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HomeBlogHelen Sims of Somerset #tohelenback : ‘Disabled left feeling useless by reforms to their benefits’

A Paulton woman with cerebral palsy has spoken about changes to the welfare benefits system which will have a far ranging effect not just on her but on disabled people generally.

SPEAKING OUT: Helen Sims, of Paulton, writes her blog for the Spartacus Campaign

Helen Sims, 30, was diagnosed with the disability at birth and is unable to stand or walk unaided.

She worked for a year with the Ministry of Defence in Bath but her contract was not renewed and since then she has been awarded lifelong disability diving allowance.

Under the changes she faces an assessment for personal independent payment, which is the new reality of her situation and that of thousands in the same situation.

 

Mrs Sims is married and her husband, who was made redundant in 2008, is on pension credits.

She said: “This is about losing the independence and the self esteem I have fought so hard to get.”

Mrs Sims is backing the Spartacus Campaign on welfare reforms and has written a blog to make people aware of what the proposals will mean to her and everyone else.

It says: “This is real and this is happening. We must raise awareness of the realities of what is happening to disabled, sick and vulnerable people in the UK.

“We are wrongly losing our benefits, life is getting worse by the day. Lives are being all but destroyed.

“For a disabled person like me or anyone that is too ill to work, benefits are a lifeline. They enable us to put food on the table and keep ourselves afloat.

“We do not live in luxury. All we want is independence and the same chances as able-bodied people take for granted every day.

“None of us want to live on benefits. I want to earn my own my own money, have a job and be a mum. Those options aren’t open to me.

“My cerebral palsy means I am frequently in pain and exhausted. The smallest of things that people take for granted and manage in a heartbeat are impossible or very difficult for me. It’s draining, it’s hard… and it’s heartbreaking.

“While people have been left without vital money and the assistance that they need due to a deeply flawed system and a government that seems hell-bent on punishing and misrepresenting those who already suffer enough on a daily basis, I have to do this! Spartacus has to do this!

“We have very few people willing to speak up for us, so we have to do it ourselves.

“If my benefit is cut I lose my independence that I have spent my whole life fighting for.

“There are others in far worse situations than myself, people with chronic illness who have been left without enough money for food or to heat their homes because their benefits have been wrongly stopped.

“This is 2012 and yet it feels like we are living something out of the 19th century. The ‘system’ is failing us. We do not need to be punished and made to pay for the mistakes of the bankers and the Government. It is not fair and it is not right.

“I’ve worked hard to accept who I am, and accept my limitations. Now, I’m told on an almost daily basis, that I’m a burden on society because I am unable to contribute to our broken economy.

“Don’t they realise that I am broken too? Being me breaks my heart some days. I say I’ve accepted things, I try and be strong. In reality, even though I try, I’m not sure I ever really will.

“I already feel worthless to an extent because I can’t work, because I can’t have a baby – because I can’t do so many things. I wonder what my purpose is?

“Lately those feelings have been compounded by a heartless government and a heavily biased, ill-informed media smear campaign against all those who claim benefits – justified or not.

“The Government has claimed that up to 75 per cent of disability benefit claimants are ‘faking’. In reality, the figure is much less – only one in every 200 claimants are fraudsters.

“Please open your eyes and think for yourself. Question what you are being told by this government, before more vulnerable and desperate people are frightened enough to take their own lives. This must not be allowed to continue.”

Somerset Guardian and Standard

Please visit Helen’s Blog: www.to-helen.blogspot.co.uk 

Helen’s FULL BLOG POST UNCUT HERE:

Helen Sims (Right) with her friend Emma Ashman Celebrating her 30th Birthday

This is real and this IS happening.
 
We must raise awareness of the realities of what is happening to disabled, sick and vulnerable people in the UK.
 
We are wrongly losing our benefits, is getting worse by the day.  Lives are being all but destroyed.
 
For a disabled person like me or anyone that is too ill to work, benefits are a lifeline.
 
They enable us to put food on the table and keep ourselves afloat.
 
We do not live in luxury.
 
All we want is independence and the same chances as able bodied take for granted every day. None of us want to live on benefits. I want to earn my own my own money, have a job and be a Mum. Those options aren’t open to me.
 
My Cerebral Palsy means I am frequently in pain and exhausted. The smallest of things that people take for granted and manage in a heartbeat are impossible or very difficult for me.
 
Can you imagine not being able to stand and cook a meal, carry a cup of tea across a room, or not be able to get yourself in and out of the bath?
 
Can you imagine what your life would be like if you knew you could have children? Can you imagine having to think about every step in case you fall?
 
That’s what my reality is like. It’s draining, it’s hard…and it’s heartbreaking.
  
While people have been left without vital money and the assistance that they need due to a deeply flawed system and a government that seems hell-bent on punishing and misrepresenting those who already suffer enough on a daily basis, I have to do this! Spartacus has to do this!
 
We have very few people willing to speak up for us, so we have to do it ourselves.
 
Quite frankly a lot of us don’t have the energy or strength to do this, but we are doing anyway, because no one else will.
 
I cannot allow desperate and isolated people to commit suicide and live with myself.
 
We have to at least try and speak out. If I sat back and nothing, I know I would feel awful.
 
As of May 2012 an average of thirty two people are committing suicide each week as a direct or indirect result of benefit cuts.
  
ATOS (the benefit assessment company) essentially relies on a computer programme, a sort of ‘tick box’ system to decide if a person is fit for work or entitled to benefits. Many illnesses and variations in a person’s condition are not being taken into account, and they do not accurately reflect the realities of our situation. 
 
