Following on from a conversation I had with a friend just the other day I thought I would speak out for civil liberties.
I have only recently been classed as disabled and amongst other things I suffer from pain, hyperalgesia, CPS, depression, anxiety and loss of sensation in my limbs. I sometimes think that if I didn’t walk with a crutch (or 2), that nobody would notice. I am so grateful for all the help I get from close family, but sometimes it isn’t enough.
The problems I have, pain included, are magnified by stress and the same can be said of many people who have similar conditions. Just because, with painkillers and sticks, you can walk to a car and then stop outside a shop doesn’t mean you can walk around inside it. However, sometimes you have no choice. Sometimes you need to eat and the only solution is to get out and get food or clothes or even medication. Not every chemist delivers. Not everyone has the same sort of support that I have. Not everyone has the means or the wherewithal to order online – and why should they be forced to?
Sometimes you cannot do those things you want to do. Sometimes the pain is so bad that you just want to lie in bed all day – so you do. Sometimes, like with me, the everyday problems we deal with are too much and the stress levels get high enough to amplify the pain. And so more stress is created and it becomes a horrible circle.
PIP has been in the news lately, as it replaced Disability Living Allowance, which I agree has been abused by a minority in the past. This was unnecessary because more stringent checks and regular contact with those on the benefit would have solved most of the issues, but the government felt the need to take things further. In the process they made things far more difficult than they needed to be and almost impossible for some people.
The forms: they are overly complicated and do not ask the right questions. Recently updated, but still can confuse and need to be made simpler.
Doctors diagnosis: often ignored by unqualified individuals that are unable to fully comprehend what they are reading. Instead, cases are referred to a specialist who is supposed to be qualified to investigate further. Truthfully, I have talked to these specialists and they have no idea what they are dealing with.
Unsympathetic interviewers: often emotionless and brisk with only one aim – to get you out the door and get the next person in. They approach the situation assuming the worst of people and make notes that they are reluctant to share with you.
Excessive wait for tribunal interviews: individuals often lose their benefit before they have a chance to attend a tribunal. This results in unnecessary stress and suffering to some individuals.
Its 6:35am, I have not slept due to excessive pain – but I have not finished yet.
The Human Rights Act came into effect in the UK in October 2000. It has had a lot of bad press because it has been used to protect those who would abuse it. However, it should protect the basic rights of all individuals. So how can the UK’s government ignore it when dealing with claimants for Personal Independence Payments?
By forcing individuals with previously proven long term illnesses to attend interviews and be reassessed the government is being cruel and degrading. Freedom from degradation is one of our inherent human rights.
By taking away mobility from those who truly need it, the government is removing the right to liberty and free assembly. You can’t have either if you are stuck in a house and unable to make it to a bus stop or afford a taxi.
These are just two examples. I am not saying they apply to all cases, but there are many who suffer in this way because of what the government has done. How many more rights will we lose because we are classed as being disabled? We already feel like second class citizens and are often looked upon as spongers and I have even heard the word scum. I hate both those labels.
To be judged on how you are perceived in a few moments in time is intolerable – yet the government is doing that at the moment. If you or someone you know has been affected by these changes, please let me know. I have no illusions about what will be done to remedy them, but I hope that if enough people shout loud enough and for long enough then changes can be made.
We as a nation proved we had a voice, when we voted in the recent referendum. Whether you see it as good or bad, we are now on a path to leave Europe. I feel that if we don’t do something soon, more people with disabilities will lose those few rights they currently cling onto and become prisoners of their own homes. I am not stating this on my behalf, but on the behalf of those disabled individuals that have suffered and continue to suffer because of the thoughtless and laughable changes those governments around the world make on a regular basis.
I bet that everyone tuned out at the first paragraph didn’t they?