Banned, but why? Facebook gives no reason


I am prompted to write that, despite an absence of new posts, I am as well as I can be. I have no health problems beyond multiple sclerosis.

Messages have reached me, asking if everything is ok, such as this one:

Hi, it’s (name removed for privacy). Facebook has not had any of your current writings, so I want you to know you are in my prayers.

The absence of my posts was not caused by any personal reasons but was enforced by Facebook itself. I use it to send my posts to groups of which I am a member but, three times in as many weeks, I have been interrupted by a message saying: “You are restricted from joining and posting to groups that you do not manage until (date and time).

No reason is ever given and the powers that be won’t discuss it with you. You can click on ‘Appeal’ but experience tells me not to bother. Why? Because, if you do, no reply is ever received and the restriction, effectively a ban, is just made longer. The fact is simple, Facebook has the ability to do what it likes and we, its users, have no rights to protest or even ask questions. [I feel another ‘restriction’ will be coming for expressing this truth].

Back until banned again

I explained the situation to everyone who contacted me and this was one response I received via Messenger:

That’s awful. I’m technology challenged, but I knew something was wrong. Thanks for letting me know.

I wish you could sue Facebook for discrimination.

God bless you and your family. Stay strong. Thank you for all your hard work.

Right now, I am back and will continue to bring you news and views – until Facebook decides to ban me again.

Whether you have MS or another health problem, if you have a disability, 50shadesofsun.com is here for you. And, there is no greater support you can give than to share my posts far and wide via every social media.

You can also join a Facebook page that I do manage (and so are exempt from any ban), such as 50shadesofsun or Living with multiple sclerosis.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I am not a doctor, so cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely my own unless otherwise stated.

Assessment disgrace: ‘Fit for work’ man dies before ESA appeal can be heard

Disability benefit assessors have been widely criticised for deciding wrongly that people are ‘fit to work’. The situation is a disgrace, the criticism is well deserved.

There have been a number of examples, but none more tragic than the case of Phillip Balderson. He had terminal cancer, but received a Department for Work Pensions (DWP) ‘fit for work’ assessment in February. It meant he no longer qualified for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) that he had received previously. The decision was a disgrace – and he died less than four months later.

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Phillip Balderson was diagnosed with terminal oesophageal cancer in 2013 (Image: cascadenews.co.uk)

Phillip didn’t live long enough to see his appeal through but this Thursday the Baldersons are taking his challenge to a tribunal. I, for one, wish his family every success.

The full story, written by John Jeffrey, appeared on Mirror Online. It read:

Cancer patient dies before he could appeal the DWP ruling that he was ‘fit to work’

Phillip Balderson’s heartbroken family will now challenge that decision at a tribunal after he battled oesophageal cancer, psoriatic arthritis, anxiety, OCD and mental health problems.

A cancer patient died before he was able to appeal a Department for Work Pensions (DWP) ruling that he was “fit to work”.

Phillip Balderson’s heartbroken family will now challenge that decision at a tribunal.

The 46-year-old had worked at a Lake District hotel, but was diagnosed with terminal oesophageal cancer in 2013.

He also struggled with psoriatic arthritis , anxiety, OCD and a number of mental health problems.

Despite his difficulties, the DWP summoned him to a health assessment in February 2017 and ruled he was no longer eligible for Employment [and] Support Allowance.

They told him he had to look for work.

Mr Balderson, originally from Burnley, Lancashire, began appealing the decision.

But sadly died on June 5 before he could see the process through.

His daughter Chloe Balderson, 23, said: “He had terminal cancer and they were trying to send him to work. The people at the job centre were disgusted.”

The family, supported by Citizens Advice in Windermere, will be attending a work capability appeal to overturn the decision at South Cumbria Magistrates’ Court, in Barrow, on Thursday, December 14.

If it rules in their favour, any benefit payments will go towards the funeral.

A spokesperson for the DWP said: “Our thoughts are with Mr Balderson’s family at this time.

“We are contacting Mr Balderson’s next of kin to ensure they’re paid any benefits owed at the time of his death.

“The amount paid will be dependent on the result of the Work Capability appeal that is currently at tribunal.”

Terrible the way they treat people

Mr Balderson’s partner Rachel Stockley, 49, said: “He was getting Employment [and] Support Allowance, that was all fine, but then his dad died and his mental health got worse.

“Phillip just went downhill from there.

“Then he got a letter to say he had to go for an assessment and he was worried.

“He was being judged by someone who was meeting him for the first time and that was that.

