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Incapacity Benefit: Why Mr Blair is Wrong

February 2nd, 2005 Leave a comment Go to comments

Mr Blair wishes to reduce the “dependency” culture, specifically that of persons receiving incapacity benefit. His answer, in part, is to halt the current increase that claimants on the benefit for over a year are awarded.

When I first became too depressed and life too meaningless for me to work I was under great pressure. Surviving on £56 per week is no easy feat. My medical problems were misunderstood for many years by the doctors and only reluctantly are they now starting to give me the proper help and assistance I need.

This follows four years on benefits, fighting to survive and fighting for proper healthcare and support. My energy would have been better spent on my recovery and had I been given a proper living level of income and proper healthcare from the start I would have been working again within two years or so.

After a year of struggling on £53 a week, as it was then, the increase I recieved to £75 a week made a marked difference in my ability to survive with some level of dignity. Later I was awarded Disability Living Allowance, although at the wrong rate which is now being reviewed. Again the shift in ease of life made a marked difference in my ability to take action to heal my injuries. Yet still the level was basically subsistence.

Mr Blair’s plan will result in a drop in the costs of these benefits. It will also make an already dificult system harder to cope with. It will force more people who are geuinely ill to waste time living at subsistence levels and fighting for healthcare that does not exist or does not care. It will result in many thousands of people already struggling with depressing medical conditions over the edge.

If these plans are fostered watch out for the suicide rate increase amongst those on incapacity. It will be rapid, marked and entirely Mr Blair’s fault – he does not understand, nor does he wish to understand, the desperation of those forced to accept meagre state handouts in order to cope with life.

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