Sunday 17 April 2011


On Thursday afternoon I attended a protest outside my local Jobcentre as part of the National Day of Protest against Benefit Cuts.
The local paper came along and took a photograph of us, and gave a write up the following day.

These are 2 of the comments from the article:
I'm by no means an expert in MS, but if this woman can stand around waving a placard or march around Poole Quay, why can't she find a job doing something less physical in an office or something?
seems to me she's illustrating the point of the benefit cuts perfectly well!

If they are all on Incap Benefit, when was the last time they used a JOBCENTRE for the purpose it was created( to find a job). They may have a disability, but they should not be work shy. MS does not mean you can't work, it means you have restrictions which you have to overcome.

I was appalled, but not surprised, by the level of ignorance these two people display.
If they don't know anything about it, how can they feel they can judge? Are they happy for people to judge them? I suspect not.

This is just a snapshot of what anyone with a disability has to deal with. It's what has led many of us to feel afraid and paranoid all the time. Every time I set foot outside the door I wonder if someone is judging me, watching and waiting to call the DWP.
Because they don't feel what I feel. I they can't feel my legs shake underneath me. They can't feel the screaming pain that shoots through my head if I strain too much. They don't feel the extreme tiredness that comes after doing something.
They see one thing - a perfectly normal person.

This is what it's like to have an invisible disease. Constant judgement and fear and a feeling of having to justify yourself all the time.

Because of course attending a protest for 2 hours is the same as going to work.
Because of course having MS is the same for everyone.
And of course all restrictions can be overcome.

So to these two people - and everyone else who feels and thinks like them - I say this:
If you know of a company who will employ me for a few hours a week, who doesn't mind when I come in or how long I come in for, who doesn't mind how many things I drop, or mistakes I make, please let me know. I'd love to meet them.

Cross posted at Rage against the Coalition


  1. Don't worry, the government will be inventing such companies soon. Millions of pounds of taxpayers money will secretly be used to bribe companies into accepting anybody and everybody as employees for a few hours a week so the government can pretend their policies are valid and aren't really just excuses for siphoning hundreds of millions of pounds from the public purse into private companies as profit. When there's a need for it, they'll just upgrade the scam. The mainstream media are beginning to get wise to what's going on though, I saw a post from a tv producer (or whatever, some tv guy) incredulous that some of the ATOS testing centres don't have disabled access and asking for first-hand stories of problems people are having. He's going to get swamped! I think this will break eventuallly, people just have to hang in till it does.

  2. The commentators were probably journalists, posting rubbish just to show that the article was generating interest - and controversy, too, by drawing the pro-and anti- brigades over to troll one another.

  3. Great blog, and what they BOTH don't understand is that it's possble to have a job AND claim benefits! I have a friend who has a degenerative disability. Her employers (the local council) have done their best to 'get her out' at every opportunity. They call her in for interviews every time she's poorly. They once put her on 'garden leave' because they said she was a 'fire risk' and wasn't capable of looking after herself. No wonder disabled people find it near on impossible to work if they want to because they have to cope with this. Ironically she had 3 months off with severe stress and depression and guess why, brought on by the victimisation she received at work! She has a very visible disability and knows she never would have got her job if she'd applied after it's onset...... and let's face it, who in their right mind, disabled or not would want to work with such ignorant 'tw*ts'! oh and the council also literally wheel her out for all their 'disabled friendly employer' photoshoots. I've said to her thatshe should tell them to 'Fek off'!

    Rant over thanks lol. Keep up the great work.

  4. "Every time I set foot outside the door I wonder if someone is judging me, watching and waiting to call the DWP."

    Me too. :( You bet I'd rather work in a place that actually MADE reasonable adjustments instead of just paying lip service, than deal with the fact that at any time someone can make my life hell just by being ignorant and interfering in a situation they know nothing about.

  5. As the hidden disability person in a multi-disability family I get busy bodies whom I work with in a Disability service unit point out to me that I should not abuse my husband's blue badge. That is when I turn the card round and say I did not know that he looked so much like me and we must have been an early same sex marriage 20 years ago. Ok Hubby may be in a wheelchair but I am just as disabled and often his quality of life is 500 times better than mine. Just be cause I don't have it tattooed to my forehead does not make it not so.

  6. And then there's that favourite tool of the cowardly disablist, the anonymous complaint to the National Benefit Fraud Hotline, which strangely enough, and in apparent direct contradiction to their Public Sector Equality Duty, the DWP accept at face value, no matter how ludicrous the accusation. There is a cost to these investigations, not to the government, but in stress and pain to those falsely accused and maliciously investigated.

  7. A lot of employers don't care as I have found out. I'm not registered disabled but do have health problems that I'm currantly seeing my GP about. The problem will not get better and I am in constant pain but I still work. I was in trouble recently because of my sick record despite having Doctors notes about my condition. Basically I've been told I can't be treated any differently from other members of staff because it wouldn't be fair. They will make no changes to the way I work so I'm just putting up with the pain and am on painkillers and waiting to have physio. I have no problems about working. Employers do. It appears that I am too sick to work but not sick enough to claim benifits despite the fact I have worked since I left school. What happened to all the national insurance and tax I paid to help me and others in difficult situations. As you quite rightly say disability can happen to any-one.