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“I’m scared” – what the Coalition have done to 84% of sick and disabled claimants

Benefits and Work had almost 6,000 responses to our survey, launched in the last newsletter, asking readers about how life had changed under the coalition and whether you intend to vote at the next election.

We’ll be publishing the full results of the survey on Wednesday.  But in the meantime, we can reveal that in response to the question:

“Overall, has the Coalition government made your life: Much better; Better; No different; Worse; Much worse.

an overwhelming 84% feel that the coalition has made their life worse or much worse, whilst 14% feel they have made no difference.

Fewer than 2% consider that the Coalition has made their life 'better' or 'much better'.

life better

The precise figures were:

  • 0.33% feel that the Coalition has made their life 'much better'.
  • 1.24% feel that the Coalition has made their life 'better'.
  • 14.42% feel that the Coalition has made 'no difference' to their life.
  • 38.86 % feel that the Coalition has made their life 'worse'.
  • 45.13 feel that the Coalition has made their life 'much worse'.

We asked respondents to tell us “In what ways, if any, have the Coalition made life better for you?”. Unfortunately, apart from “Raising the individual tax threshold” which was often more than offset by losses in other areas, few people could offer any examples.

When it came to telling us in your own words “In what ways, if any, have the Coalition made life worse for you?” we received thousands of responses, only a few of which we have reproduced here, though we hope to publish more in the future.

The absolutely overwhelming message is that financial insecurity combined with continual attacks in the media, have left sick and disabled claimants feeling frightened, persecuted and, in some cases, suicidal.

It should be an ugly and shaming legacy for the Coalition, but we suspect it is one they are secretly rather proud of - because it undoubtedly discourages people from making or continuing a claim.

“I'm scared.”

“I do not have enough money to live on and constantly feel persecuted”

“Suffering abuse in the media and personally in the street because illness makes me unable to work.”

“Never felt so hated and despised as a person in need of financial support. Driven to despair and left feeling is life is not worth living under this current regime. It just gets worse.”

“I live with a permanent feeling of threat, from a bullying, harassing system that seems almost designed to shorten the lives of disabled folk. I am very frightened of what the future holds in terms of my financial security.”

“I don't let people know I'm on benefits as the atmosphere is so vindictive and at times hateful. It has become more scary under the Coalition being disabled!”

“They have driven me to the point of suicide with their harsh rules, bedroom tax, benefit sanctions, medicals and appeals.”

“The propaganda they promote about the people who receive benefits being dishonest, lazy, skivers, cheats and a burden to 'honest tax payers' affects your self-esteem and makes you very wary discussing anything personal with strangers. It makes you feel like a burden It does not offer anything constructive in the way of real help to get back into the workplace.”

“The stigma attached to claiming benefits. The climate of living under the fear of sanctions for spurious reasons. The hatred & scapegoating of claimants engendered by the government & the media.”

“Treating me like dirt, making me feel like a second class citizen and forcing me into poverty and feeling suicidal”

“Overwhelming panic worry and anxiety and made too feel worthless and huge guilt and shame for having a mental illness”

“Demonised. Degraded. Stigmatised. Ostracised. Paranoid. Afraid of postal deliveries. Now living under a feudal system.”

“Have created fear in addition to the other worries I already have.”

“The benefits system is a complete mess, having to go weeks without Gas, and sometimes many days with only bread and beans.”

“I've been made to feel like worthless scum thanks to the way the benefit system has changed. i worry a lot about money and having enough to make sure my children don't feel that we are struggling financially.”

“I dare not tell people that I am on benefits. the way the gov have portrayed sick people and those on other benefits is horrible.(I worked for 43 years)they do not seem to have any compassion for the sick in our country.”

“Cutting everything for my daughter with disabilities. On top, they play people against each other all the time, unfortunately many people don't realize. It's been appalling, I just hope it's coming to an end. Making people feel they are a burden. Awfully inhumane.”

“Made me feel like a burden and worthless!”

“All the hassle involved getting justice is unbelievable. I am ex Police and felt like a criminal clearing my name at tribunal, did so and won but ESA gone (12 month thing) Will never again vote for these two parties or Labour for setting it off with Atos. I am left bitter with my experiences and never ever thought such underhand tactics would be encouraged by the powers that be.”

“I have had an ongoing mental health problem (depression, anxiety & possible PTSD) for quite a number of years since leaving the Army. The condition has worsened due to the Coalitions continuous attack on the sick, disabled and unemployed.”

