Sunday 24 October 2010

'Not Really Disabled'

This is a guest post by pinkpjs

Since May one of the most successful things to be achieved by the
condems seems to be the legitimisation of scapegoating and targeting
of disabled people so wiping away years of struggle for equality and
social justice by disabled people and effectively taking us back to
some very dark days when we are perceived not as human beings but as
'useless eaters' only this time we are undeserving liars and cheats as

The extent of this was made more apparent to me two days after
listening in disbelief to the cheers greeting Osbourne's shock and awe
attack on services and benefits that we depend on for our health and

As part of my job I had to attend a meeting with a manager working with
the DWP who told me that their role was to support disabled people to
receive benefits they are entitled to.

I asked them about the changes to DLA in particular and the impact of
people in residential care and was shocked to be told that 'they don't
really need the mobility allowance as most of them rarely go out except
to medical appointments and then the staff are more than happy to take
them, so it is only fair that they shouldn't get this'.

Then, the response to my question about any other changes to DLA which
the condems have hinted at, was 'well, we all know that many people
currently getting this really aren't disabled and shouldn't be getting

I was left quite speechless at the blatant way this manager in their
professional capacity expressed their opinions which I'm assuming are
not based on fact but on propaganda, especially as this leads me to
believe this could effectively mean that clients will not get benefits
they are entitled to.

Also, they do not know me and do not know that I have a hidden mental
health impairment and have had years of struggle to both get and keep
jobs and receive DLA which they presumably think I am not entitled to
but which actually supports and enables me to work.

They also do not know that I have been in a residential treatment unit
and depended on the mobility component of DLA in order to maintain
contact with my family and especially my children and my friends which
was vital to my recovery and to mine and my children's right to family
life, especially as I was 50 miles away from my home.

They did not know that I have many disabled friends who would see their
attitudes as deeply disciminating and offensive.

And now Labour have stated they support the condems over this I feel
that politicians think it is fair to deny disabled people hope.


  1. It was Labour dreamed all this up, the Coalition are just carrying on with the plans. Have a look at the Benefits and Work site at their plans for the new and stricter ESA tests, meaning, in reality, no testing at all, they were all approved by Labour.

    None of this is tough or rigourous, it's just an abrogation of responsibility by government, all government, Lib, Lab and Con.


  2. I fully agree with you I'm a Lib Dem but think this is so very wrong on so many levels it's not going to help disabled people only make them feel worthless and if their dignity is taken way this could leave to tragedy.

  3. It was Blair who called us Scroungers, it was New labour who used the BBC. Each time New labour came out with a green paper on disability issues it was followed the next day by benefits scroungers or benefit cheats.

    The difference between New labour and the Tories was not the ideology only the way in which it could cut benefits.

    In 2003 the America CIA wrote a long letter to the world saying welfare would kill the EU, it would destroy the UK as the cost of keeping disabled people was in fact getting to high, but we all know the reason welfare is state run and the yanks could not get is greedy little fingers into the pie, it can now.

    I'm disabled with a spinal injury and paraplegia although I do not see my self like this, my doctor states your bowel and bladder does not work, you have no sexual function due to paraplegia so your a paraplegic, I did spent four years learning to walk.

    Sadly for us the country now See's us as cheats because of a few, but the few cannot make my life hell.

  4. Yeah, it's really revealing, the prejudiced bile and claptrap some professionals will come out with when they don't know they're talking to an actual disabled person.

    We went to our social security advice centre when my partner was out of a job. Due to the effects of living together on benefits, my disability benefits came up in the conversation. The adviser didn't know that I also have anxiety and depression (because I'm not claiming based on them, but on a physical disability), so he was very happy - while advising me that I should try and claim more benefits - to make comments about 'all these people claiming for depression, and there's nothing wrong with them'. In the circumstances it didn't feel safe to out myself as having depression, but it made me very angry....

  5. It always has been the same, if you have a child which looks disabled then of course they are. But if you have a child In which the out ward signs of disability of illness is not seen, then the question is of course are they playing games .

    Somebody with no legs is obviously disabled, somebody with a depressive illness well come on are they cheating.

    It's been this way for as long as I can remember, we take mental illness as being well self induced and when you have political parties telling you depression not that bad, what did labour say, you may as well be depressed in work as depressed at home.

