting strain of a Monday. The waiting game begins again when you decide to go through a mandatory reconsideration. In other words, your application will be sent to another unqualified prat who has no regard for what you are going through.
DWP 2 – You 0
Weeks later, after infinite hours of job searches, unhelpful phone calls and ultimately stressing out, you receive that dreaded tribunal letter in the post which feels like judgement day. It is like preparing for a sales pitch for a product that is broken. You must show and tell them why your body is not capable of working a 9-5. Your life is left in their hands and you can see that glint in their eyes and a smug look on their face as they know they have the power to throw you to the wolves. You have paperwork coming out of your ears and you stutter with your words. They try as hard as they can to trip you up, find a gap in your story and make you feel like you are being trialled for a crime you did not commit. To them, it is a game of cat and mouse. You are weaker therefore, they can manipulate you. You could tell them you are on death’s door but, as long as you can lift your arms and move your legs, you have already lost the battle before you walk through those doors. They don’t see or understand the deeper picture.
The impact that this whole mechanical operation has had on you has already left you feeling worse than when you began. When you are called back into that room you already know your fate. No words need to be said. That piece of paper is sat in front of you telling you that the battle is over.
FIT FOR WORK!
Your money is stopped, the job centre beckons and you are back to square one as it starts all over again.
DWP 3 – You 0
Awaiting more shit to be thrown at me as I am currently going through my second round with ESA. Will keep you posted