Will the ConDems allow the disabled to live?

I like to think that I’m a fairly intelligent person, and yet one thing continues to baffle me; the idea that disabled people enjoy claiming benefits.

I wish I could gather all of those misguided, ignorant, self-righteous creatures together and tell them this – no disabled person would be choose to be disabled and dependent on other people, whether those people are our family, friends, or tax payers.

Yes, some people claim benefits unjustly, but here is a key point: those people are not disabled. Can you see the difference? Those people, who are in the minority, despite what the scaremongering in the media might lead you to believe, choose a life of sponging off of the state, despite the fact that they could work for a living.

Disabled people have no choice but to be disabled.

I desperately want to be able to work. When I listen to my friends discussing their duties in the workplace, their colleagues habits (good and bad), even the irritating person on their train that morning, I feel a pang of envy. They are out earning their livings, they are contributing, paying taxes, they have a sense of purpose and of achievement. When they get their wages each month, they know what they’ve done to earn it. I would love to experience that, to know that I’m a contributing member of society. I don’t need any more “incentives to work” than these. I just need to be able to work.

Instead I am reminded every day that a section of society voices the worst opinions I have of myself: sponger, worthless, a drain on society.

You may be wondering why it is that I don’t work; it’s because I was born with a genetic skin blistering condition called Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), of which I have the Recessive Dystrophic sub-type. Chances are, you’ve never heard of EB, so I will enlighten you. Due a lack of connective proteins in my skin, the slightest friction or trauma causes it to lift, either in to fluid-filled sacs of blisters, or to detach completely to leave raw wounds. Imagine developing a third degree burn, simply because you turned over in bed, or got dressed, or misjudged your footing. That is the effect of EB.

Having been rampaging around my body for the past twenty-four years, EB has cost me: the sight in my left eye and caused great photosensitivity in the right, the majority of the dexterity in my fingers, my toes (which have fused into a solid mass on each foot), the ability to walk more than a few yards at a time and the ability to swallow (meaning I need a feeding tube in my stomach). On top of this, frequent systemic infections, anaemia, nerve-damage causing restless legs and extreme pain, and the amount of time my wound care takes every day all leave me very tired and lethargic.

EB is unpredictable; I often wake up with corneal abrasions, caused by my eyelid tearing the skin on my eyeball, leaving me blind and intolerant to any light for days. I can suddenly feel very ill due to an infection, or experience a huge amount of pain in a wound and be unable to move. None of these things are conducive to doing a good day’s work. I spend a lot of time at the hospital seeing specialists, and being admitted for surgery and procedures.

Now, tell me. Would you employ me? Would you give me sick pay for all of this time? Would you adapt your office, or supply me with an assistant to act as my hands and feet? Could you afford to pay someone who will be absent so often?

No, of course not. How could you?

But do you understand that this is not my ideal life? That I’m not living the life of Riley on the taxpayer’s (including my parents, sister and extend family) money? It’s worth noting that, whilst the NHS is a crucial part of my life, I have to pay for dressings, treatments and supplies that aren’t covered by the drug tariff.

At home, even though I’m an adult, I am still dependent on my mother, who is my 24-hour a day carer. However much we love each other, however much we laugh together and just get on with it, there is an inherent feeling of humiliation at having to be put to bed, helped into your underwear, even sometimes helped on to the toilet in your twenties. There is also the knowledge that, however much it may be denied, you are a burden to those you love. Even my friends have push my wheelchair, cut up my food and help me get my trousers down on nights out!

You might point out that I’m blogging, that I tweet (yes, Nadine Dorries, I’m admitting it!), that I go out with my friends, that I speak for charity (in order to raise funds to cure EB, which would save tax payers money!), and I don’t deny any of it. But I can only do these things because they are worked around my disability; I have no deadline, and no one is depending on me. If I need to have a sleep half way through writing something, I can. If I need to write spitting in a bowl because I can’t swallow my own saliva, I can. If I need to cancel at the very last minute or leave at a second’s notice, my friends and the charity understand. I could not do those things in the workplace.

