Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Work shy? Work deprived! #TBofBTT

In a blog post I wrote last week, I suggested that the government give monetary incentives to businesses who enable disabled and/or ill people to work, whether by providing equipment for them to work from home, or by adapting their offices. A lot of companies in cities (at least I know this to be true in London) are required to ensure that any new buildings – of which there are many – must be accessible to the disabled. But those in old buildings, particularly small, local firms, might not have the means to fund adaptations. Necessary adaptions might not be viable in each building, of course, but this is hypothetical. Or what if the government provided grants or loans to people who could set up their own business and work from home? If a loan is given, it could be paid back over a fair period, with either base rate interest, or no interest at all. I’m sure that, within a year, the government would be recompensed by a decrease in claims for ESA, IB, IS, JSA etc.

Let me be clear, I do not think any disabled or ill person should be forced into work. I do think, however, that I have too many ill or disabled friends whose talents are going to waste. Some are great at PR, some would be fantastic researchers, others are writers, or techies, or bakers and artists. Their wealth of experience, and their want to make use of it are being left to rot just because their bodies or minds are keeping them out of the standard work place. It makes me angry to think that there are less skilled and less qualified able bodied people getting jobs above my disabled/ill friends, purely down to their lack of wheelchair, absence of surgical scars, or “clean” mental health record.

So, I would really be interested to hear what adaptations you would need to work in an office, or what kinds of equipment you would need to work at home (if, like me, your health/body/mind wouldn’t suit an office). For example, screen magnifying equipment, voice recognition software, aids to allow you to work comfortably from your bed, ramps or a wheelchair lift to access an office, a specialist pen that you can hold, or adapted kitchen appliances, a mobility scooter or powerchair. If you need a medical treatment, but are being denied it by your GP or consultant, that would be interesting, too. We all know about the “Postcode Lottery”.

Costs would be great, but not essential. I’ve never been able to go to work, but I know that so many of you have been pushed and forced out of your jobs, by your health and/or by ignorant bosses and co-workers. Equally, if you’ve never been able to work, but know what access adaptations or equipment you would need to go to work, do tell us.

Please do contribute your needs and/or experiences. The government might not want to listen to us, but we can make our voices heard. Even if you post anonymously, please do give us your story. Doubters and skeptics ask us what we would do instead of these cuts – well, let’s give them something to think about!

Mel x

aka @QueenieJelly

Cross-posted from:



Visually Impaired said...

I agree withyou. I want to pitch in but i pit myself against more able bodied people im at significant advantage. Untilrecentlythe government had gotsome help schemes such as access to work that helped but this as far as im aware is being scrapped.

If imemployed and left to my own devices i find workarounds out myself. For instance I have cutomised the systems tomy needs and need some specialist software But rather than put my voluntary placement at risk by asking for the stuff I reseached stufff and sorted it out myself likemy recent post about a free screenmagnifer program and it has made my life easier.

DavidG said...

The Disability Discrimination Act/Equality Act require any business to make provision for disabled people both as staff and customers, and not simply in a reactive manner once someone has tried to get their nose in the door, the requirement is presumptive and should take into account their nature of the customer base (hence the absolute ludicrous nature of ATOS's claim to meet the requirements of the DDA/EA, when some of their facilities aren't even wheelchair accessible). In addition, Part M (IIRC) of the Building Regs, which is applicable to all new construction and any building undergoing substantial modification, has a considerable amount of detailed requirements in relation to all areas of accessibility. And these two together set a minimum standard, not a maximum, individual reasonable adjustments may still be needed on top to meet the needs of individual members of staff or customers.

As for the government funding these adaptions, it already does this in part through Access To Work, unfortunately, like so many other areas of disability funding, ATW are having their funds squeezed.

Anonymous said...


" Let me be clear, I do not think any disabled or ill person should be forced into work. I do think, however, that I have too many ill or disabled friends whose talents are going to waste "

The sick and disabled people are already " forced to work " by the government of Cameron/Freud (UBS) .
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/feb/23/government-reform-disability-benefits http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/jun/17/tory-philip-davies-disabled-people-work
Perhaps someone agrees with the policy of the failed " doctor " Mansel Aylward ?
" view worklessness as a serious risk to life. It is 'one of the greatest known risks to public health: the risk is equivalent to smoking 10 packets of cigarettes per day' "
I also think to the waste of money of the big tax evaders , politicians , etc
Britain and Europe need Democracy and Human Rights , not labor slavery and brainless robots that produce to consume !


Anonymous said...


" In a blog post I wrote last week, I suggested that the government give monetary incentives to businesses who enable disabled and/or ill people to work, whether by providing equipment for them to work from home, or by adapting their offices. "

This policy is pure utopia : in other States of Europe are already " incentived " companies who enable disabled and/or ill people to work that then dismiss them when they want . In times of crisis , in a competitive labor market , companies will employ disabled and sick people ? http://www.humanresourcesmagazine.com/news/1045131/Employers-ill-prepared-Incapacity-Benefit-review/
" as many as possible of the unemployed have to act as effective competitors for existing jobs. This should lead to pressure to the decrease on the salaries " . http://www.aftonbladet.se/kultur/article8526524.ab
It is better if the money were given for benefits to sick and disabled in order to avoid dark experiments !
http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/comment-permalink/11104208 http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/comment-permalink/11104198
http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/comment-permalink/11298069 http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/comment-permalink/11298082


N.C.A. said...

The only adaptation some of us need is a little understanding.

"I wish I could get time off because I'm sad..." I'm sure fellow spoonies can relate to how demeaning and alienating that is to hear. There needs to be so much more effort in this country (and probably many others) to educate people about disability, mental and physical.

Livi said...

I think that's an excellent idea. I've just set up my own business as a freelance writer in the hopes I can earn enough to support myself. I can't work in a traditional job because of my anxiety and depression but I really want to work. I'm hoping to do an OU degree too as I've tried (and failed) to go to a physical university twice, again due to mental health.
I wish that there was more support for those of us with MH problems because most of us really want to work and have a lot to give

hcjones30 said...

What really needs to be clear is the fact that we don't live in a country of disabled friendly employers. I worked solidly for 27.5 years in admin and graphic design. Iwas made redundant and have applied for 176 jobs with not a single interview dispite my vast experience.It's society's attitude that disables us most.

Anonymous said...

I've been ill since I was 5 years old, education system let me down. I didn't attend school from 13-16 due to health problems and had no support.. Passed my GCSEs with 13 A's ( Thank you Wikipedia)

Despite passing every mock and module prior to the June exams with an A, 2 different colleges removed me from my courses.

Not being able to go to uni due to being let down by the education system, I tried to get a job.

I applied for all the local supermarkets, resturants etc. None of them would accept me. Not because I'm stupid or incapable of sitting at a check out, but because I am not able to work 9 till 5.
No one wanted a night worker, I'm still trying to find somewhere which does actually. For part time work.

I ended up starting my own business.
Over 1 year on and I am glad I did.

Now I'm at the mental state where I would feel able to apply for OU. Not because I feel the need to anymore, but because I want to.

But all the courses I want to do require residential school. I am in no state of health to go to a residential school.
I'm not going to study for 3-4 years to discover that I'm to ill to attend, especially as my health is getting worse.

Even though my health is going down hill, I can work. I want to work.
I love running my own business as it means I have some control on what happens in my life, but I am lonely - I have no social life, I don't see anyone but my family and people in meetings, which aren't very social.

My problem isn't that I can't work, but that no one wants to let me work.
I also get no support whatsoever from the government to try and improve my income. My business isn't doing badly, but if my health continues to get worse at the rate it is, I'll either be dead or homeless.