As a charity representing thousands of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) it's concerning when we see sensationalised stories in the media about 'benefit cheats' and 'disability scroungers'. These unappealing headlines, along with the much publicised Government benefit crackdown, do little to help members of the public understand what it's really like to live with a disability.
Whoever forms the next Government must acknowledge and tackle the many barriers people with mental health problems face in finding and retaining a job. The benefits system is very complex and we often hear how people struggle to navigate it, so we also need to ensure such individuals can access advice and support to help them.
I think able bodied people are in denial about their thoughts and feelings towards us - they don't want to deal with the thought process, so they shut it out. Well, we are here! And with medical advances and people living longer, there are only going to be more of us! So maybe it's time for people to start coming to terms with their feelings about disability.
Vilification of benefit claimants and disabled people is endemic, perhaps the government should just stitch on the black triangles and be done with it or bring in the Welfare Games to keep us at a more manageable number and remind us how grateful we are for all the 'pitty money' (in Simon Stevens words) that we get.
PIP has been available to new claimants since June 2013. Most of those who are currently on DLA will not go through the reassessment process until October 2015. However those whose award runs out before that date or whose circumstances change will still be called in, potentially piling delay upon delay.
Of the 10 million people in the UK with some form of hearing loss, 3.7 million are of working age (16 - 64) Have you wondered just how young deaf people manage to lead normal lives? Yes, yes you have.
But given that disabled people are more hit by the cuts than any other group of people; they shouldn't have just kept Sue and Dee in the line-up: They should have had additional disabled people up there too.
The teachers were as shocked as the pupils and I might as well have been an alien for outer space as I was certainly the freak of the school. This was clearly a lonely position and I often felt I was the only disabled person within a mile, five miles or even ten miles radius.
While few political commentators, bloggers and pundits have yet to offer a view on Channel 4's Benefits Street, a programme dubbed 'poverty porn' by critics, there is one voice largely missing from the debate: that of those receiving benefits across Britain.
Being in a wheelchair means I'm lower down and people tend not to see me. Therefore it's a matter of waiting ages for people to move, or me turning into the Terminator. Whilst most shops are more accessible on entry, it's like a Monaco race track inside. I'm breathing in through every clothes stand, hoping it avoids a wheel from knocking naked mannequins on my head.
The media is shifting blame from health service professionals, government policies, economic and labour market problems, towards the claimants themselves. This echoes the changing agenda of the coalition government peddling the notion that 'scroungers' are responsible for bringing the 'strivers' down...
Life is hard enough for carers; I myself am one to my young son. Many carers are already isolated due to the nature of caring for their child or other relative and for any carer the limitation of earnings will probably force them to make the unwanted decision to stop working.
Earlier this week I tasted my first experience of the NHS under the new regime of NHS/Private partnerships through the GP commissioning of services... and it wasn't good.
Spouted so often it's almost become a cliché, the unprecedented attack on the disabled by the coalition government in their continued efforts to reduce the welfare bill has had an impact on disabled people nationwide, whether or not they work or are in receipt of some form of benefits.
DWP Ministers once more find themselves making a virtue out of a necessity as they announced on Saturday that the roll out of Personal Independence Payment would be slower than planned.
I believe one of the biggest problems for disabled people who do not work, is the unnecessary stresses and strains of not working on the mind as boredom can be much more damaging than any amount of hard work.