Tuesday 1 May 2012

Work Hurts


One of the key questions asked by our Atos Stories play is - what is wrong with getting disabled people out to work? After all, isn't that what disabled people want? Minister after minister will often preach these points, the reforms of the 2012 Welfare Act are all about enabling, empowering,preventing people from languishing on sickness benefits.

The answer is, of course it is, except that...

1. Despite the Disability Discrimination Act many employers still will choose a non disabled person above a disabled every time This is worse in times of high unemployment.

2. The nature of many disabilities (Crohn's Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, mental health) mean people have periods of good health, and periods of poor health. For such individuals to be able to hold down a job, they need sympathetic employers. Employers who enable part time working, flexible work arrangements. Employers who ensure that the employee is not overloaded with work so they spiral into ill-health, and who are supportive when employees need time off due to a flare up of their condition. How many employers do you know like that?

3. Many work places aren't physically adapted to the needs of individuals with disabilities, chairs, lighting, ventilation can make a sick person sicker.

4. Some people who are just too sick to work.  According to the DWP's own figures 32 people a week died between January and August 2011 after Atos found them fit enough to be in the work related activity group. In other words, they weren't languishing on a benefit deprived of the right to work. They were being provided with sufficient finances to live out their days in dignity and peace.

Without the right supports, without the right environment, without the right attitudes, work ALWAYS hurts.

It is time the wealthy millionaire non-disabled ministers in the Cabinet woke up to the fact. Otherwise people will continue to be put through an endless cycle of continual reassessment, and oh yes, they'll keep on dying too..


  1. I'm currently going through the appeal process myself. Unfortunately, my Atos experience happened this year so I was unable to share my story here before the end of 2011.

    I'm still confounded that an Atos nurse decided she knew more about me in 20 minutes than my surgeons, physios, OTs, GPs & other healthcare professionals have learned about over the past 3 years. To have that decision ratified by some pen-pusher was just too much.

    The system is broken - we all know that.

    Please keep up the fight, people like myself need you.

    Thank you for your post.

  2. Re my comment above.

    I've been doing a lot of reading today and I've just realised something very important.

    "People like myself need you" I said above. I was wrong on so many levels.

    We all need each other.

  3. if you are on twitter, follow @AtosStories a group fighting for welfare rights for disabled people.

  4. Great post. Making buildings accessible is just the first step in creating a truly accessible society. It's changing peoples' attitudes that's going to be the hard part.

  5. The government have quietly just stoped the money for Access to work. now employers and Employees have to pay for adaptations.