What’s more, the people carrying out these assessments are often not medical professionals. They are not required to be.
 
I hear you say: “well at least they have a person’s medical records at hand”…but NO! THEY DON’T!
 
Can you imagine if someone with no knowledge of what you did everyday walked in and, after meeting you only once, had the right to decide if you got paid or not?!
 
Is that fair? No!
  
Many people with lifelong conditions and terminal illnesses are being put through this process, which only adds to the stress and anxiety they already live with.
  
It’s not just the assessment it’s the waiting for that letter to drop on the doormat.
 
For me, and many others, it is almost psychological torture. I’m often anxious and unable to sleep Every time the letterbox goes, I find myself thinking ‘is this it?’ ‘Have I saved enough money?  
 
If my benefit is cut I lose my independence that I have spent my whole life fighting for.
 
I won’t be able to visit friends independently if I can no longer afford a taxi.
 
My husband will have to come everywhere with me.
 
I won’t be able to help pay some of the household bills and there will be no mobile phone to keep me safe.  
 
These things are essential.
 
Helping to pay a bill and maintain a household makes me feel ‘normal’.
 
There are so many ‘normal’ things that are painfully out of my reach through no fault of my own!
 
There are others in far worse situations than myself – People with chronic illness who have been left without enough money for food or to heat their homes because their benefits have been wrongly stopped.
 
This is 2012 and yet it feels like we are living something out of the nineteenth century.
 
The ‘system’ is failing us.
 
We do not need to be punished and made to pay for the mistakes of the bankers and the government.
 
It is not fair and it is not right.
 
I am asking you as a human being who thinks and feels the same way do, and wants so desperately to have a normal life, not to believe the government’s ‘Scrounger’ rhetoric. I’m not denying that there are people who ‘swing the lead’, but being portrayed this way by the media at seemingly every turn is destroying my self esteem.
 
I’ve worked hard to accept who I am, and accept my limitations. Now, I’m told on an almost daily basis, that I’m a burden on society because I am unable to contribute to our broken economy.
 
Don’t they realise that I am broken too?
 
Being me breaks my heart some days. I say I’ve accepted things, I try and be strong.
 
In reality, even though I try, I’m not sure I ever really will.
 
I already feel worthless to an extent because I can’t work, because I can’t have a baby,  because I can’t do so many things  I wonder what my purpose is?
 
Lately those feelings have been compounded by a heartless government and a heavily biased, ill informed media smear campaign against all those who claim benefits – justified or not.
 
The government has claimed that up to seventy five percent of disability benefit claimants are ‘faking’. In reality, the figure is much less – only one in every two hundred claimants are fraudsters.
 
Please! Open your eyes and think for yourself!
 
Question what you are being told by this government, before more vulnerable and desperate people are frightened enough to take their own lives.
 
This must not be allowed to continue!
 
 

 http://www.to-helen.blogspot.co.uk/

Comments
  • Richard Youlden August 11, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Just thought I’d drop you a line to warn, don’t save too much. I am disabled with muscular dystrophy, on DLA, and I saved a little money to be sure I could cover repair costs for my heavily adapted (old) van and replace an ageing computer – my benefits were cut!

    Being prudent when you are disabled is not, according to the government, the right thing to do. Being sensible, and making sure that it is possible to cover those unexpected happenings, is not wise under this kind of threat. I too am constantly waiting for the nasty letter to fall through my letter box!

  • jeffery davies August 11, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    agree with whot she has written but they kill more of us daily just by denying us benefits and they call themselves carring goverment when they send millions to india and they tell our mps they dont want it well we do as a lot of us you just get atos to do your dirty work for you no you not only evil do you envisit on us but you say we are skiving and robbing you but its you who give tax payers money out daily to your friends and familys who do the robbing and that is the sad fact jeff3

  • rogr August 11, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    It is hard not to just give up, the whole process seems to be designed to wear us down to the point where it seems too much to carry on and makes us victims twice over. If more people realised that the things they can do so easily are, for us, like climbing a mountain without oxygen and a huge weight on our backs then perhaps they would think for themselves instead of letting the newspapers do it for them. All I can say is that living from day to day and refusing to be defined by the liars in charge of this sorry mess comes from the sense of burning outrage that keeps me going. I wish it was from something better but for now that fury will have to do seeing that I am allowed so little else. One day, perhaps, things will change but until then we need to keep pushing back as you are against the lies and misrepresentations. Stay strong.

  • Humanity2012 August 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    I Agree Rogr I Despair of this ” Democratic ” Cuckooland

    It is those Scum Politicians who should have their Salaries Cut and be Sacked as
    they are the Benefit Scroungers

    This Thieving Off the Vulnerable is Evil and so is the Lack of Symphapy amongst
    Ignorant Wider Society who cannot See Further than the Propaganda of the TV
    the Tabloids and the ” Quality ” Newspapers

    Challenging the Juggernaut of Propaganda against the Poor and Vulnerable is
    Essential get People to Switch Off the TV Set stop getting the Tabloids and
    ” Quality Newspapers ” and use their Brains to Think and Get Out to Demonstrate

    The Slavish Docility of People is Beyond Pathetic and the Arrogance of Politicians
    Beyond Diabolical

    I Despise the Gormless Grins on Politicians Faces

  • louise January 3, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    are there any groups in somerset that are campaigning to stop this progrom against people with disabilities?

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