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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 32177
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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HelloApologies longish story, I will try to keep it

Customer Question

Hello Apologies for a longish story, I will try to keep it succinct. I am 66 years of age and when I was 59 and still working full time, my hips and back just ‘went’. I ended up in A&E and was unceremoniously ‘finished’ at my job as I was no longer able to perform the role I was employed to do. I applied for disability and got basic Living Allowance. As the years have gone on and my problem became arthritic hips, serious spinal/disc degeneration and sciatica, my mobility rate went up to the high rate of £54 per week. All on medical records plus 2 MRI scans and painful spinal injections. Managed with very strong painkillers and anti-inflammatories. A couple of months ago I was forced by Benefits Office to apply for PIP assessment 12 months before my benefits actually ran out…too long a story to tell here. Next part of the story –12 months ago, I ended up employing my neighbour’s niece for my cleaning a couple of hours a week. I noticed her, one day, in kitchen reading a private letter of mine from Benefits office confirming my entitlements. She quickly moved away when she saw me. Then between her and the neighbour, I started getting comments about ‘people on benefits’ and how their partners had applied and couldn’t get anything. I have no partner or family. Bells started to ring (I can be slow on uptake). Then it started with the cars…pulling into my driveway and sitting there. Soon as I left my house with my little dog to go walk (with my stick) a car would draw up and park infront of me with the driver looking in mirror until I’d passed. I’m underplaying this carryon because it was horrible and continued for several weeks. It started to feel like harassment and embarrassing when finally it stopped. Neighbour, on phone to me several days later, spat out that her husband was ill and couldn’t get benefits. What I couldn’t fully understand was how did these people know when I was leaving my house? Because a car or motorbike would turn up within 5-10 minutes of me leaving home. Next part…just before I was to reapply for PIP…I decided I would have to try to mow my front lawn So – once - I mowed the front lawn. Two days later that woman is on phone again…finishing with…’saw you mowing the lawn’ said in a nasty, inferring way. A week later it all starts again…as above only much, much worse. So much worse I decided to note down every single car (and the rest) that followed me. It WAS harassment. Mainly they were young people in beat up old bangers…clearly local as they appeared within a very short time of my out walking. To use young, local people to perform a surveillance job, I find appalling. I began to wonder if woman over road was tasked with informing them as soon as I appeared with dog. If so, that is shocking. Those vehicles were not around as I set off on my walk. Next part…I found out that when someone is doing surveillance work they inform the local police of their actions…in case anyone complains they’re being followed. ( I didn’t complain to anyone because I didn’t want to rock the boat for my PIP application). As soon as I found this out I was appalled…reason being…someone who likes to call themselves my friend but most certainly is not, had started work at the local Police station as a volunteer . Apparently, as this person informed me, it is dealing with very, very private information. This is someone who really is as confidential as a colander…someone elses words..not mine. Round at my house said person started talking about the work at the police station. Person suddenly announced with great venom that all people on benefits should be made to go out and work in the community. I said how can they if they are disabled? This person stated that ‘all of ‘em are capable of working. They’re all shysters’. Bells started ringing again. I’m pretty darn sure this person reported me to benefits and this is why…I have had my PIP assessment…I’ve been turned down for Mobility benefits. I won’t appeal as I’ve had enough of it. BUT…it states on my letter that I answered to the assessor that I’d been on holiday to Norfolk and went out at night to the theatre and for meals. The assessor most definitely did not ask me anything about that..most definitely did not. Therefore…someone phoned them and told them. (There is nothing for me to hide there, by the way, it would have been something I’d have had no problem admitting to if I ‘d been asked…one little holiday in a bungalow in Norfolk with friend nearby, and 3 visits in a year to local theatre hardly constitutes a benefits crime). However, I was not asked those questions but Capita (the company that is employed to ruin disabled peoples’ lives) got that information from someone else. The only one who would know that information is the Police Volunteer. Is it me or is all of this feeling wrong and a violation of a person’s right to privacy? I have actually told not a soul that I’m on (was) Disability.

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 2 years ago.
I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.
I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.
Thank you!
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 2 years ago.
I apologise as we have not yet been able to find a Professional to assist you. Do you wish for me to continue to search for someone to assist you or would you like for us to close your question at this time?
Thank you for your patience,
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 2 years ago.
Please understand it is rare for us not to be able to find the right Professional to assist our customers. We can close this question and return your good faith deposit to the original funding source on request.
Please let me know how you wish to proceed and again I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
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