Friday, November 25, 2011

The Benefits Scandal - Soundings

The benefits scandal by Kaliya Franklin and Sue Marsh

The government is withdrawing the support that enables disabled people to work, while simultaneously arguing that more of them should be working


Anonymous said...

Good article you both.

Interestingly, in government documentation, it states that people who are refused ESA and then refused JSA because they are unfit to work, will have to rely on 'private means' to support them! Of course, we all have trust funds!

I have researched endlessly trying to find some work that I could do at home without success. At one point I thought I'd cracked it when I found a website that offers all sorts of work with reasonable pay, specifically for the disabled. The only problem was the company is based in the U.S. Apparently, in the U.S. companies have seen the benefits of, for example, the disabled working from home as customer service operatives, because they save a fortune in overheads, and disabled people obtain a reasonable income, but in all honesty, I couldn't be consistent even working at home.

I would need a 'home' in the first place, and your article points what I have been saying for the last 18 months: the government can't 'magic' away the poor and vulnerable. 'The poor will always be with us', a certain man said 2000 years ago, and it remains true. But they've decided, in the words of one minister when inspecting a new social housing development that: "Its too good for social housing isn't it?". Yes, a roof over my head, is too good for the likes of me.

As such, I will be charged an extra £100 per month for the privilage of staying here, which will rise each year as housing benefit drops. I already pay £230 every 4 weeks out of my benefit income for my care; the extra amount to pay in 'under occupancy' fines will mean I will not have enough food to eat. There is nowhere cheaper for me to move to, as my rent is probably the cheapest in the UK. LHA rates are too low for what's on offer here, and LHA will drop each year like housing benefit due to uprating. There are no smaller places to rent with my housing association; no hostel places.

I've had no nightmares this week about coming home and finding all my belongings strewn outside my house, and walking in to find that someone else has taken possession of it, and I feel ok about it. Most weeks I don't feel ok; I feel frightened and stressed, and as a result I have decided to end my life rather than face the humiliation of homelessness. I wouldn't live long anyway if I was forced to sleep rough.

Meantime, I follow people like yourselves who campaign for all of us, in hope that disabled peoples' lives, my life, could be possibly be saved somehow. Of course I will try my utmost to stay here, like we all will, but analysts say that the £32,000 cost of evicting each tenant and the loss of housing benefit as householders get into arrears through non payment of the under occupancy 'fines', will make HAs bankrupt. Private investers will take over, buying the properties for peanuts, and having the finance to evict us, so we'll be forced out eventually.

The ironic thing is that my carers will join me sleeping rough as they will be made homeless too: work does not in fact 'pay'. Also, 'under occupancy' is a fallacy; if my carers and me could afford to pay full rent, we could keep our homes with no questions asked. So this policy is not about freeing up homes, but specifically to make the lives of the poor and vulnerable 'hell'.

They can walk all over me because I haven't got the strength to fight it, but working people will not accept being made homeless, so who knows what will happen when they realise that even they won't be allowed a place called home?

Thanks again. Keep plugging away. Keep publisizing it. If you can, put yourself up for election in 2015 as an independent. I'm sure we'd all contribute to pay your deposit!


Dark_Divinity (Ouch-er) said...

"Interestingly, in government documentation, it states that people who are refused ESA and then refused JSA because they are unfit to work, will have to rely on 'private means' to support them! Of course, we all have trust funds!"

Which means if you have no money to support yourself you are put in the position of having to lie.

Either to lie about how bad your disability or health is to get ESA or other disability-related benefit or lie about how well you are to claim JSA and then as you aren't well enough to work to lie yet again to the DWP.
Pretending to apply for work in the information you have to submit to them to show you are actively seeking work or if you aren't that brave. Putting yourself at risk of getting caught and ending up being convicted of benefit fraud and getting put in the papers all over you just wanting some help and money in order to exist and try and survive. Quite clever actually, the way they have made the system which is so inflexible that you end up trying to play the system just to survive and end up dropping yourself in the doo-doo, which benefits them and their statistics as you are yet another one who has been caught "fiddling"

Anonymous said...

An excellent report, I'm forwarding it to everyone.