  6. I feel so frightened. I was on Incapacity Benefit for nearly two decades, it was very oppressive and the government (Thatcher) encouraged the public to spy on people like me. It meant that if I was having a good day I felt afraid to even go for a simple walk incase someone reported me. Disabled Working Tax Credits were then introduced and I was able to get my dignity and independance back. I have worked for 6 years now as a self employed musician, I hardly ever have to mention my disability, I feel like an equal member of society making a small by appreciated contribution at a pace I can manage.

    This was a wonderful system that Labour provided to support people like me and as a result of the increase of quality of life my health improved by 50%.

    Now I am back to feeling terrified again. Already the Working Tax Credit people are messing up my claim and giving me stress. I don't think it is a coincidence, the media and the government have made everybody hate us. My experience was that the people behind the desks of Disabled Working Tax Credits were here to help. They even congratulated me on doing so well when I first started out. Now I sense a sea change and I am being treated with ill will and suspicion. These are very scarey times unless you are white, male, wealthy and healthy (and you don't care about anyone except yourself).

  7. I am also sick with fear and my mental health has got very much worse since this Government's divisive attack on the poor and disabled.
    I was a well paid professional when I became ill. I have never been a scrounger. I studied for my degree as a penniless single parent to make something of my life. Now after years of paying heavy taxes, I need help and support but this fascist evil Coalition wants to turn all taxpayers against me and all the other poor people who wish they could get up and go to work like everyone else.
    This Coalition has risen out of the economic troubles just like Hitler, and are pursuing a campaign of hatred against the vulnerable who cannot fight back.
    Hatred towards the banks would be more understandable....but the poor and disabled don't fund the Tory party do they?
    Never mind, I forgot we have the 'Big Society' so all we have to do is vote against the cuts!!! Whew....what a bad dream....all is ok.....

  8. I am also very frightened. I have been extremely ill with bipolar disorder, and have been making slow, painful progress towards recovery, and months of repeated attacks on sick and disabled people have taken its toll on my mental health. My head is like glue. I cry. I shake. My sleep patterns are all over the place. I struggle to eat properly. I increasingly struggle to go out of the house. If this is supposed to get me back to work, it's not going to do it because it's destroying my mental health completely.

  9. daughter schizophrenia and epilepsy,me in a wheelchair,3 younger children. husband gave up 60 hour week job to be carer and full time parent. Kids are properly cared for ,disabled daughter and me cared for now. whats going to happen? we are now benefit scrounging scum nice !

  10. As a disabled 43 yr old man,with health problems from birth,and a deformed bone structure to deal with as well,i feel most angered at the governments mind set towards disabled people.
    I have worked in the past,which was not a great experience as it made my health problems worse,i have battled for dla,being turned down 3 times in the past,but thanks to the kind cab people,have recieved it for the past 12 yrs,my gp has helped a great deal as well,but i still feel like some 2nd class citizen,because of how disabled people get percieved,and the government make it worse with pathetic bully boy tactics because i feel we are an easy target.The stress we dont need,as we have enough stress dealing with our health problems.
    Typing this is taking the best part of 40 mins,but i feel i must contribute,as i feel for all disabled people out there.The medical i had last yr was an utter joke,i asked for a home visit,but was told i had to attend the medical centre,was told there was lifts to take me to the 2nd floor,they where out of order,informed of car parking next to building of medical centre,was council workers parking only,which meant my 68 yr old mother had to push me in my wheel chair half a mile,then i had to get up the stairs,which made me ill,then,the medical examiner told me i would not get a full test as it was clear to him i was ill and disabled.
    That is the reality of being disabled,not the reality adopted my the government i must add.

  11. Why is nothing being done by Disability groups? Just writing on a forum doesn't make anyone in the government take notice - we need a public and repeated pressure on all concerned.
    As members of the House of Lords also have a vote in the Commons (although not elected), I have written to a Lord who seems sympathetic and also to Kate Hoey who has been fighting our corner. I suggest others also do this in a desperate attempt to get some publicity and someone on our side who can make a difference to our plight.
    The Writetothem website makes it easy to write to these people.
    But please......why no voice from the many groups supposed to represent the disabled?????

  12. Hi anonymous,

    I'm not sure that you mean Where's The Benefit when you mention disability groups - after all, we're a collective of disabled bloggers not, say, a registered charity - but we are all involved in other activities too. Lobbying, protests, contacting MPs, etc, when we are able.

    I can't speak for anyone else, but I've written a lot of letters and emails.

