Wednesday, 5 September 2012
My difficulties with access to work
I recently found out I had to reapply for Access to work a scheme designed to aid disabled people in work and to enable them to complete tasks to achieve work tasks as any other able bodied person would do. All was going reasonably fine until today when I received a rather stern phone call from one of their advisors. Clearly they re checking up on every single case now and going through your case with a fine toothed comb to see you’re not cheating the system or getting any money you shouldn’t. I must stress now my situation has not changed at all in the 3 years I have been working and my support has remained the same. On the governments own website they state Access to Work - practical help at work Access to Work can help you if your health or disability affects the way you do your job. It gives you and your employer advice and support with extra costs which may arise because of your needs. Check if you qualify for Access to Work. Today I was interviewed over the phone about my claimant I was asked all sorts of probing questions in attempts for the government to save money it didn’t have to pay out to support me in work. I was asked could I get a bus instead of a taxi each week now the taxi I get is only 4 journey’s a week as I only work two days at present and gets me door to door taking a bus which are very infrequent and highly unreliable I’d have to get to work 2 hours early and not get home till 2 hours after I finished work. All for a 3 mile trip. More questions were fired at me could I change my working hours to fit? umm no I’m employed for a certain amount of hours I cant change it I told them they wanted to know every last detail it felt and I came off the phone feeling very shaky and highly intimidated by the whole interview. It felt like I was being accused of claiming for things I shouldn’t or I shouldn’t be claiming for support I should support myself. Now I don’t earn much at work and I only get DLA and working tax credits to make my income up to something near liveable on I certainly can’t contribute anymore than I already am. I pay 50p in every mile for my journey to work and am allowed to claim back the rest and I don’t think this is too unreasonable. I am working at the end of the day part time maybe and it’s not the greatest job in the world but I’m working. If this government want disabled people to work they need to get their finger out and support the properly making the necessary adjustments however much they cost as how else can they expect us to work ? All this rhetoric about scroungers and benefit cheats about the disabled makes us out to be on the fiddle all the time when we’re not the vast majority of people disabled or not just wish to earn a living and live comfortably if that means we need extra support the government or the employer should make the funding available to meet our needs in my view. I thought about it after but didn’t say so on the phone to this advisor that we are not a poor country there is 750 billion pounds of money stashed in the banks of big business not being invested don’t tell me we are a poor country as we are not these companies just refuse to invest this as they see no profit to be made in investing at this time. As socialists we would say there needs to be an immediate 50% levee on that figure to invest in public works, s new schools, the NHS and a programme of council housing building on a mass scale could start to get people back to work and start to meet people’s needs. This incident today reminded me of the ATOS exposure on panorama where they would try any tactic to get your off benefits back into work, I’ve not been through that ordeal and never wish too but this felt similar but ridiculously I’m in work and trying to gain support. The Tories, labour and their dems all talk of getting disabled people back to work and yes to a extent I agree with them where there is a job and a job is needing doing pay people a decent wage for it and employ people on proper terms but and this is the crucial point if you are disabled like myself we do need that little bit more support than others. No sham in that but the money is there and can be used to support us they often just choose not to. Both the government and big business would rather take money back off you or not spend it in the first place. Its hugely hypocritical that they claim to want to get disabled people into work yet when they make it as difficult as possible for them to gain thnecessary support they need to complete work related tasks. I just think the system is wrong and instead of intimidation and threats to cut your support they should be looking to go the extra mile to support disabled people who wish to work. Of course there are those who can’t work and accept that and they shouldn’t be bullied or discriminated because of that fact instead should be allowed to live their lives comfortably and contribute in other ways to society. At the end of the day we work to live not live to work. Perhaps the government who are hell bent on austerity ought to take note of this. A society which put peoples needs before anything else is what we strive for as socialists if people wished to work they should be a ble to and no barriers in front of them. A socialist society would support everybody’s needs not just a few rich individuals who call the shots at present.