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Friday, October 22, 2004

Disability, Democrats, Dosh, Devastation and Daftness.

Gosh it's been a week since I updated. Sorry.

So, according to the Disability Discrimination Act, employers are obliged to make reasonable adjustments to enable disabled people to work. The things that often spring to mind are ramps and hand rails, hearing aid loop systems and such. But what would a reasonable adjustment for a fairly mad person be?

Pyjama Girl discusses this here on BBC Ouch, and I have often wondered myself what adjustments I might need, to be able to work. This has been more preoccupying than usual lately, what with the terrifying disability benefit cuts which have been speculated about lately. All I can conclude is that the adjustments I would certainly need to even contemplate work at the moment would never, ever, ever be ccnsidered reasonable by an employer.

The stuff about cutting incapacity benefits is frightening a lot of people. Some disability benefit claimants are unable to work because they are blocked at every stage by prejudiced and discriminatory employers. This group of people absolutely deserves help and support to find and maintain work. Other claimants are unable to work because they are chronically ill, in pain, and so on, and pressurising these people to work, threatening benefit cuts, will only succeed in making people more distressed and ill.

A TUC report has been released which counters some of the myths and misconceptions which have been flying around lately.
The benefit has fallen in value to less than a fifth of average earnings, the numbers of claimants has been falling consistently for the past decade and it is estimated that less than one in a hundred claims are fraudulent.

Apparently, a single person on incapacity benefit receives 15.2% of the national average wage. Are they really going to cut it further?

A separate report announced that Disabled people on benefits are £800 a month short of an acceptable quality of life. The report's author concluded that,
Even maximum benefit levels fall well short of meeting the true costs of disability; and it is equally clear that many disabled people in paid work cannot achieve the income required to meet their needs either
An action plan, on getting sick and disabled people back to work, contains some intimidating and unmanagable prospects which I know during several periods of time in the last few years I would have been incapable of.
Failure to agree an action plan and discuss necessary alterations to it at subsequent interviews leads to repeated reductions in benefits until the claimant is left with just 10p a week to live on.

As for those who have been part of trying out the New Deal for Disabled People,
For the majority, it seems, a period of insecure, low wage work and then back to benefits was as close as they got to the prime minister's courageous new world of social mobility.

Do I even need to go on to talk about the social model of health? About how poverty causes and worsens diseases and disabilities? How many people I have seen relapse after someone somewhere decides they're capable of work and their money and support stops?

There is an allegation that Democrats in Tennessee have printed a poster with the text, “Voting for Bush Is Like Running In The Special Olympics: Even If You Win, You’re Still Retarded.” The Democrats say it is a Republican dirty trick. Whichever, if either, of those it is, it's horrible. Stop it.

This made me laugh.

This made me cry.

I leave you with George, God here.


birdychirp said...

The benefit levels are atrocious - you're so right. This governments funding priorities are all wrong.

One day the working week will change to accommodate the rest of us - and I can't wait.