Monday, 6 February 2012

My Lowest Night...

I've written and deleted this Blog ten times or more.  For the first time in a years, I'm struggling to find the words to express my heartbreak, my pain, and my disgust after last week's utter betrayal of disabled people in this country.

Perhaps this one comment will sum it up perfectly.  And please note, this is not something I share lightly.

I led in bed the other night and all I could think is, "my wife would be better off without me."

I'd like you to think about that for a moment.  I'm sure you can work out the implication of what I was thinking.  I don't need to spell it out, I hope.

It's important to point out a few things from my own point of view.  I am, usually, a very personal individual, where I guard my own financial details carefully.  I find it deplorable that disabled people such as myself are forced to justify their monetary existence just because we must rely on the State.  Nevertheless, I will dispense my misgivings for a moment.

I am on long term Incapacity Benefit - the benefit that it is currently being phased out in favour of Employment and Support Allowance (I am awaiting the re-assessment team moving me across to ESA) - at a rate of £108.05 a week.

I am also on Disability Living Allowance (DLA), with Higher Rate Mobility component of £51.40 a week and Lower Rate Care component of £19.55 a week.

My wife is, sadly, also on Contribution Based ESA due to a long term illness, and currently receives £94.25 a week.  As this is contribution based, she has already had a letter telling her that from April she will be moved onto Income Based ESA of £32.43 a week.  Despite dealing with intense abdominal pain on a daily basis, being virtually unable to bend down without excruciating pain and limited mobility, she has been turned down twice for DLA.

We receive Housing Benefit of £49.33 a week - please note that this does not cover our rent entirely and we have to pay the remaining £19 a week.  Similarly we also receive £14.27 a week in Council Tax benefit, and have to make up the shortfall.

And that's it.  No other top ups, nothing.  Between the both of us - a long-term disabled man and a woman who is struggling to cope with both her own condition and mine as well, and all included we get this (yearly figures):

Incapacity Benefit:  £5618.60
Disability Living Allowance:  £3689.40
Employment And Support Allowance:  £4901
Housing Benefit:  £2565.16
Council Tax Benefit:  £742.04

Total:  £17,516.20

That's right, seven and a half thousand pounds lower than the much heralded £26,000 figure that the Coalition Government have been determined to splash around everywhere they can in order to justify their position and whip the public into a frenzy over "benefit scroungers".  Of course, they always shy away from giving the full details, relying on the mainstream media to peddle their lies.

Oh, and don't forget - in April we may lose £61.82 a week thanks to the changes to contribution based ESA.  That means that yearly total may be reduced to £14301.56.

Almost £12,000 lower than the £26,000 that's been much talked about.

Oh, and as my wife has just reminded me, because I'm on Incapacity Benefit we get no help with prescriptions, dentist costs or opticians.

I cannot even begin to express the fear that the next few months and into 2013 are bringing to me.  The changes to DLA - moving it to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) from April 2013 - are genuinely frightening to many people like me as discussed in this interview with Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.

And it's not just disabled people who will be affected by the Welfare Reform Bill.  May I highly recommend this blog by DarkestAngel32 for all the details.

The uncertainty is sickening for myself and thousands of others like me and worse.  And I ask a simple question of everyone reading this:

Is this really the kind of society you want the UK to be?


  1. No it is not. I am hopping mad about the cruel removal of resources from the most disabled and disadvantaged people in society, while ATOS and the bankers just get richer.

    The cuts do not affect me directly, but I am fighting with all my might to reveal exactly how misguided they are. Society will pay a high price if the Government has it's way and the Welfare Reform Bill goes through unamended.

    Don't let them win! For the future, for the kids, we must carry on and continue to show (as you do so well in this blog) the dire effects of the welfare cuts.

  2. This is a very brave post. Thank you for writing it. Remember you are not alone, we are all in this together so you have an army of people behind you and supporting you. The fear is horrendous though, isn't it? We shouldn't have to be feeling it.

