Mr Mundell replied on 21/02/11. Thank you to all who passed this on.
On the 17th of November last year I emailled your office as a constituent of yours.
This is my original email;
I grow more and more worried by the proposed benefits cuts for those
people like myself who are unable to work at all. I have M.E,
diagnosed as such in the late '80s and although there have been long
periods of time since then that I have been able to work, or had the
support of someone who was able to work I am currently not fit for
work. My situation is such now that I will probably never be able to
hold down a job, and trying to do so would worsen my condition to such
an extent as to make me more of a drain on the NHS than I am currently
on the benefits system.
I get no official outside help looking after myself, and looking for
someone to become a full time carer for me is necessary and has been a
constant concern since my daughter left home to attend college in
August. It is now well nigh impossible for me to find that care as
carer allowances are under threat. I have no idea where to turn now to
find the help and care I need on a daily basis. I get no support
whatsoever from social services and haven't for a very long time. I
get no help in provision of aids to help me live independantly, no
offers of items that I need and can't afford to buy for myself. Not
even any help with getting out of the house and without much contact
with the outside world. If I am not fit enough to drive I simply
cannot get out of the house.
I worry constantly about how cuts in DLA and housing benefit will
affect my ability to live independantly. I am a 40 year old woman who
has struggled through thick and thin to maintain this level of
normality, through years of having benefits suddenly removed without
warning that amassed debts which I have only just managed to repay as
a result of getting my DLA reinstated after a 2 year fight that nearly
cost me my sanity as well as my health.
The thought that it is now about to start again is actually making me
cry. I can't face it again. I was just about back on an even keel and
now I'm facing yet more financial crisis.
How can I cope with being forced into the position of having to work
(which I simply can't do) or starve and loose my home? Where would I
go? How can I live? How on earth will I survive? This situation is
totally hopeless and I have lost all faith in any government helping
me. You as my MP have let me down in the past when I was facing crisis
and you didn't even bother to respond to my email. You are letting me
down again by not fighting tooth and nail to ensure that people like
me do not continue to slip further through the gaps in this ripped and
tattered net they call a 'welfare state'.
If I were to go into work I would have constant sick days. Constant
days where I would not be fit enough to drive myself into a place of
employment. Constant days where the pain killers I must take would
make me unfit to operate machinery. Constant days where I would do no
more than sleep and shiver and sweat and ache as a result of having to
do more than I am able to do. I would be sacked from any paid
employment and it would not be because I wasn't trying to do the job,
it would be because I am unable to.
I would dearly love to be able to work, earn money, have a career and
the self confidence and success that goes along with it. I know I am
not able to do so, I have accepted that. As depressing as it is for
someone intelligent and articulate to admit I can achieve no more than
I have achieved. When getting out of bed in the morning is like
climbing Everest small successes have to suffice.
For me right now my health is 'as good as it gets' and that isn't
good. I struggle to do the most basic tasks for myself and subsist on
the sporadic help of friends and neighbours. I have already been
abandoned by all other care professionals except for my GP, don't
abandon me when it comes to making sure that I get the money I need to
survive. I am not living a 24/7 party life here. I have had no
holidays in years. I exist on the most basic of food. My central
heating is set to 60 degrees so as to keep my heating bills down to a
level I can nearly manage. I have few luxuries. You would be welcome
to visit me in my home and see what I've managed to carve out for
myself after several years of susbsistance level living.
Don't take this last shred of any hope of a life away from me.
I recieved a response From a secretary working in Mr Mundell's office, this is what she wrote;
I am not aware of you being in touch with us previously and I cannot locate your name in any of my previous files so I can only sincerely apologise that you did not receive a response to your previous email requests.
Below is some information regarding where you might find some of the extra support that you require, if not I hope it gives you a start at least:
http://www.dgme.co.uk/ - Dumfries and Galloway ME Network
http://www.meassociation.org.uk/ - M.E Association Scotland
Care and Repair Services which can help with the supply of aids and adaption’s to home owners and private tenants and can be accessed through http://www.dumgal.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=7979 a referral from Occupational Therapy is the way to take this forward.
Home heat Helpline 0800 33 66 99 – help for vulnerable customers
And finally your local Citizens Advice may be able to assist you further with regard to getting the best heating tariff and making sure you are getting all the benefits and help you are entitled to.
I hope I have been of some help but if there is anything further specific that I can do then please do not hesitate to call or email me directly. As I said David receives hundreds of emails per day so emailing me directly will speed up your response.
I was astounded - this patronising young woman had clearly not understood a word of what I had been trying to ask of my MP. I was totally furious and that anger made me produce more words per minute than I have managed in a very long time;
The M.E association in D&G and the ME association in Scotland (with
whom I have been involved for years) cannot cure my condition and make
me fit for work. Nor can they vote against the benefit cuts. My MP is
the only one who can do that.
My local citizen's advice have assisted me in fighting to have my DLA
reinstated. I am claiming all I am entitled to. They can't stop the
benefit cuts that mean that my financial situation will once again go
to hell in a handbasket. Unfortunately the unit that deals with making
sure that people aren't 'fuel poor' has been cut due to lack of
funding. My MP is the one who can take action to help make sure that
these services are not cut further.
I pay as little as is humanly possible for all my utilities. The
problem is that I don't have enough money because the benefits I
already get are not adaquate and are ABOUT TO BE CUT FURTHER. My MP is
the only one who can take action on my behalf on this matter.
Home Heat is a great service for those that rely on gas and
electricity. I rely on coal, logs and heating oil. unless that service
has changed since my last contact with them, they can't help me.
Care and repair services cannot provide me with transport to and from
a pool for the hydrotherapy my GP prescribed for me 4 years ago which
I cannot attend as transport is not provided. Care and repair services
can't do my housework, or help me dress or bathe. Care and repair
services can't make me a cup of tea and help me drink it when I can't
sit up. Care and repair services can't help me. If they could I would
have no care needs. I have been referred to the OT yet again, I have
been waiting for a month for an appointment so far. Care and repair
can't help with that either. My MP is the man who can take action on
my behalf and try to get this changed.
How dare you presume that I know so little about my condition and the
help that you believe is out there for me. I have gone though all of
these channels. The care and support I require is NOT AVAILABLE TO ME.
If it were I would not have written to my MP.
My major concerns that you have not addressed is that benefits are
being axed. I'm facing a fight to prove once again that I cannot work,
assessments which I am 'planned to fail' and a withdrawal of benefit.
I am not recieving the care I need at the moment and further cuts mean
that this will only get worse. You have addressed none of these
concerns and to be blunt if I had wanted to speak to a secretary I
would have written to one. I wanted to speak to my MP - the man who
supposedly represents me - and have these real issues addressed.
What really annoys me is the cheerful 18th birthday card my daughter
recieved from Mr Mundell, trying to be ever so nice in order to buy
her vote. What has he ever done to help me OR my daughter through all
the years she was my unpaid carer?
It would be best perhaps if you didn't respond. I would however like
this email to be passed to him as well as my original. I'll take my
chances waiting for Mr Mundell to get back to me. I'm even less
inclined to vote for him now.
She replied, as patronising as ever, promising that I would indeed get a response from Mr Mundell. I have not as yet received that response some THREE MONTHS later.
So Mr Mundell, I've published this correspondence with your office in the hope that some publicity might make you respond. I shouldn't have to do this - I am one of your constituents, I do have the right to your attention.
Will you help me now?