Amnesty International condemns erosion of human rights of disabled in UK 29th April 2013

Amnesty International UK, at its AGM on 14th April 2013, passed a resolution on the Human Rights of sick and disabled people in the UK.

The resolution read:

‘This AGM calls for urgent action to halt the abrogation of the human rights of sick and disabled people by the ruling Coalition government and its associated corporate contractors.

Calls for Amnesty International UK to urgently work with grassroots human rights campaigns by and for sick and disabled people, carers and their families. And to set up a specialist Disability Human Rights network…..

To protect the human rights of people with disabilities, ill people and carers to halt this regressive and lethal assault on our rights.’

You can read the full resolution, with supporting information, here.

Independent Living fund being cut, not reformed, 30th April 2013

On Wednesday a group of five disabled people lost a judicial review in the High Court over the Government’s plan to close the Independent Living Fund (ILF), a resource which enables them to live independent lives.

The group have since decided to appeal this decision.

Independent living enables disabled people with high support needs to be in control of when and how they receive assistance with everyday tasks.  It’s about choosing when you get up, go to the toilet, eat a meal, get dressed, go out etc.  Many of us would argue that these are basic human rights which non-disabled people tend to take for granted.  But when a person is unable to perform such tasks for themselves, a cost gets attached to them and people’s rights get forgotten.

Furthermore, this cut is nothing to do with the now-familiar rhetoric of scroungers and cheats.  It is directly aimed at around 19,000 disabled people with the highest support needs.  Just off the top of my head, we users of the ILF include actors, TV presenters, PhD students, chief executives, consultants, trainers, a life peer and at least two stand-up comedians.  Many of us have pushed the boundaries for disability rights in our communities and/or respective fields of work.  I believe our society as a whole will be the poorer if we have to move into residential institutions, as many of us fear will happen, because funding is no longer available for us to live independently in the community……………….

Furthermore the papers emphasise focusing on “the key message that this is about reform, not cuts”.  This is despite the fact that ILF funding will only be transferred to local authorities for one year after its closure, after which time it will disappear altogether.  I don’t know about you, but this sounds like a cut to me!

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Rent increases and bedroom tax, 29th April 2013

So if benefits are frozen at 1% increase, and public sector workers haven’t had a pay rise in 5 years, yet the rents are continuing to rise at approx 5% and BT isn’t abolished, how the hell with rising costs is anyone working or claiming benefits going to be able to pay BT in two years if we are all struggling now? If we can’t get rid of BT we should also be fighting rent increases.


Caroline Egglestoneposted to  “Bedroom Tax…think its unfair…join the fight here” facebook page 29/3/2013

Sinister purpose in repeated medicals for incurable patients

Unfortunately, I think it’s normal practice to have to undergo repeated medicals for both ESA and PIP. (disability benefits)

Personally, I have the feeling that the purpose of this is far more sinister than as Esther McVey’s statement that “some people DO get better”.

I think this uncaring Government is hoping that:
a) you might give up and get your family to pay for you
b) you might give up and lose the will to live
c) the whole process gives you enough stress that it kills you.

In any event, in all cases they don’t lose.

From ‘Nurses against ATOS’ facebook page  29/4/2013

I can’t cope any longer on nothing. 28th April 2013

Hi. So finally my doctors have done the letter I needed to get my benefits reinstated explaining how my health has deteriorated…. but they want me to pay £30 for the letter I have no income how am meant to pay that
Just feels like a dead end at every turn im due everyone I know money and no one can help me anymore. Really have had enough
All cos they say missed an assessment I never knew about n they claim never received my appeal n refused to pay me till have assesment or have letter from doc proving iv become worse… I cant cope any longer on nothing

from ‘Atos Miracles’ facebook page 28/4/2013

Sued ATOS for weeks of pain and fatigue

ATOS settle £2000 out of court
“Disabled claimant David Johnson sued Atos after being forced to walk to an inaccessible medical assessment centre, even though he had told Atos about his access needs on his ESA50 form. The ordeal left him in pain and very fatigued for weeks afterwards. . Although Atos tried to wriggle out of liability by claiming they were not covered by the Equality Act when carrying out ESA medicals, they eventually caved in and paid Johnson £2,000 prior to any hearing taking place. Johnson, who was assisted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission now wants others to follow his example in using the Equality Act to take action against Atos.”

