Sep 302016
 

Let’s toxify the Tory conference by trashing their social media coverage

If you can’t make to Brum to take part in the West Midlamds DPAC  protest or the People’s Assembly March, you can join us to protest online.

Here are the things that we’ve prepared to liven up the Tory Conference, you can use these at any time during the week, but best times for online protest are shown Below:

Key days and times for online protests.

Sunday 2nd October from 2pm to 4.30pn : Theresa May will be giving her conference speech sometime during this session

Tuesday 4th October from 2.30pm 4.30om: The Work and Pensions Minister Damien Green will be giving a speech sometime during this session

Wednesday 5th October Noon Onwards: Theresa May’s Leadership Keynote Speech


Some music to help get you through Tory Conference week


Snoopergrass – Far Right


UB4Cameron – “Dead Dead Swine”


Theresa May Hard House Rap Message To The Nation (Darth Vader Remix Song)


The following songs will get sweary – if that bothers you – don’t go past here

CAUSE OF ACCIDENT – “Sick of This Shit”


Citzen Smart – Bedroom Tax Song: You Cannae Have A Spare Room in a Pokey Cooncil Flat


Oi Polloi – Fuck Everybody Who Voted Tory


F The Tories Freestyle – NxtGen


Rockin Paddy – Which Side Are You On?


Grace Petrie – Farewell to Welfare


Sean Taylor – Stand up

 Posted by at 14:24
Sep 282016
 

Francis Ryan and The Guardian are desperately trying to find a disabled person who’s appealed a benefit decision with written evidence only (so not in person giving oral evidence at tribunal). Francis is doing it to highlight the problems with the government’s proposal to shift appeals online as advocates tell her that – as difficult as giving evidence in person is – doing it purely over paperwork severely reduces a claimants’ chance of success.

If you’ve appealed  via paper/written evidence only and  struggled please get in touch with Frances if you’re willing to speak about this. Her email is

francesryan.journalism@gmail.com

 

 Posted by at 13:27
Sep 272016
 

Please submit evidence to this enquiry by October 21st  if you use care and support or Personal Assistants or are a parent of someone who uses these services. It is important that individuals let the rapporteur know what has happened since the closure of the ILF both to new applicants in 2010 and to all in 2015 and due to the cuts to Local Authority funding.

 

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Disability/SRDisabilities/Pages/Provisionofsupporttopersonswithdisabilities.aspx

 

Questionnaire on the “provision of support to persons with disabilities” – Call for submissions

The Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Ms. Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, is currently preparing a study, to be presented at the 34th session of the Human Rights Council in March 2017, on the provision of support to persons with disabilities.

The Special Rapporteur welcomes inputs, in accessible formats (Word), in English, French, Russian or Spanish, from Member States, international and regional organizations, UN agencies, funds and programmes, organizations of and for persons with disabilities, civil society, national human rights institutions and other national independent mechanisms designated or established to monitor the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, disability or equality Ombudspersons, scholars, research institutions and policy think tanks, private sector businesses and networks, community movements, and private individuals, to provide information on the provision of support to persons with disabilities.

Submissions should be sent by e-mail to the address sr.disability@ohchr.org no later than 21 October 2016. Concise responses are encouraged, inclusive of relevant attachments where available.

Kindly indicate if you have any objections with regard to your reply being posted on this website.


Questionnaire on
 the provision of support to persons with disabilities

 

  1. Please provide information on the following services that are available for persons with disabilities in your country, including data on their coverage, geographic distribution and delivery arrangements, funding and sustainability, challenges and shortcoming in their implementation:
  2. Personal assistance;
  3. In-home, residential and community support;
  4. Support in decision-making, including peer support; and
  5. Communication support, including support for augmentative and alternative communication.

 

  1. Please explain how persons with disabilities can access information about the existing services referred to in question one, including referral procedures, eligibility criteria and application requirements.

 

  1. Please elaborate on how these services respond to the specific needs of persons with disabilities throughout their life cycle (infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and older age) and how is service delivery ensured in the transition periods between life cycle stages.

 

  1. Please provide information on the number of certified sign language interpreters and deafblind interpreters available in your country.

 

  1. Please provide information on the existence of any partnership between State institutions and private service providers (e.g., non-governmental organizations, for-profit service providers) for the provision of support to persons with disabilities.

 

  1. Please describe to what extent and how are persons with disabilities and their representative organizations involved in the design, planning, implementation and evaluation of support services.

 

  1. Please provide any other relevant information and statistics (including surveys, censuses, administrative data, reports, and studies) related to the provision of support to persons with disabilities in your country.

 

 

 Posted by at 20:13
Sep 262016
 

As well as general demands for improved rights of disabled people DPAC, Mental Health Resistance Network and Recovery in the bin have drawn up a set of specific demands for Mental Health.

After decades of oppression we believe that disabled people must be afforded self determination from the grass roots level. “Nothing About Us Without Us” must become a reality.

No Longer will we tolerate large disability charities which see us as nothing more than marketable commodities from which to make profits for their own benefit speaking for us and deciding our futures. We expect a Labour Party which claims to support disabled people’s rights to ensure that it is our voices that are listened to and not the empty voices of our oppressors. Without this guarantee DPAC cannot approve of the disability policies of any political party.

DPAC priorities for setting Mental Health  Disability Policies.

We deplore the appropriation of the Recovery Model by statutory services and government departments in order to justify the withdrawal of services and benefits from people who need them. 

Compulsory MH Training for Professionals in Various Fields

  1. Mental health training should be compulsory for all health care professionals, including doctors and nurses, and suicide awareness training should be given to all health care professionals. Such training should be kept up to date.
  2. All Police Forces should have full mental health awareness training, stop using section 136, and acknowledge that custody suites and lock-ups in police cells are not safe places.
  3. Mental health awareness training and crisis awareness training should be available for all teaching staff in primary and secondary schools, and further education institutions.
  4. A person suffering from mental distress should be treated with respect, courtesy, dignity, and consideration at all times as should and their families and friends.

Treatment Changes

 We demand the abolition of forced treatment and Compulsory Treatment Orders (CTOs).

  1. All treatment should be with the full agreement of the person being treated and with their full understanding of the side effects of treatment, both pharmaceutical and psychological.

7.We demand the right to refuse treatment as it is ratified under the United Nations Convention Rights People with Disabilities (UNCRPD)

8.We want recognition of the link between abuse and trauma, and mental distress. The British Psychological Society has already made this link.

9.We demand the recognition that child abuse prevention is also mental distress prevention.

  1. We want the abolition of the medical model of mental distress to be replaced with an acceptance that mental distress is part of the human condition and is a normal response to adverse events and circumstances. Appropriate care and support should be the right for all people suffering from mental distress.
  2. Long term psychological treatments should be provided freely to all who need them and talking therapies should not be restricted to short term interventions. We recognise that not everyone wants talking treatments and this should be respected.
  3. The person experiencing mental distress should decide their care and always have their wishes respected.
  4. There should be a recognition that the use of alcohol and drugs are a form of self medication for many in mental distress. Drugs should therefore be decriminalised.

14.Access to detox and drug rehab programmes should be available to everyone.

15.We demand recognition that many social values that are common place, such as competition being intrinsic to human relationships, are erroneous and cause harm to people’s mental health.

  1. Bereavement counselling should be made available for all children who lose a parent or supporting person. 

Financial Needs – Individual and Other Support

  1. We demand recognition that the WCA and PIP assessment processes are detrimental to people’s mental health and should be scrapped. The money saved by not paying Private Companies to carry out these assessments should be re-invested into better services.
  2. We demand guaranteed financial security and appropriate housing for everyone experiencing mental distress.
  3. No aspect of the social security system should cause distress or deterioration in a claimant’s mental health condition.
  4. Funding should be provided for Crisis Care to be made available for help and support 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
  5. Funding should be made available for the setting up of Crisis Houses as safe spaces. Access to these should be every person’s right and should include ‘sitters’ who will be there to support people throughout these times.
  6. We want hospital beds to be replaced with beds in settings similar to domestic environments.
  7. More provision of services for children and young adults. 1 in 10 children are being denied mental health service support which is having a huge impact on the family and schools.
  8. Concessionary travel passes should be made available to all people living with mental distress to enable independence in the community and to attend appointments with health care professionals, thus aiding mental wellbeing.
  9. We want special support centres for young men who are suicidal and a paradigm shift away from the “norms” which are set as ideals of masculinity and may contribute to the high rate of suicide in young men.

26.Funding should be made available for research into mental health care that is based on a Social Model of mental distress; such funding should at least equal the current amount of money available for pharmaceutical research.

27.We demand the provision of special support for people with mental distress to ensure their children remain with them as a family.

  1. We demand a holistic approach to care – where a person has both a physical and a mental health problem, such impairments should be treated equally with respect and with dignity and with full understanding that a physical impairment can impact on a mental health impairment and vice versa.
  2. We want specialist support to be made available for ALL armed forces veterans who experience mental distress and for housing to be made available to them.
  3. We deplore the underfunding of mental health services in the NHS and the current practice of discharging people with mental health problems from secondary care into primary care where their needs cannot be met. These services should be properly funded.

 

Other

  1. Any crime against someone with a mental health condition should be treated as a hate crime.
  2. We want an ongoing campaign to end all bullying in schools and work places and within families and general society where such bullying is linked to mental distress.
  3. Action should be taken to end the ongoing discrimination against LGBT people as such discrimination can lead to mental distress.

Further Investigations Needed 

  1. We demand a full investigation into the effects of long term use of psychiatric medications and demand that mental health professionals treat reports of side effects of medication seriously.
  2. We want a full investigation into the appropriateness of the continuous use of medication as the main form of treatment for people in mental distress.

 

  1. We demand a full public inquiry into the impact on people in mental distress of being detained in Prison Environments.
  2. We want a full investigation into why so many people from BME communities are being diagnosed with a mental health condition.
  3. We want an investigation into the harmful effects of E.C.T.
  4. We demand an inquiry into the success or otherwise of the use of personal budgets for day care provision for people living with mental health problems.
  5. We demand a full public inquiry into the significantly shortened life expectancy of people with mental health conditions and a full report produced with recommendations which should be implemented.

