six Disability Introduction Social citizenship rights have never been fully extended to disabled people and, as a result of this, disabled people are over-represented among the unemployed and experience higher rates of poverty and in general do not enjoy a standard of living that is comparable with current social expectations. Over time there has been an uneasy relationship between healthcare professionals and disabled people. Professional social work has operated from a framework that encourages paternalism and dependency as part of an individualised
119 8Disability Practice scenario kate is a 31-year-old woman with a degenerative condition that necessitates using a wheelchair. She lives in the family home with her mother and brother in a rural area. Her mother works part-time as a cleaner and her brother stacks shelves in the nearby supermarket. Her benefits bring her a greater income than either her mother or brother earn and she feels guilty about this. the family have no transport. She has recently come out to her social worker as lesbian but she does not want her family to know. Her condition
In an era of scarce social resources the question of the changing social policy constructions and responses to disabled people has become increasingly important. Paradoxically, some disabled people are realising new freedoms and choices never before envisioned, whilst others are prey to major retractions in public services and aggressive attempts to redefine who counts as ‘genuinely disabled’.
Understanding disability policy locates disability policy into broader social policy and welfare policy writings and goes beyond narrow statutory evaluations of welfare to embrace a range of indicators of disabled people’s welfare. The book critically explores the roles of social security, social support, poverty, socio-economic status, community safety, official discourses and spatial change in shaping disabled people’s opportunities. It also situates welfare and disability policy in the broader conceptual shifts to the social model of disability and its critics. Finally it explores the possible connection between changing official and academic constructions of disability and their implications for social policy in the 21st century.
The book is supported by a companion website, containing additional materials for both students and lecturers using the book, which is available from the link above.
1 Contextualising disability welfare policy This chapter provides a brief introduction to the myriad of factors and issues that have helped shape disability welfare policy in the latter half of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Alongside laying out specific policy influences and positive developments from paternalism to increased control, those longer-run factors that continue to limit coordinated and effective disability policies are highlighted. One important example of this can be seen in the growth of disability provision, whereby benefits are based
169 Coalition dreams, new conditionality and disability policy Introduction When first conceived, this book was projected to end with an appraisal of the latest New Labour policies around disability. However, it soon became apparent that the New Labour era was to end before the book was to be completed. The accession to power of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition in June 2010 thus requires a snapshot appraisal of the key policy changes proposed and a prediction of the impact these policies could have on disabled people. Before embarking on an
117 8 Meta-narratives of disability1 Authored with Mary-Dan Johnston In his book of the same title, Marshall Gregory discusses how we are shaped by stories. For Gregory, what is at stake in the stories that we hear is the way stories construct the world, the way stories invite responses and the way that stories exert shaping pressure, because ‘both the “knowledge” offered by stories and our seldom denied responses constitute kinds of practice, modes of clarification and sets of habits for living that, once configured and repeatedly reinforced, accompany us
Nearly 20% of the population has a disability. Despite this, mainstream research often does not explicitly address the methodological and practical issues that can act as barriers to disabled people’s participation in social research. In this book, Aidley and Fearon provide a concise, practical introduction to making it easier for everyone to take part in research.
Requiring no prior knowledge about accessible research methods, the book:
• explains how removing barriers to participation will improve the quality of the research;
• covers the research process from design, to collecting data, to dissemination and publication;
• includes checklists and further reading, as well as useful examples and vignettes to illustrate how issues play out in practice.
This book will be invaluable to researchers from a variety of backgrounds looking to increase participation in their research, whether postgraduate students, experienced academic researchers, practitioners or professionals.
51 5 Social policy and disability Colin Cameron In this chapter I will explore the relationship between social policy and the experience of disability, drawing on perspectives developed by disabled people and using the UK as a case study. I will look at contested meanings of both terms, social policy and disability, and develop an argument suggesting that social policy has largely constructed disability as dependency. I conclude that the aspiration to equality for disabled people remains one which requires continued struggle and that progressive intentions
163 Chapter 16 Benefits for people with disabilities Disability is a complex set of issues, and benefits are given on a wide range of principles, including, for example, need, compensation, rehabilitation, the needs of carers, and desert. The main benefits for people with disabilities are Income Support or Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and the Working Tax Credit. The system has been complicated by attempts to offer distinct benefits while trying at the same time to save money, often by excluding
153 Out of the labyrinth? The disability benefits system unpacked The inclusion of a chapter on disability benefits in this book was prompted by the growing complexity of the UK benefits system and also the almost feverish attention afforded to disability welfare benefits by governments, the media and disability organisations in the late 20th and early 21st centuries (Piggott and Grover, 2009). The focus on ‘sturdy beggars’ in the early Poor Law has never fully gone away – this consideration has, in fact, remained in more contemporary concerns over a