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Even archive footage of Marlon Brando on the radio in the early hours couldn’t help me get back to sleep last night. Instead I drift off at gone 4am and wake up a few hours later feeling absolutely awful.

I’ve made an appointment to see the GP (a different one given how poorly organised they are now). He, or someone, needs to understand that I cannot function in this society. Once again I’ve tried to find somewhere local that can undertake neuro diverse diagnoses. I should have attended the appointment last year, but I couldn’t deal with travelling to the venue. Now it seems there is somewhere more local – or so they tell me. I have to assume it’s true.

I cannot continue under this system; the friction is such that no claim can linger. Even people with lifelong conditions – including soldiers that have lost limbs – are being re-examined. The idea being that they might have ‘recovered’. Though my condition isn’t anywhere near as debilitating, I believe it to be life long; it is how I’m programmed and I need a system that can accept it and work with it according to my needs. If that cannot be found then god knows. The first step is to get something recognised and codified if possible.

The next step means having to see my regular doctor, and getting an appointment is hard enough given that he’s, inexplicably, only available one day a week! I only ended up with him because the previous GP was never there either. My current sick note expires in the middle of June. If he doesn’t want to write another note I’ll have to apply for JSA in time to allow how long it takes for the claim to go through. I can understand why he’d be reticent to do so, but I have yet to hear from ATOS so I’m in WCA limbo though ironically I’m not particularly keen to be sat in their waiting room for hours to undergo an assessment I have zero chance of passing because it’s not designed to recognise my needs. It is a hopelessly blunt instrument wielded by an equally blunt government.

The purpose of my ESA claim was firstly a response to the appalling way Salvation Army Employment Plus seems to operate, and it was to get into the Work Related Activity Group wherein I could – at least in theory – get the support necessary. Unfortunately for me what I need isn’t recognised by the system. I occupy a position between JSA and ESA which instead is taken to mean: I can work.

The Work Programme isn’t interested in offering specialist expertise or tailored support even though I’m obliged to attend. I was told that in order for them to recognise my particular needs I must claim ESA. Unfortunately that requires that I be sufficiently ill/disabled enough to pass the WCA. It’s a catch 22 I’ve already commented on.  Unfortunately also the Work Programme has decided that it can’t offer any of the help it hinted at when telling me to claim ESA.

The alternative is JSA which isn’t there to recognise issues. Its there to make sure you fulfil your jobsearch requirements and to be available. If you have sufficient issues that would warrant an ESA claim then you’d be ineligible for JSA. They are mutually exclusive and there is nothing in between nor any effort to work with people to that end. It’s either or, and a curious aspect of the welfare system that a benefit called Employment Support is nothing of the kind and only available to those so unable to work they are pushing up daisies.

I do not want to have to deal with the Jobcentre again. They are not going to accept the presence of any mitigating circumstances beyond what JSA, while it lasts, allows, which is to say not much at all. I could ask to see (and likely will) the Work Psychologist again, but she turned out to be not much help at all. I think it’s fair to say she was somewhat sympathetic (how’s that for unequivocal praise), but in the end she told me that, knowing I’d end up on the Work Programme, she couldn’t influence the process. Even though that is technically accurate, I felt that was a cop out. Putting something on record, which she initially offered to do, would be better than nothing.

This whole process is not designed to help. There is nothing available to me and there is no space that I can occupy that allows me to function. If I go back onto JSA there is a good chance my Work Programme adviser will tell me she has no choice but to enforce ‘conditionality’ on me. This means they demand my CV, under threats of sanction, to forcibly apply for jobs without my permission or even knowledge, and without them having the first clue as to whether it’s suitable. They will assume I can work, because I won’t be on ESA and this supposedly compassionate charity will operate in a hopelessly rough and uselessly binary function – at my expense.


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