Monday, 19 December 2011

It could happen to you!

I have to ask myself why no one seems to give a crap about the Welfare Reform Bill when it so could easily affect anyone at any point in the future.  If you get ill in any shape or form you will have your sick benefit limited to 12 months, that is of course if you are actually classified as sick enough to get it.  At the end of that 12 months you will be entitled to means tested benefits.  Now this sounds very reasonable until you discover that if your partner or parents, whoever is looking after you, earn more that £7,500 you won't get benefits. 

£7,500 pa coming into your household and you will not get benefits to help support you when you are sick, after the first 12 months.

What bit of this information doesn't anger you?  You pay National Insurance for this and you only get 12 months of ESA before being left to fend for yourself.  Now before you say that "both me or my partner earn enough to support our family after 12 months" I want you to think about some of these costs that arise when you are sick.
  • Additional heating costs because you are at home all day and unable to move around very much and your circulation suffers.  You really feel the cold so not only is the heat on all day, it is at a higher level than it is now.
  • Trips to see specialists in another part of the country costing £100s a year either in petrol, train or hotel costs.  You often have to stay in a hotel before or after the appointment because you can't manage the journey both way in one day.
  • A step to get into the bath, a seat for the bath, a handle to help you get in and out of the bath.  A perching stool to help you if you are able to manage cooking.
  • If you can't manage cooking, your food bill will go through the roof because your partner will be doing a full day at work then will come home and have to help you, and do all the household chores before thinking about cooking.  Believe me, your need for easy ready meals will increase significantly.  (Some people have to buy special food because of their conditions, or they will die.)
These are just some of the more obvious things that nearly all sick people will need to consider.

You think it won't happen to you.  I certainly didn't.  One day I was fit and healthy and the next I was in hospital having surgery.  I thought I would be back at work within a few months - 10 years later I'm still sick and NOT getting any better.


There are so many illnesses that you have never heard of that you could get.  There are many ways to injure yourself when you are otherwise healthy that can have a impact on you for the rest of your life.

You may not care what happens to people who are sick or disabled now, but maybe in 3 years time you will be sick or disabled, or someone you love will be.  Think about how you would cope if that happened and then think about the Welfare Reforms that will leave you high and dry.

Please sign this petition and then tell everyone you know to do the same.  This is going to happen in a couple of weeks time unless we can stop it. 

Please, Please, Please think about what WILL happen if you or a loved one got sick and then help us to get the word out NOW before it's too late.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Response to 38Degrees Email

This is a copy of the email I just sent to David Babbs, the Chief Executive of 38Degrees, a campaigning organisation.  They asked me to donate to them on a regular basis.  I won't be doing so.

Dear David

I'm afraid I won't be able to contribute to your campaign because I, and hundreds of thousands of people like me, are going to be plunged further into poverty because of the Welfare Reform Bill.  On top of the Welfare Reforms, agonising cuts have been made to social care and the Local Council level.  People like me are being left to lay in their own filth overnight in order to save a few pounds.  People like me are choosing to kill themselves rather than continue to struggle in a world that doesn't care enough to see they get enough food and heat to live.  People like me are facing the truth that they will be unable to cope physically and financially when the DLA changes to PIP are made, and acknowledging they will probably be forced to take their own lives rather than live in isolation and fear.

Essentially, David, people like me, people who are sick and disabled, will be ignored and forced to live in poverty and fear, because organisations like yours CHOOSES not to fight on our behalf.  You say that you fight on the behalf of the public, then I ask, why are you ignoring us?  I applaud your sharing of David Gillion's post on your blog, but for an organisation that is very keen on emailing it's members to ask for money, why didn't you share this post via email.  Our message is one that needs to be heard by as many people as possible.  At the moment, disabled campaigners feel very alone, without public support and even if you don't chose to campaign on our behalf, couldn't you at least tell as many people as possible that we exist and we are dying.  As a sick and disabled person I belong to the only minority group that ANYONE can become a member of ANY TIME.  No one expects to get ill, and would you want your loved ones to be hounded in the street?

So David, until I know that I won't have my benefits taken away from me at a moments notice, I will not be signing up to financially support your organisation.

Yours sincerely


Sunday, 4 December 2011

Suicide in the Disabled

Whenever I see news articles about court battles to allow the sick and disabled to have the right to terminate their own lives, with help from their loved ones, when they feel they can survive no more, I have mixed feelings.  On one hand, as someone who lives with daily pain I can understand when you are in constant pain, can't think because of the drugs you take, or communicate properly, when you are just a bundle of shrieking nerves trapped within your own body, I think everyone should have the right to decide if they can take no more.  On the other hand I get dreadfully worried, because once it becomes acceptable for the sick or disabled to terminate their lives it sets a terrible precedent. 

If it becomes acceptable for sick and disabled people to take their own lives because they can't suffer any longer, then is it acceptable to commit suicide because they are trapped in their own homes with no dignity, no heat and no food.  If there is no aspect of their lives that has worth and happiness because they are no longer getting the support they have been promised by the State and are having to lay in their own filth over-night because the local Council has decreed that it is not cost effective to have a care worker to assist them to the toilet, then do they become acceptable reasons for sick and disabled people to take their own lives?

Without the funds to pay for carers to help the sick and disabled to get out of bed in the morning, without the funds to pay for food and heat, without the funds to pay for mobility scooters, electric wheelchairs or taxis, what quality of life will be there?  I worry so much when I read blog posts like this one.  Where a disabled person bluntly and articulately states that when their DLA payments stop - because under PIP she won't be eligible, she will have so little quality of life she doesn't think she will be able to continue fighting through each day.

All over the internet are stories like Lisa's, blog posts and comments on campaigning websites about how, with the Welfare Reform Bill going through, they are scared that they will either die slowly, through lack of care, food and heat, or they can choose to end the suffering quickly, through suicide.  It is so wrong that these heartbreaking stories are flooding the internet and they don't seem to be heard.  Why does nobody care?  Being sick or disabled is something that can happen to ANYONE at ANY TIME.  Nobody knows when they, or a loved one, will become ill, or be in an accident.  I just can't comprehend why the public are being so short sighted, do they believe that if they had an incurable wasting disease they would be able to soldier on and perform a full week's work, every week, month after month?  No one knows how illness or disability will affect them.  Every illness and disability is different in the ways in which they affect the body, no one can predict how they will cope, until they suffer an awful tragedy, and that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.

I can't understand why this petition to ask the Government to stop and review the Welfare Reform Bill before the affects harm sick and disabled people, and their families, more than they have done already, has not had more signatures.  Do the public genuinely not care how the vulnerable in society are treated so long as they get cheaper petrol?

If you do care, please sign the petition and get your friends and families to sign it too.  Please forward Lisa's post to explain how the sick and disabled community are feeling, and ask how they would feel if it were their best friend, sister or mother who was writing it.  It could be any one of us writing that post, because it could be any one of us who got sick.