 

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)

www.dpac.uk.net

mail@dpac.uk.net

@dis_ppl_protest

 Posted by at 21:47
Sep 262016
 

This is what we have asked the Labour Party to support and will also be asking others as soon as possible to do the same.

After decades of oppression we believe that disabled people must be afforded self determination from the grass roots level. “Nothing About Us Without Us” must become a reality.

No Longer will we tolerate large disability charities which see us as nothing more than marketable commodities from which to make profits for their own benefit speaking for us and deciding our futures. We expect a Labour Party which claims to support disabled people’s rights to ensure that it is our voices that are listened to and not the empty voices of our oppressors. Without this guarantee DPAC cannot approve of the disability policies of any political party.

 

The UNCRDP and our human and civil rights must be fully implemented, promoted and enforced.

Disabled people are affected by the cuts 9 times more than everybody else. People with the most severe disabilities are affected by the cuts 19 times more than everybody else. This discrimination against disabled people must end.

 

DPAC priorities for setting disability policies  – Policy Pledges we are seeking from Labour

 

A Legal Right to Independent Living and Self-Determination:

The creation of a specific independent living law: a legal right that fully enacts and enforces, as domestic law, the UNCRPD incorporating the 12 pillars of independent living as its key goals and ensures provision of independent living support is free at the point of need and paid from general taxation.

 

A continuing right for disabled people to receive a Direct Payment to fund their own care and support and have a right to choose what option they wish to use to provide that care and support.

 

There should be a single nationally transportable social care system and an end to localism and the current postcode lottery that exists. Funding for care should return to a 4 tier rather then a 2 tier system with low and moderate needs being met for all as well as substantial and critical. This would, as in the past, act as a preventative measure which would allow disabled people to retain independence and dignity longer.

 

Set up an Independent living task force, co-produced with disabled people to review independent living in order to identify how best to improve, develop and extend independent living support building on the successful model of ILF provision.

 

Legislation to end 15 minute home care visits and any move to replace face-to-face visits with telecare options.

 

Conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the use of agencies to provide home care provision with a view of bringing home-care (where provided as a service) back into local authority control.

 

An end to zero hour contracts for home care staff. Local Authorities to provide sufficient funding for those using Direct payments to meet all their financial responsibilities as an employer.

 

Serious changes should be made to how family carers are better supported both financially and practically.

 

Access to Health and Support Services: NHS funding must be protected and all forms of privatisation of our NHS should end with immediate effect.

 

Funding for mental health services including crisis teams should be protected and where necessary increased to former and safer levels. There should be an end of rationing of primary MH care services and treatment tailored to needs.

 

More funding investment is needed for children’s adolescent mental health services.

 

GP and nurse training should include compulsory training on mental health conditions and treatment.

 

There must be changes made to the Mental Capacity Act which is failing people it is supposed to protect. The Best Interests concept means that substitute decision making has become the default position rather than supporting people who are disabled or have Learning Difficulties to make their own decisions.

 

Welfare Support : There must be a publicly run welfare system and an end to paying private firms massive amounts of public money to carry out disability assessments badly. Instead that money should be invested into providing decent, liveable benefit levels.

 

An end to the Work Capability Assessment which is too flawed to amend. No aspect of the social security system should cause distress or deterioration in a claimant’s health condition.

 

An end to replacing Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payments where assessment processes are in complete chaos. Flawed assessments are depriving many disabled people of the support they need to get to work or to take part in society.

 

A full public, independent inquiry into deaths of social security claimants   leading where appropriate to criminal proceedings against ministers, civil   servants, and employees of service providing companies, ATOS, Maximus Capita who were found to have broken any laws with respect to this

 

 

Engagement with any back to work services must be optional for all claimants.

 

An immediate end to benefit sanctions which have led to deaths and increasing poverty. Ensure that there is no conditionality of JSA or ESA WRAG on seeking treatments and no linkage with treatment and receipt of benefits.
There must be a statutory right ensuring all people have ‘enough to live on’  and no-one is left destitute without money for food and fuel as a very minimum.

 

A total rethink on any move to Universal Credit and instead serious consideration to be given working with disabled people and DPOs to a move to a single system of welfare support based on the concept of a disabled person’s citizen’s income.

 

Policy recognition that there will always be disabled people who are unable or too ill to work. These individuals must be supported by a publically funded system.

 

Housing:

A strategic and sustained programme of building social housing to the standards of universal design and accessibility is carried out.

 

An end to bedroom tax and the Benefit Cap.

 

Until there are adequate levels of social housing available an increase in LHA rates to fully reflect the real costs of housing to meet the needs of disabled people and disabled children.

 

Access, Inclusion and taking part in society:

The creation of legal status for British Sign Language, and disabled people’s access on an equal basis with others to the physical environment, to transportation, justice, family life, the arts, to accessible information and all forms of information technology.

 

Enact and maintain a fully accessible public transport system with free transport available for disabled people.

 

Fully Inclusive Education:

Education is the key to creating an inclusive society. This can only be achieved by having one fully inclusive mainstream education system, funded by the state. Without inclusive education you will not get an inclusive society

 

Cuts to Disabled Students’ Allowance should be reversed

 

All Disabled People have a right to Work and get a Job:

A comprehensive plan of action is developed with disabled people and our organisations to tackle the discrimination and exclusion disabled people face in work and employment.

 

Access to Work (AtW) must be extended to include unpaid voluntary positions and recent changes that limit and reduce the support provided through AtW should be reversed.

 

The recently introduced (August 2013) fees for taking an employer to Employment Tribunal must be repealed.

 

Ensure that all government contracts, at a national, regional and local level, are only awarded to companies that are fulfilling measurable targets for the employment of disabled people.

 

Access to Justice:

All legal aid changes must be repealed and disabled people’s rights to access justice must be restored.

 

Disability Hate Crime laws and sentencing must be strengthened.

 

Reversal of the watering down of disabled people’s rights with the move from DDA to the Equality Act.

 

Restoration of funding for advice advocacy services such as CABs.

 

Legislation to prevent assisted dying.

 

Local Authority Statutory Services:

There must be no redefining of Local Authority Statutory Services to reduce their obligations even further.

 

Real and Effective Co-Production with user-led Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations across the UK:

Ensure meaningful, well-resourced and accessible co-production with disabled people and their organisations at local, regional and national levels on all issues affecting us.

 

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)

www.dpac.uk.net

mail@dpac.uk.net

@dis_ppl_protest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After decades of oppression we believe that disabled people must be afforded self determination from the grass roots level. “Nothing About Us Without Us” must become a reality.

No Longer will we tolerate large disability charities which see us as nothing more than marketable commodities from which to make profits for their own benefit speaking for us and deciding our futures. We expect a Labour Party which claims to support disabled people’s rights to ensure that it is our voices that are listened to and not the empty voices of our oppressors. Without this guarantee DPAC cannot approve of the disability policies of any political party.

 

The UNCRDP and our human and civil rights must be fully implemented, promoted and enforced.

Disabled people are affected by the cuts 9 times more than everybody else. People with the most severe disabilities are affected by the cuts 19 times more than everybody else. This discrimination against disabled people must end.

 

DPAC priorities for setting disability policies  – Policy Pledges we are seeking from Labour

 

A Legal Right to Independent Living and Self-Determination:

The creation of a specific independent living law: a legal right that fully enacts and enforces, as domestic law, the UNCRPD incorporating the 12 pillars of independent living as its key goals and ensures provision of independent living support is free at the point of need and paid from general taxation.

 

A continuing right for disabled people to receive a Direct Payment to fund their own care and support and have a right to choose what option they wish to use to provide that care and support.

 

There should be a single nationally transportable social care system and an end to localism and the current postcode lottery that exists. Funding for care should return to a 4 tier rather then a 2 tier system with low and moderate needs being met for all as well as substantial and critical. This would, as in the past, act as a preventative measure which would allow disabled people to retain independence and dignity longer.

 

Set up an Independent living task force, co-produced with disabled people to review independent living in order to identify how best to improve, develop and extend independent living support building on the successful model of ILF provision.

 

Legislation to end 15 minute home care visits and any move to replace face-to-face visits with telecare options.

 

Conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the use of agencies to provide home care provision with a view of bringing home-care (where provided as a service) back into local authority control.

 

An end to zero hour contracts for home care staff. Local Authorities to provide sufficient funding for those using Direct payments to meet all their financial responsibilities as an employer.

 

Serious changes should be made to how family carers are better supported both financially and practically.

 

Access to Health and Support Services: NHS funding must be protected and all forms of privatisation of our NHS should end with immediate effect.

 

Funding for mental health services including crisis teams should be protected and where necessary increased to former and safer levels. There should be an end of rationing of primary MH care services and treatment tailored to needs.

 

More funding investment is needed for children’s adolescent mental health services.

 

GP and nurse training should include compulsory training on mental health conditions and treatment.

 

There must be changes made to the Mental Capacity Act which is failing people it is supposed to protect. The Best Interests concept means that substitute decision making has become the default position rather than supporting people who are disabled or have Learning Difficulties to make their own decisions.

 

Welfare Support : There must be a publicly run welfare system and an end to paying private firms massive amounts of public money to carry out disability assessments badly. Instead that money should be invested into providing decent, liveable benefit levels.

 

An end to the Work Capability Assessment which is too flawed to amend. No aspect of the social security system should cause distress or deterioration in a claimant’s health condition.

 

An end to replacing Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payments where assessment processes are in complete chaos. Flawed assessments are depriving many disabled people of the support they need to get to work or to take part in society.

 

A full public, independent inquiry into deaths of social security claimants   leading where appropriate to criminal proceedings against ministers, civil   servants, and employees of service providing companies, ATOS, Maximus Capita who were found to have broken any laws with respect to this

 

 

Engagement with any back to work services must be optional for all claimants.

 

An immediate end to benefit sanctions which have led to deaths and increasing poverty. Ensure that there is no conditionality of JSA or ESA WRAG on seeking treatments and no linkage with treatment and receipt of benefits.
There must be a statutory right ensuring all people have ‘enough to live on’  and no-one is left destitute without money for food and fuel as a very minimum.

