I’m in a lot of pain and extremely tired, but I am so angry, I just had to write this now before I got reasonable.
If you are from the UK, you may know about all the cuts that are going on at the moment to try and stop us going into yet another recession. Many areas such as health, welfare, the NHS, Police and other public services are being dramatically slashed. All this before we host the Olympics.
One of the main areas that affects me personally is in the welfare area, where my benefits (along with millions of others) have been cut. I haven’t received my Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for nearly two years. Although I am lucky enough to still be able to work and earn a wage, many other disabled people can’t, so their main source of income is through benefits like the DLA. When I was getting it, it was paying for my aids I use everyday to get around and make life living with chronic pain easier (like walking sticks, perching stools, special clothes, etc). It also helped pay the loan on a automatic car so I could still get to work. When that benefit was cut, and I quote:
“As you are not at risk of fits, dizzy spells or blackouts and can walk”
I have had to put all the extra aids (such as a mobility scooter, walker and wheelchair) on an increasing number of credit cards, leading us further and further into debt.
What changed in 12 months? One moment I was ill enough to receive the benefit, then, as my condition got worse I was suddenly deemed well enough of no longer needing money for mobility and life aids.
I am not alone in this boat. Millions of other Disabled British have suddenly been told that they are now seen as fit to go to work and not “sapping the country dry”. The British government has almost lead a hate campaign against the disabled claiming benefits, tarring them all with the same brush: scroungers! How can I be classed a scrounger, when I work, pay my taxes and (struggle to) pay my bills? The main reason I have so many bills is because I’m now having to pay for my mobility aids myself.
Many others are suffering the same tarnishing and this has led to many seeking desperate measures. Today, a man set himself on fire outside the Birmingham JobCentre because he had previously been disabled and was now told he was fit for work and was being placed on the lower benefit of Job Seekers Allowance. This is clearly the desperate act of a desperate man, yet nothing is reported. As someone said on Twitter, had this been in China, it would make world news. But we were too interested in the Wimbledon score apparently.
One of my Twitter friends went for a DLA tribunal today. She has been fighting to get her benefit back for 2 years, and it finally had to be taken to court as the government stubbornly refused to budge. She has CRPS, like me and has roughly the same mobility as me, so I was interested to hear how it went. She finally updated us that they couldn’t reach a decision and would contact her by mail. Because of the stress of the whole affair, she is now in hospital suffering with a major CRPS flare up. Coincidence? I don’t think so! But what really boils my blood is the fact that the doctor who was there to make the decision was trying to make out it was all psychological and in her head. CRPS may be a disease where there are no concrete signs you can point out like cancer or MS, but it does not mean it is in our heads and we are “just faking it”!! CRPS sufferers deal with this enough as it is, especially at the beginning (I thought for months part of me was making it up) and this leads sufferers to push themselves and ‘walk it off’ often aggravating the situation.
I plead all my readers to spread the word of how people are being treated by the so-called “welfare state” and speak to your MP, councillor, the media and turn this tide of hate on the disabled against the true evil here: the so-called professionals who are making life changing (and sometimes life ending) decisions for seriously ill people.
Thank you for reading, normal service will resume.