Today marks the United Nations #InternationalDayofPersonsWithDisabilities. It looks to support the rights and the well-being of people with disabilities, in society, and to increase awareness of their situation in a all aspects of life (political, social, economic and cultural).
The discrimination of disabled people in the UK is ever prevalent, with latest government figures showing that they are paid on average 12.2% less than those without disabilities.
The treatment of disabled people in society is awful to say the least, the last 10 years have shown Tory austerity damage the lives of those with physical and mental impairments. Benefit cuts, reduction in social care and lack of support means that there has been a significant rise in the number of homeless disabled people, and those left burdened by their illness.
The gruelling process of PIP assessments is an example of the stress and unfairness those with disabilities face. Having to lay bare every detail of our illness, in order to prove to someone who doesn’t know us that we are actually sick. A process that is meant to support and help those with disabilities but rather leaves us filled with dread. Assessments and tribunals just to receive disability benefits, to help the additional costs our illnesses come with, when we often can’t hold down a full-time job. The amount of money those with disabilities receive has also been cut in recent years.
This treatment isn’t ok, being and identifying as disabled can be terrifying, knowing that it is likely you won’t be supported by the government and society, based on their preconceptions and often a lack of empathy.
My cystic fibrosis limits my daily life, my movements, my ability to function to the same standards as those around me who are lucky enough to be healthy. It has led me to receive hurtful comments, prejudice from strangers and a greater self-awareness that I was different from my peers.
For me, the openness I have about my illness now, has allowed me to accept my own limitations. The word disabled is seen with such negative connotations to many but that needs to change. It has also has given me greater strength and compassion for others. I know I could be in a much worse situation in life, I’m lucky to have a home, food and access to clean water. I have a supportive network around me and great help from my CF team at hospital. However, so many with disabilities don’t have this support, there is a urgent need for changes to be made to the social care that is being offered.
There are HUGE problems and inequalities that people with disabilities face on a daily basis, I have barely touched the surface. I wanted to highlight a few of the issues that we face, ahead of the General Election on the 12th. I realise that I have brought many points into this article, all of which could have their own blog post but I felt it was important to combine them today on #IDPD. Changes need to be made so that those who actually need it are receiving the help and support they need.