Samantha Renke, Actress and disability campaigner wrote on metro.co.uk about Disabled people already fight battles every day. Making us prove we need benefits is almost inhumane
I was born with a genetic condition called Osteogenesis Impefecta (Brittle Bones) – a condition that won’t get better with age, and I am a full-time wheelchair user. When I think about my own battles with anxiety and depression and what induces them, the principle triggers for my depression and anxiety come from the fear of losing my independence, not being able to work and financially support myself, socialise and feel part of a community.
Of course, I need to take ownership for my own wellbeing and there are measures I can take to limit my anxiety but I need to know that those around me understand and listen. Especially as my independence still relies heavily on the external support I receive, namely financial support from the government.
The support the disabled community receives comes from the government via local authorities and it’s been this way since 1970s. Initially it came in the form of Attendance Allowance and Mobility Allowance, intended to help people with mobility issues get around as public transport was completely inaccessible.
Then in 1992, Attendance and Mobility Allowance was integrated into the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) that had two additional lower rates of benefit, determined by your specific support needs. My parents fought tooth and nail to ensure that I would receive support throughout my life and after a lengthy battle, I was awarded indefinite DLA.
However, in 2012 the government changed the goal post again and introduced Personal Independent Payments (PIP). This meant that anyone receiving DLA, even if they had been awarded it indefinitely, would now be re-assessed. In a nut shell I, and thousands like me, now have to prove that I am disabled enough to receive further help.
The assessment involves a combination of telephone interviews, home visits, form filling and interviews at designated assessment centres, all of which are very intrusive and stressful.
So what do you think?
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