It is time that the government’s attacks on people with disabilities are brought to an end. People with disabilities are easy targets. Many of them are too tired to fight, too poor to travel, too sick to stand up for themselves. The government attacks rely on what are known as “invisible disabilities”. Those that the neighbours won’t necessarily realise you have. This can be mental health difficulties, illnesses such as cystic fibrosis, or M.E. These disabilities are manna from heaven for politicians seeking to make ideologically inspired attacks on the most vulnerable. The government likes to peddle out the line that people have been parked on benefits and never reassessed and therefore there must be thousands of them out there who are claiming benefits illegally, immorally and therefore “stealing” your taxes. Neighbours are happy to suspiciously eye the chap over the road getting into his car with a blue badge stuck up front, yet there’s” nothing wrong with him”. They know this simply because they can’t see anything wrong with him. This is further fuelled by the right wing media jumping on every story they can find that supports their belief that disability doesn’t really exist and is in actuality a ruse so that the “feckless” can gainfully enjoy their Jeremy Kyle habit.
By the government’s own admission the fraud rate for those claiming disability benefits is 0.5%. However, Iain Duncan Smith wants to reduce the bill by 30%. Yet, they seem to be trying to exceed their own unfair standards, finding over half of new claimants fit for work. Suspiciously however, 40 per cent of those who appealed WCA decisions were successful and for those who sought legal representation this rose to as much as 70 per cent. None of these figures collate. Clearly the test is not fit for purpose, but this is not stopping the government from pushing on with these tests. Even the startling figure, as revealed on Panorama, that 32 people who have been found fit for work have died shortly after, has not prevented the government from continuing with these tests. One of the tests of the WCA is to see if you can push a button. If you can do that theoretically you can work. When my 84 year old grandmother died of bowel cancer I’m pretty sure she could have pushed a button right up to the end. So much so that when my grandfather asked her in her dying moments how she felt, her reply was “With my hands you old fool, how do you think I feel?” Yep, Gran could’ve pushed a button, or possibly even my granddad off a cliff, weather permitting, but I highly doubt she could’ve worked.
People who are genuinely unwell, too unwell, are being found fit work with alarming regularity. The stress of the WCA and subsequent refusal is pushing some towards suicide. Forcing a person who is too sick to work is going to make them sicker. Forcing a person whose life hangs in the balance is pushing them closer towards death. Just as worrying are those who suffer from severe mental illness. Many of them are unable to fill in a form or attend medicals. Some do not have the insight to even understand they are sick. I have known many people with schizophrenia who are quite convinced there is nothing wrong with them, yet at the same time are also concerned that people are recording them with their mobile phones and worrying themselves sick about who is trying to hurt them. How will they be treated when they attend an assessment centre and tell the ATOS employee that they are perfectly well?
If this government genuinely wanted to help disabled people back into work then Remploy factories would not be undergoing closures. They wouldn’t be cutting direct payments. They would sufficiently alter employment laws. They would be investing in working employment schemes. They do not want to get disabled people into work, they want to stop having to pay for them. That is the crux of this situation.
If you haven’t been personally effected by illness or disability, then that’s wonderful. Be thankful for it. But be aware of what may happen to you in your future, and what is happening to thousands of disabled people right now. Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessaryfor the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”. Please don’t allow this to happen to our country’s most vulnerable please, don’t “do nothing”. Please visit this petition and sign http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/20968 Then please visit here http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/35092 and sign again. Lastly please visit my friend Jules Clarke’s blog http://virtualgherkin.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/urgent-wake-your-mp-up-with-this.html Send the link of this article http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/news/norwich_man_killed_himself_over_back_to_work_fears_1_1358116 to your MP, adding your own comment to the email, asking for the cessation of WCA, and the immediate suspension of ATOS. It will take you approximately ten minutes to do all three of these things, a couple of minutes to do any one. Please, if you do one thing today, do this.