StrokeSurvivor X

written for Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC), indignant.

Today’s prompt took me back to when I applied for a Disabled Bus Pass. In the UK, bus passes are handled by the local council. The cash benefit is handled by central government, but as soon as the local council knows that somebody receives that benefit, they tend to just wave the other through.

When I looked on the local council’s web site, I found a blank application form as a PDF. I was meant to print it off, fill it out, send it in.

Because my hand doesn’t work, I have trouble filling anything out. Does it maybe strike you as a bit perverse that somebody is applying for a disability benefit, yet the bar is set so that a disabled person is not able to apply? Yup, me too. But I rest easy knowing that the local council will somewhere have a disability czar, who gets paid £100k/year to think this stuff through. Then gets the answer wrong.

Now, for the most part, I can cope with PDF forms. I actually have the Adobe Acrobat program, which allows me to type onto the blank form, before I print anything out. So, not only do they get a filled-out form, but it is neatly typed and therefore easy to read.

But this form required a signature. So, a disabled person is expected not just to fill the form out, but to sign it.

I was feeling belligerent at this point. So I called them and asked, how on earth do you expect me to complete this form?

Get your carer to do it for you, was the response.

Anybody who knows the stuff I write about here, you can imagine how I felt. And, put the other way, likely anybody who does need a carer would not be mobile enough to use a bus pass!

I should probably finish the post there, to satisfy the prompt, but in case you’re interested…

I typed the form out, then signed it with my bad hand, just a big X. But, you know when politicians talk about joined-up thinking? You might think, it’s a chance in a million that a disabled person would not be able to sign a form, but actually strokes are the most common cause of all disability, and many stroke survivors are left without full use of their limbs. There are an estimated 2 million stroke survivors in the UK, out of a total population of nearly 70 million. And 2/3 of all stroke survivors are left disabled. So, I bet I’m not alone.


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