Catch 22

Apr. 11th, 2011 11:09 pm
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
It being the end of the financial year, my bank invited me in last week in order to discuss my savings and investments. So I struggled in and explained that, despite the savings I racked up during a couple of decades of work, not to mention my redundancy payment, I am currently receiving ESA (disability benefit), which doesn’t cover all of my outgoings, and, as it is Contributions Related ESA, at the start of the next financial year it will drop to nothing, so I really need to optimise my savings and investments.

What I wasn’t expecting to be told in reply was 'Sorry, the FSA won't let us give you financial advice if you have outgoings exceeding earnings.’ So, the government is going to force, by its own estimates, 300,000 contributions-based ESA claimants to live on their savings as of next April, but won't, for that very same reason, allow the banks to give them financial advice on how to maximize the income from those same savings.

I seem to have wandered into Joseph Heller’s ‘Catch 22’....

Also posted to Where's the Benefit  along with a larger piece on the abuses of WCA.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Crutches 1)
I'm feeling guilty for not being there in London today at the March for the Alternative, several disabled friends from the Where's the Benefit mob are marching, or should I say wheeling, but physically it's too much for me to contemplate. So I've done what I do best and put my protest into words in a trilogy of posts:

No Alternative

The Great Unheard

Kettled in Cyberspace
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Crutches 1)
 Many disabled people want to be part of the protests on the 26th against the Tory cuts, particularly their rabid attack on disability benefits, but physically aren't able to be there in person. To let all of us take part Disabled People Against Cuts are organising a virtual protest, with people able to log their protest on a virtual map of the UK which can be found here.  Unfortunately it isn't explained particularly clearly, but what they want is people to email them at 
DPAC26MARCH@GMAIL.COM with their name, the first half of their post code, and a message of support.

You don't have to be disabled to register your support, just to oppose the Tories in their campaign to take from, and demonise, the people who can afford it least.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
The original is all over the net, so no idea where it originated:

A banker, a Daily Mail* reader and a disabled person are sitting at a table sharing 12 biscuits. The banker bolts down 11 of them and turns to the Daily Mail reader, "Watch out for the benefit scrounger, he wants your biscuit"
 
 
Any resemblance between the banker and Lord Freud** is purely intentional.
 

Contributions have been thin on the ground for the past few weeks as even typing has been uncomfortable, but that seems to be easing off and I have a new, if short, post up at 'Where's The Benefit' on Nick Clegg's*** 'Alarm Clock Britain'.

* Notoriously right wing daily given to regularly labelling disabled benefit claimants as scroungers and frauds.

** Former banker and current Minister for Benefit Reform, this is like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank.

*** Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Crutches 1)
 
Links to three analogies and/or metaphors that I think can really help people to understand what it is like to live as a disabled person. Firstly because I think that they are vital to understanding us, but on a purely practical basis I also want to have the links in one handy place for the next time I need to club someone who just doesn't get it over the head with one of them!

The Spoon Theory, how fatigue-based disabilities limit lives.

The Gorilla Theory, disability as 300lb gorilla.

The Self-Narrating Zoo Exhibit, to remind people that we can be disabled by those around us, even when they think they are working to empower us. (This was coined for the autistic community, but I think it actually applies generally).

I can't claim credit for any of these, the Spoon Theory is by Christine Miserandino, the Gorilla Theory by Batsgirl and the Self-Narrating Zoo Exhibit was originally coined by Jim Sinclair, with the write-up here by Zifendorf, but I heartily recommend them all.

J'Accuse!

Jan. 18th, 2011 03:15 am
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Crutches 1)
I Wonder What You Were Thinking

… when you informed on me to the DWP? 

Did you believe the yellow rags, the Scum, the Heil, the Vexpress? Do they shape your every thought when they label us fakers and fraudsters and the cause of all your woes?

Did you believe Ian Duncan Smith when he blamed us for the banking collapse? George Osbourne and his lackeys when they label us workshy? 

Do you envy me ESA’s £95 a week, which with Benefit Reform will soon enough be £0 a week?

Did you thrill over giving me an imagined kicking for my sins, not knowing I might still feel every punch, every blow, physical act or none? 

Did you wonder about practicality, think how I might manage to hold down a job, when I’m lucky to get out of the house for a whole four hours in the week?

Did you realise that it was you who was committing the crime, not I; Hate Crime, spite crime, little-minded bigot’s crime? 

Or do you simply despise me because I’m disabled?

   
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
 I've posted a new piece over at Where's The Benefit, talking about my experiences of trying to claim Jobseeker's Allowance with a disability: take three parts French Farce, two parts Jacobean Tragedy and mix well....

I keep meaning to link to my other WTB posts from here, as much to give me a shortcut to them as anything else, so seeing as we're on the topic....

Osbourne: VAT Increase Designed to Hit Disabled Hardest

The Devil is in The Details

The Perfect Storm?

WCA Review: Yet More Questions

A Valued Part of Society?

The WCA Independent Review: Fit for Purpose?
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Crutches 1)
 Ick, 3000 words sent off to the Department of Work and Pensions' Call for Evidence on why the ESA Work Capability Assessment is broken.

Mostly repeating the tale of woe reported in my very first blog post, but with added analysis as to why the problem may be the entire DWP ethos (essentially they've screwed up pretty much every time they have talked to me about disability, we're way past 'three times is enemy action'). It's taken until now to be able to face the fiasco that was my WCA again, and I can make a convincing case I've still got elevated pain levels four months later!

Submissions have to be in by Friday 10th September, so if you have anything to say, take a look at this quick.

Tomorrow's task: the EHRC's Call for Evidence on Disability Harassment, also due by Friday (yes, I work better with a deadline). 

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davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
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