Let me introduce myself. I’m Lucy, I’m 18 and I want to be a journalist. I have been lucky enough (and, I’d like to think, good enough) to feature in several publications, and lucky enough too to be heading off to university to study Politics and International Relations. So imagine my surprise when a young man from the Department of Work and Pensions turned up at my house and declared that I am not expected to find a job; I automatically qualify as “unfit for work”.
I have cerebral palsy. This results in an inability to walk, limited hand control and a slight speech impediment. I often neglect to mention this – as I don’t think of it as my defining characteristic – but it appears to be the only thing the DWP needs to know about me. According to the government, I am my disability.
I am fully aware that some disabled people may be unable to work, and I fiercely believe that they deserve a first-class quality of life. But I take serious issue with basing a judgement about someone’s ability to work on a medical form.