I am 67 years of age and I am disabled. I wasn’t always this way, I worked from age 15 till I was 58, then ill health changed my life forever.
I suffer with Multiple Sclerosis, severe emphysema, osteoarthritis, chronic kidney disease, pre-diabetic, HHT (hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia), borderline personality disorder, vitamin B12 deficient, anaemic, peptic ulcers, bipolar and and maybe a few more I have forgotten about.
Like most disabled people, I would love to have a job, an active life, social and other, but I can’t, as I now have to rely upon others to help me with the most basic things in life.
Anyone can become disabled at any point in their life, just think on that please; an accident at work, a car crash or contracting a disabling illness.
I used to receive care funding from the Independent Living Fund, which supported about 19,000 of the most severely disabled people in the UK – the Conservatives closed it.
Since 2010, the Conservative/coalition Government have cut benefits for the disabled again and again and again.
Disabled people have faced cuts to their care and social benefits nine times more than any other group in the UK. Together with this, they have portrayed us as scroungers, a drain on society, which led to hate crime growing massively, it’s no longer safe to be out in society trying to live our lives as best as we can.
Thousands of disabled people have died over the last seven years because of the cuts imposed upon us. Were this happening in any other country, we would have sent in troops and bombed the administration, but I suppose the disabled don’t have any oil to seize or want to buy any weapons.
Whilst the disabled have borne the brunt of the austerity cuts, the friends of the Conservatives have done very well with tax cuts and bankers, who caused the financial crash, get richer every day.
It’s not only cuts to our ever-decreasing benefits we have to endure, we now have cuts to disability living allowance. This has resulted in an estimated 600,000 disabled people losing their mobility scooters, denying them any chance of getting out of their homes, or to work.
That’s if they are lucky enough to have a job to go to, most assessments are flawed and then are overturned at tribunal, with the Government spending many millions of pounds to deny disabled people their legal right to support.
Many benefits are passports to other benefits, yet it seems if you are able to press a button, then you are now considered fit to work, even if you are confined to bed 24/7.
People with terminal illnesses are being forced to sign on for work, and forced to apply for jobs they have no hope of ever being able to do. They risk being sanctioned and denied any form of support if they fail to do so, even making a tiny error is enough to make sanctions kick in.
Social care today is a joke and the immigration status of many who filled this role could make it even harder in the future. Many disabled people now face little more than 15 minute visits a day, left helpless for the rest of the day and night. What sort of country do we live in to let this continue?
Karen Passmore is a disability officer for the Bristol North West Labour party group and founder of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) Bristol and South West. She and other members will attend Bristol’s mass austerity rally on Saturday (September 9) from 12pm on College Green.
Read more: ‘I urge people to campaign against cuts’