Saturday 10 November 2012

Disability Roulette

Imagine you work for a big national company. They don’t pay very much and you struggle to make ends meet.

One day, the manager comes into the office and announces that the company needs to save money and with immediate effect, they will no longer be paying 20% of their staff.

He says that unfortunately, you are one of the people who will no longer work for money.

Certain that your boss has gone quite mad, you ask -with justifiable outrage – what on earth you will do?? How will you buy food or pay the rent??

He says it’s OK. The company have been very careful to only select workers who have a husband or wife with a job. You shout that your wife only earns £8,000 a year working part time as a cashier! He says that will be enough.

Angrily, you tell him he can stuff the job right up his arse, you’re leaving! No-one can work for free! What he’s doing is against the law. In fact it breaks more laws than Jeremy Hunt at a Murdoch garden party. You will take him to court.

He explains that the government changed the law at midnight. From now on, anyone “migrated” onto a “Nominal salary contract” cannot ever leave their jobs. You must stay with the company, working for free, until you retire in 38 years.  (An aide whispers something in your boss’s ear) “No, wait, scrap that bit, you must stay with the company until you die” says your boss carelessly, as though he just told you the stationary cupboard needs re-stocking.

As though stumbling through a terrible nightmare, you realise there’s nothing for it, you will have to get a second job. Your boss points out clause 8, subsection C :

“No employee on a nominal salary contract (NSC) can attempt any other work for any other company or do any kind of paid work beyond the contractual obligations of the NSC  at all. Any money earned by employees on an NSC will be confiscated and donated to the Treasury in the national interest.  

As you stumble blindly away from him, your boss adds a bizarrely random parting shot “Oh, and we’re confiscating your car and you can never have a bath or shower again.”

Suddenly it feels like you’ve been plunged into a Hollywood movie. The script is so unbelievable, so surreal that you’re sure once people hear what’s going on, they won’t allow it. There’ll be an outcry. Maybe you’re actually dreaming. You phone journalists, MPs, lawyers, you desperately beg your friends to help you, but as though they’ve all been brainwashed overnight, no-one but you and the other people who must work for free see anything wrong with it at all. Or perhaps they do and they’re just glad it isn’t them….

As the months go by you plead for help. Once a week, you must beg for free food in a long dispirited queue, but when you try to tell people, they say you’re “just being dramatic.” You beg someone to help you to keep your home, but they assure you people aren’t losing their homes at all. You smell because you can’t have a bath and you can’t get to work without your car.


Now imagine your “job” is cancer.

A Dr has just told you that you have terminal cancer. It won’t kill you immediately, but you probably only have 5 years or so and there’s nothing you can do. As the tumour grows inside your skull, you will slowly lose your memory, your speech, your ability to move or swallow until you are fed through a tube, breathing through a ventilator and shitting into a bag. 

Suddenly you “work” at staying alive -taking endless medications, keeping appointments with doctors and surgeons and radiologists.

But randomly, this government have announced that 25% of people with a serious long term illness or disability – including terminal cancer, heart failure and transplant patients -  will lose their incomes. All of it. Just like that, overnight.  If they have a partner who earns just £7,500 or more a year, they will lose everything, becoming totally dependent on someone else’s goodwill to survive.

I’m talking about people who can genuinely never work again, and I’m not talking about a few understandable mistakes here and there, I’m talking about a thousand people every WEEK who are being wrongly stripped of their entire incomes in exactly the way the employee in my little story above was, only to have them re-instated after a year, even 18 months of fighting and appeals. Some have died before the appeals could be heard. In fact 72 people a WEEK are dying having been found fit for work by this government.

They can’t get another job so they must accept whatever the government decide to do with their lives. Their totally trapped.

Next year, half a million MORE seriously ill or disabled people will lose their DLA. Again, almost entirely randomly; again, purely to save money – the government admit this quite freely. This benefit was awarded whether you worked or not and was designed to help disabled people with the extra costs of transport and getting washed and dressed. Many disabled people won’t be able to get to work any more and the government have changed the criteria to define “bathing” as washing above the waist with a flannel. (I am not a joking.) If your disability means that you can’t get out of the house or maintain a basic level of personal hygiene you are very unlikely to keep a job or find a new one anyway.

