Today we had the Budget. This Government claims that we're all in this together. I'm sorry but it really doesn't feel like it from where I'm sitting. My last blog post dealt with the Welfare Reform Act, and how genuinely chronically ill and disabled people are being assessed as fit for work when anyone other than ATOS and the DWP can see that it's completely impossible. Today another friend of mine had to attend an interview with the now infamous a4e. She was placed in WRAG and they have been constantly contacting her, demanding what she was doing about getting interviews, doing voluntary work. She is taking her case to tribunal, but the wheels still grind regardless. All under the constant threat of sanctions of course. She has enough to deal with just trying to live with CRPS, plus depression, migraines and anxiety without the additional stress and worry brought about by jumping through the various hoops the DWP have set in place.
As soon as they could see her, talked to her and discuss her medical problems, her interviewer was very sympathetic and made it clear that she shouldn't have been sent and should therefore appeal against being put forward for courses. Commonsense prevails you'd think. Alas no, because my friend's response was 'what is the point when it's mandatory? '. The Job Centre Advisor didn't want to send her but had to because of the rules. So instead of leaving her CV so she could presumably be placed on appropriate courses, she left the medical reports from her GP, Pain Consultant etc.
What's so frightening about all this is that you no longer seem to be treated as a human being. At best you're a scrounger, at worst you are an inconvenience to society, the taxpayer. Someone to be pushed through a system, with the ultimate goal of saving money. Reducing the numbers and hence the amout paid out.
They've already decided that some £18bn too much is being paid for Welfare. Today George Osbourne announced that another £10bn needs to be saved. It was terrifying enough before facing transition fom IB to ESA and DLA to PIP. How can you possibly believe that you will be assessed based on your medical problems and disability when the system they've set up is geared to reducing the numbers claiming and ultimately saving enormous amounts of money? Ironically the same Budget passed on tax savings in the region of £40,000 to millionaires. Oh and froze the tax allowance of people 65 and over so that they will lose money. Funny way of all being in it together?
Sure there are scroungers out there, and they need to be dealt with, got back into work. But what about people like me, who can never hope to do any sort of work ever again. People dependent on that money, and have paid NI contributions under the assumption that when we fall on hard times the State will look after us. If, and God forbid it happens, 'they' decide that I am fit for work, I simply have no idea what we will do. I have no way of replacing the money I would lose. No way of paying for anything, the house, food, fuel and everything else.
I didn't ask to become disabled, nobody does. What sort of society treats people like this?