 

A total rethink on any move to Universal Credit and instead serious consideration to be given working with disabled people and DPOs to a move to a single system of welfare support based on the concept of a disabled person’s citizen’s income.

 

Policy recognition that there will always be disabled people who are unable or too ill to work. These individuals must be supported by a publically funded system.

 

Housing:

A strategic and sustained programme of building social housing to the standards of universal design and accessibility is carried out.

 

An end to bedroom tax and the Benefit Cap.

 

Until there are adequate levels of social housing available an increase in LHA rates to fully reflect the real costs of housing to meet the needs of disabled people and disabled children.

 

Access, Inclusion and taking part in society:

The creation of legal status for British Sign Language, and disabled people’s access on an equal basis with others to the physical environment, to transportation, justice, family life, the arts, to accessible information and all forms of information technology.

 

Enact and maintain a fully accessible public transport system with free transport available for disabled people.

 

Fully Inclusive Education:

Education is the key to creating an inclusive society. This can only be achieved by having one fully inclusive mainstream education system, funded by the state. Without inclusive education you will not get an inclusive society

 

Cuts to Disabled Students’ Allowance should be reversed

 

All Disabled People have a right to Work and get a Job:

A comprehensive plan of action is developed with disabled people and our organisations to tackle the discrimination and exclusion disabled people face in work and employment.

 

Access to Work (AtW) must be extended to include unpaid voluntary positions and recent changes that limit and reduce the support provided through AtW should be reversed.

 

The recently introduced (August 2013) fees for taking an employer to Employment Tribunal must be repealed.

 

Ensure that all government contracts, at a national, regional and local level, are only awarded to companies that are fulfilling measurable targets for the employment of disabled people.

 

Access to Justice:

All legal aid changes must be repealed and disabled people’s rights to access justice must be restored.

 

Disability Hate Crime laws and sentencing must be strengthened.

 

Reversal of the watering down of disabled people’s rights with the move from DDA to the Equality Act.

 

Restoration of funding for advice advocacy services such as CABs.

 

Legislation to prevent assisted dying.

 

Local Authority Statutory Services:

There must be no redefining of Local Authority Statutory Services to reduce their obligations even further.

 

Real and Effective Co-Production with user-led Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations across the UK:

Ensure meaningful, well-resourced and accessible co-production with disabled people and their organisations at local, regional and national levels on all issues affecting us.

 

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)

www.dpac.uk.net

mail@dpac.uk.net

@dis_ppl_protest

 

 

 

 Posted by at 21:41
Sep 222016
 

DPAC is supporting the campaign to save Mental Health Action Group Sheffield (MHAGS) from closure due to funding cuts from Sheffield Council.

MHAGS is a user led organisation run by and for MH service users, at every level including office staff. There is no where else like it locally and there are currently 250 people on their register.

Mental Health Action Group Sheffield, known as MHAGS for short,  was formed over 20 years ago as a patients campaign at the closure of an NHS day centre in Sheffield at the hands of Margaret Thatcher, in fact the closure of such NHS trust groups were some of the last legislations she passed before being deposed.

The patient campaign group fought long and hard and were successful in getting funding, and achieving charitable status, and rented a property from the Sheffield City Council in order to keep a day centre available for people with a variety of complex psychiatric and or psychological conditions.

The group have been moved several times by Sheffield Council over the years. in 1997 the council got £10million to renovate an area in city centre called the Peaces Gardens, of course  this meant relocation of the group, members say they were made to feel that they wern’t welcome in  the new and improved city centre and felt heavily discriminated against so in 1997, at one of many protests, was that the group occupied the Peace gardens to raise public awareness of their plight.

After it was nearly complete the SCC moved the group to a red light district, knowing full well that some of the members of the group had issues with substance misuse and they turned to soliciting in order to support their habits.

Members found this upsetting and distressing, they were frightened for their friends well being. After more yet campaigning, they have since been moved to more suitable premises

In the 1990’s the group pioneered a bus pass in Sheffield for MH service, they got funding for a camera and had a dark room and each pass was signed off by a psychaitrist, and printed on the premises! This then enabled a member to travel for a reduced fare or 25p it could well be that MHAGS hard work all those years ago  contributed to MH being included in mobility passes today!

Over the years they have used a variety of group therapies :

-Walking Groups
-Sewing group
-Photography group ( funding for dark room n cameras etc )
-Art group

-They go n many trips such as seaside days out or countryside walks.

-There has been two cases of group members being assisted in gaining asylum status by other group members! One of these young men who was from Eritrea went on to attend Sheffield University and now gives back to the community.

-MHAGS chair/secretary and a few other members also act as an appropriate adult when someone with MH is remanded in custody.

– The probation service used to refer people to MHAGS for support on release from prison, but council has enforced a referral system in recent years.

– a well known bakery gives surplus bread and buns in a van each week that the group then distribute to homeless people in the city.

– there is fresh meal prepared by a service user who is in their own words an honorary chef! Some members can’t cook hot food due  to disability, this is a free meal and is offered every day the centre is open, Monday – Friday, if the centre closes there will be no alternative the members will go hungry.

– There’s an IT corner and a pool table as well as a seated eating area , the value of the level of acceptance users feel and the level of social interaction is priceless, they simply wont get it anywhere else.

– The whole centre has cameras and  the monitor is  in the lounge/pool room, everyone keeps an eye on each other, there’s no security team, there`s mutual respect. It works fantastically.

Each year they group have to apply to council grants schemes for funding, it costs just £12,000 to run the group per year.


Two weeks ago the MHAGS Chairs were summoned to a meeting with the Council and they were told that their funding will end as the current grant agreement states, in April 2017.

The MHAGS reps asked about alternative funding, and were told that there is a new fund called “tackling inequalities “ that MHAGS will meet criteria for but that 1) t`s unlikely that they will receive funding as the bench mark is very high, and 2) even if they do get an award it doesn’t start until September 2017.

At best MHAGS are looking at a funding gap of £6,000 (April – Sep 2017) at worst they`re facing closure leaving 250 people isolated within their own communities with no support.


A campaign is getting under way to oppose the closure of MHAGS supported by Sheffield DPAC, the BFAWU, NUT, Sheffield Trades Council  UNITE Community Sheffield, SWP, SP, Sheffield Uncut, Sheffield Campaign against Library closure aka SCALP, and many more individual campaigners….

National DPAC are also supporting this campaign and we’ll bring updates and say how people can get involved as the campaign develops.

In the meantime please sign the petition to save MHAGS.

 Posted by at 13:40
Sep 192016
 

Contact a Family have advised the following for anyone who has a disabled child or is a carer for an older adult. We think this advice should also apply to anyone who might qualify for PIP and who hasn’t yet claimed.

 

Over the next ten days the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will write to all those families who are going to be affected by changes to the household benefit cap in November. These letters will be sent out between 19 and 29 September.

The good news is you are exempt from the benefit cap if you have a dependent child who is on either Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

If you have a disabled child but haven’t claimed DLA/PIP for them yet, think about doing so now. Getting an award of DLA or PIP at any rate will mean you don’t have to worry about the benefit cap hitting your family.

If you are disabled and think you may qualify even for the lowest rates of PIP please apply now.
What is the household benefit cap?

The household benefit cap limits the total amount of benefits that an out of work family can receive. At the moment the cap is £500 a week for lone parents and couples.

However, from 7 Nov 2016 the government intends to lower this figure to £442 in London and to £384.62 elsewhere for couples and single parents with children living with them. For single people without children the cap will limit overall weekly payments to £296.35 in London and £256.69 outside Greater London.

An extra 88,000 households are expected to be affected by this lower cap. If your benefit income is above the cap then the excess amount is cut from your housing benefit, or from your Universal Credit if you get this instead. The cap is lower for single people without children.

Are families with disabled children exempt from the household benefit cap?

All families with a dependent child on DLA or PIP are exempt from the cap. It doesn’t matter what rate of DLA or PIP your child gets – even if they only get the lowest rate you will still be exempt from the cap.

Am I still protected from the cap if my son or daughter stops being treated as a dependent child?

If a disabled child aged 16 or above either leaves education, turns 20 or claims certain benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance, they stop being treated as a dependent. This means that their parent may then lose their exemption from the benefit cap.

However, the government has said in the autumn it will change the benefit cap rules so that you are also exempt if you are entitled to Carer’s Allowance or get a carer element in your Universal Credit. These changes to the rules for carers will help some parents who care for a disabled young person to remain exempt from the cap despite their child no longer being a dependent. These changes for carers have already been introduced in Northern Ireland.

Benefits included in the cap

The cap applies to the total amount people in your household (you, your partner and any children living with you) get from the following benefits:

Payments towards carer’s costs in Universal Credit won’t be affected by the benefit cap from autumn 2016.

Benefits that aren’t included

You’re not affected by the cap if anyone in your household qualifies for Working Tax Credit or gets any of the following benefits:

If you have adult children or non-dependants living with you and they qualify for any of these benefits, you may be affected by the cap. This is because they’re not usually included in your household.

 

 

 Posted by at 20:45
Sep 152016
 

 

Many thanks to George Berger  @Georgeberger

 

Debbie Jolly, Jonathan Rutherford, and Mo Stewart have discussed the influence of UNUM on the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) [1]. Here I study relations of UNUM to DWP and ATOS that implicate Professor Sir Mansel Aylward and a UNUM employee in apparent irregularities [2].

 

I begin with some history. Sir Mansel and others worked on the All Work Test (AWT) for a new Incapacity Benefit (IB) from 1993 to 1995. It was the first ‘functional capacity evaluation’ tool to use descriptors to assess ‘capacity for work,’ what one can do. The Social Security (Incapacity For Work) Act of 1994 placed them in a new regime intended to make access to disability benefits more difficult. The Act came into force in 1995 [3].

 

The AWT was rolled out in 1997, the year New Labour took power. As it did not adequately reduce inflow to IB, Aylward tightened it up, with others, e.g. UNUM’s John Locascio. The result was the Personal Capability Assessment (PCA) [4]. The PCA did not decide on benefits. Decision Makers (with medical advice if necessary) did that. Entitlement to benefits as a perceived right gave way to granting them conditionally, upon compliance with the regime and the results of (re)assessments. This agrees with Tony Blair’s Third Way communitarian notions of social rights and obligations [5]. We see a similarity of New Labour and Tory ideology: both are coercive and punitive, both use conditionality to instill fear of losing or not getting benefits.

