It occurred to me today that while we’ve all been having a good debate about the effect of the Work Capability Assessment, as run by Atos for the Department of Work and Pensions to cut thousands of people off from disability benefits every week, we haven’t been thinking about the effect of the current cold weather on those very people.
We have spent a lot of time recently discussing people who have to make a choice between eating and heating when – especially last weekend – cutting out either of those things could have life-threatening consequences.
Now, I’m sure that Vox readers are alert to these issues but, for the sake of thoroughness, if you know anybody who is claiming – or has claimed – sickness or disability benefits near you, and who might have had them cut off lately, or be struggling to cope with what they’re receiving, or simply be vulnerable due to their own mental health or frailty…
Why not knock on their door and make sure they’re all right?
There was a news story in my Mid Wales hometown a couple of weeks ago, in which it was revealed that neighbours saved an elderly lady’s life after realising they hadn’t seen her for a couple of days. They alerted the emergency services, who forced entry to her house and found that she had suffered injury after a fall – and had been stuck in her bedroom for two days. By the time they arrived her condition was life-threatening and she had to be airlifted to hospital.
That story had a happy ending, because the person involved survived to tell the tale.
Without wanting to seem like I’m teaching my grandmother (or grandfather) to suck eggs, let’s make sure we don’t have any sad endings because of the cold weather.