“He was complaining about pains in his liver before he had to go to his job centre appointment, and got worse before his assessment.

“I’m doing this for Phillip really because he was gutted.

“I think it’s disgusting, it’s terrible the way they treat people.”

The family, who live at Maychells Orchard in Allithwaite, Cumbria, have suffered a number of setbacks as Miss Stockley was also diagnosed with cancer back in 2010.

She said her partner of 25 years never talked about his diagnosis and was “frightened” by it.

“He loved the quiet and loved walking, even when he was really ill we’d take him driving and he’d fall asleep in the car.

“The authorities need to show more concern towards people’s needs and not judge them by how they look but you see it all the time.

“You just can’t prepare yourself for it, even though you know it’s going to happen, it’s no different from someone dying suddenly,” she said.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

Disability PIP Figures Released but Were they Buried to Avoid the Media?

Terrible facts about the UK government’s Personal Independence Payments (PIP) crept out almost unnoticed towards the end of last month. I find the way those important figures were released was both despicable and cynical.

And that’s because the unpalatable facts were not given in the House of Commons as you might expect. Instead, they were placed in a written answer to a question from Christian Matheson, an MP of the Labour party.

PIPNow, you might think that the question was prearranged and, while I cannot say it definitely was, it is certainly not possible for me to dismiss the suggestion. Add to that the fact that the answer was given on April 28. That was some days later than prime minister Theresa May announced plans for the snap general election. Then consider the possibility that the way the information was published was meant to bury it. The Press had bigger stories to attract their interest .

On the other hand, leaving the main election coverage to the mainstream media, I’ll concentrate on disability matters.

So, let’s look at the information supplied by Penny Mordaunt, minister for disabled people.

Mr Matheson asked what proportion of 2016 PIP cases, overturned at reconsideration or appeal, were initially assessed at zero points.

Shocking PIP admission

Replying, Ms Mordaunt shockingly admitted a quarter of claimants who won their PIP appeals in 2016 started with zero points.

She said that in 2016, a total of 34,110 PIP mandatory reconsiderations led to a higher award. Of these, 5,030 – or 15% – were decisions where the original award was zero points.

But it goes from bad to worse. This is because, out of a total of 32,070 PIP appeals that resulted in a higher award, 8,100 – or 25% – also started as zero points decisions.

What’s really terrible, really shocking, about the figures is the fact that more than 66,000 PIP assessments were overturned and that more than 13,000 had been given zero points.

It all points to a sad indictment of those original assessments, the competency of the assessors and the suitability of the two companies involved – Capita and Atos.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, who has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media. During that career he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Diagnosed with MS in 2002, he continued to work until mobility problems made him retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain. Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective. Besides that, he is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.

 

Teenager with cancer receives cruel hoax offer

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How very cruel-minded and warped must someone be to make a fake offer of a $40,000 anonymous donation to pay for a sick girl’s cancer treatment. Yes, you read that correctly, the offer was a fake.

Just imagine how the teenage girl and her family must have felt when they discovered the offer was, in reality, a hoax. Add to that an image of the hoaxer somewhere being gleeful with the pain caused. Let’s hope the police do something.

It is disgraceful, inhumane and inhuman behaviour. It is the callous act of a coward.

Last month, Alexis Gould, of Utah, was diagnosed with stage three neuroblastoma, a cancer that affects the nerves, and her school launched a fundraising effort to help pay for her treatment.

Then Alexis’s family were delighted to learn that an anonymous donor had stepped forward to offer the lump sum. They must have thought that their dream had come true or that their prayers had been answered. But they came down to earth with a massive bump after a few days when Alexis’s mother Emily discovered the money was not there and never had been.

With an amazing attitude of calm, and great fortitude, Emily said to the Press: “It was a little bit hard, but we never wanted it to detract from the genuine love and support that we received from so many.”Alexis 2_edited

So, instead of dwelling on the obvious disappointment or wallowing in self-pity, the family has galvanised itself for action by concentrating on the positives. Emily said: “What others might deem as little acts of kindness, or little acts of love, mean the world to us.

“While $40,000 is a lot of money, it meant no more to me than the people who are struggling, who are living paycheck to paycheck and who donated five dollars.”

A Go Fund Me account has now been set up in Alexis’ name, and in one month has raised $29,000. That’s a tremendous amount but more is needed. Can you help? It doesn’t matter how small it may be; it might seem a cliché but it is true that every little bit helps. You can help this teenager who has just started high school by donating at her appeal site: https://www.gofundme.com/rf46474s

 

Main picture: Huffington Post