Even if someone who suffers from Parkinson’s, or motor neurone disease or is paralysed tries to earn anything, they simply get it taxed or taken off any replacement benefits at levels close to 100%

And just like the Hollywood movie, no-one wants to listen. It’s so farfetched, so horrible, that you all think it can’t possibly be happening.

“Not here in the UK. Not right in front of our noses. We don’t let our cancer patients and paraplegics die in poverty, here, thank you very much. I mean I know Cameron’s bad, but even he wouldn’t take every penny from people who were actually really disabled. Not 4,000 of them every month? Don’t be silly! ”

So I’ll leave you with a quote from Joseph Goebbels :

"When one lies, one should lie big and stick to it. People will eventually come to believe it."

And one from David Cameron :

"We will always protect the most vulnerable"


  1. Makes me cry that people aren't seeing, or arent caring.

  2. I didn't think I could be shocked any more, goes to show you learn some new every day!

  3. The fear for the future is so overwhelming and so paralysing that it's like being a rabbit trapped in the headlights of an oncoming car. You see no means of escape and the end seems inevitable. The urge to give up, lie down and die is seductive and at times almost impossible to resist. People like you, Sue, are an inspiration to us all, you keep a small flame of hope alive, however tiny, that maybe, just maybe if we all keep going and shout loud enough our voices might be heard.

    1. I know exactly where you are coming from. I've been there twice this year.

      Don't allow fear to paralyse your thinking, don't feel hopeless - thats what the b'stards want.

      That's why the b'stards won't, in the end, "win". *This* is inevitable.

      Keep your head up, stand up (physically or mentally) and live.

      As for voices - well a lone soprano can shatter a wine-glass; a full choir cannot.

      No need to shout - no need for a full choir - just one voice hitting the right tone can break through.

    2. Just had to say that's a great metaphor. Nice!

    3. john trying to break through is going to be tough and i agree it will be through the actions of just one person
      i just hope and prey that it will come soon in order to save the lives of others

      The government is like the bbc and that it knows nothing and never did about the real world. The trouble is that the people somehow get sucked in to a whole load waffle but when professionally dissected it's all a con so that the government can do it's worse in every part of day to day lives of the uk citizens leaving them worthless with no future other then that of a slave with low paid quality of work and no affordable housing

      it's no wonder the young take drugs and get drunk every weekend and i tell you now things are going to get a lot worse with the future very bleak for the large minority of the people of the uk

  4. * massive round of applause *
    Spot on.

  5. Shared...everyone should see this...excellent

  6. Well written Sue. Next week I have to go for assessment at Atos. I am 60 years old, disabled and only 2 & 1/2 years from retirement...

  7. Sue, have you got a link to where this is being announced? I'd like to have some solid evidence to wave when I start writing angry letters.

  8. As Derah Saward-Arav says. No offence, but, well, links are good.

    Dray x

  9. What an eerie post. It's terrifying, isn't it, what this country is coming to?

  10. Those craving links but who can't somehow use Google...

    1. Thanks Experiment Five. Some of us, being disabled, do struggle to master the art of Goog to find an unbiased link to make our own minds up. Don't let 'em divide us, eh?

  11. Absolutely ludicrous how people are treated these days by the government as if they were pawns in a non descript chess game. It seems that there are those that are freely taking what they do not need and the ones that are in real need seem to be pushed to the wayside and forgotten about.

  12. I can understand how the Nazis set up concentration camps under the noses of everyone now. I couldn't until recently...people are told these terrible atrocities are happening, that disabled and sick people are being bullied, starved, harrassed beyond belief, yet people turn blind eye and pretend nothing is happening. I never thought I would live in such an age. I don't want to! But here we are in Britain in 2012, the year of the Olympics and Paralympics, and Cameron, Duncan-Smith et al still pedalling their disablist hatred of 'scroungers' - really? There is someone in the UK receiving benefits? I am surprised, no doubt they'll be coming for them soon.
    I feel very helpless at the moment. Everyday the news is worse and I wake up with a sick feeling in my stomach. So many people dead already, yes, dead, in this country, in the year of the Queen's Jubilee - a Britain to be proud of? I don't know WHAT TO DO. Sometimes I feel like a witness to what has been happening to sick and disabled people for the last two years, I can do nothing but watch, like a train crash viewed in slow motion. Who'd have thought it eh, that we would come to this, reading a blog about disabled people dying and no longer being surprised because this is now what passes for normal. How quickly civilisation disappears when callous fools are given power.
    God help us all.