When you think about it, it’s strange that benefits are so called. Are they meant to be the benefits of being disabled, the upside to being trapped by your own body? I can assure you, all of us who claim them legitimately would gladly swap for them for a job, for security, for freedom.

Maybe they should be called compensation? No one questions someone being compensated for an injury that keeps them away from work, even if it is caused by an accident. Well, what happened with my genes was an accident, and it caused me injuries that keep me away from work. But disabled people are increasingly begrudged the money they need simply to survive.

I’m really not in the habit of bemoaning my lot. I have a wonderful family and friends, a roof over my head, medical care, and food on the table. But there is a huge amount of injustice in the air right now, and those who will suffer most are those who are not able to fight against it. I have a voice, and I can use it, and so I want to support those who aren’t, for whatever reason, as fortunate as I am.

David Cameron has claimed that “we’re all in this together”, but these cuts won’t affect him in the slightest. He is not relying on friends or family to enable him to live from day to day. He is not facing the prospect of having his care funding cut, and being left to lie in his own urine and faeces all night, because his carer has been replaced with an incontinence pad, nor is he looking at spending every day of his life within a respite home, because the removal of his mobility Disability Living Allowance component has been withdrawn and he can no longer afford an electric wheelchair. He will not be a working person, taking over from the agency carer the local council can longer fund. He won’t feel suicidal because he is being made to feel that he doesn’t deserve to live, or because he simply does not have to means to do so. These are real issues being faced by people with disabilities.

So please, the next time you see a story about the ConDems cuts on benefits in the newspapers and you tut about these disabled people draining the state, please remember three things:

1) Disabled people aren’t spongers, they are people who truly need the money, and desperately wish they didn’t.

2) When you go to bed tonight, you won’t need someone to dress you, or clean your bottom, and you won’t be left to lie in your own defecate. You will be free to do as you please.

3) Not all disabled people are born that way, and many are disabled due to accidents and illness, and you may find yourself in their dependent shoes one day.

On 14th February 2011, the ConDem government will make their final decisions about cuts to Disability Living Allowance, the “benefit” that helps disabled people to fund the expenditure relating directly to their disability, whether care or transport (paying for cabs, an adapted car, or even simply a wheelchair). This decision will impact upon disabled peoples’ ability to have the best quality of life they can possibly have in their various circumstances. If cuts are made, many disabled people will be forced under the poverty line, living lives as second class citizens.

In conjunction with The Broken of Britain, a non-party political action group for people with physical and mental disabilities, and their carers and supporters, One Month Before Heartbreak are giving a voice to those who will be affected by these cuts, and bringing their plight into the public conscious, and hopefully conscience. Please visit their websites to see how you can help us fight for people who might not be able to fight for themselves. You never know, you might need them to fight for you one day, too.

Thank you.


Filed under Disability

46 responses to “Will the ConDems allow the disabled to live?

  1. This in my view is one of, if not the best pieces of writing I’ve read regarding this topic!

    Great work.


    • Thanks, Carl. I really appreciate the positive feedback; writing pieces like this are always nerve-wracking, trying the walk the line between informative and whining!

      Very much enjoying your blog (background included – I was picking out my favourite albums!).

