Friday, 29 October 2010

Connie's Story

I have bipolar disorder and PTSD.  I have worked, served my country as a territorial soldier for many years, and done voluntary and community work, but now I am too ill to do paid work, although I do what voluntary work I can when I can.

I am dependent on benefits and I am very scared about the reforms.  I have read the revised criteria for ESA that the government says that it will bring in, and believe that I will not get ESA.  Yet when I have the inevitable breakdown, cuts already implemented in mental health services mean that there will be no hospital bed for me.

The cutbacks to housing benefit and council tax benefit mean that I would find it very difficult to survive on jobseekers allowance, especially as I am unlikely to find work and would be hit by further cuts to my housing benefit after a year.

Initially, I could make up the difference using my DLA, but I am afraid that mentally ill people will be targetted in the proposed cutbacks to DLA as we have invisible impairments.

When I became a soldier, it was to defend this country from threats from other countries, but now the threat to our survival comes from within, not from one political party, but from all three main parties.  I stood shoulder to shoulder with other soldiers in defence of my country and now I will stand shoulder to shoulder with other disabled people in defence of our community. 

It will not be an easy fight.  Already people I know who are not disabled tell me not to worry about it but to wait and see what will happen.  By then it will be too late: the reforms will have been enacted into law.  We must fight now, spreading the word far and wide about what is really happening to us.

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