If you don’t work or can’t work, you are labelled as ‘lazy, good-for-nothing spongers’, irrespective of how long you have been unemployed.
For example, even if you have recently lost your job through cuts, redundancy or sickness, and have paid into the system for many years, you’re labelled a scrounger too.
You then find yourself subjected to rigorous sickness reviews, which, incidently, have also been under reform and are now even more restrictive in terms of meeting the tight, nigh on impossible criteria. As a result, many disabled people are now finding themselves being taken off benefits and deemed “Fit for Work”.
It may come as a surprise to some people to hear that many disabled people actually want to work, but for some it is impossible due to their physical or mental condition, or both, preventing them from doing so. Others may need additional support.
The government’s Access to Work programme, as the name suggests, supposedly helps people with disabilities to access work by providing things such as work station assessments, special equipment and help with travel.
However, due to recent cuts to this service, we at LEAPS are now seeing more disabled people’s applications for support into work being rejected, or those disabled people currently in work having their support packages withdrawn when they come to re-apply, even though the government’s website states support can be transferred from one job to another.
So you are quite literally “damned if you do work, and damned if you don’t work”.
LEAPS Support Group
C/o North Shields Library