    1. Brokenwing - I think that's exactly how we all feel. I feel very much like a "witness" that's a spot on way of describing it.

      I think it was clear early on that this gov were going to be totally intransigent.

      By writing every detail of what they've done or are doing and exposing their lies wherever I can, I feel I'm leaving a record of all this. Its like, although I can't change very much, I can make sure future historians recognise the real horror sick and disabled people felt. The helplessness, the fear.

      I think that's why I'm so keen on reporting exactly how many people are being or will be affected by each nasty little policy detail. I want Historians to be able to see the shocking numbers clearly - that way every one of those "numbers" become a person that matters again.

  13. So much for Human Rights under this dire Coalition Government, the Tories really are the very nasty party and their Lib Dem partners should be stopping them. I am reminded of this quote attributed to Martin Niemöller speaking about the Nazis:

    When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.

    When they locked up the social democrats,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.

    When they came for the trade unionists,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.

    When they came for the Jews,
    I remained silent;
    I wasn't a Jew.

    When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out.

    1. well put jeremy it's very sad to have the government we have and is a sign of the times we live in. The Greek people know this more then anyone and like the sick and disabled in the uk face a very uncertain long term future

  14. And just adding the rest of that Josef Goebbel's quote -

    "The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    Chilling, but true.

  15. And where is the bbc in all this ? staying quite with their lips sealed

    i did ask then why so quite and they tell me that someone high up has told them that as the death toll is so high from the welfare reform bill negligence they have been advised to keep silent on the matter although they will post the odd death if it meets certain guidelines

    personally speaking the bbc are well out of their depth in a whole load of ways and regretfully i would thing the head of the bbc days are numbered

  16. i thought so as i said above the head of the bbc days were numbered and my calls to them about the welfare reform deaths must have played a part in his downfall as to me keeping these silent must have been very disturbing for George Entwistle as director general of the BBC

    the jimmy saville case is very disturbing but the welfare reform deaths like this one are much more damaging to the country as a whole

  17. The need to couch facts in fiction to get anyone to listen is disquieting, but if you just tell the truth they just don't listen. Brecht would approve <3

  18. mark the way i see it is that from now on the bbc will be very muted and bad things will in future in the uk will go unreported much to the delight to the government
    if it wasn't so tragic the jimmy saville debacle then the bbc would have a voice but from now on we wont be able to get any investigations looked into so will have to look elsewhere

    the days of panorama much to the governments delight are numbered and those that continue to die going through the welfare reform bill will now go unnoticed

  19. Quite right Sue. I'm on DLA.

    If you can wash yourself above the waist you may well lose DLA. And yet, what happens if like me you need someone to change your socks, wash your feet or cut your toe nails?

    And if you're in hospital, to get into nitty gritty of having a disability, they pass you the infamous cotton bud for a 'groin swab' to prevent super bugs. In visiting time.

    Sure, I can do-my-front above the waist. I can do my 'bits' too. Anything behind that I need help with.

    Without help, I'd be a middle aged bloke who would smell a lot like poo.

    Is there an Atos'ers test for that? Is there hellers like.

    Personally, I'm way past being embarrassed or dignified.

    1. All the same, you should never have to explain yourself like that to anyone. The whole purpose of the allowance was to offer help and afford dignity, but the pathway to the DLA is sickeningly intrusive and leads to severe depression and stress when people have to be so introspective about their bodies.

      I was assessed by an Atos Doctor for DLA at home, and he was quite stern in manner, but his questions were surprisingly simple ones, dealing with practical matters. It was a terrifying day, it took months to recover.