      All the best,

  2. The fightback has begun!

    With Love and Solidarity,

    Black Triangle
    Anti-Defamation Campaign
    In Defence of Disabled Claimants

  3. jacky barfoot

    With you all the way there brother. I have spinal degeneration, chronic tirdness, anxiety attacks and a hormonal imbalance I was born with, it causes sleep disturbances, numbness in hands and feet, spasms, in cold weather my hand and feet swell up and my hands blister and bleed, it causes memory problems, constant pain, and i feel the cold easily, also dueto the hormones at certain times of the month I become incontinant and cannot go far…
    Id love to hold down a job and have a wage, im not too bothered about contributing to society as im a loner and always have been, i dont get hung up on that score, as my quest is formyself, my spiritual karma (i study buddhism) and to help others… But, I could not attend anyones timetables and deadlines, i need regular breaks and lie downs, sometimes i cant get out of bed much so i take the computer under the duvet with me, sleeping between writing..no ones going to give me a job like this.
    Ive been told they can never cure me and its only going to get progressively worse as all the cartlidge between my spinal joints disintergrates and my spinal bones begin to ware away grating on each other, this causes me vertigo attacks and migraines, chocking fits and blackouts, its causing nerve inflammation and artery inflammation … ive got to live with it im told, id not wish it on anyone. There was a time I had 3 vol jobs and was also a carer and cycled everywhere…when i was in my early 20s, but by the age of 30 I had tumours, pre cancerous lesions, fatigue, ulcerating innerds, and back pain…by the age of 41 I was on crutches…now im in constant daily pain and cant even reach was wash my bottom without pain in my ribs and back, regularly end up stuck on the floor with my legs in painful spasms, and golightheaded and dizzy….its a living hell.
    I get called lazy scrounger, allergic to work, lier, benefits theif, atos said im fit for work, my doctor says i shall never work…
    I isolate myself a lot these days, i can go 3 or 4 weeks without leaving the house, i feel vulnerable and afraid…i cant see a future except of dependancy and pain.. what life is that?.
    All I want is a small job from home fitted around me, when im able to function, or in an environment that is understanding, kind, healing, that allows me to rest when i need to rest, so sit and wait for spasms to stop when they happen… with financial help for my medications and treatments, and to help me stay independant.. a top up on a wage.. is that too much to ask?.
    I get nothing as it stands, no DLA, no benefits anymore, because my parents died and i inherited a house to live in, a house that is too much for me to mainataine in this state, alone in a house, no carer, no support… its very very lonely and hard going….and drains me when i need pay for help out of my meagre savings…
    and for this?, for losing my health, for been in pain, for been tired, for been afraid, for been depressed, for been traumatised, for having a breakdown due to all the stress and pain.. i am accussed of benefit freud, because i was too sick to inform the dwp my parents money had come through – too sick. i wasnt working.. i wasnt lapping it up and going to clubs and buying a car etc.. i was in bed, depressed, tired, in agony, not eating, not washing, as i felt too ill…all i could do was between sleeping and brain fog, say hello to friends who rang me…then go back to sleep….
    Im not earning a wage, but im paying tax, im paying council tax, – i now fear i shall have to sell my home cheaply, i cant get social housing or any help, i dont know where to go, whats to heppen.. lately ive felt suicidal, i cant see any way ahead except pain, poverty and predudice, unless a religious community take me on baord and let me live there.. but i feel im a burden, a liability…and this is the condems attitudes to us as disabled people.

    • Hi Jacky,

      I am so sorry to hear that you have been through so much, and are now being castigated for being ill and for suffering in pain. Please don’t give up; though you have much to cope with, we will win. The governments have coasted along, slowly marginalising the disabled, but now they have forced us to retaliate. I truly believe that, all together, we can win, and we can get the results we want. For disabled people, the pen, the keyboard, the dictaphone, the voice are mightier than lobbing fire extinguishers and smashing windows (and I say that as a student!). We need to show them that we are not the easy target, and that they can not blindside us with empty promises and supposedly clever rhetoric.
      Stay with us; I promise we won’t give up on anyone.

