Outraged over new classification

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Cop of letter to Stephen Lloyd MP

I AM a constituent in Eastbourne, and I am writing to appeal for your help with a situation I am now facing.

I am a 51-year-old married woman. My husband and I are both disabled.

My husband has a paralysed leg and resulting scoliosis of the spine owing to childhood polio.

He is 61 years of age. Up to the age of 59 he has been employed as a full-time legal executive.

I have Myalgic Encephalitis (ME. referred to as CFS Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). fibromyalgia, diabetes, hypothyroidism and hypertension.

I have had ME for over nine years now. I used to work full-time as a resident manager for the elderly, for over 20 years.

When I first became ill, I had to retire from my beloved career. As the illness at that time was fluctuating, after a period of just over a year I returned to work. Unfortunately I very quickly relapsed and had to retire permanently.

My condition has continually deteriorated to the point of almost complete incapacity.

I am house/bed bound for the majority of the time. Two years ago, my husband had to retire to take care of me on a full-time basis.

I am in constant pain and have to take medication (morphine) to alleviate this. My life and daily existence are greatly curtailed.

We are an independent couple who have managed to maintain our pride and dignity through massive adversity.

We do not ask for any help, and pay to have a cleaner/ironer to help us maintain our independence.

We have both contributed throughout our working lives into a system we had belief in.

In December 2011, I was sent a questionnaire from The Department of Work and Pensions.

This was to enable the DWP to make a decision with regards to our classification onto the new benefit of Employment and Support Allowance.

I have received this classification today, which has placed me onto the work-related activity group.

I am distraught, amazed and utterly outraged. I telephoned the DWP at Newcastle to ask them to look again at this decision.

I have been informed that I must appeal this decision in writing, which I fully intend to do.

In a civilised, democratic society, which was what I believe we live in, this totally high-handed and arbitrary indifference is a travesty.

I have been seen by numerous medical consultants over the years, my own GP, and twice by a doctor from the DWP.

The common consensus is/was that I am indeed suffering a severe case of ME.

If society is to be judged on the way it treats the vulnerable within that society, then I am afraid we are failing miserably.

I have never challenged or dared to speak up in such a way before, but I am truly incensed by this decision brought about by the coalition government, of which you are an elected member.

As my Member of Parliament I wish you to take up this matter on my behalf and rectify a great wrong.

I appreciate that you are busy, however this matter is of great concern to me as an injustice has been done that needs to be righted as it is preying constantly on my mind causing my health to suffer further.

EILEEN EASTLAKE

Wakehurst Road