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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 November 2015

My struggle for an income I can live on

"Please Sir, can I have a job?"

Photo Dan Moyle (Creative Commons)

Photo Dan Moyle (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Steven Green, London

I have multiple disabilities that include mobility post-traumatic stress disorder and dyslexia. After a long period of mental illness, I reflected on what I would like to do with my remaining 21 years in the workplace.

After much deliberation I decided to re-enter full time education to train as a teacher in the post-16 sector. Anybody who has completed teacher training or a PGCE will tell you it's a long, hard slog.

Throughout my training I kept my incapacity benefit for my disabilities. I need a very complicated operation on my spine - and even that may fail to take away the pain I experience.

Agencies

Upon completion of my PGCE, I entered the minefield that is the job market - the reams of paperwork and compliance checks, all of them necessary so that I can go out into a classroom and teach.

I wasn't confident that I would find work, being middle aged and disabled. I applied to work through agencies but I became jaded with their promises.

It made me realise how it must have felt for the stevedores and others who queued up to be chosen to work for a day in the 1920s.

Time passes by - days turn into weeks. But before they can turn into months, I receive a call - there is a job for me, with hours to suit. It was like winning the lottery I was so pleased.

I knew I would have to contact the DWP as I had found a job - I did, and told them of my part time hours. I was told it would have to go to the 'decision maker'. I waited and waited. In the meantime I had to miss the dreaded medical because I was scheduled to teach at that time.

One day I came home from work and there was a letter explaining that my incapacity benefit would be stopped from November. The issue is whether I was carrying out 'permitted work' - but this had never been mentioned to me.

They sent me a form to fill in - more fun for a dyslexic! I'm broke - physically, mentally and financially. I have had to reclaim housing benefit.

I find myself on one hand a highly valued teacher, but on the other marginalised and under scrutiny. Not for the first time in my life, I'm in a position where I could find myself homeless.

I'm still available for work, should any arise that I can do with my disability. Please Sir, can I have a job?

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In The Socialist 18 November 2015:


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How to defend Corbyn and defeat austerity

We can defeat the Tory cuts!

Tories flog bank assets to hellhound US profiteers

Athletics doping scandal: big business profits behind global sports corruption

Councils won't spend a penny

Them & Us


Socialist Party features

The end of social housing? How can we solve the housing crisis?

How can young people organise to support Jeremy Corbyn?


International socialist news and analysis

Paris terror attacks


Workplace news and analysis

Junior doctors: first strikes in 40 years

Trade union action needed to fight for steel jobs

Historic London bus drivers' agreement

Reinstate sacked CWU reps

Pro-Corbyn mood among Usdaw members

Support for Roger Bannister in Unison election

Workplace news in brief


Readers' comments and reviews

All NHS unions should join junior doctors' strike

A day in the life of a Game retail worker

Why I joined: "I already feel as if I am finally home"

Robert Tressell's characters are all too real to me

My struggle for an income I can live on


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Labour bans union activist

Thousands march against India premier's bloody sectarianism

Strike to save Lambeth libraries

Gaining momentum in Lewisham

Anger at care home closure


 

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Related links:

Disability:

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triangleLeeds: Disability campaigners force council to retreat

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triangleAction demanded from new council

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triangleThe Work Programme isn't working

triangleFrom pillar to post: reassessment for ESA

triangleWelfare Reform Bill:- Lords compromise is no victory

Mobility:

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