The fabric of Britain as we know it is being ripped apart. So much is changing, almost behind our backs, we haven't got time to notice what is happening to us. And it is happening fast.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

YAY! I'm going to be cured!

That's right! I'm going to be cured with a stroke of a pen! I'll get right out of my wheelchair and be the same as everyone else!

Yes, with a stroke of a pen, someone is going to cure what even science cannot cure. Damn lazy doctors, why did they not think of that?

Under the proposed PIP (Personal Independent Payment) rules, wheelchair users will no longer be entitled to help as, apparently, a wheelchair means we no longer have any moblity problems.

This is despite the fact that NHS wheelchairs are not up to the job. I was informed by WCS that their concern is not how you mange outdoors; they only need to make sure you can wheel around indoors.

To catch a train we have to give 24 hrs notice and we can only catch the train at the time we have booked it for (freedom of choice, anyone?)

So if we miss the train we could be stuck as they do not have to put us on it. Oh, and no arriving last minute: we're expected to be there 30 mins early.
Article: Telegraph
Trains often have 1, maybe 2, wheelchair spaces on them. So if another one is there - or bikes or luggage or a pram - chances are you'll be dumped between carriages.

And don't forget, not all train stations are accessible.
We'd better avoid mentioning London Underground.

Buses? Well, that depends. Are they accessible everywhere? Answer is no.

Do they have a ramp and, if they have, will it always work or will the driver be willing to get out of his seat to lower it? Answer: no. (Spotting the theme yet?)
Cartoon: Crippen
Will we try to board the bus and find out we can't because of a buggy? Answer: YES.

Cars:  When your legs don't work this tend to cause problems with driving (check out next time what people do with those pesky leg things in a car.)

So, often, mobility allowance goes towards an adapted car with hand controls to avoid the above issues.

Outdoors, we all know that the world or even the UK is exactly flat and smooth! Level footpaths everywhere, with proper dropped kerbs, no?

Answer: the only flat smooth surfaces are inside shopping centres. But you've got to get there first (see above.)

Indoors, now: you want to try something? Sit on a computer chair and ask someone to tie your legs together. Without moving them at all or putting them down, get onto your couch. Don't bum shuffle or wiggle; that's cheating! I can see you!

Now try repeating it back from the couch. This is the time when you pray your neighbour can't peep through your window; they might think you've got into bondage ... if they blush next time you see them, you'll know they peeked.

If you mastered that one, now on the chair again grab hoover with both hands and hoover - well, the 1m reach in front of you because it is kinda tricky to move when you need both hands to do that, but both hands are holding the hoover (throwing it doesn't get the floor clean!)
Phew! After that you need a coffee or something! Pick kettle up in hand - uh, oh, only one hand to get around - fill it with water, balance carefully, turn on kettle.

Back to tap. Empty cup. Well, that's easy. Fill cup with boiling water ... one hand thing again, try moving carefully, spill hot water down self, argh!

Great. Not only does your neighbour think you're indulging in afternoon bondage, now you look like you wet yourself.

Bugger it. Grab bottle of wine, stay still, open said bottle, have a drink and be grateful you don't have mobility problems!

Now that's my light-hearted look and I haven't even covered what it is really like ... but do you still think the new PIP proposals and cuts to DLA are fair?

Looks like Maxine won't get ESA ;)


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  1. Sigh...

    There are a lot of problems with PIP, I'd be the first to say it. Yes, they were talking about treating wheelchairs the same as they do in the WCA. However, they backed down on that.

    The current proposals for PIP have it that anyone who needs a wheelchair to get 50 metres, as long as they do actually use one, will be entitled to enhanced mobility. It's really that straightforward. People who can't self-propel get more points, but without any practical effect, as 12 points get enhanced rate - getting 15 instead is of only statistical relevance.

    What they do say, that's wacky, is that if someone cannot get 50m, even with what aids that can and do use, they're only entitled to standard rate. It's only if you can't move from one seat to another next to it without help or an aid, or are unable to move around at all, that you get 12 or more points without using a wheelchair.

  2. Great writing, by the way, and a fantastic depiction of the problems living with mobility problems. Just had that issue with the initial premise.

  3. A great critique and a good picture of what it is to be a wheelchair user.

    Of course this does apply to those 'wheelchair users' who can actually get an NHS wheelchair. If you are immobile and can't get your local authority to adapt your property so you can get a wheelchair indoors you can't even get a chair do these things!

    Keep up the good work - Alone we whisper... together we shout!

  4. This is from a Benefits & Work summary, published on 15 Dec 2011.

    11. Moving around.
    a. Can move at least 200 metres either –
    (i) unaided; or
    (ii) using an aid or appliance, other than a wheelchair or a motorised device. 0 points
    b. Can move at least 50 metres but not more than 200 metres either –
    (i) unaided; or
    (ii) using an aid or appliance, other than a wheelchair or a motorised device. 4 points
    c. Can move up to 50 metres unaided but no further. 8 points
    d. Cannot move up to 50 metres without using an aid or appliance, other than a wheelchair or a motorised device. 10 points
    e. Cannot move up to 50 metres without using a wheelchair propelled by the claimant. 12 points
    f. Cannot move up to 50 metres without using a wheelchair propelled by another person or a motorised device. 15 points
    g. Cannot either –
    (i) move around at all; or
    (ii) transfer unaided from one seated position to another adjacent seated position. 15 points

    To get an award of the mobility component you need to score:
    8 points for the standard rate
    12 points for the enhanced rate

    According to this, THC would get 12 points for the enhanced rate. As Tisme shows above, a person who can drag themselves 200m using a walker would get NO points even if they should really have a wheelchair.

    The government has invited feedback from disabled people. Consultation is open until 30th April.


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