Disability is not a choice

Disability is not a choice; our government seems to think otherwise as if we didn’t just come through a deathly worldwide virus! Grab your tea let’s unpack this!

Disability is not a choice
Photo by Marcin Nowak on Unsplash Image description: a picture of the parliament building

Rishi Sunak, a multi-millionaire, stood at a podium and declared an end to sicknote culture, he talked about an increase in people needing time off work or claiming benefits. He seems to have forgotten the fact that Covid is still happening, or that it happened at all.

The government also seems to have blotted out the fact that for decades now the NHS has been starved of money and we have been losing staff because of how badly they are paid. It is getting almost impossible to see a GP, and mental health services are so hard to see in person that people are desperate.

On top of these things, we also have the cost-of-living crisis, an energy crisis, and people having to choose between heating their homes or eating. All of the choices made by the government have strangely led to more people struggling with their mental and physical health!

However, for some reason, the multi-millionaire PM, thinks that suddenly more people are just becoming lazy and deciding to claim benefits to hold back the country…

Instead of working on putting more money into the NHS so we can keep people healthier and working on improving wages and the cost of living to help people’s mental health. The multi-millionaire PM has decided to change how people get a sick note.

This is for short-term sickness usually and is given by your GP who assesses a person’s eligibility for having it using their medical knowledge. This will now be done by an assessor who has no medical knowledge or training, and I am sure will be hard to get an appointment with in time, but that is speculation.

At the same time, he spoke about wanting people who work part-time or less to get full-time jobs to ‘help the economy’. So, disabled people who want to work but are only able to get part-time jobs due to their health is not good enough either? What about parents working part-time around childcare?

This speech made no logical sense, he bounced around from blaming people who are on short-term sick leave, and long-term disabled people who in his words are milking the benefits system!

But if we are the problem, why not do something about the state of the NHS, like raising the pay for nurses and doctors? They claim to not have the money for that, but politicians have just been awarded a 5.5% pay rise to now receive £91,346!

I have been claiming benefits since I was in my twenties; I became sick after 2years of qualifying as a nurse. I tried working in shops, offices and even as a dental nurse and lost all of them when it became clear that I couldn’t easily learn new skills, remember things I needed to, and needed so much time off.

I hate the benefits system; disability is not a choice anyone who knew the system would make. It is so stressful and hard to navigate, we use a local charity to help us with filling in forms, but we still had to take them to court to keep them!

In all honesty, I think all of us would agree the benefits system needs an overhaul, but this just isn’t it! The benefits system would be much better if disability charities were involved and disabled people were bought in to speak about their experiences.

I could give a million ideas myself, I see how harsh the assessors are, when I went to one assessment someone had just had a seizure. An ambulance had been called and I could hear the assessor saying if you go to hospital, I will mark you as having not shown up for your appointment.

My best friend’s sister had to go to court to get her benefits while sick with cancer, she was in so much pain she was sick and fainted… Ask anyone in the system and they will have similar anecdotes!

Disability is not a choice; nobody wants to be on benefits unable to afford luxuries, struggling to afford the things they need. I have not been on holiday since I got married in 2010, I would love to be able to work full time from home and be supported in being able to if my body were well enough and the world accessible.

Unfortunately, even if I were physically able to work full-time, however the scheme to help disabled people return to work has also been scrapped. Yeah, they want us back to work, but don’t want to actually help us to do so… make it make sense please?

I just wish there was more compassion, but the Conservatives have often spoken about the working class being lazy. It is not true, so many people have more than one job, or are trying to start their own business while working full-time.

Yes, the benefits system needs an overhaul to make it less stressful and work better, but it should be done with disabled people, not against them. Disability is not a choice, it’s been hard to be disabled following that speech, I know the multi-millionaire PM doesn’t care, but I hope you will.

Thank you xx

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  • Kaz

    I care. The treatment of sick/disabled people by so called assessors is both shocking and appalling! Now in the latest attack by the multi-millionaire PM, people’s mental health will be worse. The stress of an “assessor” deciding if you can be signed off work due to ill health, without any medical training like a GP, is cruel, unnecessary and could lead to people having no choice but to quit their job due to ill health. And then try to claim benefits by yet another “assessor”. As for saying part time workers should work full time instead, well I cannot say here what I think about that. Let’s just say I very strongly do not agree. Disability is not a choice. Having chronic pain and fatigue is not a choice. Being so ill you cannot get out of bed is not a choice. But giving those in government a 5.5% pay rise is a choice. Being heartless and cruel is a choice. To say I am disgusted is an understatement.

    • admin

      Isn’t it infuriating? Look how many scams the conservatives have been shown to be doing just since the pandemic and yet they make us out to be scroungers?? People are more bothered about us than them which blows my mind!

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