The Government has done its going over the books and looked at the stack of debts and decided to tighten the belt til the knees tingle to start paying back. Okay, so the country is in serious money doo-doo, credit-rating sets off major wah-wah hooters and to be totally utterly honest, I don’t understand the big picture practicals, just that by default we are all going to feel the pinch one way or another.
There are reforms and spending cuts over all areas, fair enough, and some are understood, such as capping the universal Child Benefit to homes where the primary wage earner earns more then £42K per year [so if hub earns £41K and wife earns anything they still get the benefit, if hubby earns £42K and wife doesn’t earn, the benefit is refused, personally I think it should be household total income]. Budget and personnel cuts across government departments, okay there can always be a little fat trimmed, especially from the middle and upper management levels. The opposition party shouts and sprouts that unemployment will increase with this Government …… well duuhhh!!!
The most concerning are the proposed changes to the Benefit System and how it will directly affect me. If I understand all the proposed changes and announcements correctly, Currently I receive incapacity Benefit, which is a National Insurance contributions benefit, all IB recipients are being migrated to Employment Support Allowance, at the same time it will be reviewed by means of a “detailed questionnaire”, a non-medical faceless wonder will then judge whether what I write means I need a face-to-face interview with the intention of getting that person back into work. These non-medical faceless wonders are not government people they are contracted business paid by the number of ‘crips’ they get back into the work force, gee where is their incentive??
Okay, so I have been migrated and reassessed. This can go two ways. Back to work …. so in an economic climate where 35,000 people applied for 100 jobs at a new matalan store, I am supposed to find a job with an employer who will be happy for me to
- take frequent periods of sick leave due to fatigue, pain and illness
- take frequent time off to attend hospital, therapy, assessment, treatment appointments
- work at a considerably slower pace than any other worker
- have someone with me, all the while, to wheel me around, take me to the toilet, fetch and carry
- have someone else do all the elements of the job I cannot do
- adapt the work environment for a disabled employee
All because I am deemed ‘fit for limited work related activity’, does anyone see this happening, really???
So the ‘other’ way .. I am assessed as unable to work and put on ESA, but hang on. The new reforms also say that ESA paid on the basis of National Insurance Contributions will only be paid for a maximum of 12 months and after that it changes to Income based ESA – that involves a means test. The miniscule occupational pension I receive from my past employers as they medically retired me will be deducted from any benefit payable, any savings I have struggled to amass or received via inheritance will be taken into account and if over their piffling threshold means, no benefit at all. They will tell me to live off my savings until I am flat broke and then reapply and go through the whole sorry procedure again.
I am utterly screwed.
I appreciate that all these changes are necessary that the reassesment of sick and disabled claimants will hopefully weed out all the blaggers and fraudsters who ‘over-do’ their conditions to get benefit and not find work, but all this means that a greater number of genuine sufferers will be thrown about in the turmoil. As well as having to deal with the added stress and anguish of a serious medical condition, of the stress and frustration of a struggling health service, we also have to deal with a benefit system trying to push us back into an unprepared work environment regardless of its detrimental effect!!
Take me to the Vet’s and shoot me now!!