      Melissa xx

  4. Peter Lockhart

    I know what you mean about hearing friends who are working. Unlike you I wasn’t always disabled, I did work. When I worked I paid National Insurance. Now I never complained about this tax, I was happy to pay it, I knew it was supposed to make sure that if I became ill, too ill to work then I would be looked after. I was also aware that my NI was used to help people who couldn’t work and never were able to work, people like yourself. I was more than happy for my general taxes and NI to be used in this way. Trouble is there are a lot of people in this country who are not only selfish, they’re also ignorant. They have no idea why they pay NI. They have a vague idea but it all skewed by the propaganda and lies from papers like the Daily Mail, Daily Express and The Sun. So all of us suffer for it. This is deliberate, this is what the papers want to happen, they are driven by a right wing agenda and now we have a Tory government the will attack us with near impunity because so many people have been hoodwinked into believing we’re scroungers and work shy. We’re also an easy target. For most they can fight back but fighting back isn’t easy for us. You for instance can go on a demo, you couldn’t just decide to go and picket or see you MP. Some of us are in a better position, yes I use a wheelchair but on good days I manage to get it into my car, I can drive and i’m fairly independent, even so, for everything i do I have to check and double check to make sure i’ll be able to get to any particular place, I need to make sure their is access, toilets, parking etc. Not for us just leaving the house and jumping on a bus or train without having to worry. Losing DLA would make this far harder, without my DLA I would become a recluse unable to leave my home. It makes fighting back far harder and the government know this. The attacks from the coalition are cowardly.

    • Hi Peter,

      I completely agree that the government (and in fact all governments) see the disabled (and the elderly) as easy targets. That’s why I am so glad to be working with The Broken on Britain, to show them how wrong they are. We will not be cowed by spin and forced to live like third-class citizens. We are not thieves, we are not lazy scroungers, we are people who want to make the best of the lives we have.

      Even though I have helped from my family, demo’s and pickets are not practical for me; I cannot, due to deep ulcers in the backs of my thighs and osteoporosis in my spine, sit in one position for too long, but nor can I stand. I also feel the cold and the heat in extremes, and tire incredibly easily, much to my irritation. But I can write, and I can argue and debate, and so I am determined to do those things as often and as vehemently as I can. I want to show the government that true strength isn’t physical, it is in our characters. I know that, in many ways, I am very lucky, and that makes me all the more determined to fight for those who aren’t. People have done the same for me in my life, and now it’s my turn to pay it forward.

      Melissa xx

  5. Thank you so much for an incredibly powerful contribution to OMBH. It’s scheduled on the main blog for 1230 BG Xx

  6. Julia C

    Very good piece – I shall be sharing this. Thanks a lot and solidarity

  7. Powerful, effective & real. Great piece of writing.

  8. JM

    a woderful pece of writng. unlik oter conributos i hav boh pysicl and metal ilnes. im tpgn this to show wat im lik ater a sezur. i knw a lot of wods are spet wrng but icat see wats wrog wit thm. usuly i spot mistak it stads out at wons, but afer sezur at nigt im lik this. i hav day sezues too – lat tim was on a zebr crosng an nery got hit by car wic didt stop.
    it dost show mot of tim, but fits ar triged by stres, lac of slep, musc amog oter thigs. so im not relible, can be incotinen and aso hav logtem depreson. i had voltary job, but was tod not to go bac ater i had a sezzur in shop – jus an absenc, but now all cofiden in abilty to wok has gon. if volunary sectr dot wat me, wat empoyr wil?
    i tak meds but ati-deresns case increse in sezur, anti-sezur med can case deprson – las tim i cam of anni-dpresan i becam sucidl. dos Camron serosly tink livng on benfits of 117pouds a wek maks up for al this?

    • Hi JM,
      Your comment is incredibly powerful. I feel that, in many ways, I am lucky to have a physical disability, which is so clearly visible. Though it does not mean that people accept the difficulties I have, and I am still often questioned and doubted.

      I wish more people would understand that disabilities are hardly ever caused by a single illness or problem – they are multi-faceted. There is not a medicine to take or a surgery to be had for the vast majority of us. If only!

      If a politician were ever in our position, they would scream louder than anyone! But we can show them how loud, eloquent and unavoidable we can be. They will not ignore us forever!

