I’m in my 3rd year of battle with the DWP.
I had been awarded DLA high rate mobility and mid rate care for life in 1997 for a condition that could only get worse.
Then in 2013 I was the victim of a violent attack leaving me almost unable to walk at all, this was compounded by a stroke I suffered in hospital. I was unable to speak, my thoughts were random and even traveling to familiar places by car was a challenge as I would feel like i was travelling in the wrong direction.
Filling in forms and writing letters would take days and still have incorrect information included. When I informed the DWP they reacted by sending me paperwork by the kilo, with sometimes 3 letters a day all giving contradictory information.
I had to move home to somewhere with easier access and soon realised that my local council was run by thugs after I was thrown over a desk and the CCTV images of the incident were destroyed by the complaints officer who was also the office manager and the fraud officer so I was on my own
I found a house that I could afford to buy outright if I sold my flat. This meant I would no longer need to claim housing costs from the DWP but until the building work was finished I woukd have excess capital to claim income support.
If I had to live on this capital it would not be available to adapt the house to my needs and therefore I could not buy it. I asked the DWP how the rues would effect this situation and the reply was “we are not going to tell you until after you buy the house” The CAB contacted the DWP and said that they had placed me between a rock and a hard place. The response from the DWP was “That is correct”
The CAB found 3 rules that could be used ;
1) They could look at my individual circumstances and decide what is fair.
2) They could disregard my excess capital for 26 weeks while work was carried out or longer under certain circumstances…
3) They could apply rule CUS/368/93 which says that a property cannot be renovated from the proceeds of the sale of a previous property but must come from a mortgage or loan.
Obviously I hoped option 1 would be used in a fair way but as they refused to give any more information I asked about option 2 as there was no way that the work would be completed in 26 weeks due to the time it would take to apply for items using the green deal scheme and getting planning permission so I asked if the delays I expected would be covered by the certain circumstances. The reply was “we are not telling you. Buy the house and get the work done and then we will decide”
Option 3 did not seem to apply to my situation as this was about a judges comments on a rich couple trying to buy 2 houses and getting a thatched roof on a cottage with income support.
I had no choice but to take the risk and informed the DWP of my intention. My income support and incapacity benefit claim was cancelled immediately but when I called to find out why they could not give a reason and said it should be re started by the next payment. I had signed the contracts for sale and purchase of my property but had no money for moving expenses and had to cash in my pension to pay for this and for food. I told the DWP that I had 5 weeks to return this money to the pension fund so please sort out why my benefits had stopped. After 7 weeks my benefits were repaid but they could still give no reason for stopping them but they were reducing them because I had obtained money by cashing in my pension. In effect they have stolen my pension from me.
On the day I moved I received a call from a whistleblower at the DWP who informed me that they had decided to enforce CIS/368/93 but had no intention of informing me. A subject access request of my file confirmed this. I was told that I was to be given a 26 week disregard of capital but that this was not the final decision. I explained that this meant I could not risk employing builders as I may have to repay any income support claimed from the time I moved and so I would have to do the work myself. The reply was “we also want receipts for every nail and screw you use to ensure you do not deliberately lose capital to claim benefits ”
I replied that to have any chance of this I would have to stop taking painkilling medication which caused fatigue and even to take illegal stimulants so I could build all day and scan respceiots all night. They did not respond.
On my 53rd birthday I injected myself with crystal meth and began the work. Bearing in mind I had diminished responsibility at the time this seemed to be my only option.
I failed to complete the work so they gave me another 26 weeks but meanwhile I had applied for a tribunal. The DWP claimed that the judge had no power as they had made no final decision but the judge said that they had decided to give me 26 weeks disregard of capital and he would hear the case.
He explained that I could only object to this 26 week disregard and that he was going to regect my application. This meant that the 26 week disregard was the correct and final decision and therefore CIS/368/93 could not be used against me. The original decision made on the day I moved was denied by the DWP lawyer who said that the decision could not have been made as it would have been illegal.
I failed to complete the work and suffered a nervous breakdown in the attempt. Then I received another letter saying that. A decision was made to give me yet another 26 week disregard of capital but they had forgotten to notify me so I now only had 8 weeks.
After this time my house was and still is in chaos and dangerous but I asked where I should send the receipts. I was told not to bother as the decision to enforce CIS/368/93 had been made from the start and i would have to repay 2 years of income support. I informed them that the tribunal judge had already ruled against this and was told that the judge had found against me and in any case they had no obligation to comply with his judgement.
They have not responded to any letters requesting my appeal rights against this and I cannot escalate this until they do.
The forced labour of trying to renovate my house had serious effects on my physical and mental health but when I attended my PIP assessment the assessor lied and i had 0 points. 3 days later my car was taken and as I am unable to get to my front gate I cannot even use a taxi if I could afford to.
I’m lucky to be resourceful and have made my own (illegal) electric vehicle. I consider the actions of the DWP to be a serious attempt at murder but cannot do anything about it because they ignore complaints and fail to process the case meaning I cannot use the ombudsman and cannot afford to use the courts. Luckily I only need to hang on for a few months and then I can get an equity release and tell the DWP where to shove their benefits .
I will also be able to afford a lawyer and hope to prosecute certain individuals for abuse of office.
Any person Without the skills I possess would not have survived. I did consider suicide but the part of my self that had survived the stroke would scream out not to give them the satisfaction until it was heard.
I had to teach myself to speak and opperate my phone without medical help as I had to change GP but had no way to get to the new one and no time for tests.
When I look at what they did to me when I was so vulnerable it makes me so angry for what they did to me that I want revenge at any cost . As soon as I have sorted out my housing problem I’m going to dedicate all my resources to exposing and shaming those bastards who no doubt had a good laugh at the way they tricked and conned me.and I can fight as dirty as they have because I now have nothing to lose.