Friday, 19 October 2012

Beware The Bogie Man

I have been reading the latest hysteria over welfare cuts, particularly those for the disabled.

With Disability Living Allowance and Incapacity Benefit due be switched to the new universal system in the next twelve months the scaremongers have once again been out in force. If you believe what they tell you every disabled person in the country will be starving, cold and homeless by this time next year. Well I don't believe this is going to be the case at all.

Yes some will have their benefits cut or stopped but some will find their benefits increased while the majority will stay exactly the same. In the short term claimants will not notice a difference. The changes, if there are to be any, will take place during the regular reassessment that every disabled person has to go through for current benefits.

At the moment every three - five years disabled people have to reapply for their benefits. For the majority things stay the same, for some their condition has worsened and so they get an increase. For some their condition has improved and so their benefits are cut or removed. This is a fare system but as we all know is open to abuse. Because the majority of renewals are done online and the claimant is never seen by a doctor or assessor during that process, the claimant can claim to be just as ill as they were on the previous application. Yes the majority of claims have to be accompanied by additional paperwork but not all so some people can go for years without being seen or having their claim challenged. With the new system everyone will have to see an assessor during the renewal process and this is where the scare stories begin.

As with all new systems there have been some horrendous mistakes but this is a huge reform and mistakes are all part of the process, distressing if the mistake happens to you granted, but without mistakes refinements cannot be made and lessons cannot be learned. However also in the papers, and receiving much less attention, are the stories of the cheaters, the football coach who cannot walk or dress himself but is capable of running a touch line for two hours every week. The woman with crippling back pain filmed carrying huge bags of shopping from the boot of her car, both claiming the top rate of benefit and supposedly unable to work. We have to have balance and hear both sides of an argument before making judgment.

I receive a high level of benefit which I use to pay for the care and technology that helps me to continue as normal a life as possible. I am lucky in that I am still capable of working, though for how long I don't know, and I think, if asked, the majority of genuinely disabled people would love to be able to go out to work. Work gives you dignity and a sense of purpose, it also means you are contributing to the system that is supporting you. So it really pisses me off, excuse my French, when I hear about people getting similar benefits as me because they like to drink themselves into a stupor everyday or use it to pay off their drug dealers. These are the people that this new system will be getting rid of. Far from 'forcing' children with cancer to go out and earn a crust, it is designed to help those who are willing to help themselves. No longer will you be allowed to claim disability for drink or drug problems without agreeing to rehab. Personally I think this is a good thing, why should I drag myself to work everyday so that my taxes can pay for some scum bag who ditches his wheelchair for a pool in Monaco every summer all paid for by DLA?

Also in the paper today was an absolutely brilliant cartoon of a man on a bike waving an umbrella whilst riding  towards some iron gates. Surrounding the gates are several fat policemen, why are policemen always fat in cartoons, armed to the teeth with tasers. Underneath is the line...

'Right, lads. Here comes Andrew Mitchell now - and oh my goodness! Isn't that a samurai sword he's carrying?'

Two news stories summed up in one sentence, absolute genius.

Today I am waiting for Andrew to come home. His girlfriend from Bulgeria is paying a visit next weekend and we have to make arrangements as to who is picking her up from the airport, who is taking her back etc, etc. Such things are difficult to discuss via text, email or facebook so he is coming home to make sure Ma and Pa don't mess things up. Anyone would think we were totally incapable of any form of organisation without his input. It is not as though I ever ran a house, brought up two kids, worked a full time job and did a university degree all at the same time or anything.

It was drug delivery day today and my supplier has excelled themselves. I change my line dressing every three days so in an average month I need about ten dressings. How many did they send me? One! Yet another afternoon on the phone trying to explain why one is not enough.

Well it is back to work tomorrow, I am feeling better so will give it a go though any attempt at a full day may have to take a back seat for a while until I've shaken whatever it is I cauught.

Next blog Wednesday (unless the bug makes a reappearance that is).