Some of you will remember that last year I co-founded a little charity to help homeless people. In addition to our work with street-homeless people we get quite a few referrals of people whose housing situation is very vulnerable. In early May we were asked to help a man with a Learning Disability who was found fit to work after his 'work capability assessment' meeting in January and therefore had his ESA stopped and was in danger of losing his home. I won't go into the details, but in spite of his very obvious learning disability and limited capabilities he was assessed as having only six points!!!! He had missed the deadline for mandatory reconsideration on the basis that he didn't understand what had happened, but we were successfully able to negotiate an appeal hearing for him.
Yesterday his appeal, prepared jointly by us and a CAB advisor, was heard and he won. He was awarded 24 points and put into the support group. He was so nervous he broke down and burst into tears at the result. Much credit to the presiding judge and the doctor for being wonderfully sensitive and patient; they both looked a little teary-eyed themselves at our client's response. After delivering their judgement we thanked them for 'restoring our faith in humanity' and the judge responded by saying that our support of this man had restored his!! It's the first time since starting this that my tears have been ones of happiness.
Today we have a new client who is in exactly the same situation, but for now I'm celebrating the humanity and common sense of the very caring judge and doctor, who, when our (middle aged) client went into the room and shyly waved at them, waved back - demonstrating straight away that they are warm, caring human beings and not insensitive bureaucrats.
[Waves to Galen]
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