 

 

The Sema Group, an IT firm with no medical experience [6], got the PCA contract in 1998. In that year ATOS ORIGIN (AO) contracted with the Department for Social Security (DSS, a predecessor of DWP) for IT work (renewed 2005). PCAs began in 2000. Schlumberger acquired the Sema Group in 2001 and AO acquired Sema on 29 January 2004. It began running the PCA for Blair’s DSS [7].

 

(Gordon Waddell, Pilowsky, and Bond modified the conservative American sociologist Talcott Parsons’ controversial sick role analysis of rights and obligations during sick leave [8], in a 1989 article on low back pain. Following Gill Thorburn’s discussion of the sick role in my note 2, reference b, I will show elsewhere that this paper is crucial to our understanding of benefit conditionality in the WCA).

 

 

B

 

The PCA was a paper – based assessment, which by 2001 had a large clinical database developed by AO and DWP [9]. The decision was taken then to computerise the PCA. The resulting software was LIMA, Logic Integrated Medical Assessment. Trials began in 2002. LIMA was rolled out nationally in 2003, 2004 [10],

and was operational by July 2004 at the latest, with AO in charge [11].

 

LIMA documentation included ‘LiMA v2 Technical Manual’, dated 12 October 2004, and ‘LiMA V3 Technical Manual’, dated 10 November 2005. A Schlumberger document of 11 August 2003 is ‘EBM Cardiorespiratory and Mental Health’ [12]. According to a Black Triangle post, the first document is or was used in WCA assessments [13]. Call this claim (*).

 

C

 

Angela Rhodes  has been working for UNUM since 1999 [14]. Documents ‘LiMA V3 Technical Manual’, and ‘EBM Cardiorespiratory and Mental Health’, both already mentioned, have her at ‘Training and Development Unit’ (an AO name) 3300 Solihull Parkway Birmingham Business Park Birmingham B37 7YQ’, today an ATOS address [15]. As late as 2014 AO (ATOS since 2011) handled courses in ‘disability assessment medicine’ for the Faculty Of Occupational Medicine, with Ms Rhodes as a contact person in Birmingham. (The FOM website placed her at ‘Atos Origin’, with a Birmingham phone number and an AO email address [16]). We have then, an American insurer in direct contact with a French company that worked then on health matters for DWP, quite possibly influencing Government policy decisions, e.g. as follows:

 

Mansel Aylward joined the Civil Service in 1985. In 1996 he became Chief Medical Advisor, DSS and in 2000 Medical Director and Chief Scientist, DWP. He was appointed Professor at Cardiff University in October 2004, and headed its UnumProvident Centre For Psychosocial And Disability Research, starting June 2004 [17]. Aylward left DWP in April 2005 [18]. This conflict of interest is well – known (see my note 1, esp. Mo Stuart’s papers).

 

Now consider the document ‘LiMA v2 Technical Manual’, mentioned above. It states that in 2004 ‘The Medical Director for DWP’ was its ‘Owner and approver’. By B, this was Aylward. Thus we have,

 

(**)  if (*) is true, then in 2004 Mansel Aylward owned

the document ‘LiMA v2 Technical Manual’ already

mentioned, which would later be used in the WCA.

 

One cannot conclude from all this that he knew in 2004 that

‘LiMA v2 Technical Manual’ mentioned above would be so used, or that he had ever worked on the WCA. But one can say by this document alone, that in 2004 Aylward owned and approved a LIMA document already mentioned, namely ‘LiMA v2 Technical Manual’, prepared by DWP and AO, and that this together with documents ‘LiMA V3 Technical Manual’ and ‘EBM Cardiorespiratory and Mental Health’ already mentioned, connect UNUM with AO and DWP via Ms Rhodes [19]. This shows us an apparent irregularity involving Mansel Aylward:

his being in a position open to indirect influence by UNUM. Opinions can differ as to the propriety of this position. To some it is a temptation to corruption, to others an unacceptable irregularity. Moral political conduct by three governments – Brown, Blair, Cameron –  would not have allowed Aylward’s position to exist [20].

 

 

NOTES

 

 

  1. Debbie Jolly ‘A Tale of Two Models,’ http://dpac.uk.net/2012/04/a-tale-of-two-models-disabled-people-vs-unum-atos-government-and-disability-charities-debbie-jolly/ , Jonathan Rutherford ‘New Labour, the Market State, and the End of Welfare, ’ Soundings Summer 2007, https://www.lwbooks.co.uk/soundings/36/new-labour-market-state-and-end-of-welfare , Mo Stuart, Cash not Care, forthcoming, and her January 2015 paper at Research Gate,‘The influence  of  the  private  insurance  industry  on  the  UK welfare  reforms’.
  2. I could not have written this without the constant inspiration and almost daily assistance of Gill Thorburn. See her well – argued and insightful articles at (a) https://internationalgreensocialist.wordpress.com/illness-as-deviance-work-as-glittering-salvation-and-the-psyching-up-of-the-medical-model-strategies-for-getting-the-sick-back-to-work/

and (b) http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2012/09/18/dwpatosunum-scandal-an-academic-responds-with-disbelief-to-professor-aylwards-statement-to-black-triangle-and-dpac-outside-the-ifdm2012-conference-on-11th-september-2012/ .

  1. Gordon Waddell & Mansel Aylward, The Scientific and Conceptual Basis of Incapacity Benefits,TSO 2005. A key text.
  2. Rutherford, see my note 1, p. 42. E.g, the Howker Decision http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/howker-v-secretary-state-social-security accessed 5 September 2016.
  3. See Tony Blair, ‘New community, new individualism’ 1993 & ‘The rights we enjoy, the duties we owe’ 1995. Both in his New Britain: My Vision of a Young Country. Fourth Estate, London,1996. It is worrying that such poorly argued talks helped determine New Labour’s policies.
  4. Beastrabban\’s Weblog, https://beastrabban.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/from-2000-sema-the-atos-of-its-day/ accessed 30 August 2016.
  5. Schlumberger website; AO http://atos.net/en-us/home/we-are/news/press-release/2005/pr-2005_03_16_02.html & http://atos.net/fr-fr/accueil/nous-sommes/newsroom/communique-de-presse/20040/pr-2004_01_29_01.html both accessed 31 August 2016.
  6. Talcott Parsons, The Social System, New York, Free Press 1951, Chapter X, also London, Routledge 2005.
  7. DWP was formed on 8 June 2001.
  8. ‘The Computer Says No’ Disability News Service 189, December 2005.
  9. ‘LIMA’ and that date occur in the Atos Origin Medical Services ‘Rapport Conference Special’, available at Maxwell Head’s issuu space https://issuu.com/maxhead/docs .
  10. Dropbox links: (1) https://www.dropbox.com/s/yrot14lrt4vfhr6/LiMA%20v2%20Technical%20Manual2.pdf?dl=0 (2) https://www.dropbox.com/s/6agxw63t91fbxxp/LIMA%20V3.pdf?dl=0 (3) https://www.dropbox.com/s/ckgh3m4v03x78ex/SCHLUMBERGER%20EBM.pdf?dl=0
  11. http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2011/06/08/lima-v2-technical-manual-download/ accessed 5 September 2016.
  12. https://touch.www.linkedin.com/?sessionid=2764603441055079&as=false&rs=false&can=https%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Elinkedin%2Ecom%2Fprofile%2Fin%2Fangela-rhodes-8b752815#profile/52062475/name:7XGp accessed 6 September 2016.
  13. http://uk.atos.net/en-uk/home/contact-us/locations/birmingham-business-park.html accessed 6 September 2016.
  14. http://www.fom.ac.uk/education/non-specialist-qualifications-and-training/diplomas/ddam accessed 1 September 2014.This link is still active (6 September 2016), but its page differs totally from the older content. One suspects possibly long – term influences of UNUM on FOM’s disability analyst training, via Ms Rhodes.
  15. Rutherford, see my note 1, p. 43. Also my note 11.
  16. http://webarchive.national.gov.uk/20121128010755/http:www.wales.nhs.uk/siteplus/888/page/44565 accessed 9 September 2014.
  17. I do not know if ownership of the document ‘LiMA v2 Technical Manual’ already mentioned, was bound to the job or to the person (Aylward, in 2004).
  18. For a study of the social climate that enabled the WCA, see Shakespeare et al, ‘Blaming the Victim All Over Again’ Critical Social Policy, 2016 Vol. 36(4): 1 – 20.

 

Thanks go to Anita Bellows of DPAC for much support, for telling me about the Howker Decision, and for critical comments on the penultimate draft. To Alice Besch of Amsterdam for forming some of my positions by example, and to some members of the international ME community for inspiration and education.

 Posted by at 14:39
Sep 152016
 

DISABLED PEOPLE AGAINST CUTS WEST MIDLANDS

DAY OF ACTION

CONSERVATIVE PARTY CONFERENCE

3rd October 2016

No More ‘’Cinderella’’ Role – We Will Go To The Ball!

Assemble: 13:00pm

St Philip’s Cathedral, Colmore Row* Birmingham

 

DPAC WM has organised a Day of Action to coincide with the Conservative Party Conference. Through a series of activities, culminating with a Rally at the Birmingham Council House, DPAC WM will bring to life the grim reality of living in Tory led Britain.

Will you join our cast on the 3rd October, 2016 in Birmingham to help tell our version of events as Cinderella takes on her evil stepsisters and the Big Bad Wolf?

Article 19 – Living independently and being included in the community

States Parties to this Convention recognize the equal right of all disabled people to live in the community, with choices equal to others, and shall take effective and appropriate measures to facilitate full enjoyment by disabled people of this right and their full inclusion and participation in the community.

*Colmore Row is a street in the centre of Birmingham running from Victoria Square to just beyond Snow Hill station.

National Demonstration

2nd October 2016

Tories OUT – Austerity Has Failed

Assemble: 11:30am, Victoria Square, Birmingham

Access Information for Deaf and Disabled People

 

The Co-ordinators of DPAC WM have been working with National P.A., West Midlands TUC and the regional Unwelcome the Tories Committee to make this demonstration as inclusive as possible. Discussions are ongoing therefore this information may alter. Our primary objective is to ensure everyone’s well-being and safety therefore we can only outline the conditions we could encounter as we currently see them.

