Unfair labelling of disabled people
I think people with disabilities face a lot of barriers in their lives already and I think they are entitled to get the benefits they need. The recent figures from the Department of Work and Pensions on claims for Employment and Support Allowance again led to people with disabilities being labelled ‘scroungers’ and ‘work shy’.
I think that when the media use words like ‘work shy’, they should think about what this means for disabled people. As a spokesperson for Mencap, I think about the language I use and I think they should apologise.
If I was claiming Incapacity Benefit, it would mean that my health was not in a good state. There are a wide range of different disabilities, such as a learning disability, that are not easy to pick up from a test. This is because some disabilities are not always visible. It’s not always easy to tell who is eligible to receive benefits so the tests should be carried out by a person who knows disability issues and who knows about what individuals face in their lives.
The truth is, less than 7% of people with a learning disability, known to social services, are in paid employment, but there are many of those people who would like to work but are not receiving the right support. If they were getting the right support then there would be more disabled people in work.