Away from the trials and tribulation in Zimbabwe, today I thought I would have a look at the problems besetting me as a disabled person who wants to return to work in the United Kingdom.
First of all, it took me thirteen months of fighting the system to be deemed ‘disabled’ – mainly because those ‘in the know’ decided that the fact that I could walk negated any other disability. The fact that I need help to dress, do up buttons and tie shoelaces seemed to have been overlooked.
I ended up having to take the whole thing to tribunal, and the certificate agreeing with my application was issued – within minutes.
I now find myself being required to report in on an annual basis – just in case I have grown a new arm…
Many surgical interventions later, I do believe that I am now ready to rejoin the working world.
Huh! What a joke!
Recently, I applied for a job. (Well, I have applied for more than just a few – but that is beside the point.) It didn’t take long, but at least I got a written reply telling me that my application was unsuccessful – the letter signed by someone with a Polish surname!
I am growing a little sick of the political ‘aims and aspirations’ of getting people back to work here, in the UK. We are threatened with the withdrawal of benefits – and when you do go looking for a job, you are either ignored or receive letters rejecting you without the offer of an interview.
I do not draw Jobseekers as I am disabled, but when I apply for a job, it is a legal requirement that I declare my disability. There is no requirement for the employer to give a reason for the rejection – just that you didn’t make it as far as an interview.
There is a minority of employers that are members of the “Disability Friendly” misnomer. When you apply for a job with them, as long as you meet the minimum criteria, then you are supposed to be GUARANTEED an interview.
In my experience, these companies then just ignore your application. Those that do invite you to an interview (Gee whiz! I’ve had all of two of those!) are just ticking boxes and then sling you out the door. For them. “Disability Friendly” is saying, “Have a nice day,” as you leave their building.
I have no requirement or want to live on benefits – and B and I struggle daily with the financial constraints that come with the system – but will someone actually give me a job so that I can contribute to the economy of the UK, and so that I can provide some security to our life? No! I am viewed as a foreigner because I have a different accent and told that I am a ‘sponger’.
Thanks a lot for nothing! In many cases I am better educated than the person interviewing me – should I be lucky to get that far – and as for being a ‘furriner’, I challenge them if they intend to call the border agency to deport me back to… wait for it… Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent!
People from this wet, windy and grotty island are way too judgemental.
Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man