Question: what is the best way to counter the argument that disabled people should work more and rely on benefits less, and not to do so is a betrayal of our hard-won freedoms? I have come across the notion, in various places and in various forms,, that by choosing to stay on benefits we are shirking the responsibilities we got when we began to earn equal rights in the sixties and seventies. After all, the argument goes, if we are citizens we must participate in society.
That is no doubt true, and many of us would love jobs, but the situation is rather more complicated: various barriers make having a job in it’s usual nine to five job impossible. In the case of someone with severe CP, for instance, many adaptations to the workplace would need to be made; tne employer would also need to employ two people: the person with cp, and a pa to assist them. On top of that there’s also the dilemma that, once we have earned over a certain amount we loose our right to benefit, meaning if the job falls through we are stuck. That, and a range of other barriers mean that this is a case of practicality rather than shirking responsibility. I do think this hurtful harmful misconception needs combatting before it is used as an excuse to cut benefits even further.