Monday, May 02, 2011

On Disability - Pensions and Access

I'm about to rant.

I'm truly appalled at the perception being fostered that disability benefits are easy to get. We have the Prime Minister saying the Government is going to tighten the already stringent criteria - the Leader of the Opposition has always espoused this. I'm not sure why. I doubt there are vast numbers of people out there rorting the system. I am sure there are some. I'm also sure they are the minority.

In Australia, and the other countries I have some knowledge of, it is not easy to get disability benefits. It's hard. You can't just rock up and say 'Gimme.' You have to jump through hoops and keep on jumping through them for as long as you are in receipt of benefits no matter how bad you feel.

Then, even when you convince the authorities, if your disability is invisible (Many are. Think mental illness, CFS and chronic migraine for example.) people are always going to be suspicious of you. If you try to make the most of your life by doing as much as you can when you can you will be judged because if you can do that (whatever that is - going to the beach, visiting friends, going to a convention etc) obviously you are just wasting the money the public has given you or you really are fit and should be at work.

Posts on two blogs recently here and referred on from the first here deal with what it's like to have a disability and how hard it is to just keep going - and how frustrating it is to be dependent on others.

The truth is most people on disability benefits are in pain of some sort, living on a pittance and would like nothing better than to be able to work. Yes, it's hard for someone who is fit and healthy to understand what living with a disability is like but it would be really good if they made the effort instead of attacking the recipients. Life's already hard enough for them.

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