“Bedroom tax, worry over ESA, worry over PIP, worry of other people looking down on disabled people thinking they are all scroungers.”

“All my daughters benefits that she had had all her life were stopped over a year ago. This has had a profound effect on her health resulting in her wanting to take her life! We applied again for benefits with the help of an advocate. We have just been granted ESA. Having waited a year we finally have been given an appointment for a PIP interview. Had she not had us her parents she would be homeless and destitute.”

“Worked for 37 years then made redundant. when I sign on they made me feel like a criminal. It did not matter that I had always worked. they treat people like dirt”

“So much financial uncertainty. Terror, actually. I've seldom in my life been so chronically stressed as in the run-up to my WCA. I was very fortunate to continue receiving benefits, but now I'm worried about what'll happen when they convert DLA to PIP. Also, the extent of stigma and prejudice against people like me has magnified in a way that makes me very fearful.”

“Feel so insecure. Almost paranoid that people see me and think scrounger.”

“Made worse with the bedroom tax me and my husband are disabled and have a lift going into our second bedroom from our back living room so it’s a through fare but we were still charged.”

“Constant worry about bills ,food or lack of food and worry about cuts to benefits and never ending feeling ESA is going to be pulled ,

“Benefits cuts, sanctions and the mandatory reconsideration process has made things really difficult for me causing a great deal of stress and worry. I have found that since the coalition have been in power disabled people are treated with contempt and made to look like scroungers by the government and a lot of the public because of how we are portrayed.”

“I feel frightened, scared to mention on benefit, frightened terrified about my future and that I may be left penniless ..all the advocacy, small amount of support all gone locally. I am praying I am well enough to cope when next brown envelope comes through letterbox. but frankly feel living on borrowed time and suicide may be only option”

“Yes my health has deteriorated so much under this Coalition the my DLA has now increased from the lower rate to the middle rate on the care component and I now also get the lower rate on the mobility component. I probably would never have asked for my DLA to be revised if it had not been for the bedroom tax and constant ESA medicals which have made me very anxious and much worse. Now I am £100 pw better off but I would rather of had my health.”

“I have been harassed berated and made to feel like a criminal for being disabled. I have been verbally and physically attacked for being disabled. Told I have to give back to the community for my benefits, even though anxiety and bipolar mean I have difficulty with people but if I don't do community work I will be sanctioned!”

“I am a full time carer for my wife, who requires a high level of care. I am sick of being demonised by the broad assumption that claimants are scroungers, especially as I save the 'hardworking taxpayer' money. The problem with the rhetoric is that it's everywhere, and it has a very negative effect on my confidence, my sense of my own worth and my ability to be the most effective carer I can be.”

 

 

Comments  

+2 #20 Effie 2015-01-30 13:33
I wonder how many tesco workers and the similar economic victims snubbed and looked down on those on benefits? When is the working in this country going to realise we would swap with them in a heartbeat and to treat those on benefits as they will want to be treated now out of work.No one should be downtrodden by society for whatever reason they find themselves not in employment.If they all thought of protecting the welfare system as insuring against theirs or their families hard times it might just help us all!!!!!
#19 alanabertawe 2015-01-30 08:30
The blue pill or the red pill, makes no difference, they both have the same bosses, large corporations, bankers and the super rich, same agenda, send all the money to the 1% and leave everyone else with as little as they can get away with. We need a political party with the guts to stand up for the working class and those with disabilities, that used to be the labour party but is no more.
+6 #18 Storm Thestral 2015-01-29 17:15
This all seemed so familiar for some reason, then I remembered it has happened before, about 80 years ago in a country not far from here. At that time, the country in question had been in financial trouble of their governments own making. So in order to save themselves the government picked on certain sections of society and blamed them for the hardships the people were facing. They also got together with movie makers and the press, who happily encouraged the rhetoric that it was these sections of society that were to blame for the troubles facing hard working people. Over time the people followed the government like sheep and hatred towards the blamed escalated, there were murders, beatings, fear was rife and still nobody stood up to the government or tried to stop what was happening. Eventually a final solution was sought and millions died at the hands of their own government. Interestingly enough the first to be targeted with euthanasia were the sick and disabled. In our country they introduced the Liverpool Care Path at the same time as changes to benefits. I mention this because history teaches us how easy it is for a society to devolve into sanctioned abuse and murder. I've always thought the following quote to be so appropriate. "The only thing for evil to succeed is for good people to say nothing." Therefore in May let our voices be heard lest evil continues unchecked.
+4 #17 Bill 2015-01-29 07:35
Quoting carol Cooper

Quote:
They are all the same, I have given up on any government helping us.