      But I was awarded DLA at the rate I believe was correct, and I was awarded it for life, that was one week before the Coalition took power. I knew from Cameron's first speech outside Downing Street my lifetime award would mean nothing.

      But it seems now a vast number of us will be smelling like shit, cold and hungry, or even put into care. If you are on both ESA and DLA, your life will turn into one long assessment. They say Hell is repetitive, and everyone wants to know what model they base these assessments on, isn't it obvious?

      People are too ill and tired to keep up, the brown envelopes, then gathering evidence, asking social workers for help, asking all the people who help you can you put their name on the forms, because people fear the government, they don't want their name on forms. Then the assessments, the hurt, the knock backs, feeling like a fraud, the bills, the whole family forced into dysfunction because the system was deliberately designed to hurt, to kill.

      And when one benefit is stopped, they are all reassessed, you have to re-apply for everything. Now we'll have spare bedroom tax, and the almighty balls up of UC. They can't even get that working with 400 people. Imagine what it will be like for millions.

      The people with no one, what will they do?

  20. Poverty is defined in the UK as not having the latest iphone get a grip peeps the benefits crowd has had it too good for too long now time for working ppl to fight back to keep more of their money. Why should we fund u?

    If u are fit enough to moan on here with yr pseudo ailments then u are fit enough to get a job and not leech of others. there is no law that says that u are entitled to anything in this world for nothing. earn it!

    1. get a grip what do you mean get a grip are you implying we are all fit and able ? haven't you read how ill sue is and has been in hospital struggling like mad me also gasping for breadth never being able to sleep living permanently in a haze

      what you need to do is to be kind to us instead of knocking us as you can be 100% sure that you will follow us with the same types of disability as you get older

      anyone whoever said they were fit all their life is a lier as my brother in law is a gp and retired and he will tell you that the vast majority of people over 60 need help of have needed help in their life following a difficult period

      the benefit system is a god send and a life line for people across the uk and indeed the world and people like yourself should be proud to help the needy or give of your time when needed

    2. Nick, ignore this one, it's a regular troll.

      Don't feed it.

  21. the benefit system is an excuse for people not to work when they dont want to. people who decide to have kids at other peoples are expense are not the 'needy' they are just simply lazy and playing the system.

    why should we be kind to you when you are basically robbing us dry? I dont work all the hours to fund your life and HMG is finally realising that those work are far worse off than those who dont.

    everyone should live their own destiny. if you choose not to work your choice live how you want but not with MY money.

    proud? we are sick of people who game the system that is why the welfare state has bloated beyond all recognition. when all working ppl leave who will fund your benefit then?

    there are millions here who have never worked a day in their life. are we fools to work or are they clever? their life is a lie funded by others. time for benefits party to end and slowly its happening.

    1. ::) :o ??? :argh: :blink: :wacko: :gack: :thumbd:
      you should be very grateful to sue to allow you to post you don't seam very grateful and she is so ill
      why cant you say a few kind words and cheer as all up ? instead of bashing all of the time

    2. Nick, ignore it.

      It comes on here with the same tired old rhetoric on a regular basis. It doesn't read the blog or have any understanding of the situation. I don't think it even understands what it is saying itself. Probably paid to come to blogs like this and try to and disrupt and spread dissent and doubt.

      Take no notice of its vile splutterings.

    3. Regular troll appears regularly...
      Its kinda sweet that he seems to want to be Sue's pet so badly.

      As always no facts to back up the foam flecked ranting. Can they point to any evidence of millions never working? Of people chosing to be disabled? That to be on benefits and reliant on an income less than a third of the average UK wage is a party?

      Boy... when I picked the disability I was born wih I sure ticked the wrong box. Should have gotten one of those 'psudeo' ones that the millions of other disabled all have.

  22. Viewpoint: His dark charisma that's Hitler

    Adolf Hitler was an unlikely leader but he still formed a connection with millions of German people, generating a level of charismatic attraction that was almost without parallel. It is a stark warning for the modern day, says historian Laurence Rees.

    At the heart of the story of Adolf Hitler is one gigantic, mysterious question: how was it possible that a character as strange and personally inadequate as Hitler ever gained power in a sophisticated country at the heart of Europe, and was then loved by millions of people?

