Disability benefits

regarding the increased negative attitude towards people claiming disability benefits due to the government increased attention on benefit fraud.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/06/negative-attitudes-disability

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Dear Jessica,

My name is Tom Nabarro, I am a software engineer working in telecommunication. My number is provided below. I am physically disabled through a spinal injury four years ago and have completely lost the use of muscles below my shoulders (including my arms). I don’t receive many income assessed disability benefits because of my employment status.

In response to the allegation of increased levels of abuse and hostile behaviour towards disabled people as a result of the government interest in tackling benefit fraud, I don’t usually receive noticeable hostile attention and have not personally experienced any increase. I believe that it is an increasing problem for a significant number of other disabled people. Those who have non-transparent disabilities including those whose disabilities are not necessary to do with mobility are likely to be most affected.

It’s a very common occurrence for an ignorant onlooker (the vast majority of us are ignorant with respect to details of any more than one specific disability) to assume that because they can’t see the disability, support to counteract the effects of the disability is not warranted. Obviously the role of making such decisions should be left to the relevant authority with knowledge of the specific disability.

The occurrences of disability benefit fraud are a persistent worry, it is important for the government to tackle these problems but attention also needs to be paid not to disturb the quality of living of disabled people who are valid recipients of disability benefit. This can be achieved by increasing public awareness of the subtleties of disability and continue to actively protecting the human rights of disabled people.

An issue that does affect me and is a direct result of increased vigilance against benefits fraud is the tightening of financial support for disabled people who are in employment. ‘Access to work’ is an invaluable government initiative to assist with disability related costs of employment and encourage the employment of disabled persons. Recently I’ve noticed increased reluctance to cover what I see as disability related expenses, this is illustrated by the removal of items that access to work will cover, for example ‘laptops and accessories’. As my ability to work relies on specialist IT equipment, this is not particularly helpful. Another result of this tightening is an increase in time and resource required to make a successful application, which puts off most people from the start.

Best regards

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One thought on “Disability benefits”

  1. GOOD FOR YOU TOM. THIS IS A VERY WELL ARGUED LETTER.

    THE TROUBLE IS THAT ALONGSIDE MASS PUBLIC AND PROFESSIONAL OUTRAGE – WITH VERY GOOD ARGUMENTS BACKING UP THE FRUSTRATION, THE GOVERNMENT (LORDS ON MONDAY – 19TH) WILL VOTE THROUGH CHANGES THAT WILL DESTROY THE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES OF THE NHS AS A WHOLE.

    EVEN IN AMERICA – WITH THEIR BAD HEALTH SYSTEM THAT WE ARE ON TRACK TO COPY- OURS IS RECOGNISED BY HEALTH POLICY EXPERTS AS ONE OF THE TWO BEST IN THE WORLD.

    WILL DECISION MAKERS READ YOUR LETTER AND LISTEN , REFLECT AND CHANGE PRACTICES FOR DISABLED PEOPLE?
    WILL THEY LISTEN TO THE MASS PUBLIC VOICE?

    GLAD YOU HAVE QUALITY ACTIVITIES THAT KEEP YOU BUSY AND HAPPY. I HAVE READ ALL YOUR POSTINGS TO DAT AND A,M REPLYING TO THIS FROM CHENNAI WHERE WE ARE PREPARING OUR FIELD RESEARCH TO EXAMINE THE ECONOMY AS A MATERIAL SYSTEM. (WELL ONE TINY PART OF IT FOR STARTERS)
    WITH LOVE TO YOU , ELLEN AND FAMILY, BARBARA AND CO

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