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'If you are disabled the government hates you'.
Helen Weston
... But it is nothing unusual for the disabled to go without the basic necessities, like food and heating in order to buy such items as tablets or a dictionary.

It is now considered to be common knowledge that the level of care and services from the NHS, for any one person, depends on how rich their local health authority happens to be. This is still obviously wrong, but at least offers some sense of logic, which is a small comfort, for those of us who are well. What I can not make sense of is the governments clear discrimination towards the disabled.

OK! So we are not as economically viable as criminals, that is obvious due to the amount of benefits and amenities that your average criminal is entitled to. But the disabled pay taxes, have qualifications and yes some of us cripps even work! Why then, are we treated as the great underclass with little understanding of physical limitations and no respect, which reflects a poor social status? I think that the government is far to easy affected by the glamorisation of crime. Perhaps all new films directed by Guy Richie should display an exemption certificate for MPs. At least they would be guided and helped like children to offer respect where it is due, and most importantly where it is not.

The definition for the word fraud, according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary is 'criminal deception; the use of false representation to gain an unjust advantage; a dishonest artifice or trick.
The trick I have discovered is to give extra cash in one hand and then to retrieve more cash from the other. Quite clever, or would be if, we the great underclass had not noticed. Unfortunately any person living on the bread-line happens to notice every penny, whether it is income or expenditure. For example, if successfully claiming incapacity benefit, whilst still alive or breathing, the claimant is entitled to £10 extra income a week. This amounts to £80 per week in comparison to £70 if claiming income support. However, unlike income support, once in receipt of incapacity benefit the claimant is then liable to pay one third of their council tax bill. Which varies throughout the country from £90 - £260. Plus housing benefit entitlement decreases to approximately £7 less per week for any property.

This in effect means that whatever the rent, the claimant is responsible for paying this deficit of £7 out of his or her own income. This amounts to the grand annual sum of £364. All because of this extra income of £10 per week, or should we just call it a round £3 now. Also relevant is the fact that (unlike income support) prescription charges and dental treatment are no longer free once claiming incapacity benefit. This is not a financial problem, if the claimant no longer requires medication and has perfect teeth. Also if you are well and in receipt of income support and therefore do not need any specialised equipment for the home, a handrail to help you in and out of your bath for example. You will be pleased to know that you can claim for these items to be supplied and fitted. Only claimants of incapacity benefit have to pay for these extravagances.

If the reader has a calculator at hand I think you may find a rather large loss for the claimant and a tidy profit in the governments purse. If this is not obtaining money under false pretences then I don’t know what is. Perhaps the government has re-defined the meaning of the word fraud. This is why we all talk and write the ‘Modern English language’ in schools and colleges today. I think I will buy a new dictionary, just in case. Of course I will have a problem financially, trying to find the cash. But it is nothing unusual for the disabled to go without the basic necessities, like food and heating in order to buy such items as tablets or a dictionary.

Just one final note about the governments audacious attempt to clamp down on fraudulent claims. ‘Means testing’ sounds good and would be if the adjudication officers that deal with the claims were allowed to have any medical knowledge. So if you are fit and well and were thinking of becoming disabled just to claim the extra benefits, go right ahead, its easy. All that is required of you is correct form filling ability. Just lie. No real medical evidence is required and any that is will not be understood. I’m suspicious! Perhaps the government has statistically researched into the amount of genuine disabled against fraudulent claimants. I suspect the genuine outweigh the fraudulent, in this light the benefit system is starting to make sense! The moral of this article concludes; If you are disabled the government hate you. Try crime for a living, you will have more rights.

© Helen JWeston 2002


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