How Frances Ryan Felt When She Passed PIP Assessment

Same Difference

Can you be lucky if you get something you deserve? I felt lucky last week as I read the letter informing me I’d been awarded personal independence payments (Pip). Like a couple of million other disabled people, for years I’d received Pip’s predecessor, disability living allowance, without any problems in order to pay for the extra costs of my disability – but it was recently reassessed in the name of “welfare reform”.

It’s the oddest of things, “welfare reform”. You sit there, opposite a stranger, asked to detail the sort of intimacies you’d be reluctant to share with a lifelong friend. “Are there parts of your body you can’t reach to wash? Which ones?” “How do you put your bra on?” You wonder why exactly such lines of questioning are necessary, or how the tens of pages you filled out for hours beforehand weren’t enough, and then explain, as…

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Do My Wheels Look Big In This?

Disabled people want and can enjoy sex…

Same Difference

This is a guest post by Geek ‘n’ Proud who Tweets @geeknproud42.

Do my wheels look big in this?

Why am I asking this? To clarify, I am not talking about whether your wheelchair, if you use one, has a good fashion sense. However, I am going to discuss a topic which I hope you will find equally, if not more interesting, and that is the potential frustrations that many people with disabilities can face, with respect to sexual and romantic relationships. I speak from the perspective of mainly my personal experiences, and hopefully I will be able to draw some conclusions from it, which may be useful to you.

So, before we start with my story, let’s remember that, although I can tell you what worked for me, there is not one magic bullet that will ensure that everyone who has a disability will have a happy and fulfilled…

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Why being called a medical “enigma” or “puzzle” is not helpful

A blog post on being a medical enigma, how it feels to be labelled as such…

craftyinsomniac

A few days ago I was talking to a friend of mine (who also blogs and can be found at
https://danonwheels.wordpress.com/) and we got onto the subject of doctors, I had had a particularly unhelpful doctors appointment where 95% of my issues and concerns had been dismissed as something that she couldn’t do anything about, now I’m not saying that my GP isn’t good as she is but as usual my complex medical conditions leave her (like me) with nowhere else to turn to get help. Now while this is more than a little annoying it seems it is a regular occurrence, not just for me but for pretty much every other disabled person I know. We were discussing this further and the term “medical enigma” and medical “puzzle” came into it, both of us have heard this on many many occasions, and on those many occasions we had…

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The Taboo Around Disability And Sex Limits Everyone

Same Difference

There remains a heavy taboo around sex and disability in our culture. Research by the charity Scope found that only 7% of non-disabled people have dated a disabled person, while disabled young people are let down when it comes to sex education, often receiving none at all, or nothing appropriate to their needs.

The writer and activist Penny Pepper, who writes extensively about disability and sex, including in her erotica collection Desires Reborn, told me: “If disabled people aren’t having sex, they would like to. And the reasons they’re not are overwhelmingly to do with the barriers in society. I’ve known quite a few disabled people who [because of this] have resigned themselves to never having sex.”

This isn’t just wrong because of the obvious: sex is fun, enables procreation and for many people is vital for wellbeing. It’s also wrong because it’s part of a…

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Grieving daughter handed her mother’s ashes to ESA assessor to prove she wasn’t ‘fit for work’

Grieving daughter handed ashes of dead Mother to DWP assessor who visited to see if the Mother was fit for work…

Politics and Insights

A grieving daughter furiously handed an urn containing her mother’s ashes to a benefit health care professional who turned up to assess if the dead woman was fit for work, following an inexcusable and heartless blunder by the Department for Work and Pensions. 

Louise Broxton had suffered a host of neurological problems for which she received welfare support. She tragically died from lung cancer at the age of just 47 in August.

Her daughter, Hatti, immediately informed the authorities of her mother’s death and all her benefits were cancelled. After initially saying the information had been placed on file, however, some seven months later the Department for Work and Pensions sent an assessor to the door of her home in Wolverhampton to see if Louise was “fit for work.”

Hatti, a prison administrator, said: “I’m so upset and angry about what’s happened.

“It’s our government that has done this…

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Stem Cell Treatment ‘Game Changer’ For MS Finds International Study

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Doctors say a stem cell transplant could be a “game changer” for many patients with multiple sclerosis.

Results from an international trial show that it was able to stop the disease and improve symptoms.

It involves wiping out a patient’s immune system using cancer drugs and then rebooting it with a stem cell transplant.

Louise Willetts, 36, from Rotherham, is now symptom-free and told me: “It feels like a miracle.”

A total of 100,000 people in the UK have MS, which attacks nerves in the brain and spinal cord.

Just over 100 patients took part in the trial, in hospitals in Chicago, Sheffield, Uppsala in Sweden and Sao Paolo in Brazil.

They all had relapsing remitting MS – where attacks or relapses are followed by periods of remission.

The interim results were released at the annual meeting of the European Society for Bone and Marrow Transplantation in Lisbon.

The patients…

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Three Hundred Thousand ESA Claims To Be Reviewed After Latest DWP Error

Same Difference

Tens of thousands of severely disabled and ill claimants are set to receive backdated payments of up to £20,000 after being wrongly underpaid for years by social security officials, the government spending watchdog has revealed.

An estimated 70,000 claimants were underpaid about £340m between 2011 and 2014 after being transferred from older benefits on to employment and support allowance (ESA) during a government overhaul of incapacity benefits, the National Audit Office (NAO) said.

The error occurred when officials at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) failed to follow their own legal guidelines governing the transfer process, meaning that in many cases they failed to properly check claimants’ full entitlements.

Meg Hillier, the chair of the Commons public accounts committee, said: “The government’s shoddy administration of ESA has resulted in vulnerable people being deprived of thousands of pounds they were legally entitled to. The NAO’s report shows the DWP was…

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