      With love
      Melissa xx

      • JM

        and today, i can spell, type this without it taking ages – but i’ve no idea about tomorrow.
        i would love some of the people who think that depression is just “feeling a bit low” to stand in my shoes for a couple of days – then ask how they’d cope if these feelings lasted for 3 years. ironically, i used to work for DWP and they decided they no longer wanted to employ me because i couldn’t cope with the stress of working there.
        one day i want to get back to work, but i don’t know what i can do. the civil service won’t have me back, my teaching qualifications are out of date, and i can’t drive because of the epilepsy so getting to a workplace is difficult. phone-calls are difficult for me, i can’t do shifts or work anywhere that music is played because of my epilepsy. there are things i can do, but they are outweighed by some major things i can’t do. work put me under too much stress to cope with, so who’s going to want me? i have too little self-confidence to “sell myself” in an interview. how would forcing me and others like me to go back to work help any of us? it’s not just support to get into work that we need, it’s time to get better. it’s only in the last 6 months that i’ve had much more than antidepressants. how can we be forced back into work when the resources to allow us to heal are based on where you live?

  9. I have had enough living in fear, I will live what life I have left, I am fed up with people looking at me it is written on thier faces he walks a bit wobbly scrounger, because cancer is not visable or that part of my brain that has been removed, old people glare as I pull into a disabled bay I want to shout at them all, please do not be ignorant I do not have long left to live and I am disabled. to live a full undisabled life is something that will never happen to me so go on enjoying your own life and pray it dosent happen too you, I fear leaving the room I rent as I have lost my house that I may be judged to well to deserve benefit my ESA was wrong got it put right and now worrying about DLA in the future and what small piece of a normal life I have left without it being removed to gain income to pay off the bankers debt,
    why, things are tough enough without worring about all this I intend to live as best I can screw the goverment they should awaken to all this and screw the ignorants who judge by what they are told and not the real facts never know it might all happen to them oh its tough isn,t it losing everything in your life home, health, income, etc the people going through all this are stronger in spirit, tougher and stronger than anyone in the cabinet or joe public until it happens to them WAKE UP, we are all going through a lot but our resolve will never be broken, SO i SAY LIVE AND FIGHT

    • Matt – everything you say is absolutely true, and eptiomises why movements like this are so important.

      People assume that a disability means being in a wheelchair, permanently. I can walk short distances, and even though I have very visible deformities and am covered in bandages, I get tuts and hisses and snide comments about my “false” use of a wheelchair. I cannot imagine how infuriating it must be for you, to have been through, and be going through, so much, and still be castigated for having less than you are entitled to and deserve.

      And we all know, the people who make the comments are those who would expect the earth if they are ever in your situation!

      We all stronger, because we have had to fight for so much, and we know the truly valuable things in life. We know how to persevere, and we know how get where we not want to be, but HAVE to be.

      The government and media have been forcing their opinions of us down our throats for too long, and now we’re going to spit them all back them, complete with the truth.

      All of my best wishes, and camaraderie in this fight,

      Melissa xx

  10. the shortest answer to the question posed by the blog’s title is “no”
    by beginning its assault on the benefit system with DLA, the government is attacking the most vulnerable in society, those with no or very little voice. How long before the Dorries approach is employed and used to establish that anyone who can use a computer is by definition fit for work?
    I agree with Matt – LIVE AND FIGHT!

    • I really think that The Broken of Britain will prove to the government that we do have a voice, and that is a strong, determined one.

      A taxi driver told was furious that the government are penalising the disabled, and the elderly, so cruelly, and he assured me that the majority of the public are behind us. I like to think that is true, and that, even if it isn’t now, we will make it true.

      In the words of Muse…

      “They will not force us
      They will stop degrading us
      They will not control us
      And we will be victorious”

      Melissa xx

  11. MuggersBuddle

    I would like to see this post published in every national newspaper. Fantastic piece!

  12. Phill Brown

    Hi, thanks for writing such a revealing and eye-opening article. I believe that, whilst most people would agree that ‘benefit scroungers’ should be ‘stopped’ that most of them would have absolutely no idea that that this would affect individuals such as yourself and others who are in genuine need of support and care. In fact, most would see that stopping those unfairly claiming benefits would enable more money going to those who need it most….no-one really believes in the ‘we are all in it together’ BS because its obvious we aren’t….but this is definitely not what the public wants….