  13. Small comfort in harsh times maybe. But first I wanted to say that I happen to know that many of the people charged with implementing this savage attack on ill and disabled people do not agree with it. Many are ashamed and fighting it from within. They, like me, know that there but for the grace of whoever go I.

    First major advice to all is, if anyone here is found fit for anything they cannot do. APPEAL. I understand some are not even being told they can. You will see more why later.

    Pleased I saw this blog. Sorry for it but the reason I am anonymous will become obvious.

    Put it this way. I am 'close' to the Govt Dept charged with implementing this inhuman attack on ill and disabled people, and know much about it. Put another way. My job and pension could be on the line (as if it was'nt anyway)if it was otherwise in our 'Free Island'.

    This attack on sick and vulnerable people, begun by New Labour (The ConDems just speeded it up - They are all 'Tory' anyway), just has to be the most sick aspect of these savage idealogical and unnecessary cuts. Go for the ones who may struggle fighting back. Unspeakable immorality.

    If you look up the facts it just gets worse.

    The company given the contract by HM Gov for the laughingly called 'Work Capability Assessments', is ATOS, A private medical firm. If you google the name it says it all. One day soon no doubt we will read how the buggers in power have shares in it, if not already on the board. Corruption has been rife in Govt for decades (Oooops). On top of that they have been charged with crazy unachievable targets. So to meet the individual bonuses I am hearing from colleagues (Ooooer)on how they do not even look at the person they are assessing. Or take into account the day to day of ill health, just that day. Their mind was made up before they went in to the room. Targets to meet.

    Some of them are not even very well medically qualified. Many are not Doctors.

    The craziest and saddest travesty of it all is it is not saving money. But then again it was never meant to. It is about the privatisation of the jobs of people like me.

    Over 70% appeal against the findings of the WCA. Of that 40% win. Even the last Gov and this make noises about that being inneficient and promise to look into it. I dread what that means.

    I understand the distress and anxiety of many posters here. Many on 'the other side' share it with you.

    We were born into a welfare state fought for by our parents. It is not going to be destroyed.

    Any more insider stuff. Just ask.

    Take care

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. "Any more insider stuff. Just ask."

    Anonymous, I would also be very interested in talking to you about insider stuff - would you consider emailing me on, off the record and confidentiality guaranteed.

  16. The other point I forgot to make was something in the original post here by pinkpjs.

    I hope you complained about the DWP manager you spoke of. It is sadly a typical example of how the so called independant Civil Service has been politicised by successive right wing goverments. Nevertheless a complaint would still most certainly have led to some disciplinary action being considered. Totally out of order.

    The CS code of professionalism still states that everyone must be informed of their rights and the benefits they may be entitled to. Without passing an opinion

    Small comfort pinkpjs. Some people have to work with people like that.

  17. Can empathise very much with post, have been on the verge of all that myself via severe lifelong anxiety/depression, never claimed benefits, work, just, but find it hard and aware at times I may need that sort of help in future, hope not but its there. Im scared, and disgusted by attitudes of many ordinary people who think Gov. attacks all OK, but just have to think that they have been misled by the continual unpleasant attacks on so called "benefit scroungers"
    Like many othere I am in various ways campaigning against these unecessary cuts. Think thts a message to get across as well, the cuts are NOT necessary, and we all need ensure everyone understands that. See UNISON, and other unions for alternatives, Green Party, Robin Hood Tax, loads around on internet.

  18. Eh anonymous, you really got me thinking about the 80's mantra, 'there is no alternative', and the woman who said it. It's only just clicked. She actually meant it as brain washing 'water torture'. As in the Korean War. So successful in fact every mainstream party now uses it.

    Whereas of course there are dozens of alternatives.

    Heres one. Hope the link works.

    Call me simple. People who caused the crime should pay for it. That is all and everybody taking home thousands a week in a salary. Stealing (it is not morally possible to earn that much) more in an hour than most of us earn in a month or even year.

    David Cameron, 'Call me Dave'. If it was not for obscenely rich people like you, there would be no poor. You need to keep them poor. To keep you rich. The disgusting thing is you know that. So you use Mephistopheles Murdoch. To make a very complicated world right wing simple.

    This seems like a crazy exageration I know. But I mean it. All my long life my generation questioned how a cultured, civilised country, could find themselves in Krystallnacht on 9/11/38. Sadly I am starting to understand at last. Do not like the answers much.

    If we forget history we may just go on repeating it.

    Kick the ConDems into oblivion.