from Atos Miracles facebook page 28/4/2013

I’m not a sponger, I’m a carer. 28th April 2013

I worked for the Ambulance service until it became clear to me that the level of “CARE” provided for my son was negligent at best and down right dangerous and criminal. I left my job to provide the care necessary for my son who suffers from schizophrenia. He was told he could get a job as a driver and they would pay for driving lessons, I pointed out that on his medication he would NOT be allowed to drive and the 2 years experience required to apply for a driving job would make that impossible in the near future. The response was “well dont declare the medication” I asked if I could have the response in writing to avoid him being prosecuted for failing to declare his meds ….I am still waiting it has been 2 years now and despite repeated requests and hundreds of pounds later spent on driving lessons he still cannot drive, he comes home every weekend and during the week if he is having a wobbly, the day of his injection and the day after. I have lost an NHS pension, I am living on Carers allowance plus Housing/council tax benefit they now want £56 per week from me. I did not choose to be unemployed the cuts in mental health care and lack of provision for his care made this necessary. What do I do, abandon his care and return to work to keep his room for him at the family home knowing that it is a matter of time before he falls fould of the law and ends up in prison or Broadmoor. I am not a sponger I am a carer, the level of care I provide saves this Government thousands. I am not alone, thousands of others have left work to provide care and we are being demonised. IF the level of care that I – and others provide- was available I would gladly return to work. He is in breach of the Road Traffic Act every time he sits behind the wheel of a car for a lesson, do they care?

from Antibedroom tax natter group. 28/4/2013

Modern day witch test. 28th April 2013

A true test many years ago, to test weather someone was a witch or not —-1st tie the person to a chair —-immerse the person and the chair in water for a lenght of time —–if person drowns they are not a witch, if they survive, they are burned at the stake! –Modern day comparison (a private company we shall not name) —Told to attend a medical assessment that is miles away – told if do not attend all benefits withdrawn——–attend with the greatest difficulty -and then your told you FAIL because you attended—bit like the witch test???

from The People Vs The Government, DWP and Atos, facebook page, 28/4/2013

They make NO allowance for my illness, 27/4/13

I will receive a medical form 2 months before the date that my review needs to be done. I filled it out, sent it back (filling out the form on its own is extremely stressful because you have to admit to yourself all the ways in which your illness affects your life-I have found this has made me a lot more depressed than normal).
I sent it back and had a very worrying two month wait until I heard anything. This sent my anxiety through the roof and I became extremely irrational. I lost friends during this period as I became paranoid and starting attacking people-verbally-that I care about. In the end I ended up at the hospital as my friend was worried that I would do something stupid. I had become suicidal at the time and the thought of taking my own life became very rational to me. After months of not self harming I began to self harm again.

I eventually received a letter to say I am in the work related activity group, which means the DWP consider me to be someone who is ready to work on returning to the work place. However they do not wish to give me any mental health support to get there. They make no allowances for my illness, I get an appointment for my meetings with my advisor at Cheshire training and I have no choice but to attend-despite the fact that I can have days when I am so anxious I find it impossible to get out of bed, let a lone out of the house! I cannot guarantee which days these will be and therefore I may be unable to attend on the day of my appointment, yet if this happens I get sanctioned.

I did a degree while ill and not only did I find it a lot less stressful and worrying but I found they were more accommodating to my illness. They made allowances because of my illness, I was under a lot less pressure there than I am now. To me this makes no sense. How can it be an academic setting is more supportive of an illness than the benefit system that s set up to support me during my time of illness?