 

Victoria Square Start Station – Whole March

 

The geographical terrain of Birmingham City Centre does not lend itself well to large numbers of people and between 10,000 and 30,000 may gravitate towards Victoria Square and surrounding streets from 11am onwards. The route of the demonstration between Victoria Square and Dale End could present mobility issues as the road is relatively narrow and slightly uneven. [See short march details]

 

We would like to suggest Deaf and Disabled People who want to go on the whole demonstration congregate in Eden Place [between top of Colmore Row and Edmund Street] – it is near the Council House with a Starbucks on the corner – feeding into the demonstration at this point.

 

Lower Bull Street Start Station – Short March

 

We would like to recommend that Deaf and Disabled People who want to go on a shorter route congregate at the lower end of Bull Street by [Wok & Go: 100A Bull St, Birmingham B4 7AA] – feeding into the demonstration at this point as the road widens soon after this stretch.

    

Rallying point [end of demonstration]

 

Precise details in relation to the layout of the site with the stage and accessible portaloos are not currently available. At the end of the demonstration Stewards will indicate where Deaf and Disabled People can follow the most direct and accessible route to the staging area. A cordoned off section will be provided to ensure access to the proceedings for wheelchair users, those with restricted mobility and those who are Deaf and hearing impaired – BSL Interpretation available. It is essential that people in this section assist us in a disciplined way to ensure both access and egress at ALL times.

 

Travel Plans

 

TRAINS

 

If possible using Snow Hill Rail Station would offer the most direct route [turn right out of station up Colmore Row] to both Victoria Square and the lower end of Bull St [cross road, then turn left until the corner and travel South] to the short march station point.

 

New Street Rail Station has good and bad points. Grand Central [upper floor accessed via lifts and escalators] has a variety of food outlets. It is however a steep trek to Victoria Square from the station taking a variety of routes. [Bull St can be accessed via turning right at New St and then going down High St or straight up Corporation St and then right onto Bull St.]

 

Car parking

 

It is unlikely there will be parking in close proximity to either start stations.

 

Buses

 

It is likely bus routes will be either suspended or re-routed into the City Centre = [check on: https://www.networkwestmidlands.com/ways-to-travel/bus/]

 

Food and Drink

 

There are sparse outlets near end of demonstration. City Centre ones vary greatly in terms of access and could be extremely busy or difficult to navigate. We would advise where possible to bring packed food and drink.

 email: DPACWM@outlook.com

Sep 152016
 

 

Hammersmith and Fulham Council were the first to remove charges from social ‘care’ in April 2015 after an excellent campaign by Hammersmith and Fulham Coalition against Cuts HAFCAC

Now Hammersmith and Fulham council  launch a Disabled People’s Commission, as Kevin Caulfield chair of HAFCAC said at the launch of Inclusion London’s report ‘One year on ‘ report on ILF users after the closure of ILF

If they can do so can others”

Hammersmith & Fulham Council launched a Disabled People’s Commission as part of its drive to improve services and accessibility for all communities in the borough.  Too often, disabled people are overlooked when councils are both designing and delivering services. With the launch of its Disabled People’s Commission, H&F will look into the experiences of disabled people in the borough to help make positive changes to increase equality and inclusivity for all those who live in, work in and visit the borough.

 

Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the Council, said:

 

I want Hammersmith & Fulham to become the most accessible and inclusive borough in London and this new Commission will help show us the way to deliver this vision.

 

As Commission Chair, I know that Tara Flood will draw on her excellent track record in disability campaigning. Tara is also a local resident, with vital first-hand experience of what life is like for disabled people in the borough.

 

H&F Council is committed to putting residents at the heart of decision making, doing things with people and not to them. Under Tara’s leadership, I am confident that our Disabled People’s Commission will give disabled people in Hammersmith and Fulham a voice and a platform that they have all too often been denied in the past.”

 

Tara Flood, on her appointment as chair of the Commission, said:

 

This is an exciting opportunity for Disabled people across the borough to come together and be part of a radical change – a change that will begin to see a new way of doing things – services that are co-produced with Disabled people. Hammersmith & Fulham is a borough that wants to hear what we, as Disabled people, have got to say so I’m really looking forward to chairing the Commission and turning words into action

The Commission is expected to complete its work and publish its findings and recommendations for action around May 2017.

See more from Jenny Morris: https://jennymorrisnet.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/something-to-celebrate-story-of.html

See more from HAFCAC http://www.hafcac.org.uk/

 

Sep 142016
 

DPAC’s conference on Saturday 10th September #globalresistance brought together speakers from Greece, Ireland, Germany,  Bulgaria and the UK in solidarity for disabled people

From Greece Antonios Rellis and Athanasios Papantonopoulous of the brilliant activist group Κίνηση Χειραφέτησης ΑμεΑ: “Μηδενική Ανοχή” Emancipation Movement of People with Disabilities: “Zero Tolerance”gave us a film of their occupation of to the “Kepep” or “child care centre” in the town of Lechaina.

We have been asked to put this on the DPAC web, but we warn that the film of the institution is harrowing and upsetting to watch, nethertheless we believe that it should be seen by as many people as possible to expose the inhuman conditions that still exist in Greece and , sadly in other countries too.

We also reproduce the power point given on the day which highlights problems with some ‘traditional’ disability organisations in their collusion with national governments to undermine the problems that disabled people face . A  sad fact that extends country bounderies

Power Point

zero-tolerance-against-budget-cuts_athanasios

For more details see Canary piece http://www.thecanary.co/2016/09/14/like-stray-pets-waiting-put-greeces-shocking-disabled-care-homes-video/

PwD Emancipation Movement: ZERO TOLERANCE
Zero tolerance to whatever violates the right to dignity, the right to life itself.
Contact: mideniki.anoxi@gmail.com

We will be adding more films and power points from the conference shortly

 

Sep 092016
 

Campaigning is bloody hard work. People see the hours of standoff with the police on Westminster Bridge, or the Pop Up Art Exhibition at Tate Modern, or the Street Theatre outside Downing Street.

What people don’t see is the weeks, sometimes months or planning, arranging and preparation that goes into these events. But that’s OK, the people who take it on know what’s involved and they do it gladly.

What’s harder is the sense that sometimes hits every campaigner that it’s all futile. That all the hard work isn’t getting anywhere. It usually hits when people are tired, overloaded and they read the news and see another wave of cuts on the way in. At times like that, people get close to giving up. But we’re a stubborn, tenacious lot at DPAC, and we don’t give up easy. So we keep going. It gets past the point of understanding why you carry on, but you still keep going.

And then someone sends us something like the video shown below and it reminds you exactly what you are fighting for. It tells you what all the long hours are for, the old sense of anger returns.

Please watch it, it is liable to make you cry but please watch it if you can. It was made by Nichole Drury and sent to us by her yesterday for the liveprotest tool. But it served to remind us at DPAC why we do it. And why all the campaigners from our allied groups Black Triangle, Mental Health Resistance Network, Winvisible, Boycott Workfare and so many  other groups and individual campaigners keep on going even when exhausted and things look bleaker than ever.

It reminds us why we do all this because the story told by Nichole in the video about what happened to her mother, Moira is a massive injustice. It is simply wrong.

Cut away all the bullshit about political policy and “supporting disabled people into employment”  and reducing the welfare budget because the country can’t afford it (it can) . Cut away all that bullshit and you are left with a mother who did “all the right things”, brought up a family and then became, through no fault of her own, a disabled person who eventually had to give up work But she was still a person with family and friends, and thoughts and feelings. She was promised that the welfare state would look after her. But by that time Labour had introduced the WCA. The WCA that was designed to cut away the welfare state for people just like Moira.

When Labour introduced WCA they proudly stated that it would take 1 million people off benefits. We don’t know how many people it has taken off benefits but we do know about the harm, distress and death that it has caused. And then the Tories, aided and abetted by the Liberal Democrats took over, making it even harsher. Causing yet more harm and many more deaths.

But cut away even that bullshit, and your are left with what happened to Moira  and similar wrongs that have happened to hundred’s of thousands of others.

That’s why we fight. That’s why we protest at Downing Street, and block bridges and put in the hundreds of hours of work behind the scenes to make those things happen. And we’ll keep going until this atrocity is finally stopped.

 

This is why we have to fight back and we can’t stop because no government, whatever political logo it wears, has the right to cause its citizens – us – harm, distress and even death, with its policies on social security.

So there is no rest for us, DPAC will be at the Politics Art and Culture event alongside the Labour Conference 24th-27th September and we’ve begun working on our fightback for the Tory Party Conference at the start of October and we’ll be releasing more details of that nearer the time.

And we’ll carry on fighting until we’ve restored fairness and decency to social security, and we know that we’ll be able rely on the support of all of you, who come out on protests, support us on line, send in your testimonies and videos and in all sorts of wonderful ways.  You keep us going. Thank you.

 Posted by at 16:25
Sep 092016
 

Photo of John McDonnell“I have been a long-time supporter of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and stood with them side by side as they have taken direct action against the Tories in order to highlight the cruel and brutal reality of life of disabled people under the Tories. This is why I am proud to support Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) #RightsNotGames week of action starting 4 September through to 10 September and I am honoured they have invited me to speak at their Conference: DPAC Disabled Peoples’ Resistance: building beyond borders #GlobalResistance on Saturday 10 September. Austerity is not a necessity it is a political choice which why I am determined that a Labour government will reverse the heinous policies that have deliberately targeted disabled people. Solidarity.”

 John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor

 Posted by at 16:18
Sep 082016
 

The characters

Aladdin [George Osborne], Ali Barba [Banking system], Big Bad Wolf [Theresa May], Cinderella [Disabled people], Evil Witch [the economic/social system], Genie [Austerity], Emperor [David Cameron], Fairy Godmother [disability rights], magical key [UNCRDP Article Nineteen], Wicked Stepmother and Stepsisters plus friends [disabling barriers – e.g. labour market, access and transport, etc,]

The story to be told…

Disabled People aka CinderellasDisabled people have held the Cinderella role ever since the evil witch’s spell cast them into the shadows of society.

