Gordon Brown wanted to be “fair” about benefits, but he brought in Employment Support Allowance – the main purpose was to get disabled people off expensive incapacity benefit and into cheap unemployment.
But that isn’t enough un-fairness for the Conservative led coalition government: their new definition of fair seems to be to introduce medical assessments for DLA by doctors who work for the Benefits system – we already have that – benefits doctors go out and visit disabled people and decide they shouldn’t get the benefits.
Disabled people who still have some fight in them appeal the decision and go to tribunal – most of us win – because benefits doctors spend about 30 minutes with a person and ask them if they can stand up, sit down, walk up 3 steps and then say they cant have the benefit.
What the GPs know is the impact of doing that because of our impairments.
I’m a wheelchair user, I can get out of my wheelchair and sit in my raised armchair at home. I can walk up 2 steps. Its painful and difficult for me to do it, but being able to do it tells you nothing about whether i can walk without pain, whether 20 minutes after the visiting doctor has left I have to lie down and could cry with the pain in my back and legs.
A visiting doctor came, spent 22 minutes with me, decided I didn’t qualify for DLA mobility benefit and it was taken away from me.
I had to wait 9 months without the benefit, and getting into debt so I could pay my heating bill (which is high because of my impairment). The Tribunal listended to me for about 20 minutes and it was so clear that I should get high care and high mobility, that they awarded it – I was only on middle rate care before, and the Doctors who are supposed to be going to make all the benefit decisions, thought I shouldn’t be on any benefit – is that fair?
Thats not a Big Society, that is a small-minded cruel society.

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