ME/CFS Benefits Support
Raising awareness of the issues.
THE REALITIES OF BENEFITS PROVISION. 12th May 2015
Apologies to add to the monsoon of political posts people have been experiencing around the time of the election. However, people with chronic illness are one of the groups who are already bearing the brunt of public spending cuts and I’m seeing first-hand a lot of the suffering it is causing for the people who get in touch with Elevate. And this is before talk of a further £12 billion cuts which, if they go ahead, are likely to come mostly from working age benefits.
There is a common misconception that people claiming benefits on the grounds disability and chronic illnesses are often either frauds, scroungers or living in excessive luxury, and that they’re draining huge amounts public spending. This is compounded by some distorting media reports, and a DWP feed of selective stats which don’t show the whole picture.
The information on this website defining ME and CFS, and the ME/CFS research findings, show that most people with this illness are either too ill to work at all or are limited in how much they can work.
As for living standards, most of the people I know with ME/CFS can only afford the bare essentials and some are even having to keep their heating at such low levels it is unhealthy.
Disability benefits are a small proportion of welfare spending.
The image below illustrates that only a small proportion of welfare spending is on disability benefits.
Benfits claim battles and a flawed ‘Work Capacity Assessment’.
Many in my local ME/CFS support group are having to go through long stressful battles get the benefits they need which can be detrimental to their health. We are fortunate to have the assistance of a voluntary benefits advisor/assistant/advocate but the system is still letting many people down. It was not long ago that it was said that 70% of appeals were successful which shows that the ‘Work Capacity Assessment’ is flawed. The government is now talking about scrapping the ‘work-related activity group’ of ESA. Do they they expect people suddenly go from not being able to work at all to full-time?
So what can you do to help?
You could write to your MPs. With the Tories having a weak majority, lobbying is more likely to make a difference.
Ask them to oppose cuts to disability benefits; to reform the Work Capacity Assessment; and make ensure people with disabilities and chronic illness can afford to live and have suitable transport to access the community and workplaces (especially in rural areas.)