Yes, I think most of us would agree that all in all, ''they'' are all the same or very similar. However, if you look a little deeper, who would be the least bad of the bad bunch from our point of view?

They may be all the same, but what we must do is keep the Tories out isnt it?.

If unsure, just look at comment number 16 here from morgandlin..... does that not scare the pants of you?

It does both me and my wife.

Mr & Mrs Bill
+4 #16 morgandlin 2015-01-29 05:16
According to various media reports today, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said that the benefits bill will have to be slashed double of what the coalition has announced they would do, should they win the next election.

Apparently, despite all the chaos, the welfare bill hasn't reduced at all over the last four years, which means Duncan Smith has failed on every level..
+2 #15 carol Cooper 2015-01-28 19:43
They are all the same, I have given up on any government helping us. I have fought for every benefit, option or equipment I can get and even some of the benefits advice people have said they seem less knowledgeable than me, yet I know there are things I am not being told to help. Social services will not ring me back, our care agency has appalling carers who keep making mistakes, including date protection issues, and the DWP just seem like bullies (and I note , they love to harass you just before xmas). So.....is this Government, Europe or immigration that is the cause. probably the whole flipping lot - how can we fight this giant?
+8 #14 Chris 2015-01-28 18:26
History proves that fear makes the difference to political success.

From Lord Haw Haw to todays gutter press the disabled & sick find themselves publicly demonised as sectarian outcast's. The general electorate may be misguided, selfishly well off or simply despondent. But what we all share in common is a fear of the alternative and being judged as un-politically correct. This is the problem many generations of persecuted minorities have had to endure and fight against.

It seems many users of this web site have quelled their fear, too become angry, because they are the persecuted, and differ from the rest of the electorate in that they are better informed and literate to the lie's and half truths of the autocrats & media. This site acts as a conduit to share opinion and advice, but it's apolitical nature is not a solution to the problem. That problem is not so much welfare reform per se, but the palpable delight of the politicians hypocritical spitefulness in actioning unreasonable reform.

It seems hard to believe that in this century, such sanctioned hatred could become not only acceptable, but applauded. I agree that any re-think that may result in a refreshed political agenda can only come about by a change of government. A rock & hard place come to mind, as even then, none of the viable political parties show any sign of contrition on the issue.

But now is not the time for despondency. We must share our knowledge, our disdain & determination in any way we can, to those in a position of influence to act within organisations and the media to help put an end to this lunacy. If history has taught us anything, inaction to persecution invariably results in horrific consequences.
+3 #13 m j hackett 2015-01-28 16:28
GOD HELP US ALL IF EVER THERES A WAR WHAT WILL THEY DO WITH ALL THE CASUALTIES WILL THEY SEND THEM TO ATOS OR MAXIMUS , WHAT AN UNCARING POLITICAL SYSTEM WE NOW HAVE HERE , THEY CARE MORE ABOUT THE REST OF THE WORLD.
+2 #12 David 2015-01-28 13:40
i think cameron became bitter after he lost is own disabled son.
+3 #11 Matata2011 2015-01-28 13:04
Very inspiring survey & rising fast,let the cons,lab,Libs lose focus & waste time bleating with their recycled policies & false promises whilst ignoring the plight of the disabled, they are indeed going to get a reality shock,if I have to crawl or in a stretcher to the polling station, I will even if it kills me,my last stand,the disabled are not door mats to be trampled on, we are visible & May will shine us out & no sweet desperate fake olive branches will change my opinion
-3 #10 angela 2015-01-27 20:34
It,s the end of the benefit system for us all no matter what class you are in we just need to get used to living on nothing
+5 #9 tintack 2015-01-27 20:09
Quoting Bill:
They are totally convinced that the majority of the people are 100% behind their Welfare Cuts. We, the sick and disabled, MUST vote against them to let them know that there are a substantial amount of us out here who DO NOT agree with their Welfare Cuts.

Its no wonder at all that people say ''Im scared''. I certainly am.

Bill


I think the benefit cap policy was first mentioned a while back, but Osborne has also already said that he intends to introduce further cuts to working age benefits if they get back in.

I have to agree with your comment. As sorely tempted as I am to vote Green, in most seats a vote for them will make no difference, thanks to the wretched FPTP voting system. Voting for the party that has the best chance of beating the Tories has to be the main consideration, even if it's a party I don't much care for (though I'd never vote UKIP, as they're as bad as the Tories). I've noticed in recent political discussions on TV that while everyone says it will be very close and hard to call, when predictions of the result are made they usually involve the Tories winning or at least heading another coalition. That is the nightmare scenario, and has to be avoided at all costs.