Cinderella was often locked away, forgotten, left to make baskets no one saw. One day her fairy godmother paid her a visit and told her life didn’t have to be like that. She promised to help Cinderella have a Ball, but in order to break the spell of the evil witch completely and free herself from her wicked stepmother and wicked stepsisters, Cinderella would have to find a magical key called Article Nineteen.

Theresa May AKA the Big Bad WolfNot being able to use magical key made Cinderella sad because she wanted to do all the things her evil stepsisters could do, including having a Ball, but she wasn’t able to. Her evil stepsisters, Access and Transport, along with their many friends made sure Cinderella found it difficult to get anywhere or take part in activities. How could she find the magic key? Cinderella thought three little pigs might have found paths to the magic key, but the first path [Disability Discrimination Act] was made of straw and quickly blew away; the second path [Equality Act 2010] was slightly sturdier, but the sticks broke under pressure so it became virtually unusable. The third path, made of solid material [Human Rights Act], was the right one but the Big Bad Wolf called Theresa was determined to have it removed before Cinderella could use it.

George Osborne aka Ali BarbaThe evil witch persuaded the Emperor that he needed new clothes as well as enlisting a genie called Austerity to assist Aladdin, the Chancellor, to restock the cave Ali Barba and the forty thieves had plundered. The Emperor benefited from the genie’s ability to use fairytales to spin yarns to make the Emperor’s clothes with and trick ordinary people, including Cinderella, into paying for them. Austerity helped Aladdin and his friends fill the cave to the brim and once they had, the Big Bad Wolf grabbed the Empire for herself. Now the Big Bad Wolf is heading for Birmingham for her Coronation Ball and the Cinderella also plans to have a Ball there too.

Access Barriers aka Evil StepsistersSo the stage is ready: Cinderella is still determined to find the magic key that will free her before she makes the evil stepsisters pay for their ill treatment, sees off the Big Bad Wolf and breaks the evil witch’s spell. Once done her fairy godmother will be able to keep her promise of helping Cinderella to have a Ball.

 

Will you join our cast on the 3rd October, 2016 in Birmingham at the Tory Party Conference to help tell our version of events as Cinderella takes on her evil stepsisters and the Big Bad Wolf?

 Posted by at 20:45
Sep 052016
 

Crippen Cartoon - child pointing at a row of identical people in wheelchairs, saying "Oh look, its the disabled"Disabled people are about as a diverse a group as you can imagine, amongst our number we have people of all different colours, creeds and cultures. We have people of all We have people of all sexualities, ages, and genders and more.

We are all different. Disabled people have different opinions, political preferences, likes and dislikes. Some are wealthy and some live in abject poverty.

Some disabled people like sport, some are very good at it. Others prefer the garden, art *, socialising, being quiet with a good book, or any one of thousands of pastimes. But we share the same hopes, fears,  dreams, expectations and aspirations as everyone else. Our days are made up of our jobs, our families, our interests. Just like you.

Disabled people then only have one thing in common. That we are …… disabled people.

Other than that, we aren’t any different, we aren’t special, we aren’t less.

Crippen Cartoon 2 disabled people, one saying "Be Normal? But what makes you think we'd want to lower our standards"We are parents, partners, neighbours, friends, work colleagues, sons and daughters.
Our lives aren’t much different than most people’s – except when barriers created by society, institutions and attitudes make our lives more difficult than they need to be.

And by the way we don’t mind you talking about disabled people, in fact we want you to talk about disability, and learn about it and we want to talk about it with you. But please when you talk about it, do it in a way that affords us respect as human beings, We are mostly, just like you.

There’s more later on about good and bad ways to discuss disabled people and disability. But first its worth looking at the phrase “Disabled People” and what it means to us.

Disabled People and “The Social Model”

The thing that differentiates a disabled person from a non-disabled person, is that the disabled person has one (or more) impairments.

Disabled people take impairment to mean a lessening or loss of function. The function might be physical, mental, cognitive, learning or a wide range of other kinds of function.

So as disabled people we have impairments but most times we can adapt our way around our impairments, use aids or equipment or a host of other methods enable us. That part we can take care of ourselves, that’s what disabled people do every day.

But the bit that’s out of our control are “social barriers”.

Crippen, Rules for the institution cartoonThink of a social barrier in this way: we live in a society that’s designed by, built for, and used by non disabled people. Because of poor historic attitudes to disabled people, (even though some people at the time thought they meant well), disabled people were effectively locked away in hospitals, sanatoriums, in care homes or other kinds of institution.

And that meant that we were excluded from the development of the way our society works, the way our buildings are designed, transport systems, education systems, machines and appliances, leisure activities and the world of work anything really that you care to think about was designed at a time when disabled people weren’t included in the process.

And that means that all these things don’t work in a way that enables us to use them.

And the upshot of all that is that in hundreds of different ways, some big, some seemingly small, its difficult for us to take a full part in all kinds of activities that non-disabled people take for granted.

So we believe that its not our impairments that disable us, it is the social barriers that disable us. Our own impairments we can adapt and/or use aids to overcome, but social barriers are out of our control. This is what we call The Social Model. (You can read more about the social model here)

Crippen Strip Cartoon about Social Barriers

So the phrase “Disabled Person” is actually a term meaning “Disabled by social barriers person”.

But things are changing. Through a mixture of decades of disability campaigning, better technology, wider awareness and new laws and rights that disabled people have strived to obtain, we are slowly beginning to challenge the social barriers that disable us.

But as if that wasn’t enough, governments since the 2008 financial crash have made it much harder for us to have basic financial support due to the cuts in every area. If fact austerity has been targeted at disabled people 9 times more than the general population and people with high or complex support needs have been targeted 19 times more than the non-disabled population.

The cumulative effect of these cuts is that progress towards disabled people’s equality has been halted and even reversed in many areas of our lives.

So there is a helluva long way to go yet, but we are beginning to enable ourselves to take an equal place in what used to be your society into what we are determined to evolve into our shared society.

Crippen cartoon about disabled people as campaignersYou can read more about the history of disabled people’s campaigns for equality up to 2010 here and you can find out more about the effect of austerity since 2010 here and on disabled people at the Disabled People Against Cuts Website

The good and the bad – respectful ways to refer to disabled people.

Recommended ways to talk about disabled people and disability issues

Just refer to us as disabled people then talk to us and about us with words that you would use to refer to any other people.

Don’t feel awkward or embarrassed talking to us about being disabled people cos we’re not awkward or embarrassed about ourselves. Just talk to us like you would anyone else, its really that simple.

Things to avoid saying or writing please (cos we hate it when you say these things)

Avoid the disabled, the blind, the deaf;

Like you wouldn’t say “The Blacks” or “The Gays” would you? So please – call us disabled people. Cos we’re people. And we happen to be disabled.. To call any group of people ‘the’ anything is to dehumanise them. Use blind people, deaf people or disabled people.

The opposite of ‘disabled’ is not ‘able-bodied’ or

abled’, but ‘non-disabled’.

Because a lot of impairments that disabled people have are not physical! Impairments come in all imaginable forms. And we don’t consider non-disabled people to be any more able than we are, so its non-disabled please.

Avoid saying you are “Inspired”

This one really hacks off a lot of disabled people. Sorry but we don’t exist just to be your inspiration. If you want to be inspired, take up an new religion, learn to paint or go and look at a mountain, but leave us out of it please.

Avoid Vulnerable

Disabled people are not vulnerable, not any more than you are. We are sometimes prevented from doing things by barriers that are not of our making but that isn’t due to any vulnerability of ours.

Crippen Cartoon about stereotypes land labels

Avoid terms of pity

We’re not asking for anyone’s pity, we don’t want or need anyone’s pity.

Avoid using stereotypes

Just like with any grouping in society, to use stereotypes to describe members of that group is just plain wrong.

Avoid ‘people with disabilities’

Saying “people with disabilities” is to say that the disability is a facet of the disabled person. As described above, we don’t agree with that, we think the disability comes from the barriers that are put in our way.

Avoid victim of;

We’re not victims. We don’t have a “victim” mindset and we don’t want people to see us in that way.

Avoid suffering from:

We are not suffering. We are just like you. Except we face more barriers than you do.

Avoid wheelchair bound:

Use wheelchair user , Wheelchair users see their wheelchair as a means of mobility and freedom, not

something that restricts them, apart from problems with lack of access.

Note: many in America, Canada and Australia and New Zealand tend to use people with disabilities instead of disabled people.

Cartons included with permission, by Dave Lupton, with thanks

With thanks to the unknown author of The Language of Respect on which this piece is based.

* See an exhibition of disabled people’s are here https://art4rightsdpac.wordpress.com/

 Posted by at 13:25
Sep 052016
 

View and download the full ILF One Year On Report (PDF)

Inclusion London has produced a report detailing the negative effect of the closure of ILF in June 2015. These are just a few examples of cuts people have faced to the vital support they need to live independently.

The full report will be available shortly at https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk

The foreword by Dr. Jenny Morris sums up the grave and systematic erosion of support for independent living. Here is a brief portion of her summary.

For the first time in the history of modern social policy, we are in danger of going backwards in terms of the support available to disabled people. From the early 1970s, disabled individuals and their organisations campaigned for, and won, important changes to policy and legislation which – for many – meant for the first time they could aspire to the same ‘ordinary lives’ as non disabled people.

One of those achievements was the Independent Living Fund, set up in the 1980s as a direct result of opposition to changes in the benefit system. Using eligibility criteria which applied wherever someone lived, the ILF topped up the funding available from local authorities, in recognition that those with the highest levels of support needs require assistance which local authorities did not provide. Moreover, resources were provided in a way which enabled people to have choice and control over the support they needed.

The ILF made a major difference to people whose needs had previously meant their only options were residential care or a very limited life for them and their families.

The Fund closed in 2010 to new applicants and no-one monitored what has happened since then to people who would previously have qualified for support. In the meantime, local authority adult social care budgets have been cut back, undermining their ability to deliver the Care Act’s promise of well-being, choice and control to those whose ILF funding transferred last year to local councils.

