Seeing that the few MPs who bothered to turn up for today’s CIADisability Debate seem utterly clueless about disability benefits, here’s a hint, guys – it’s not money for nothing. It’s money most of us have paid for in taxes, and continue to pay in currency rather less tangible but no less real.
This is the daily currency in which I pay for my benefits (NB: Not looking for sympathy, just making a point):-
it’s for suffering severe, intransigent pain 24/7/365 since 1983, when I was struck by lightning, which damaged almost all of my joints, and, literally, fried my feet;
it’s for osteoarthritis in my hips, knees, hands, elbows, and all the tiny joints in my feet (I have had o-a, in my left hip, since I was 32, but the damage from the lighting strike greatly worsened the situation);
it’s for suffering the horrors of ME/CFS for 27 years, in the face of almost universal disbelief and calumny, a torrent of quackery and a total absence of valid treatment;
it’s for having no immune system to speak of;
it’s for being unable to breathe, other than with difficulty, due to severe, and worsening, COPD (I’ve never smoked, I didn’t need to, as 60 years of living and working with smokers did more than enough damage), and I suffered from the precursors to my COPD – asthma and bronchiectasis – all my life;
it’s for now having a terminal heart condition, not improved by the staggering incompetence of the medical profession;
it’s for developing aortic valve calcification and stenosis – and heart failure;
it’s for, more recently, developing lymphoedema, and lymphorrhoea, in which, in the case of the latter, the pressure of lymphatic fluid is so high it forces its way directly through the skin, and the former gives me hugely swollen legs and feet, in both cases needing high levels of morphine and other drugs to try to control the pain;
it’s for spending much of my life in a wheelchair (though not nearly as much as I sensibly should), and for a great deal more, all of which prevents me from working or even, much of the time, looking after myself.
I have worked, by the way, against medical advice, until I was 40, losing almost every job along the way because of excessive sick leave until, by 1986, I was too ill even to look for work. I have needed disability benefits ever since.
I pay for my benefits in pain, every minute of every day of my life.
And bear in mind that I am by no means unique – hundreds of thousands of people are in a similar position, many are much worse than I am, and almost all are at risk from the deranged machinations of IDS.
Our benefits are vital to our continued existence, and we all pay for them with the same currency of pain and suffering– only the detail changes, not the fact. Their continuance should not be at the whim of a man who is clearly unfit to hold office.