Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Cupboard is Bare....? (Welfare Reform)

I wanted to bring your attention to a post recently made by Matthew on his blog, Indigo Jo Blogs, regarding the reforms to Disability Living Allowance which are about to be pushed through by the government. His feelings on the subject very much mirror my own.

The government state that there is 'no alternative' to making cuts to DLA ... yet when you look below the surface of their proposed reform, the problems are immediately evident - both (more obviously) to the quality of life for people affected by this reform, and (less obviously) for the future financial security of the country. Cutting benefits for disabled and chronically sick people will inevitably cause costs elsewhere to shoot up, potentially costing the country more than the cuts will 'save'. This is ignoring the fact that the disability benefits are the least affected by fraud, (According to the DWP's own statistics, only 0.5% of DLA claims are in fact fraudulent!!!!) and therefore are the least needing of reform in the first place!!!

Matthew says it all so much better than me in my current massively fogged state, so I'd refer you to his post ... excerpt below.

Excerpt from The Mail, Gerada, & The Alternative to DLA

My main reason for writing this, though, is to explain why disability benefits are not something we can just do away with by saying “the cupboard is bare” or “we can’t afford it” ... next time you hear a Tory (or Lib Dem) politician tell you “there is no alternative”, remember that there in fact is — wholesale re-institutionalisation. Only, the buildings have been either demolished or sold off, and building new ones will cost an awful lot of money. Caring for people with disabilities or the chronically ill in nursing homes or long-stay hospitals costs more than supporting them to live at home, and is less satisfactory for them as it imposes an institutional lifestyle, even if it does not lead to outright abuse (which it sometimes does). There is, in fact, no way to reduce the disability budget without imposing a lot of extra bureaucracy, a huge institutional care burden, or a lot of suffering (and manifestations such as public beggary) which would prove politically intolerable.

You may also want to follow the #SpartacusReport hashtag feed on Twitter, regarding the report just released by a group of disabled people, based on freedom of information requests, showing that the governments claims that the disabled community was supportive of their welfare reforms, was actually a misrepresentation of the truth. You can read an easy read copy of the Spartacus Report, officially known as the Responsible Reform Report: here.

I'm so thankful to, and proud of, the people who produced this report, and who have done such an amazing job of getting it into the public eye! Two of the main helpers have actually been hospitalised by the effort this has cost them, and several are now extremely ill. It was a marathon and amazing effort by a group of very sick and disabled people, who are amazing activists for our cause!!! I've embedded a video below, posted on Diary of a Benefit Scrounger, asking for our support in keeping the Spartacus report in the public eye, because so many of the team who put this report together have become too ill to continue working on it at this time.

Today I heard that the Lords voted, yesterday, to overturn the one-year time limit to contributory Employment and Support Allowance proposed by the government - this is a major victory for all disabled people in the UK!! Please check out today's post on Diary of a Benefit Scrounger for the latest updates to the Spartacus Report Cause, and info on what you can do to help. :)

Susannah's Signature
I'd love to hear your reply and I know it'll be valued by other readers too! I always try to respond, please just be aware that it can take me some time to find the energy to do so as I've been particularly ill recently and struggling to get online. Thanks for reading! :)


Sunday, 1 January 2012

An Old Year Gone, a New Year Begun!


I just wanted to take a brief moment to send some new year thoughts the way of you all, my readers & friends.

This has been a difficult and challenging year for me in so many ways, to say the least, but there has been an astonishing saving grace - my blossoming friendships with all of you!! I couldn't begin to know just how hard this year would've been had the ME & chronic illness community not opened it's arms, welcomed me in, and supported me through each of the many, many bumps in the road. (not to mention allowing me the privilege of doing the same for many of you!!) I honestly feel that all I've learned in the last 15yrs, of living from day to day, relying always on hope to strengthen me, might have fallen away if I hadn't had this grounding, and rooting, in our community.

I feel like I've found a new family, & it was the perfect timing, the perfect solution. It's been a long time since I felt so understood and accepted ... and whilst it's kind of a sad sign of our time, that so few of us find that support in our homes, families, work and social groups, I think it's incredible and rather wondrous that people in so much need themselves regularly take the time to encourage, support and love others in need!!!

If there's one resolution most of us probably need to make this year, it's to see the good, the selflessness, the strength and the courage in ourselves and be proud of it! We may be sick & disabled, we may lead very limited lives, society as a whole may think we have little to offer - but darn it, they're wrong!!!! We have so much to give. We are of priceless value, each of us completely and totally unique! So take a moment to look in the mirror, and see the real you - not the you society chooses to see - and be proud of, and yes, even love yourself!!!

"Be Yourself. Everyone Else is Taken!"
~ Oscar Wilde ~

Love who you are! Image copyrighted to Anahata Katkin - click here to view her site!

Susannah's Signature
I'd love to hear your reply and I know it'll be valued by other readers too! I always try to respond, please just be aware that it can take me some time to find the energy to do so as I've been particularly ill recently and struggling to get online. Thanks for reading! :)