See also –  http://dpac.uk.net/2016/09/the-abuse-disabled-people-face-from-social-services-and-cuts-to-funding-since-closure-of-ilf/

The case studies below are of course examples of cuts and practices which are all too common and exacerbated by the lack of a cohesive national system of social care provision leaving people condemned to dependence on a post-code lottery where the level of support provided depends simply on where you live. Changes to the way in which Local Authorities will now be funded are set to make this even worse in the future.

 

Case Study 1

“I had my reassessment last week. It was very poorly executed and arranged. I had received an email the week before from a care manager claiming to have tried to contact me by phone several times and needing urgently to perform the review. I spoke to her on the phone the following day and once again she stressed the urgency of the matter.
I pointed out to her that the reality was that the ILF transfer was not a sudden thing and that they have had the last three years to plan it yet they wait until less than a month before end date to contact me! in order to satisfy her urgent need i had to arrange leave from work in order to do it.

On the day of the review she arrived with a second person without asking which i felt was extremely rude. When i challenged her on this she just casually informed me it was all last minute. During the course of the visit i pointed out that the whole closure of the ILF was causing immense stress that was compounded by the lack of any clear message from LA – i didn’t really feel that either of them took my comments seriously.

At two points during the interview the idea of using a conveen and inco pads as an alternative toileting solution was raised. This i felt was completely inappropriate given the fact i have no medical need for either and no continence issues at all. It wasn’t directly said but it felt like it was being put forward as the solution to cutting of hours, even over night stays.

There was never any effort to reassure me or to offer me advocacy of any sort. I have

no idea what the outcome of the reassessment will be and now just have to wait.”

– Former ILF recipient

 

Case Study 2

“In September 2010, I started my university degree. I was really looking forward to starting my course and experiencing the student life, but as a disabled student I needed additional help. I lived in halls of residence for three years but not without its challenges. In order to live in halls I needed my personal assistant (PA) to live with me full time. However, the cost of my PA’s room at university was very expensive. I heard about the ILF a year prior to going to university so I thought that I could use it to help pay for the room. I was shocked to find out that the fund had been stopped that year. As a result of that, it became very difficult to pay for the carer’s room. A charity kindly helped to pay for half the cost of the room, and it was very stressful trying to find payment for the other half. Eventually I had to use my student loan to pay for the other half, when it should have been used for other expenses.

The absence of the ILF also meant not having enough money to pay for the amount of care that I at needed at university. My PA had to live with full time, but my local authority did not give me enough care hours. If I had the ILF it could have helped to pay towards my care. Due to the local authority’s refusal to pay for the carer’s room and refusing to give me extra hours, my mum had to help with my care at the weekends to give my PA a break. This was frustrating for my mum and I because she had to drive down to the university every weekend, when she also the main carer for my Grandmother who has dementia. This made me very angry because I felt that I was not having the full university experience since I had to rely on the help of my mum a lot.
Having the ILF could have made life a lot easier and stress free for my family and I. This in effect contributed to extra financial worries during my time at university. I believe that by removing the ILF it is preventing disabled people from living fully independent lives. We have the right to have the same quality of life as our non–disabled peers; we just need extra help to do this, which is what the ILF can give us. The ILF can help pay for essentials such as care, which is extremely important for disabled people, because having the right care helps on our path towards independence.”

– Disabled young person who missed out on the ILF

 

Case Study 3

Wayne is 44 years old. He suffered from tumours in his brain which had left him with significant physical impairments. He had been receiving 72.5 hours to meet his needs including ILF funding. Following his re-assessment his package was cut to 38 hours per week. The reason given for the decision was that the Independent Living Fund had finished. This would have left the person in a position where his hours would be taken up with his personal care and subsistence needs. As a person who has many interests and is very involved in the community it would have left him isolated at home and unable to maintain his quality of living.

 

Case Study 4

“Before I was referred for funding from the Independent Living Fund I lived without having my most basic needs met, spending hours unable to have a drink or go the toilet, without dignity and without any quality of life, existing between TV and hospital.

I can’t bear to think of a return to life without these opportunities.

Unfortunately in my job I see many people who are suffering the dreary lifestyle that I had once had as they have missed the chance to apply for ILF funding. One client says that she feels she is treated “worse than a dog – at least dogs get taken for a walk every day” – as she spends all but a couple of hours a week in bed. She doesn’t have  a package flexible enough to have someone around to help her back to bed when her muscles no longer allow her to maintain her position in her wheelchair. The hour that she can spend in her chair, while the care worker is doing housework, she drives from room to room like a caged animal “just to make sure the other rooms are still there”!

I have no doubt that ILF funding would have made her life much, much better.”

– Former ILF recipient

 

Case Study 5

“Apparently all I need is to be clean & fed. My County Council will only pay for ‘hands on personal care’ which can all be condensed into a couple of hours a day. I don’t have the right to expect any quality of life or a clean home. I will be kept all clean & shiny but if my home is a cesspit that doesn’t matter.

[The social worker] told me all LAs (Local Authorities) knew the closure of the ILF was a cut – no more, no less. And the main reason why it was closed in her opinion? Because now each individual’s LA has to be the one to break the news that their lives are too expensive. Her words were: “…they transferred responsibility for Social Care funding to the LAs so that they (central Government) would not have to tell anyone what was going to happen. It’s a cut, pure and simple.

When I went along to a DWP consultation when the ILF closure was announced they told us that it made sense to have one funding stream only and it most definitely wasn’t a cut. A barefaced lie, in other words.”

– Former ILF recipient

 

Case Study 6

“[The] County Council ILF money is not ringfenced. They originally reassessed my son and cut his budget by £700 a week although his situation has not changed. I fought this and eventually got that money back. Then they got together with Health and the Health Authority cut his budget from £1,600 a month to £54 saying he did not need complex manual handling. Luke is quadriplegic and blind and has had complex manual handling funding for 18 years. His physical condition has worsened. We are fighting that, but they have stopped paying the money, which means he will not be able to pay his carers.”

– Family member of a former ILF recipient

 

 Posted by at 13:22
Sep 042016
 

This is a repost as we’ve been made aware that DWP are sending out a new crop of letters to those in the ESA support group

We ‘ve had increasing numbers of emails from those in the ESA support group facing constant harassment from local job centres. Harassment takes the form of letters and phone calls ‘inviting’ people to work focused interviews, chats with job coaches or other ‘helpers’. Another type of ‘invite’ suggests that the job centre need to check you’re getting the right amount of benefit they advise you to take in bank statements and other documents. Often these letters and phone calls wrongly state that your benefits are at risk if you do not attend. All such interviews are voluntary according to the regulations, not mandatory. Its sounds like a scam warning from some dodgy company doesnt it, but this is the DWP Job Centre, supposedly public servants, causing anxiety and misery.

We have reproduced two template letters to use if these scams happen to you -with thanks to John Slater

Your Name

Address 1

Address 2

County

Post Code

Name JCP Manager

Address 1

Address 2

County Post Code

Date

Ref: NINO

Dear JCP Manager I received your letter of <insert date> stating that you have arranged a work‐focused interview for me on <insert date> at <insert time> without my knowledge or consent.

The DWP is aware that I have been placed in the Support Group for Employment and Support Allowance and therefore exempt from activity of this nature. S.19 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 specifically forbids the Secretary of State from imposing any work‐related requirements on anyone allocated to the support group.

This letter has caused me considerable distress and has exacerbated my illness. Should the DWP persist in sending me further letters of a similar nature I can only conclude that it does so knowing that it will cause me alarm or distress. Such actions are a criminal offence under section 2 of the protection from Harassment Act 1997 and I retain the right to make a criminal complaint to the police.

As the DWP is acting contrary to the Welfare Reform Act 2012 please regard this letter as notification to cease and desist all such activities immediately.

I will not be attending the work‐focused interview and in doing so I will not be placing my entitlement to ESA at risk. Any suggestion by the DWP to the contrary will be considered harassment.

I remind the DWP that I will continue to comply with all lawful requirements in respect of my ongoing claim for ESA.

Yours sincerely

A. N. Other

Your Name

Address 1

Address 2

County

Post Code

Name JCP Manager

Address 1

Address 2

County Post Code

Date

Ref: NINO

Dear JCP Manager

I received your letter of <insert date> stating that you have arranged an interview for, without my knowledge or consent, on <insert date> at <insert time> because my circumstances may have changed and the DWP need to ensure my payments are correct.

The DWP is aware that I have been placed in the Support Group for Employment and Support Allowance and therefore exempt from any work‐related activity. S.19 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 specifically forbids the Secretary of State from imposing any work‐related requirements on anyone allocated to the support group. It also makes no provision for people allocated to the Support Group to be summoned to attend random benefit interviews.

On the .GOV website the DWP states:

You’ll then be placed in 1 of 2 groups if you’re entitled to ESA:

work‐related activity group, where you’ll have regular interviews with an adviser

support group, where you don’t have interviews

In fact the DWP has the Benefit Centre network that contains benefit integrity centres and performance measurement to undertake this type of review by appropriately qualified officers. Therefore, this interview appears to be incompatible with the DWP own processes.

In respect of payments the DWP knows that I am in the Support Group and the amount I am in receipt of. Therefore, it can easily determine if this amount is correct without recourse to a face to face review.

To the best of my knowledge my circumstances have not changed. If the DWP has evidence to the contrary please address them to me in writing as I find the benefit system far too complex and distressing to deal with on the telephone or face to face. I also rely on extensive support from other people when dealing with the DWP.

This letter has caused me considerable distress and has exacerbated my illness. Given that the proposed review is incompatible with the DWP own business processes and published guidance I can only assume that its purpose is to cause me alarm or distress. Should the DWP persist in sending me further letters of a similar nature I can only conclude that it does so with the same intent. Such actions are a criminal offence under section 2 of the protection from Harassment Act 1997 and I retain the right to make a criminal complaint to the police.

Please regard this letter as notification to cease and desist all such activities immediately.

I will not be attending the interview and in doing so I will not be placing my entitlement to ESA at risk. Any suggestion by the DWP to the contrary will be considered harassment.

I remind the DWP that I will continue to comply with all lawful requirements in respect of my ongoing claim for ESA.