    • Phill Brown

      Exactly, I agree with Muggers above…this writing needs a wider audience. have you sent it to any newspapers?

    • Hi Phill,

      Sadly, there is a lot of ignorance about how welfare reforms will affect those who really need them. And even sadder is that fact that there are very few people who are open-minded enough like yourself to accept this as the truth.

      People who will suffer most are probably those with mental health disabilities. Though my disability is primarily physical, I do suffer from manic depression, and have done for a very long time. There is still a huge stigma attached to mental health problems, and they are often still dismissed, despite how crippling they can be. Many people are also facing cuts to their care packages; essentially, that’s saying to someone “we know you have a severe disability, and we know you need X amount of care, but you simply can’t have it anymore”. It’s bad news all around – either people will go without care, leading to increased health problems, isolation and a much lower standard of basic living, or they will be forced to turn to friends, family and neighbours, most of whom will work and end up doing two jobs.

      Many disabled people are facing being “re-assessed” in order to continue receiving their benefits, and while that might not seem like a bad thing, it requires huge amounts of form filling, being interviewed, providing medical evidence (which can take months to obtain from overstretched GPs), all of which is a monumental task when you have a debilitating illness. Some have reported their GPs stating that they cannot work, only to have that decision overturned by the authorities! They are asking the disabled to jump through hoops when many can barely stand.

      In some respects, I think ‘benefit thieves’ are more offensive to the disabled than the able-bodied taxpayers, because they are choosing a life of dependency, which we despise having to live. They really are a minority, and yet their deceit and eventual exposure has encouraged a “reds under the bed” kind of distrust. The media seem determined to whip up a frenzy, wanting everyone to believe that every second or third disabled person is lying about their needs.

      Ironically, the government say we need to be incentives to work, but don’t give incentives to companies to facilitate us working from home (maybe on flexi-hours), which those of us who are able would be delighted to do. We don’t need incentives, a pat on the back and a “well done you!”, we need facilities and understanding. But instead they are instigating cuts that will create lives too burdensome for many disabled people to continue with.

      Sorry to waffle, but it is such a complex issue. I hate to think of the general public seeing all disabled people as whiners, always bemoaning their lots. We’re largely a nice, cheery bunch, who can laugh rather than cry. We just need more people to understand, as you do, that what the government is doing, and is planning to do, really could ruin lives.

      Mel xx

  13. This is such an incredibly strong piece of writing. I’m sitting here now in Auckland, NZ squirming in my seat with anger and indignation. I hope with all my heart that you will be victorious and stop this total nonsense. I really think you should consider sending this piece out to newspapers and other publications because I don’t think anyone could read this and not get totally and utterly riled up.
    You are totally brilliant Melissa.

    • Thank you so much Evie. I would love to submit it to a newspaper – I’m asking about on Twitter for some advice on best to do it. I’m a complete novice!

      Big hugs and lots of love to you!

  14. Agree with Evie, perhaps get into the newspapers by asking the press offices of Mind, Rethink and whatever charities there are out there that do have staff with the experience and expertise of creating a news agenda.

  15. Phill Brown

    Well I know a couple of freelance journalists who write articles for the Times and the Guardian…. I’ll email them when I am in the office tomorrow, they might not run with it…but its worth a try! I really think this issue and your writing needs a wider audience….

  16. Bruce Coleman


  17. cakeandfinewine

    Thanks for a powerful, clear and much-needed piece of writing.

  18. lizziefenwick

    I am so glad I stumbled across this post, wonderfully written. I agree whole heartedly with the above comments that you should pursue having this article published, I wish the people who forged their views from what the Daily Mail tells them could read this too!

    • Hi Lizzie,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I am looking into having this published, and some friends are helping me with their contacts. We do need to dispel many of the myths and prejudices about the disabled, and in some cases, the elderly who claim benefits. I think many people would be amazed at how much living with disabilities can cost the person themselves, financially and in their personal lives.

