The government keep banging on about how benefit reforms will still see the "most vulnerable" supported.
But what do they mean by "vulnerable"? Innately I don't think of myself as vulnerable, I'm confident and articulate enough to stand up for myself (metaphorically at least). Despite my brittle bones I've stepped into the middle of a physical fight to break it up on many an occasion because I felt the benefits of doing so outweighed any "vulnerability" on my part. (And for the record it's never resulted in me getting punched. Something about people not wanting to hit a speccy disabled girl.)
But this government, with their cuts and their propaganda, are making me vulnerable.
Is this disablism though? Abso-bleeding-lutely when so many of the cuts and so much of the hate is aimed at us.
I'm vulnerable because I'm facing a future with no income because the DWP keep deciding ill people are allegedly "fit for work". If I end up losing everything how can I go on living? Other disabled people have already killed themselves because they lost their income. I'm not suicidal at the moment, I have no reason to be. But I'm vulnerable to finding myself suicidal in the near future because of the government.
Lets imagine I do get to keep my income replacement benefit (currently IB, soon to be ESA) and housing benefit. I'm still at risk of losing my Disability Living Allowance. DLA is a benefit paid to cover some of the extra costs of being disabled. Without my DLA I won't be able to shop to get food in. I currently have a Motability car, which I will lose if I'm one of the 1 in 5 DLA claimants who'll lose their money. I know some people who don't/can't drive who use their DLA to pay for online supermarket deliveries, without my DLA that'll be out of my price range. So I'm vulnerable to, you know, starvation thanks to the government's disablist cuts.
Then there's care funding. At the moment I don't get direct payments. I've toyed with the idea of applying but because there's so much paperwork involved it's less work to just struggle with domestic tasks myself and then guzzle painkillers in a House-esque fashion afterwards. As I smash up more joints that balance will change and I'll eventually pass the tipping point where the paperwork will become the easier of the two options. I used to live in one of the few local authorities in the country that provided care packages for people assessed as having less than "substantial" needs. Not any more. It's one of the things that got cut in my local council's budget this year. So if I sustain an injury (likely what with having brittle bones) I'm vulnerable to getting completely stuck and being unable to manage simple things like cooking because the council won't give me any assistance.
Thanks to the propaganda we see daily in papers like the Daily Mail and Express - encouraged by the government with their "scrounger" rhetoric and DWP press releases filled with half truths - I'm now more vulnerable to hate crime and being falsely accused of benefit fraud.
These brutal, unnecessary, unfair and disablist cuts are creating a raft of vulnerable people like me. People who are only vulnerable because of this government's actions.
If they truly cared about protecting us they wouldn't have put us in this position in the first place.