Guilty until proven disabled

Guilty until proven disabled

Perpetual fear

Neverending stress

Constant foreboding

And continual dread.

Fight and battle

Battle and fight

Repeat, repeat, repeat…

Misunderstanding.

Invalidating.

Minimising.

Erasing.

YOU. ARE. ABSOLUTELY. FINE.

Disrespected. Intimidated.

Manipulated. Humiliated.

Scrutinised. Patronised.

Head crashing

From the brick wall

You’re bashing against.

Prepare to feel guilty.

Prepare to feel paranoid.

Judged a fraud?

You’re a liar, undeserving.

Judged disabled?

You’re worthless, a burden.

And the trial doesn’t cease

If you pass the tests.

The walls have eyes

And the public are spies.

Perpetual fear

Never-ending stress.

Fight and battle.

Battle and fight.

Repeat

Repeat

Repeat…



Today I spoke at a seminar for International Day of Persons with a Disability.  The event was centred around the benefits system and the experiences of disabled people.  When I was asked to be involved, I started pulling together my thoughts about the benefits system and resulting blog post began to turn into the poem above.

A few snippets from the notes I made when listening to other people at the seminar:

The process and system exacerbates conditions.  It is ineffective.  Inappropriate.  And a waste of time and money.  It does not get disabled people into work and may even move them further away from the world of work.  It is unethical and inefficient.

Failures in the system are plunging people into debt, leaving them unable to buy food, making people reliant on friends and family and charities just so they can survive.

“It just smashes your self-worth.  You’ve got to lend money, you’ve got to beg to borrow… you don’t know when you’re going to get money to pay it back”
– Disabled woman, quoted in an ESRC report

Disabled people are under siege from the very system that should be supporting us.

The DWP are stealing dreams and hopes and futures.

One thought on “Guilty until proven disabled”

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