    1. Absolutely, gut-wrenchingly, mind-numbingly terrifying. I, like thousands of others, realise how difficult these next few months and years will be.

      Thankyou for your support.

  3. Holding out my hands for support to you and your wife,it's disgusting that you should be made to feel this way,in saying that i understand,i'm feeling much the same as you and you prompted me to speak out.
    My husband works full has done since leaving school,i hate to hear him repeat the benefit scrounger propaganda he reads and hears in the mainstream media.
    He has no idea how it hurts and upsets his disabled wife.

    He would be better off without me and find himself an able bodied wife that can work,i feel i have wasted years of his life.

    Right now i'm struggling to comprehend what is happening to us all for greed and profit.

    Is making a few fast bucks worth people's lives......our coalition seem to think the answers yes.

  4. crazy blade hang on in there dont give in to that awful thought, your wife is NOT better off without you she needs you as you do her. this is exactly what we are all fighting against this awful darkness that descends on each of us. but the support you give each other will get you through each and every day and mnay groups who will support you out there.

  5. you need to get a form to apply for free prescriptions, dentist and opticians costs. Think it's an HC1 or HC2 from prescriptions pricing authority for people on low incomes.

    1. Ah, forgot to mention that - we did as you suggest and were told that "we received too much income to qualify".

      Yeah, really.

  6. oh and full-time job on minimum wage pays £10,793 which is why 7 out of 8 people getting HB and CTB are in low paid work.

  7. we all have that awful thoguth and more so atm..i presently have lost 700 quid a month as my dla wasnt renewed ..*appealing now* and therefore couldnt get disability premium anymore...i am running a house..paying bills ...debts...paying to get to hosptial apptments *which i havent been going to cos i cant afford and cant affrod to pay for carer*...and i have to buy food *i cant get out to get this* i have to do all of this on 67.50 a week. i use a wheelchair and am disabled.i lose faith isnt even existing tbh.its worse than that.on top of all this they want u to constantly go into esa assessments appointments..

  8. i know exactly how you feel i also feel whats the point in trying to get through every day in pain and struggling with my disability especially knowing the cuts will drastically reduce my quality of life to being unbearable i am so scared for the future i cant see any light at the end of the tunnel i may as well just resign myself to my fate this is not living this is hell my heart goes out to you and your wife we are victims of a hate filled society who see disabled people as being not genuine and we are being targeted by the general public and media and government agencies to undermind our situation at every level..those forced to work where are the jobs to employ us being there are thousands unemployed and more jobs are planned to be lost too with these cuts...the government are being delusional if they believe these cuts are thoughts are with you... :)

  9. I have thought the exact same thing about my partner and son, that they would be better off with out me ... More than once in the last few weeks...but then i violently shake it off and swear to fight, fight fight with every scrap of breath I have left, for those who are worse off than me and who face this with strength and honesty like you. You are not alone, and when we whisper it will be deafening... Dxxx

  10. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this public perception created by the media.Let's imagine across the UK an invisible silver thread of power linking us all together and giving strength where there is weakness and sustenance to those who are in danger of being overwhelmed by lies and the fear of the changes being imposed on us. We can build a fortress around us and join in fighting back against the injustice. We can restore the nation's conscience and compassion if we persist loudly and vociferously proclaim the truth!

    1. That's a positive thought, Anonymous, to help all those who are going to be so badly affected by this diabolical legislation. I'm not disabled myself - my husband is, but as we're both 65, none of this affects us personally. Doesn't stop me from wanting to carry on the fight. I know just how much pain and humiliation (because they can no longer do the things they love, in my husband's case) the disabled go through. Sometimes he feels just as depressed as those on the thread who've thought that their partner(s) would be better off without them. But IT IS NEVER TRUE!

      I'm an old lady, spinning the silver thread - we need as many people- old, young, male, female - to spin the links and build the power. Remember just how powerful a thread of silk is, how strong and tensile, and think of the cocoon we can weave to shine out through the darkness of today, to light up the future for all those for whom we care.