Earlier on today George Osborne shuffled around with his little red briefcase in The House of Commons ready to announce the 2016 Budget. It is something the whole country has been dreading to some extent, apart from those who are comfortably rich, but we knew all along that disabled people were set to be one of the worse hit as per usual. This is an issue that affects me directly and whilst I don't usually talk about these kinds of topics on my blog I feel that this is something I cannot sit back and keep quiet about. Fellow blogger and friend Sarah from Sarah in Wonderland feels the same and has EDS, which shares many of the same symptoms as Marfan Syndrome. She's talked about some of the extra costs disabled people have over on her blog and has also outlined in more detail exactly how these cuts will affect us and others.
One of the biggest decisions that will hit those with disabilities the hardest is the recent cut to ESA. Employment and Support Allowance is there to support those who are unable to work due to long term illness and/or disability, people like me. The government are going to take away £30 a week from those in the work related activity group, a big loss that will push people even further into poverty. There is a petition to reverse these cuts going around at the moment and it would help a lot if you could sign and share it. The government thinks that these cuts will encourage disabled people to go back to work but what they don't understand is that the only reason why we apply for these benefits is because there is no way that we can work at that current time. If I was able to work I'd be out there applying for every job going, it destroys me inside knowing that I cannot be like everyone else. These cuts will not help people, they will only do more damage.
If that wasn't already enough very recently more changes to PIP, personal independence payment, have been announced. PIP is still in the process of replacing the old disability benefit DLA, these changes have already left people worse off. So many people have lost their mobility cars because of harsher assessments, their independence has been taken away and again this is something that has directly affected my family. PIP is there to help cover some of the extra costs that disabled people have and these extra costs are often not small.
The proposed changes will affect how people are assessed, PIP is assessed using a points system and you must get a certain amount of points to be entitled to the benefit. Over the past few years the government has already been making it harder and harder for people to tick these boxes and get the support they deserve and these new changes will only make things worse for some of the most vulnerable people in our country. The number of points that can be scored in the assessment for using an aid or appliance have been halved from 2 to 1, making it twice as hard to receive help to do basic things like dress yourself or even to just go to the bathroom. These are basic human rights I'm sure you'll agree. These changes are set to come in as early as January 2017, the stress and worry that those applying for PIP or currently receiving it will go through is unimaginable. We shouldn't have to fight for the support that we are so clearly entitled to.
I just can't understand why the government are so set on pushing disabled people further into poverty. The only way we can make any difference is by speaking up about it, signing the petitions and letting them know that this is not okay and we will not stand for it. I am genuinely scared about what the future holds for me, will my support be taken away? Will I lose the little independece I have left? Life with a disability is not a walk in the park, whilst I may try and stay positive on here about it all as much as possible life can be a huge struggle sometimes and this needs to be recognised. I would never ask for help if I didn't need it and people need to start believing that.
Don't forget to read Sarah's post to understand why we need this extra support and what damage the cuts will do to people.