If the Tories are the largest party, hopefully the Lib Dems will have too few MPs to make another coalition with the Tories viable. I'd actually quite like to see the SNP hold the balance of power - partly because they seem to be a progressive, centre-left party (they've already said they'd never prop up the Tories), and also because the right wing rags, especially the Daily Mail, would explode in a fit of uncontrollable rage. Which would be rather amusing after their crowing over the result of the independence referendum.
+5 #8 Matata2011 2015-01-27 17:00
Ian,don't give up we need army spirit from you to inspire our nation,your service is very much appreciated by many along with the medics, teachers, police, you are the ones who actually protect our nation & save lives with your lives on the line.Most politicians don't, it's for themselves & their stomachs.Cast the fear aside & bring them down to earth in May,let the peoples power axe fall on Politicians & never on the disabled again be coz that is exactly where their Nazi type cuts are heading immediately they get back in^_^!
+3 #7 Frogman9 2015-01-27 11:18
Labour are keeping very quiet about their welfare plans which I take as a sign that things will not alter if they get in in May, we need a level playing field where the sick and disabled are listened to and assessed on a case to case basis and not at the whim of some dodgy computer software.
+1 #6 ian annand 2015-01-27 08:21
It doesn't matter what party gets In they all tell a bunch of lies.
They all are out to screw the working and lower classes over and to make the ritch richer and the poor poorer .
This country needs someone that is for the NHS, ARMED FORCES and every working class individual and the poor. But that will never happen.
+7 #5 Bill 2015-01-27 07:41
Is it any surprise that some of us, or the majority of us, feel ''scared'' when, with 99 days still to go, the Tories announce as they have this morning, that the first thing they will do is to reduce the Benefits Cap?

This is the thin end of the wedge and how many more Welfare Cuts will there be when they get back in?

If they have the confidence to tell the Country this right now, at this early stage of the Election run up, God Almighty knows what they will do when they get back in power, if WE let them in!

They are totally convinced that the majority of the people are 100% behind their Welfare Cuts. We, the sick and disabled, MUST vote against them to let them know that there are a substantial amount of us out here who DO NOT agree with their Welfare Cuts.

Its no wonder at all that people say ''Im scared''. I certainly am.

Bill
-5 #4 Matata2011 2015-01-27 07:07
Ukip will have a chance if we unite against these 3 it's better than motivated forgetfulness on our part as voters of what the 3 recycling parties truly are,historical child sex abuse cover ups,Dolphin Square,missing dossiers,ATOS deaths all lead to those 3.When will we wake up?Another 5years of any of the 3 above we are toast.Policies as said are simply like shop adverts"Invitat ions to treat"you don't have to buy if you don't want to.I know what I want, it's definitely non of the above 3
+1 #3 Matata2011 2015-01-27 06:50
Tories to slash benefits cap by £3k,usual victims,the disabled & vulnerable
+1 #2 Jim Allison 2015-01-26 21:37
Again, nothing new. The vast majority of MP's have few qualifications, except the ability to lie, whilst imagining they're telling the truth.

The Coalition Government (unelected by the people) are a bunch of college boys educated at Eton et al. We should expect nothing new from the General Election in May 2015, which I predict will once again be an unelected coalition of two, or possibly 3 parties. UKIP has no chance in my opinion.
+8 #1 ian annand 2015-01-26 15:57
It seams to me that the government don't give a toss about anything or anyone. I served in HM FORCES like many people. I was medically discharged and I am disabled now. The government screwed over Soldiers with pay / pensions and all those whom have given there lives and have been severally injured and now the are trying to put veterans with disabilities to work or taken away their right full disability payments how sick can a government get when they say they look after the Armed forces serving or veterans with this pathetic attempted at so call covernant. No local government will use it. If u asked most local governments about the covernant most wouldn't have a clue what it is or where you can find a hard copy that they should hold. What a joke and they are all a waist off time they are all full of S * * t. The DWP and what they say and are two completely different things they put someone on indefinite award on DLA then say it means nothing and then they send someone from a outside agency (to blame) when it all goes wrong and to do as they put assessment of your needs. They then decide whether to send you to work when they now they shouldn't have. DWP BLAIM outside agency so you have to fight for what is ur given right to support from the government. What a bunch of liers and thieves take from the poor and vounrable and give it to people that just get richer.

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