    Unemployment was 30% in Germany when Hitler took power, it is 25.1% and rising in Greece”

    This history matters to us today. Not because history offers "lessons" - how can it since the past can never repeat itself exactly? But because history can contain warnings.

    In an economic crisis millions of people suddenly decided to turn to an unconventional leader they thought had "charisma" because he connected with their fears, hopes and latent desire to blame others for their predicament. And the end result was disastrous for tens of millions of people.

    It's bleakly ironic that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was greeted in Athens recently with swastika banners carried by angry Greeks protesting at what they see as German interference in their country.

    Ironic because it is in Greece itself - amid terrible economic crisis - that we see the sudden rise of a political movement like the Golden Dawn that glories in its intolerance and desire to persecute minorities.

    And is led by a man has claimed there were no gas chambers in Auschwitz. Can there be a bigger warning than that?

    i have shortened this but can you see some resemblances here
    It's bleakly ironic that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was greeted in Athens recently with swastika banners carried by angry Greeks protesting at what they see as German interference in their country.

    Ironic because it is in Greece itself - amid terrible economic crisis - that we see the sudden rise of a political movement like the Golden Dawn that glories in its intolerance and desire to persecute minorities.

    And is led by a man has claimed there were no gas chambers in Auschwitz. Can there be a bigger warning than that?

    the sick and disabled are persecuted and I've always said that so we need to be very careful if were to stay alive

  23. Beautifully written and so true.
    But it's like hitting your head against a wall.

  24. Nick working ppl are sick too sick of having to work not to just feed their own family but yours too having no guaranteed income source like you do and living in lower standards of housing and higher degrees of poverty than yourself.

    why do we have 1 million plus eastern europeans here working in jobs that lazy brits could do? if the benefits wasnt so lucrative u think the poles would come here? no b/c there would be no jobs for them.

    straight fact nick single mom 2 kids gets £1100 tax free benefits per month which job would pay her that hence why bother working?

    rest of the benefits crew if yr handout was stopped u would get a job right u'd have no choice then. its only because the system exists that dishes out free money u all get so addicted to it.

    time for the balance to be redressed make work pay. not sitting at home complaining of back pain while still being able to pump out kids purely to get a bigger house and more £££ in handouts.

  25. To c93f60a6-12f9-11e2-a1c3-000bcdcb471e

    will have to be in two parts

    Part One

    I am sick and tired of the lame and frankly brutal and callous comments against the sick and disabled from people such as you.

    Let me clear up a few points for you and others like you

    Comments of yours such as

    “time for the benefits party to end u had it too good for the past 30 yrs while working ppl have suffered being worse off than those on benefits.”

    or in another previous post

    “fools like us who have no choice but to fund it for all these years.”

    ‘It’ of course being welfare paid to sick and disabled people and also the unemployed.

    Firstly if welfare was abolished do you seriously consider you would have to pay less in tax? Do you seriously consider you would be financially better off? The fact is that with or without benefit payments you would not pay any less in income tax. The money saved at the expensive of people's lives and wellbeing would be spent elsewhere mostly likely on things that benefit no one at least not the working man or women or any tax payer. Would you rather this money was spent on waging more wars in the middle east for no other purpose than to secure oil and not for you or I but for the greedy one percent, the rich and powerful. Few ever complain about the huge cost of these wars in recent years not only in monetary terms of course but the appalling cost to human lives both military and civilian.

    Here is the cost to the tax payer
    Since 9/11 the cost to the British Tax payer passed £20 billion, official figures reveal This article was written June 2010

    Why don’t you complain about that, write to you MP set up a blog do something instead of writing your hateful garbage here!

    What about the huge amount of tax unpaid by corporations? Estimated to be over £100 Billion! Why not focus your attention and do something about that, like for instance write to your MP instead of whingeing on forums and waging war against disability claimants?

    Now on the subject of the tax payer. I am sick of hearing working people bleat on and on about their taxes, yes they are high and unfair but you‘re not the only people who pay tax. We all pay tax, people on benefits, children, the unemployed pensioners, everyone: it’s called VAT! A whole twenty percent - do you know you even pay VAT on a funeral!

