In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve got a lot of problems. Problems pertaining to the mind. I’m actually not dangerous, despite my serial-killer nom-de-plume, but to all intents and purposes, I actually have a disability that totally fucks up my ridiculous life at every turn. For reasons of anonymity, I can’t really go into any further detail about this. I can tell you only this: It was caused by the NHS themselves.
I’ve had this disability my whole life, and- despite having seen about ten professionals in thirty years, only got properly assessed when I was 26. Before this, I’d had a lot of misdiagnoses, a lot of challenges without support and have dealt with a LOT of under-skilled, over-qualified and overpaid NHS professionals. I’ve dealt with a few more charlatans since then, too. But in recent years I’ve met the right people and finally started to get the support that I needed. When I was 28, I finally got Disability Living Allowance. It was the first time I’d received a benefit payment since I’d been on the dole (which I was on and off again for nearly three years, being sacked hundreds of times in the process).
You may have seen in the news that the government is planning to replace Disability Living Allowance with a Personal Independence Payment. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21706978 To me, this is bad news. Disability News Service points out that we’re all going to be called in for a reassessment at some point. http://disabilitynewsservice.com/2013/03/governments-secret-plan-to-strip-claimants-of-dla/
“DLA was least abused benefit in UK when I was Minister for disabled people”, tweets Maria Eagle, MP for Liverpool, Garston and Halewood. https://twitter.com/meaglemp “Shame on Tory Minister for saying disabled people are cheats.”
Take a look at the graph of on page 10 of this document from the Department of Work and Pensions themselves. http://campaigns.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd2/fem/fem_apr08_mar09.pdf It seems to back up Maria Eagle’s claim, with a 0.5% fraud rate.
Now. Here’s the problem I face. I’ve only received this benefit in my late 20s onwards, AFTER I’d been to uni, graduated after having the rules bent over backwards, been sacked hundreds of times, scratched around for work for three years, then subsequently spent a further 3 years on an employment scheme to STOP me getting sacked. And it was only THEN that anyone even told me about DLA, let alone put me on it. I’d been totally eligible all of my adult life.
Because I’d spent so long in spirit-sucking, depressing poverty, I have lived a thoroughly shitty existence. I didn;t lose my virginity ’til I was 25. I didn’t have an “official” relationship until I was 28, and that only lasted 2 months. I’ve still only shagged 4 birds to this day. I didn’t move out of my parent’s house it I was 28. We drove each other mental as a family. The situation was incredibly unhealthy. My social circles change all the time as people fall out or settle down. My life is nothing short of an utter shit-tip, but I’ve sorted out a good portion of it in recent years.
This was largely due to practical NHS support, but also due to the benefits system. I’ve been eligible for DLA and Working Tax Credit for a very long time, however I’ve only received it for a year or so. This was because I knew nothing about it, and neither did the majority of professionals I encountered- so they claimed. So, by the time I’d received this benefit, my money-saving, penny-pinching mentality was fully engrained. That cash dripping in came as a shock.
At first, I didn’t want to spend it. I’m so afraid of that money disappearing that I couldn’t bear to draw it out. But I found that, eventually, you find certain ways. Healthy food costs more that Tesco Value. I found a better phone with more functions to keep my life in order and to stop me losing track of things. This cost more than I was paying with my previous phone, but I could afford it and justify it.
Yet here’s the problem: After all my bills are paid, I’m still left with a certain amount of money. Over the months, this money has begun to slowly pile up.
It’s unclear what the government wants to do. Some news reports say they want to take this money off me. Others say the PIP will offer me more. Here’s my perspective: I was treated like a piece of shit by my secondary school, who attested I was stupid and lazy. The child psychology service knew I had problems and gave me a label, but told my parents there was “nothing that could be done.” My college gave me a label completely different to the one offered by Psychology- one that was totally wrong. My university psychologist ran with the misdiagnosis by the college, despite being more qualified. This psychologist didn’t bother to ask for my previous psychological assessment because it was “too old” and “wouldn’t be relevant”. So I lived with that misdiagnosis until I was 25 when I got reassessed, but even THAT assessment was full of errors. After this I spent the rest of my life trying to figure out what my problems were for myself. I’ve learned what I can and can’t do. I’ve learned to shop for food and cook. I can budget (especially now I DO have DLA). I’ve made friends through social groups (groups that cost MONEY to go to). My esteem is much higher, and essentially, I can do all of this because of MONEY, money that comes largely from my DLA payment.
There’s one other point that I wanted to make here, but typically, I cannot find the fucking info online to back it up. I read somewhere that the government want to take back whatever we DON’T spend out of our DLA entitlement. That if we have any leftover money, they’ll give us a smaller amount from then on. This is wrong.
The government should be encouraging us all- disability or not- to save. Savings create financial stability. It offers peace of mind. It provides opportunities for the future and opens doors to new experiences- experiences that most normal people can benefit from. I could afford to go to Tenerife last year, with my family, because of benefits. I’m going to Ibiza soon with friends. This is going to cost a FORTUNE, but it’s a lifelong ambition- one I’ve never been able to afford until recently. I think o this money partly as reimbursement for the shit life that the government put in place for me.
To now find that, very soon, I could be losing a good portion of that money, I’m thrown back into the feeling of total insecurity and uncertainty that I had when I first moved out and ALL of my wages were going STRAIGHT out into my very modest bills. I’ve lived a life of total fucking poverty because of my condition. Now the government- it seems- want to send me back into that life.
The conclusion to this is that money does- to a degree- bring happiness. There is a way, however, to sustain this happiness.
DLA is paid into the recipient’s bank account. If my savings increase, the government will know the recipient is not spending it, and they’ll tax it off them. Even if it’s in a separate high-interest account, the DWP will find out. Simple- draw out the cash every week. Keep it in the home. Keep it somewhere safe, where no-one would think of looking for it. At the bottom of a pile of soiled underwear. In opaque, knotted condoms left by the bed. In cereal boxes or packets of rice. Under the protective cover of the ironing board.
For all the government will know, you’re spending it. You’ll keep the same rate. I think. And burglars are unlikely to rummage in THOSE places.
Of course, it would be much better for the government to tax the wealthy more- those not likely to just fuck off abroad to escape tax loopholes-. Or tax those who just can’t control their own sex organs and have millions of babies, costing the rest of the taxpayers millions of pounds a year in benefits. For fuck’s sake. I realise I’m supposed to be wrapping up this rant, but why the FUCK persecute disabled people when there are people having kids that they know DAMNED WELL that they can’t afford to raise?! In a world of the pill, the morning after pill, condoms, femidoms, spermicidal lubricant and oral and anal sex, what POSSIBLE REASON is there to get accidentally pregnant?! Don’t they teach this shit to girls in school? Why should I lose MY benefits when I’ve had the common decency NOT to jizz inside a bird and make another version of my bastard self?
Wow. Tangents. This was only supposed to be a quick note. 1400 words later and I’m going ballistic at myself, the hospital I was born in, the three governments who have been in power in my life, the utter digshit secondary I went to, the numerous crap professionals I’ve encountered and the world in general.
Jesus. Chill the fuck out, Bateman. It might not even happen. You might NOT be plunged into poverty and have to sell your sweet ass to the local men just to buy Tesco Value food.