Careless words fuel prejudice – letter in the Observer

The following Hardest Hit letter featured in the Observer newspaper on Sunday:

“Every time Iain Duncan Smith’s Department for Work and Pensions reveals statistics on assessments for employment and support allowance, it highlights the people whose application failed – implying high levels of fraud and unnecessary claims. This fails to tell the whole story. Criteria for this benefit are incredibly high, while flaws in assessment mean many people with a significant level of impairment are declared fit for work. These statistics also overlook the fact that nearly four out of 10 appeals are successful and this rises significantly where the person has representation.

This partial picture feeds the tabloid media’s negative narrative on “benefits scroungers” and this in turn has an impact on employers’ perception of disability and disabled people. A recent survey found that 58% of disabled people thought others did not believe they were disabled and half of disabled people feel others presume they are not working. It found that attitudes towards disabled people had deteriorated over the last year.

We urge the department to present its next set of work capability assessment figures with balance and context, because their words have very real consequences.”

Jaspal Dhani CEO, UK Disabled People’s Council;

Steve Winyard Chair, Disability Benefits Consortium campaigns group

10 thoughts on “Careless words fuel prejudice – letter in the Observer

  1. I also Totally agree, just because you can not “see” my disability all the time, does not mean I do not have it. ( meaning I don’t always have to use supports)…It is hard enough as it is, without having to justify myself to others.. I also work and work very hard and my benefits actually Allow me to work, if I didn’t have the support, I would not be able to work. I am tired of others assuming I am not disabled, and assuming I am some how defrauding the government as i somehow don’t deserve the support I receive..Society’s attitudes towards the disabled have definitely deteriorated over the years and what is most sad is that it doesn’t seem to change until something happens to affect them, or some one they love. Society’s attitude on a whole is unkind, discriminatory and It’s not acceptable and we seriously need the government to spread much needed awareness of the Realities of what is is like to Live as a Disabled person or raise a disabled child as I do.

  2. Thank you for clarifying how things really are for the disabled. Those that cannot work are still part of our society. I was brought up to believe that the strong take care of the weak, something you would expect our current leader to understand very well.
    Yes there may be some benefit scroungers out there but their numbers are a very tiny minority. Do the rest have to live a life of poverty because of them?
    If Vodaphone and the likes were forced to pay their taxes things would be a lot better for the country as a whole. It begs the question why are they allowed to get away without paying taxes, whilst truly sick people are being terrorised by the DWP?

  3. Yes i agree it portrays a negative picture of disabled people on benefits and not all of us as they say are benefit scroungers so this assumption should be corrected as soon as possible and put into the correct context!

  4. I have personally been on the receiving end of abuse and harassment in recent moths as a direct consequence of the right wing media promoting a fascist mentality in society and presenting a distorted picture of disabled benefit claimants based on the way figures and facts around current changes to the benefit system are being not reported or explained properly misrepresented.

  5. I WILL ALSO SWAP MY DISABILITY ANY TIME YOU LIKE. Then someone else can fight the system and SEE what life is really like fighting a body that doesnt listen and a govt that doesnt give a s***

  6. There is also a difference between being sick and disabled, if you are sick you will be disabled by your illhealth but not all disabled people are sick .Where is the support , where are the jobs? the negative reporting in the press fuelled by government falsehoods has fueled a rise in disability hate crimes, people are in dispair what happens if you have a hidden disability like mental distress or MS that is unpredictable and fluctuating? What employer will take you on?

  7. I feel the same way. I also worked for 22 years until my health got the better of me, and took over my life causing me to be too ill work again. The figures are not realistic and the WRAG is ideal for making the government look better as it is a limbo group which shadows the true numbers. Therefore taking the true facts away from what is actually happening. I have several debilitating and serious conditions, and yet I am still in the WRAG. A cruel way to be treated when I will never be able to work and as such will never be employed, not only because of my illnesses, but also because of the insurance risk I would too post to any employer. After all, who you take on, the fit any healthy person, or the one with serious health conditions, which would put themselves and other people at risk in the workplace?

  8. The whole Benefit system has to be looked at. I believe means Testing is a good way forward. “BUT” Anyone who has the Job of processing this should themselves have a disbility

  9. At last someone has the sence to put it in perspective,I hate all the storys classing me as a benefit scrounger, its not nice having to go through each day like I do, I worked for 40 years and when I fell ill I kept on working till I collapsed at work and had to take early retirement, and all the blogs I have sent about all this scrounger rubbish I have put I WILL SWAP ANYTIME but so far no one has, this so called government does not care about me I am just a number on a list!!!!!!!!!

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