This blog post is here to collect some of the comments that I have left on other sites recently. Mostly for my own record in case I want to re-use any of them, but feel free to read them anyway.
I was interviewed about protesting against the Welfare Reform Bill for this article in the Worcester News and Evesham Journal. Worcester News: Benefit changes will hit disabled
4:17pm Thu 2 Feb 12
4:19pm Thu 2 Feb 12
4:43pm Thu 2 Feb 12
9:45pm Thu 2 Feb 12
10:10am Fri 3 Feb 12
11:49pm Sat 4 Feb 12
Latentexistence5 February 2012 6:57PM
It is hardly surprising that abuse of disabled people has risen. Government ministers and their advisers and the DWP have been constantly feeding incomplete and twisted lines to the press. The chair of the work and pensions select committee, Dame Anne Begg, told Chris Grayling and the DWP to “take more care” with their press releases since they were misleading and allowed the tabloids to print stupid headlines. All that happened is that the DWP now publishes the more misleading items as research instead of press releases, and the tabloids use that instead.
6 February 2012 1:47AMResponse to leftynemesis, 5 February 2012 11:13PM
I have said repeatedly on other threads that I would double the pay of nurses and double the benefits of the genuinely disabled but it goes ignored and all Guardianistas do is focus and riotously object to my caveat which is “paid for by clamping down on cheats”.
I’m disabled. I get ESA, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and DLA. I don’t wantdouble the benefits, even though that has to support my wife as well since she stopped work to care for me. (Incidently, saving thousands in care charges.) What I really want is for access to those benefits to be available to all the people that need it. I have so many friends who haven’t got the benefits that they so desperately need. Friends who can’t walk, or can’t get out of bed, or can’t cook for themselves. Friends who have been through the assessments by Atos and refused on absurd grounds. Friends who are in hospital near death and don’t get benefits. I was really terrified that I wasn’t going to get my ESA, and the assessment process itself made me more sick.
So your offer of doubling benefits is all very nice, but what we really need is for the government to stop stirring everyone up about “clamping down on cheats” because as EVERYONE keeps saying, the government themselves say that fraud for DLA is 0.5%. ZERO point five. Half a percent. Not much, in other words. But for fear that one of those people might get benefits, hundreds of thousands of desperately sick people go through hell and get refused, and live in poverty and fear as a result.
That’s why I object to your “clamping down on cheats.” Because it’s absolute rubbish.
6 February 2012 9:59AMResponse to spelchek, 6 February 2012 12:32AM
Let me get this straight, you think that if someone is disabled but has the money to buy a more expensive car, they shouldn’t? It’s possible to be a millionaire but still need to park in a disabled bay!
I just sometimes wonder at the idea that, say, a third of disabled people can afford fuck-off cars.
Motability cars are leased. Disabled people don’t own them, but they do have to hand over all of their mobility allowance out of their DLA every week for the three years of the lease. That is £51.40 per week, or £8,018.40 in total.
Motability buy the car, lease it to the customer, then sell the car. The customer has to pay any difference between the purchase price and the sale price that isn’t covered by the eight thousand pounds that they already hand over. Many expensive cars have a high resale price, so even though they cost more than the average car, they also sell for more and don’t require an extra fee for the customer.
I’ve just ordered my first car on Motability. It will change my life. I expect to go from housebound to actually able to go shopping, visit family and maybe look at going back to work or volunteering a little bit. The car I have ordered isn’t the cheapest, it’s a Vauxhall Meriva worth about £20k, but because it has a high resale value I only have to pay £200 extra to get it. I’ve chosen it for good reasons. It has room for my wheelchair. It has a seat that doesn’t hurt me. It has cruise control, which far from being a luxury extra, might be the only way that I can handle a long journey without screaming in pain. But guess what – it doesn’t cost “the taxpayer” any more than if I had chosen a £7k Kia which would be next to useless for me.
“As many as eight out of ten have been judged capable of working, either immediately or in the forseeable future, given the right level of support.”
This is incredibly misleading. People placed in the Work Related Activity Group are not fit for work, as the DWP recently clarified. “In the forseeable future” is also misleading. People placed in the WRAG are expected to return to work within TWO TO FIVE YEARS, and ONLY with the right support. That isn’t fit for work.
38% of the total don’t complete the assessment. That ISN’T the same as found fit for work. Many of the drop out for various reasons, not least because by the time they are assessed they might have been sick (and correctly claiming) for nine months already. Quite a lot drop out because they cannot manage the ESA50 form.
A substantial number of the rest overturn the decision on appeal.
“Opponents of reform are now resorting to cynical emotional blackmail.”
If I exercise my vital democratic right to protest, is that emotional blackmail because I use a wheelchair?
We’ve already had wheelchair protesters chaining themselves together in London’s Oxford Circus — even though there are no plans whatsoever to target the genuinely disabled.”
Wrong, wrong wrong. The Independent Living Fund pays for the most severely disabled people to live in their own home instead of an institution. It’s gone. Have you read the draft rules for Personal Independence Payments? I have. PIP is going to exclude thousands of disabled people from the support that they need.
“Now it is claimed — in The Guardian, naturally — that ‘two-thirds’ of disabled people have been subjected to abuse and threats of violence because of the Government’s plans. Do you believe that? No, me neither.”
You don’t have any evidence, you just don’t want to believe that your rhetoric is responsible for that.