    So please drop the tax payer nonsense as we all pay tax and as such have paid towards benefits along with everything else far less worthy. Furthermore many who claim benefits of course have paid into national insurance and like any other insurance when we became ill we claim.

  26. Part two

    Here is the definition:
    “You pay National Insurance contributions to build up your entitlement to certain state benefits, including the State Pension. “”

    People who are chronically sick and disabled are simply collecting their entitlement as you would with any insurance.

    So if you become seriously and chronically ill or you have an accident and become disabled you are telling us that you are not going to make a claim?

    If you suffer with illness or disability you are quite prepared to find yourself destitute without food or shelter dependent on family or charity, neither of which offers any long term security?

    No one gets a “big fat hand out” no one chooses to live off disability, your example living in a council flat and having kids to get benefits is hardly a cushy life. These days of greed and ambition the vast majority want more. No one chooses to live on Job Seekers Allowance at between 16 and 24 Up to £56.25 over 25 Up to £71. Notice up to which may mean you get less. No one decides to stop working and pretend to be ill and get ESA at £71 for under 25s, up to £99 for the WRAG and Up to £105.05 for the support group, notice again up to so you could get less. Either way not comparable to a wage even on the unliveable basic minimum wage of £6.19 for over 21 - that’s £247.60 for a forty hour week. Crap wages I grant you but still more than being on benefits and more than most pensioners get.

    However having said that if wages were more fair, £247.60 is not a liveable wage, benefits would seem less unfair from the perspective of the person who has to work.

    Why would you rather lower or abolish benefits than seek to improve basic minimum wage. After all is said and done the abolition of benefits will not improve the position of the low paid, all you will have done is make life more of a misery for people who already suffer.

    So instead of targeting sick and disabled people turn your attention to the low paid and complain about the unfairness of the tax payer supporting big business which pays the lowest wage possible leaving the working poor to have to claim in-work benefits. The tax payer who your tiresome rhetoric goes on and on about is subsidising big corporations and overpaid top executives whose wages have skyrocketed. Why don’t you complain about that.

    At the end of the day why not just be grateful that you do not suffer with the conditions that people here suffer with, conditions that are so debilatating that they destroy the quality of life.

    For many with long terms illness and disabilities it is hard enough to get out of bed and do the day to day things that healthy people take for granted without being hounded to look for work that does not exist and which they are too ill to do.

  27. Sorry everyone for feeding this troll but I am sick of its cruel sadistic and sick ramblings. In fact I get so angry about others like him or her who it seems have so little going on in their lives that they feel the need to take out their frustrations on other people with their venomous spite . It's not just here but everywhere on the net, hateful spiteful mean comments anywhere they get the opportunity. So sad when there are so many better things that they could do with their time, so much good they can do to change so many social injustices rather than perpetuate them.
    Thanks Sue for your great posts so well written and encouraging . Also thanks to everyone who comments it is so encouraging . I do not comment often myself but read through the comments.

    One great thing about the internet despite the trolls is that we do not feel so alone with our problems . Without the internet and the communication with one another the government would have run roughshod over us all and there would have been few to object or protest because few people know what is happening to the most venerable in our society.

  28. Back pain, huh, I'd love this troll to have my spine he'd soon whinge, i'm trying to keep as mobile as I can as I know i'm running out of time, I have disc disease, i'm 34 have four discs prolapsed in four years..

    I have breathing problems because it has prolapse near my chest wall, have no reflexes in my leg, have foot drop, hip problems, disc gone in neck, have dominant arm damage, both shoulder issues, can't grip so can't write, can't use normal keypad...can't sit for long, walk, or go out with help..get bad headaches, loss of balance due to compression

    Atos lied at last assessment, they said I collect my children from school, I don't, they say I walk to my doctors, I don't, they said I don't have arm damage I do (have had muscle tests which showed significant damage) and that I don't have depression, even though I took my anti depressants with me !!

    Got turned down for DLA thanks to ATOS lies, now will have tribunals for both, I will fight for what I am entitled too, I worked so did my ex hubby, I'm going to claim it...


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