Spartacus Stories

Here is a collection of Stories written by many different disabled people about the impact that DLA has on their lives. It also includes stories of fear about the proposed changes to personal independence payment.

Admin: benefitscroungingscum, Lucia and Lucy
to add your story email us at spartacusstories @ g mail . com (without the spaces) (your posts are there, just being scheduled throughout the day) (can you add how you want your 'name' to appear ta)

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

A Modest Proposal: Walking a mile in disabling shoes #spartacusstories #spartacusreport

The current government are keen to reduce spending on certain allowances

and benefits, the current qualification for which depends upon the

claimant having impairments, disabilities, diseases or conditions of

such seriousness that they are prevented from leading a “normal” life.

They must face considerable challenges in such areas as washing,

dressing, eating, cooking, walking, working or taking part in “everyday

social activities”. If you have a temporary back-ache or a bad

day/week/month at work you would certainly NOT be able to get “free

money” from The State.
If you are unfortunate enough to have a seriously limiting physical and/or

mental condition you are expected to complete a series of extensive,

in-depth forms and provide copious amounts of evidence (from doctors,

specialists, physiotherapists, counsellors, carers and/or those who

provide you with physical assistance) to support your claim. You are

also, in most cases,  required to attend a face-to-face “independent

assessment” with an approved assessor who may or may not have any

understanding of the condition which causes you problems. All these

forms, the evidence you’ve provided, the evidence your own medical

practioners have provided and the assessor’s conclusion then go to a

“Decision Maker” who decides whether or not you fit into their

interpretations of the statutory guidelines. Then you’re told whether or

not you can receive payments, at what level and for how long.
If you are turned down and feel you have a strong enough case (and have

the energy to fight another battle), you can then launch into the

appeals process. Most people win their appeals, if they have

professional representation from, for example, the Citizens’ Advice

So, as I said at the top, this government are taking steps to increase the

qualifying criteria for all benefits in respect of long-term sickness or

disability. They are also planning to abolish some allowances (DLA,

ILF) and replace them them with one named (Personal Independence

Payments) and (perhaps) one as yet un-named allowance. I honestly don’t

think that the majority of MPs are anywhere near qualified to tinker

around with these things, so I’ve got a suggestion to make.
For the next year every MP, Minister and Government Advisor should be

fitted with equipment which mimics the effects of a disabling condition.
One day in the next couple of weeks they should all turn up at Westminster

to be issued with their disability at random. The equipment exists. I’ve

seen it used in programmes on television and in films. Splints which

restrict movement in particular limbs to mimic the effect of physical

impairments. Special glasses to replicate various sight impairments.

Ear-plugs or intentionally-badly-adjusted hearing aids for hearing

impairments. Thick gloves would cover loss of sensation or dexterity.

All sorts of clever tricks! Electric shock generators set to random to

give a hint of how some conditions plague suffers with pain. I don’t

think that there’s anything which would safely replicate the “like a

cold ice-pick” or “like a red-hot knitting needle” or “a burning,

tearing sensation” that some musculo-skeletal or nerve-pressure

conditions treat us to. We could just use ice-picks and knitting

needles... perhaps better not! And I’m not sure how you’d replicate

amnesia or lack of reasoning capability. (
Pick your own joke here ;-))
The rules of the “game” would also include: no simply paying someone out of

your generous public salary and expenses or your private wealth to

carry things, cook for you, dress you, help you move around, drive,

read, write or any other “normal everyday activity”. They only get to

keep a free travel-pass if they qualify for a Local Authority one

already for reasons of age or existing disability. And
no cheating!
If they feel their “disability” limits their mobility so much that they

need a wheelchair, white-stick, walking aid, special software etc., they

should check the criteria for getting a Local Health Authority issue

one or aids or adaptions courtesy of the Local Authority. Then, if they

find they wouldn’t qualify or would have to wait too long for the

assessment, buy (or hire) a suitable equipment out of their salary which

could then be returned, sold or donated at the end of their

When it all gets a bit too much for them they can ask for exemption, for

which they qualify by: filling in the application forms for ESA, DLA,

Access to Work and also being checking to see whether their “disability”

would qualify them for any support according to the rules of their

local authority. They would be given the forms to fill in there and

then. A random small proportion of them would be given a copy of one of

the free guides published by CAB, DIAL or other relevent advice

organisation but

the detailed guides that HMSO publish. They are excused from attempting

to claim Independent Living Fund support because that’s been closed to

new claimants since June this year.
The decisions to grant or deny their claims should be made by DWP staff in training or competency testing. I’m sure they do

competency testing... don’t they? If I could make our elected

representatives carry out this experiment while living entirely on

randomly assigned wage levels (including minimum wage or Jobseekers

Allowance) in ratios proportionate to the sources of income of the

general public then I would but that would be
really wandering into a dream world!
I wonder how they’d feel about abolishing benefits and allowances or

restricting their availability once they had some experience of

attempting to walk a mile in disabling shoes?

Originally posted here 

 Originally posted as part of the One Month Before Heartbreak Campaign Jan, 2011

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