I know pretty much everyone who didn’t vote torie last Thursday, feels the same. I waited with baited breath to see where the axe would fall first, and felt sick to my stomach when the DWP access to work scheme was thrown into the coliseum on day one, to be ripped apart in front of a jeering crowd.
Most people haven’t a clue what it is, so unless effected, most likely turned the page looking for the next big Katie Hopkins outburst. In brief, it enables people with disabilities including but not restricted to, blindness, deafness and mobility problems, to be in work. It helps fund equipment and support that enable all those otherwise ‘lazy bastard benefit scroungers’ to do normal jobs. I myself benefitted greatly in my final working year at the university. I got a few more months out of my funny body, and was able to continue financially supporting my family independently.
A job is a recognised occupation, it gives us an identity, a sense of belonging, structure, social contact and money. The idea of ‘occupation’ being something other than your job, is a rant for another day, but know this, the loss of your independent identity as a disabled adult is catastrophic. It’s isolating, and suddenly becoming dependent on the outcome of other people’s ideas and decisions, having been previously self sufficient…. Well I can’t put it into words.
Suddenly you find yourself at the mercy of pen pushers, and an under qualified, unknown to you ATOS healthcare worker, assessing just how disabled you are in under an hour. They take information from your personal healthcare team, but don’t have access to it on the day, or use it in their assessment of your needs. A bored, faceless person sits in front of a computer screen checking boxes, barely looking at you, and with minimal communication. It’s by far the most humiliating experience I have had in my life. And that’s including when my peers locked me in the toilet for the whole of school playtime, with the boy I seriously fancied at age eight and three quarters.
I wouldn’t wish this process upon my worst enemy. You are already vulnerable, stressed, scared, sick, lonely, and grieving for the person you once were. If you are lucky, you have support around you in family and friends, but many sadly don’t.
I was lucky, I was awarded the very prestigious title of ‘lifetime award’ and we sighed in relief that I had one less battle to fight.
Then a year ago, I get a letter informing me all lifetime awards are revoked, here is a form that will take you a week to fill in, and cost the taxpayer hundreds of pounds to process, with exactly the same information on it as last time. Oh, and we will get back to you when appointments become available to be assessed (shudder), as there is a huge backlog of cases…. And yet all the disability forums are filled with the same story, so who is in all these appointments?
Two weeks ago, myself along with several other people I know off, all get their appointment letters through. They all contain appointment dates from today, 11th May 2015 onwards.
That’s four days after the election.
Do you see where I’m going with this…..
My fate will be decided this Wednesday.