I am in receipt of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA). I’d rather be well and able to work, earning my own income. Recent benefit reforms, such as the ‘bedroom tax’ and the transition from Incapacity Benefit to ESA, and the upcoming changes to DLA and endless reams of form-filling add to the anxiety I am already experiencing. I think it’s made as difficult as possible for those of us unfortunate enough to have to live on hand-outs.
My disabilities are not self-inflicted, I didn’t choose to become disabled. I’m grateful for benefits but it makes me feel like someone else owns me, like I don’t have a future. I disagree that benefits are a ‘lifestyle choice’. Life on benefits breaks your spirit, destroys families, makes folk homeless – who’d want that? You’d have to be a masochist.
Politicians can talk about benefits claimants, they can hold the idea of a ‘good life’ on benefits, as an idea, conceptually, but until they experience it themselves, they have no knowledge of it. It’s no easy ride.
Listen to Cath’s interview update, recorded in May 2015