      Mel xx

  19. As always Mel, you never fail to inspire me. I, like many others, take far too much for granted and you know me well enough to know I don’t mean that in a pitiful or patronising way. What I really mean is EB or no EB, you’ve got balls and a heart and I love that about you.

    This piece of writing should be posted to every household in the country and broadcast on every TV and radio channel. For those who cheat, those who generalise and those who judge.

    I’m sorry to make this all about you but you always conduct yourself with such grace, eloquence and intelligence and I just want you to know I love you lots and am with you in your fight.

    Emma x

    • Thank you so much Emma. I am so touched at how you have taken not just me, but everyone with EB to heart, and how much support and love you give. I am so grateful to whoever started Twitter – without them, I wouldn’t have you in my life.

      I hope we do get more publicity, to show the government and sceptics how wrong their decisions and assumptions are. And to, hopefully, shame some benefit thieves into changing their ways!

      And hey, we’ll be the best dressed soldiers the world has ever seen! :o)

      Lots of love and hugs,
      Mel xx

  20. Claire

    Thank you for the great post! I am from the UK but live in the USA where I think people with disabilities are not treated any better than in the UK – probably worse, actually.
    I think it’s so disheartening to see the government and the general public pick on a group of people that are already marginalized and in essence, blame you for your own disabilities and say you don’t need or deserve
    the assistance to live your own lives.
    I think you have explained your case eloquently.
    and I hope you can keep shouting it from the
    rooftops until the politicos get it!
    Best of luck!

    • Hi Claire,

      Thank you for your kind words, and for your support. It really does mean a lot to me.
      I speak to people in the US who have EB, and what some of them are subjected to is simply horrendous. People can say what they like about the NHS, but they really don’t know how lucky we are to have it, imperfections and all.
      I am a stubborn mule, and I will continue to campaign for as long as I can.

      All the best to you,
      Mel xx

  21. Vicky A

    This is a really brilliant piece and I agree with the others that this should certainly be in the wider forum. I am a full time carer (without Carer’s Allowance) to my my son with Autism, and being a disability that effects both physical and mental capabilities whilst those affected are seen as “normal”, I can definitely relate to the ‘sponger’ label being attributed to him already. He is only 15 and I really worry what this coalition government is going to have (or more likely not have!) in store for him as he grows into an adult. DLA allows us to enrol him in clubs and after school activities, as well as take him to places to socialise him and familiarise him with interacting with others – the alternative being to lock him away at home, which he would be content with, but will not help him, only help ignorant society as a whole not have to deal with the uncomfortable truths about disability. Once he turns 16 the options reduce drastically for him, and with money dwindling on all sides I see that situation getting worse not better.

    I hope your blog, and others like it will make the all important difference, however I hope that the majority of people will realise that Disability benefits are not just desirable,but NECESSARY and stand with the disabled community in demanding a fair and reasonable benefit system for all!

    • Hi Vicky. Thank you so much!
      I am working on getting this piece published outside of the blog, so I really hope it will be. I am absolutely amazed at the response it, and I, have had.

      It is disgusting that you are not receiving Carers’ Allowance, which is a pittance in comparison to how much external carers would have to be paid to work the hours you do. I’m twenty-four, and my mum is only just being offered help. I will be writing about carers very soon, so check back if you can.

      You are completely right about what DLA represents to disabled people and their carers, and I wish more people could understand that. Without my mobility component, I could not afford to have an adapted car (though EB is currently preventing me learning to drive it!), and I couldn’t afford cab fares to get to the hospital and occasionally see my friends, as the bus and train are often to hectic for me to cope with. There are so many expenses caused by disabilities, and most people have no idea why. These are all things that I want to bring to the public’s, and the government’s attention.

      If you would ever want to write a guest post here, I would be very grateful.

      All the best to you and your son
      Mel xx

  22. Thank you Vicky A for the reminder that DLA is not just about money, it is also the key that unlocks other important quality of life doors

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