Sunday, 11 December 2011

Judging the conditions and disabilities of others

The problem with using 'real' people as examples when discussing the inequalities inherent in our benefits' system is the danger of making assumptions about conditions and disabilities. The threads of this site and the other manifestations of Ouch are littered with stories about people being reported to the authorities, sometimes maliciously, but also by people who, though not qualified, would make 'qualified' allegations of strangers' medical and disability conditions.

Someone, with a fluctuating condition, caught doing a bit of gardening; a wheelchair user seen walking around; someone not working but claiming IB using equipment in a gym.

Then there's the appalling way we are treated by ATOS healthcare practitioners who make their own assumptions about our conditions; and they're armed with the facts of our conditions and disabilities.

The point I'm trying to make is that we know how hard life is out there for disabled people. We know that there are detractors aplenty who would do us down because it suits their agenda. Therefore, when we post to Ouch can't we steer clear of 'diagnosing' or judging others, especially when we're discussing issues where, most of us, are not medically qualified.

The Daily Fail and others use the worthy disabled against the undeserving in a divisive fashion. They make totally unqualified judgements on us, which in turn misinform their readership to the point of frenzy at times, going by their comments section.

How can we make the claims system fairer, more equitable? Well, we can signpost. Benefits and Work is a good example. Pointing people to CABs or disability advice groups is another. Sharing, from our veritable treasure trove of experience is a definite. When I was applying for A2W another Ouch user put me in contact with an invaluable resource.

Sadly our society is riddled with inequity driven, in my view, by a class system encouraged by the current government. Only last week the British Social Attitudes Report indicated that the majority of those questioned felt that unemployment benefits were too generous; only 31% thought it right for tax rises to pay for the NHS; and, a whopping 63% of the darlings blame parents for child poverty.

With such prevailing attitudes it is hardly surprising that we continue to meet with an iniquitous benefits' system.     

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