Thursday, 1 March 2012

Welfare Benefit Reform and a Sad Day in Britain

I wanted to blog today, but I really wasn't sure what I'd blog about - no topics were springing to mind. So I went to Twitter and went through my Twitter feed, to see what's going on in the world of disabilities.  I was shocked, and saddened, to see that the Welfare Reform Bill in Britain that so many people have been fighting so hard to have the government reconsider, passed yesterday.

How Will Welfare Benefit Reform Affect People with Disabilities in Britain?

The new legislation introduces benefit caps, will cause many people with disabilities to lose their benefits, and will push people with disabilities and their families further into poverty across the UK.

The government claims that Welfare Benefit Reform will give people with disabilities more opportunities to become independent from the system, but groups across the UK have concerns:

Church leaders in Ireland: "Those with the least capacity to suffer cuts should not be made to suffer more:

"Benefit reform could put '6000 children into poverty'" - Wales:

For a graphic description of what disability advocate Sue Marsh's life will be like now that Welfare Benefit Reform has gone through, see her blog entry, "A Post About Pooh":

Why Do I Care About Welfare Benefit Reform?

I care because while I agree that these systems aren't designed to get people off of them, I don't believe that the solution is cuts that force people with genuine disabilities out into a difficult job market, especially at the expense of children's welfare.

I care because, as I've said before, I see the same attitude toward people with disabilities in America (and I'm seeing it in Canada too) as I do in Britain: drains on taxpayer money (when they're not receiving income support due to outright fraud). I believe that Welfare Benefit Reform is an unreasonable response to fraud rates that are actually quite low, despite how much we hear about them. They're low in America and Canada, too. And I'm scared that America and Canada are heading the same way that Britain is, in terms of welfare benefit reform.

I'm care because so much of what I hear about what will work, in terms of caring for people with disabilities, from people who haven't actually had to do it, just won't work. I remember a discussion with someone who said that we didn't need income support for people with disabilities, because communities and churches would just take care of people who can't care for themselves, if we'd just give them a chance.  I know that this doesn't work. But some people won't hear that.

I care because I have friends in Britain with disabilities, and I'm really scared for them.

I can't imagine how they're feeling today.

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