Your Story

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Your story is important. As well as completing the Big Advice Survey please consider sharing it by filling in the ‘Tell us your story‘ box below. We can then:

  • take it into account alongside the survey results when preparing our survey reports
  • publish some of those shared here on the Big Advice Survey site

Please don’t ask for advice here on-site. If you need advice you can access some advice resources here and find some organisations who would be able to help you. Please feel free to comment on or reply to published stories

Please read the following before submitting your story:

  • We may edit stories if we decide to publish them
  • Please do not include any of your personal information such as your name, address or contact details
  • We have removed restrictions so you will be able to tell your story without having to log in or leave any contact info
  • When submitting your story you do not need to fill in the fields asking your email. Leave blank. It will then submit your story as anonymous with a ‘false’ profile link
  • We are interested in the types of problems you had and how you faced them. And, ideally, whether advice played a role

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  1. Eric

    I think am wasting my time.i will try to be polite. I’ve been sleeping in my small van for over a year now.its been cold and I feel unsafe. Am also waiting for a Hernia operation. I’ve been to the council they want to send me miles away to places ware I don’t know any one and age concern can’t help me. Am a pensioner 67 years old. I don’t have enough money to pay rent. I get my state pension and have my free bus pass. I have no family. I’ve lived a round garrattt lane for over 25 years now. I don’t drink never take druggs never been in trouble with the law. I’ve just had a bit of bad luck to be in the situation am now in. I don’t have much room to move around in my van and it’s very damp. Am worried if any think happens to me who will know am in my van. I want to leave this world with some dignity. I don’t know what way to turn. This should not be happening at my age. Am about to give up and may be it’s the only way out. Am very tired of this modern world. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Eric.


  2. Anonymous

    [We received the story below by email]

    I felt I needed to contact you to explain what other effects the DWP and Atos have when you fail the Work Capability Assessment (WCA).

    I had a very long wait with my appeal (65 weeks) plus the wrong papers sent to me. What I want to explain to you is the effects it had on those around me, which probably happens to others but doesn’t get out there.

    Firstly it nearly broke our marriage up due to the stress and lack of money.

    My son didn’t want to come in from work due to the bad atmosphere.

    My daughter stopped visiting and helping me as she felt I was too negative, we ended up having a really bad argument and she stopped me seeing my two Grandsons. She eventually sent me a long letter which was very upsetting and distressing at a time when I was very low and feeling isolated and suicidal. Knowing I needed help I went to my GP.

    Got pills, psychiatrists referral and 6 weeks counselling, which I had to pay £5 an hour for.

    The mother-daughter relationship is still not as it was, I don’t think it ever will be. Constantly wary of my behaviour around her as do not want another argument which could stop me seeing the Grandsons. In fact I’m constantly thinking of my actions around everybody which doesn’t help my depression, which I personally think has got worse since my WCA fail.

    Will be 56 next year feeling I just exist, not live, dragging myself through each day, sometimes wondering why. Have had bad times in past, but never felt like this.

    I also now fear the knock at the door after reading about Random home visits from DWP, even though I’ve got nothing to hide, let alone the dreaded Brown envelope. I hate going out only go shopping with a friend once a week for food, been told more than once You’re only disabled if you’re in a wheelchair, well done TV programmes and papers.

    I have complex health issues, according to my GP. Under an endocrinologist at [removed] and waiting to see neurological specialist. Tests ongoing so when next WCA papers come I’m wondering what box I will fit in. Also very difficult to see my GP, phone first for a GP call back, who then decides if she wants to see you, last lot of depression pills sent to chemist never seen by GP. I couldn’t afford private health care.

    As for the tribunal hearing which I won earlier this year was one of the worst things I’ve ever been through, not wanting to have to go through it again, but fear I will.

    The Doctor was worse than the judge, no DWP person there. Both were females made me feel dirty and violated. [Removed] tried to talk/help but judge stopped him, said he could add after I’d finished, it never happened. I physically shook throughout the 45 minute hearing had chest pain, palpitations and in tears, told them didn’t feel well, offered to call ambulance and postpone but let me carry on. I will never forget those 2 faces, another image I can’t seem to let go and all because Atos and DWP would not accept the many pieces of evidence I sent to them both with WCA form and whilst under appeal.

    People really need expert help dealing with the forms and Tribunals if they fail IMO. It’s a minefield.

    Grammar probably not good, may read as a rant feel sorry for [removed] story. Sorry it’s not DWP IDS are messing with people’s lives, yours too. Seeing this day in day out must take it’s toll on you too, especially when people take their own lives.

    Not the [removed] you’re used too. Easy to hide behind a tweet.

    Take care, keep up your fight you’re pulling many of us through and I Thank you.

    Best wishes



  3. Anonymous

    Hi, not sure if it’s ok to say all this. I was looking for an email address so I could contact [removed] directly, to say thank you, really. To say a huge and utterly sincere thank you to [removed] for having the guts and the decency and the integrity to actually care about and understand how people like me are being criminalised and vilified by the press. Hard to explain how terrified I am, but I’ll try.

    I’m on disability benefits and I live in terror every day that my benefits will be stopped, that I’ll lose my council house, that the goal posts will shift one bit more in this relentless and ceaseless persecution and the reasons I’m allowed benefits right now will no longer exist because they keep changing the rules, that I’ll be classed as just another scrounger on the make. That my word, my integrity means nothing.

    I have mental health problems which involve extreme anxiety and paranoia. How can the abuse and persecution by this government and it’s bed brother – the press- possibly help with that? My ‘conditions’ have been belittled ‘people with anxiety and depression LANGUISHING on benefits’. I have never languished in my life, I have never had the peace of mind or the luxury of ever feeling like I’ve languished.

    I have guilt, shame and fear constantly, day and night, and always have, I really didn’t need a whole society to tell me that I deserve to feel that way. Thank god for my doctor, a doctor who understands me. Who BELIEVES me. Yet even a doctor’s word is being maligned by this government. Suddenly, our doctors have been ‘hoodwinked’ by ‘people. like. me.’ Is there no end to the insults, the blame, the shame? Is there no crime worse that being a ‘benefit claimant’?

    I’m supposed to be a survivor – from every kind of childhood abuse imaginable, but I don’t feel like one. I can no longer celebrate the odd day when I can leave my house and go for a walk in the countryside because I might be considered a liar.

    Before this government came in, I had hopes of getting a dog to help combat my loneliness, help me to leave the house more, but now, apparently if one can take care of a dog, then one must be fit for work. This added fear is eroding me. It poisons my every thought, every day. There’s no escape from it.

    The people who believe that all society’s financial problems rest firmly with people claiming benefits uphold that ‘if you’re ‘genuine’ you have nothing to fear’. How can that mean anything? When my very genuineness is being questioned? I also know that if a lie is big enough and told often enough, it will become a truth. And that’s because not enough people question it, but why would they? Society wants a scapegoat, particularly a silent, cowed one.

    Well, what started out as a thank you ended up me telling you my fears. I can only say that in this life where, I feel, my terror will only end when I do, and I’ve felt this way since this campaign against the disabled started, advice workers are the only light I see on the horizon. I wish you all the luck and strength, and even more so, other honest, caring people willing to stand along side you. Thank you for reading. [removed].


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