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Vince Laws prepares to go through the WCA treadmill once more... / 20 September 2013

There's been a fair bit on DAO about the Work Capability Assessment recently. I'm in the throws of a WCA yet again and thought I'd take this opportunity to publish the following letter I've sent to the benefit office, and to my MP.

I am a poet and artist because of my disabilities. I’m HIV+ and deal with mental health. It is very good for me to be creative, mentally, and I can do it around my fluctuating symptoms.

Rosie, my bookkeeper wrote: ‘your books for April 2012-March 2013 and a copy of the tax return I submitted today. You made a loss of £2,299 but you will receive a tax bill for £60.80 because your turnover increased. We can claim this back at the end of the year.’

I hope this is helpful.

I need to stay in the support group I am currently in. I need to continue being a poet and artist, doing the best I can, when I can. I do sell some art. I am gaining an artistic reputation. I want to carry on doing permitted work. I want my permitted work put up from £20 a week to £95 a week. 

I want these Work Capability Assessment’s to stop. They are very stressful. It’s like I can’t do anything while this is in process, the uncertainty is so great. Will they stop my benefits without warning as they did before, make me appeal, jump through hoops that the government itself has accepted is not fit for purpose for those with mental health, fluctuating symptoms.

It’s very cruel. The process itself traumatises me year on year, again and again. It’s like breaking someone’s leg every year to check they can’t walk. It’s madness. That can’t be right or helpful. Why can’t I be in this group for life? I’m sending a copy of this to my GP, my MP, my HIV consultant for my own protection.

I want to do my best, but the system hampers me. I’ve tried to fill out your form, starting ‘Do you have a job?’ and I enclose my accounts. I got an Arts Council Grant for £7,500 in February and got great reviews on my work. 

I want to apply again and keep being creative. I can’t do that until this period of going back though the sausage machine of the Work Capability Assessment every 12 months ends.

Yours sincerely

Vincent Laws