One Month Before Heartbreak is taking place from 14th – 16th January 2011. This is a blog swarm (or blog carnival) style event somewhat similar to Blogging Against Disablism Day (BADD). A Blog swarm is where people come together to post on their own blogs about the same issue and then share the links on a master list.
Drastic cuts have been announced in the UK to help reduce the monetary deficit. The proposed cuts appear to disproportionately target the more vulnerable members of society, including disabled people. When the cuts were first announced the government freely admitted that they hadn’t carried out a full analysis of the likely impact on disabled people.
The cuts include:
Removing Higher Rate Mobility Allowance from people in care homes, a move which is likely to make many people prisoners in their own homes (and possibly in their bed in some cases as HRM can also be used for specialist powered wheelchairs).
Changes to the way Disability Living Allowance (DLA) works. One of the proposed changes is that all existing claimants should undergo a medical to ensure people aren’t receiving it when they aren’t entitled. A costly and potentially pointless exercise as medical evidence is needed before DLA can be awarded and some claimants go for medicals anyway. DLA also has one of the lowest fraud rates of all benefits in the UK – I’m not a benefits expert but I have an incurable, lifelong disability – and an indefinite DLA award, I’m probably one of thousands of DLA claimants in similar circumstances. Sending me for a medical would cost a lot of money and achieve nothing that the forms and medical notes my doctors have provided hasn’t already done. All in the name of trying to save the government some money.
Another change to DLA that is being considered is changing it to something called PIP (Personal Independence Payment). With DLA if you have certain conditions your disability is recognised and you get it automatically. If you are considered terminal there is a fast track system. PIP as it’s been described appears to have neither of those safeties. One of the main things which would be looked at with that would be how well you can use aids and equipment. For example, it’s pretty obvious that a wheelchair user has some mobility problems, if they didn’t they wouldn’t use a chair, after all. But under PIP rules they could be ruled to have no problems with mobility if they can use their wheelchair independently.
Council funded care has been cut. The Independent Living Fund is ending which could force more people into care homes.. Access to Work has had greater limits placed on what it can provide which will make it harder for disabled people to find work and potentially may mean some disabled people who are working have to stop. Free bus passes are being withdrawn making transport more difficult. We are treated by the government as second class citizens and hate crimes are increasing.
There are other cuts planned. The 12 Days of Cripmas is a topical take on an old Christmas carol and lists many of them. Chilling but well worth a watch.
The Broken of Britain is a non party political group which was set up by Bendy Girl to help give disabled people a voice in fighting these cuts. Many disabled people and our allies have shared their story, e-mailed their MPs or done whatever they can to help out the cause since it was launched. One Month Before Heartbreak is one of the projects we are doing this year.
As I said above it’s a blog swarm which means people getting together to all blog on a subject or a theme at a specified time. The hope is that by all writing at the same time it raises awareness and makes more of an impact.
The consultation that’s currently ongoing about DLA reform ends on 14th February 2011. Which is Valentines Day, traditionally a day for love but which could severely affect disabled people if DLA reforms aren’t handled correctly. We need to ensure that our voices are heard. We’re holding this event a month before the consultation ends in order to raise awareness of the consultation and give people to chance to respond to it if they wish. Bendy Girl came up with the name One Month Before Heartbreak.
If you want to take part, write about whatever you want. Obviously, it should have something to do with disability and it would be great if you could mention this event and Broken of Britain. You don’t need to write specifically about the DLA consultation and your personal experience. Those are welcome but this isn’t topic specific. You can participate on one of the days or on all of them – it’s up to you.
Nor do you need to write. You can do a video, a recording, write a poem, draw a picture, anything you want! Sharing links and supporting those blogging is also very helpful
I plan to make space available on my own blog to anyone that doesn’t have somewhere to share and wants it.
You don’t need to be disabled or a carer or come from the UK to take part. For our cause to be successful we need support from the international disabled community and from the non disabled community worldwide.
The full details of One Month Before Heartbreak (as they stand now) are available here
One Month Before Heartbreak
A Broken of Britain
14th – 16th January 2011