Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently then you will know that we are facing a general election on June 8th 2017. This fills me with hope and terrifies me in equal measure. I am hopeful that things will change yet terrified that they won’t or that things will get worse.
Before having Jack and Lucy I didn’t really care much for politics, I always voted but gave little thought before putting my cross in a box. In my ignorance I believed that the people that needed the most help would get it, I mean we don’t live in a third world country right? So when we needed to find support for Jack when he was around 3 I fully expected to be able to access it easily, we collected the forms to claim a disability benefit for him and when we opened them I nearly cried. You need a PhD to complete these forms, you have to provide huge amounts of evidence to prove that your child can not walk , can not eat, sleep etc. You simply can not say that they can’t do this stuff, oh no ! You have to collect evidence from every single professional involved in their care ( no simple task when you have a complex disability) and send it away along with the very lengthy form. Then you wait for someone who has never met your child and knows nothing about their syndrome to make a decision on whether they are entitled to financial support . When Jack was awarded Disability Living Allowance we were ecstatic , yes that’s right, we were ecstatic that someone we had never met had believed us when we were telling the truth. I thought in my naievity that was the end of that, but it wasn’t sadly, we had to go through the same thing every few years . Fast forward 15 years and Jack at 18 had to go through claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP) a very helpful person at the DWP suggested he may grow out of his syndrome . Then there is the further indignity of being called to a face to face assessment where a total stranger with a medical qualification totally unrelated to your disability will make you perform a variety of tasks to try and prove that you don’t have a disability and or are not ill. If by some chance they believe that you are telling the truth they will allow you your benefits , but can review you at anytime and make you go endure the whole hideous process again.
Under our current government people like Jack and Lucy have really struggled, we also face Brexit a decision made by most voters based on xenophobia , ironically the very people that voted to leave Europe will be among the hardest hit when European funding is withdrawn.
People that know me in real life often joke about my left wing views, I have been accused of having views left of Trotsky but I own that. Having lived with Jack for 18 years and fought countless battles for him and Lucy I have seen first hand what government cuts look like. I have worked for and with Carers for 13 years, I have watched people crumble under the pressure of caring for someone that they love. Yes I am acutely aware of what suffering looks like . I also know that our country is not in great shape, but taking vital support from the most vulnerable members of society is not going to help. In fact as people are further oppressed and can no longer cope then it places a further burden on an already strained economy.
So before June 8th read, research and educate yourselves. The proposed cuts may not apply to you or someone you love right now , but none of us know what is around the corner.