Sunday, 1 January 2012

Do I Count?

Since my first posting I have been following some interesting people on Twitter- Suey2y and Bendygirl, who are both disability rights campaigners. Their blogs are Diary of a Benefit Scrounger and Benefit Scrounging Scum. The one thing that is becoming more and more clear to me is that disabled can mean many things and some of us disabled do not appear to fit into anybody's model of a disabled person.
I am head injured but have all of my limbs and can walk (which by the way seems to mean that I cannot claim DLA so am unable to join the ranks of the Benefit Scrounging Scum in the UK). I fit into the category of "too able to be disabled, too disabled to be able".
I also paid into a Pension Scheme before my accident which eventually allowed BG to kick me out of my job onto an ill health pension. However, the pension can be stopped if I earn other income and all the other benefits apart from Industrial Injuries Disability Benefit are means tested so I get nothing. Why is the old age pension not means tested in this way?
So what is my problem? I look normal enough but my issues (mildly slurred speech, memory recall problems, occasional spasticity, RHS paralysis and muscle twitches etc) make securing a job at interview slightly less likely than winning a lottery jackpot! When you have hundreds of qualified candidates why take a gamble on one who is different.
Don't assume disabled means unable. Since my accident in 1991 I have had some good jobs (Management Consultant at PwC, Group Financial Controller of a SME in Oxford, Group CFO of a Billion dollar company in Abu Dhabi) but I have only got these jobs because the people that interviewed me saw my potential and overlooked the obvious. I can do these jobs as well as anybody but can't get past the interview stage. Oh dear!
Are Disability Employment Advisers any good? Unfortunately, the first job mine pointed me towards was at LOCOG under the 2 Ticks Positive About Disability Scheme. In brief this led to a Tribunal against LOCOG which I lost but at which their witness admitted failing to make reasonable adjustments (I represented myself, LOCOG had a Top Barrister!!! Nuff said!).
I kept positive and applied for other jobs at LOCOG but the one I was most suited to they appointed an American into the role before the closing date for applications. Ho hum!!
How are the disabled in this country supposed to work if our government will issue Work Permits to foreigners to do jobs that disabled UK citizens can do?
I just wanted to point out that all disabled people are not the same and those of us that are mentally disabled are not a lost cause.

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