Yours sincerely

A. N. Other

Templates can also be downloaded at the links below

Correct Detail or Support Invite Reply Template (1)

WFI reply template

 Posted by at 21:00

The Abuse Disabled People Face from Social Services & Funding Cuts Since ILF Closure #Right2IL

 News  Comments Off on The Abuse Disabled People Face from Social Services & Funding Cuts Since ILF Closure #Right2IL
Sep 042016
 

What I find worst about this is it’a a mainly Labour Party council. Shocking.

My beloved friends, most of you know that I have been battling my local council NOT to cut the essential care support I need to maintain my independence & social inclusion. Their drastic cuts will leave me virtually housebound: with just enough care to get me up in the morning & be put to bed at night & have a quick meal at midday and one short toilet break a day, as well as just enough care to go out once a week and 25 minutes a day for help with dish washing, household cleaning, laundry, shopping, etc., and absolutely none for help with showering & other personal care or for food prep & cooking, or anything else. They suggest I purchase ready made, microwavable meals via the internet instead – something I simply cannot afford and even if I could, due to my complex disabilities it would not meet my nutritional needs and would result in my condition deteriorating rapidly, as being made housebound would too.

Just to update you all on the current situation…. Following the council’s reassessment in November I had a follow up meeting with Social Services on the 9th of June 2016 at which this happened & this is how it left me feeling.

As with the attached post that I shared last year in June before the ILF was closed, letting you know the council was proposing I use incontinence pads fo up to 12 hours a day, instead of using the toilet when I needed it, my account following this last visit from Social Services is about the traumatising effects of it all and it is deeply personal and very exposing, but despite my normally being an extremely private person & wanting to guard my privacy & confidentiality as much as I possibly can, I felt compelled to share my story to stop the dehumanising cuts and statistics & figures allowing the devastating and deeply traumatising & damaging human impact of all the cumulative cuts, austerity measures and welfare reforms, including the ILF closure, to be overridden & ignored and hidden. Thus I plucked up the courage to read this extremely personal account out at the end of my talk at Glastonbury Festival (official) about the ‘Disability Rights Massacre’ which is occurring in the UK, after which I was urged me to speak about it once again at the festival and to also take my talk to other festivals too, in order to raise a lot more and very much needed additional awareness, which I duly did.

The closure of the ILF is affecting over 18,000 people; I am just one of them.

“Last month, the amazing Ellen Clifford from Inclusion London, sat beside me, as my advocate, when I met with my Social Worker, who had supposedly come to meet me in order to go over the re-assessment Social Services had conducted following his original, very flawed assessment, to address all my questions and concerns regarding it and to correct all the inaccuracies it contained, but he proceeded to tell me that a panel discussion had already taken place and that the panel’s suggestions were to be implemented in a month’s time: a cut of 46 hours a week, from the 9th of July!

The Panel’s suggestions it seems also included that once the new care hours commenced, that a team of people would attend and observe, over several days, maybe even a couple of weeks(!), my every action during the new care times they say I will have, and the actions of my personal assistants too, from my going to the toilet and having a shower, to eating and to getting in & out of my wheelchair and bed etc., so that they could check if the new levels of care being prescribed was actually going to meet my needs. And I must accept this incredible, humiliating, dehumanising invasion of my privacy & home, this stripping away of every last vestige of my dignity, as it is up to these people to decide if the care hours are sufficient, it is they who might save me, by reporting back if the new package of drastically reduced hours is insufficient: if they think I should be given more care hours, then it seems the Council will increase their funding & care provision accordingly.

I’m ashamed and afraid to admit I broke! I just broke! And I lost my composure, my dignity, my sanity, and my temper, with I and all of them being affronted, attacked and pushed beyond endurance simultaneously, by the council’s ‘person centred’ cuts and this man obliviously, calmly sitting there and telling me a team of people, strangers, including ‘support workers’, he tried to reassure me, would be coming into my space; violating the haven, sanctuary and privacy of my home, my toilet, my shower, my bedroom; observing me naked, defecating, urinating, wiping my bum; observing and reporting on my every move, word and action! Due to having been sexually, physically, mentally & emotionally abused as a child and as an adult, including being raped, in addition to my physical disabilities I not only suffer from depression and PTSD but I also have massive debilitating body, privacy and image issues, which have been heightened since becoming disabled & having to give up all claims to my privacy and dignity on every level: physically, financially, spatially, etc: Benefits and Council and Social Service agencies can decide to come into my home, look at my daily living and life choices, my finances and bank accounts and the contents & layout of my home, at my entire life, at me, at my body, at will and I have to accept it, and because I am on benefits and in need of care I must be beholden to them and accept all their intrusions and assaults and demands on my privacy and dignity and sanity.

Due to my complex physical and mental disabilities, I already have to have someone with me 24 hours a day. I have no space to hide, not even inside of my own head, as they (Social Services and the Government) pick & question and ask and push & demand & prescribe & demean & break me!

He has no idea how violated I feel by all of this process and his words and suggestions. He has no idea how far beyond endurance he has pushed me that I, who normally am covered from head to foot, stripped off my clothes and exposed myself in front of him & all present; he has no idea how physically suffocating, nauseating and & traumatising it feels to feel so assaulted by his words and the thought of being observed like a piece of flesh and nothing else, or how shameful & exposed, dependent & vulnerable I feel, and am: like a goldfish in a bowl, lacking privacy, freedom, spontaneity, rights, dignity; dreading when the plug is going to be pulled by people who think it’s okay to leave one without the funds and care & mobility support which keep me afloat; that they have the power to leave me totally unable to cope, to feel like the government through them are pulling the rug from under my feet and willing me to die, so that they can save a little bit more money. Is that how little our lives matter? He had no idea of the cruelty of his words and actions; he thinks he is ‘just doing his job’!

I just keep breaking down & crying & rocking like a baby trying to comfort myself & hold onto my sanity & not really succeeding. I trust the personal assistants I have around me, they have been supporting me for years, it has taken years to feel truly safe with them, for them to know how to support & help me, with not just my physical problems, but with my mental, emotional & spiritual health and needs too.

If the Council cuts my care I will lose them, as they will need to take on other jobs. Losing them, means losing all the paid, as well as all the unpaid hours of care & support which they also provide too. I get funded currently for 12 hours of care a day, but I have someone with me virtually 24 hours a day, thanks mainly to all the unpaid care that they, my personal assistants, provide me with: unfunded care that they will no longer be able to provide if they have to take on other jobs.

The thought of being left without funding and care and without my current, trusted team of personal assistants is terrifying and this terror is compounded by the terror of having to recruit and train & learn to trust a whole new set of people – if I were to lose the support of my current PAs as a result of my care being cut. The thought is unbearable & truly terrifying!

The thought of going back to being virtually housebound due to the lack of care & support is petrifying!

And the thought of having to go to the toilet, shower, dress, undress, etc., observed by a team of ‘people’ has me in floods of tears again & again & again. I am trying to hold on to my sanity & I’m finding it almost impossible, and I am one of the lucky ones: I have friends and a fantastic support network, my heart breaks when I think of all those who are fighting this on their own! For example, I have a friend who uses a wheelchair and lives in a flat on the first floor, without a lift, or the care support she needs to even get out of her flat! It’s absolutely heart-breaking!

Please, my friends, help me, help them, and help all those who are being pushed so far that they are dying before their time. We need you to stand with us against this assault, and to demand an end to it.

Thank you.”

I also urged everyone to join DPAC’s week of Action in September:
“This September, DPAC will be using the interest surrounding the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio to draw attention to the cumulative impact of the cuts on Disabled People that are taking disabled people’s rights back decades with attacks in every area of our lives from education to independent living to employment to income.”

Thanks to Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)‘s fundraiser I have a wonderful solicitor who is supporting me and has written to the Council to challenge them. So please keep your fingers crossed and please add your support for DPAC’s fundraiser. https://www.gofundme.com/9up7iw
<3 Thank you. <3

<3 Other things you can do to help. <3

Join & Be Part of and spread the word about DPAC’s Week of Action, in September Rights not Games
<3 Week of Action – 4th to 10th September 2016 <3
Contact DPAC to find out more & how you can get involved and share supporting events that you can organise. http://dpac.uk.net/…/september-2016-week-of-action-septemb…/
https://www.facebook.com/events/158867957877728/

Join and add your support for DPAC Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/DPAC2011/

Lobby your MPs to end this inhumanity & abuse. TheyWorkForYou
https://www.theyworkforyou.com/

Our ignorance is bliss for those who use it to divide & control and use it against us, especially to abuse those least able to defend themselves; our knowledge is our power to end the abuse & change the world around us for the better. Don’t be part of the problem when you can stand up & speak out & be a powerful part of the solution. Actively learn & share more & offer your support to all those around you who are suffering as a result of the cuts especially those who are being hit the hardest: people of all ages who are sick, infirm, disabled and struggling to manage with all the cuts to their benefits, services, mobility, social inclusion, human rights, independence and care.

Our news media is being heavily censored and used for propaganda purposes so we all need to become the daily sharers of the truth and the real news. <3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 20:02
Sep 042016
 

DPAC #RightsNotGames National day of Protest

Local Action Tool Kit

During the DPAC Week of Action from 4th -10th September we will be holding a National Day of Action, on Tues 6th Sept taking the fight to a target near you.

This is a chance to raise as much local awareness of the problems that we face and are trying to highlight, whether that be with your local council over the savage cut’s to social care packets,  your local JCP or assessment centre for the barbaric treatment of claimants and the systematic roll out of sanctions to the most vulnerable people in society, the local school for discriminating against disabled children or a stall in your local high-street to raise awareness, see this link for more information on actions already being taken.

#RightsNotGames National Day of Action Tuesday September 6th

And if there isn’t currently something happening in your local area and you want to know how or what you can do to start your own, please use this ‘Local Tool Kit’ for ideas and don’t forget to let us know at DPAC by emailing us at: mail@dpac.uk.net

Tool kit docs for download

  -how to campaigns guide
 – planning a local action guide
– template leaflets
  – template Press Release
  – template letter for anyone doing protests at JCPs who wants to use this
and #RightsnotGames black and white leaflet
 RightsnotGames leaflet

 to copy right click  and select ‘save image as’ to save to your documents