My name’s Siobhan. I’m 28 year’s old and have been blind for about 13 years. My DLA helps me to live independently and is helping me to find paid employment.
My dream job would be working in the media. I’m working really hard to gain as much experience and make as many contacts as I can to make that dream a reality. It’s difficult to get a paid job when you’re blind. In fact 66 per cent of registered blind and partially sighted people of working age are not in employment. This is why it’s so important I get as much experience as I possibly can as I really want to get a full time paid job as I don’t want to rely on benefits forever. However getting to these opportunities is expensive.
I write a column for my local newspaper where I’m gaining valuable work experience, which I hope will help me gain full-time employment in the future. However, there’s no Access to Work funding for volunteering opportunities only paid employment. This means I have to use my DLA to help pay for all the extra costs involved with me volunteering this includes getting taxis too and from venues where I volunteer and also when I go out and interview people.
When I’m not volunteering I like to have my friends round. I like to make sure the house is clean and tidy but struggle to do it myself as I can’t see where needs cleaning. I pay for someone to come in once a month to check that everything’s okay. She has to clean the doors and windows as there’s a lot of finger prints everywhere from me feeling my way around the house and the floors need cleaning because my guide dog sheds a lot of hair. I can only afford to have her round once a month. I’d be mortified if my house was dirty when guests came round.
The Government seems to think that you need less support over time. It’s true you learn to adapt in some ways but there’s always going to be things I need support with and these costs don’t go away or reduce. My DLA is helping me to look for paid employment along with helping to pay for all the other extra costs involved with having a disability. Don’t let disabled people miss out on the support they need to live independently. Join the Hardest Hit campaign.