Nice People

Story on TV this morning. An altercation in a car park. A dad parks in a Disabled space with his son. Dad is not disabled, but son is. Invisible disability, was it hypomobility? They display all the correct documentation to be in the space.

You don’t look disabled, wades in Mr BigMouth, to the father.

What the nice people did:

  • He tries to explain that they have used that particular space because of the son
  • He tries to explain that the son has a Blue Badge.
  • He tries to explain to the guy about the son’s disability
  • When the father gets home, he tweets about the incident.
  • It is subsequently picked up by media outlets, and the story broadcast, including on the Breakfast News. There are all sorts of spurious things brought into the debate – what is wrong with the child, that he also happens to be autistic (the public possibly (very possibly) has a vague understanding of autism, but not a clue about hypomobility) why that particular ailment warrants a Blue Badge, that there were other spaces in the car park, etc. etc.

What I’d have done:

  • F*** Off, you ignorant *******.

I’m sorry, but in such a situation I lose my normal, suave (????), mega-composed self. I’m not going to be nice here – people will afford me my rights with good grace, or I will simply take them anyway. Good grace is optional. By any means necessary. That somebody displays a Blue Badge is the only criterion required for them to use a Disabled space.

I had to jump through hoops (or rather, to show that I couldn’t jump through hoops 🙂) to qualify for my Disability Benefit. This boy will have had to do the same. Every recipient of the benefit has to do the same. We all have to prove that we get this benefit in order to qualify for a Blue Badge. If we then subsequently park the car in a Disabled Bay, then as long as we display the badge, it is nobody else’s business. I’ve done all the explaining I am required to do already.

I apologise for the rant. I expect that by posting on here I am already preaching to the converted, and I appreciate that things might not have happened exactly the way the Dad recounted. But this post might one day be found by search engines.

Blue Badge Renewal

I was quite surprised. My Blue Badge runs out at the end of the month, I queried whether I would get some kind of reminder, as the disability following the stroke is pretty-much permanent.

I got a reply from the Blue Badge people, who in my case are Wiltshire Council, containing a URL on the UK government’s web site, which I could use to re-apply. The thing which surprised me was that, if I hadn’t have been on the ball, I reckon things would very likely be left just to run out.

I know when I first applied for the Blue Badge – I was a couple of weeks out of hospital and, basically, didn’t have a clue what was going on. My wife applied for the badge on my behalf. I can quite easily imagine disabled people who, for one reason or another, don’t/can’t keep on top of these things, and don’t have anyone to keep on top of things for them. There are many ways in which I’m grateful because, despite what I’ve lost, I still have 99% of my brain power. (except it is 110%!)

But it kind-of surprises me that a process aimed specifically at disabled people is so not geared toward disabled people.

PIP

It has been so long, I’d just assumed my PIP had been sorted and would continue as before. But I got a letter yesterday from the DWP saying they would no longer grant the mobility part of the benefit. I still get the main chunk but the mobility part is about 20%.

I hear of lots of appeals against PIP decisions, and I read that there is something like a 70% success rate. So the moral is that the DWP often get things wrong.

I’ve been busy these last couple of days, but will need to look at this tomorrow and maybe Thursday. First things first, their scoring system is out there in the public domain, so I can quite easily run through their assessment questions and see, foremost, whether I have any grounds to appeal. I suppose, after that, (assuming I do have grounds to appeal) I’ll need to contact someone to help me through the process.

All grief I can do without.