I published this about three weeks ago but it’s still very relevant. Time is running out…
I don’t know if you have noticed yet or not, but disabled people are fighting, with every ounce of strength we have! Why are we fighting so hard? Our very lives depend the outcome of this particular fight. Conservative MP Chris Skidmore said this week, that “disabled people aren’t dying in the streets”. Perhaps not, but we are dying behind closed doors. Perhaps you think this is the disability lobby’s propaganda?
At one time, I thought myself that perhaps they were exaggerating a bit. I now know the opposite to be true. Please, please read the article in the Daily Mirror yesterday, which features the wonderful Francesca Martinez being interviewed about forthcoming benefit re-assessments. At first glance, it seems as though re-assessing people who have been automatically getting disability benefits for years is a good idea. However, Francesca disputes this for a number of reasons.
Firstly, she has brain damage, which will never get better, meaning there are always things she will never be able to do that she will always need help with. Asking her if her condition has improved, therefore, is a waste of time and money. If she is assessed as needing less support, or being able to do more than before, it will contradict the support needs she has had since childhood, and therefore not stand up to scrutiny. If I were to be reassessed, the same would be true for me. In fact, my needs have increased tenfold since child and teenage-hood. I have previously described my difficulties in a post which explained why I am unable to work. This was in answer to a GP who claimed that if Steven Hawking could work, so could the majority of disabled people. At first, it sounds like a plausible argument, but if you read my post you will see why this argument is null and void. All it will do is waste hundreds of thousands of tax-payers money which the treasury can ill-afford.
Talking of money, like Francesca, I too have numerous extra costs associated with my disability.
Francesca says. “The point of DLA is to level the playing field so we can live our lives and contribute to society. There are extra costs to everything we do.” It may sound as if this is an exaggeration, but any extra costs at all are no joke when one third of disabled people live in poverty as it is… and disabled people have died during and after assessments which assessed their capability to work, while others, unable to cope with the extra stress on top of already difficult circumstances, have very sadly seen no way out but to take their own lives.
I wish someone like David Cameron, my own MP Greg Mulholland, or the ‘Minister for disabled people’ would spend a day, or even a few hours with me, to start understanding what life is really like for a young disabled person unable to work, and who is housebound, for the most part, unless accompanied and assisted by others.
In order to fight all of these things, Francesca set up a petition against the ‘War on Welfare’, the dismantling of the support system vital to me, and to hundreds of thousands of others, and the ever more common view perpetuated by the government that anyone other than a “hard-working family” is undeserving of support, and if on benefits, is a scrounger who does nothing but take. The cuts to care services, as well as 500,000 losing support as Disability Living Allowance is replaced by the much-feared “Personal Independence Payment” are hitting an already vulnerable people group hard.
This is why we have no choice but to fight. Please, please consider showing solidarity with us by signing Francesca’s petition, which you can find here. Please also share my blog post – I have had to use what little energy I have today to write this in support of the final push in this campaign, and am off to collapse in a minute. Celebrities have also signed the petition, including Russell Brand, Stephen Fry and Eddie Izzard. Please, please, will you also stand with us? Our quality of life, and in many cases, any life at all, depends on you!
- There’s no cure for brain damage so why test me? (mirror.co.uk)
- Francesca Martinez – the way society views disabled people (scope.org.uk)