Disabled members & the poverty trap
WE ARE told one of the biggest problems for disabled members is the "poverty trap" - the risk that by working at all, you can lose benefits that are pretty well vital to survival.
With this in mind, around 18 months ago, London Freelance branch made a request to the Union's Annual Delegate Meeting (ADM) that the National Executive Council (NEC) should produce a booklet advising members on ways, if any, in which they could avoid the "poverty trap".
The motion was passed, and the branch sat back and waited either for the booklet, or news that the situation was so impossible that no such booklet could be written.
The ADM is supposed to be the Union's sovereign decision-making body: anything it says should be done, should be done. But the Disabled Members' Council - who we assumed would be asked to take charge of this-apparently doesn't have the cash to produce such a booklet, which leaves it to us to find out how - or if indeed whether - it is possible for disabled journalists to survive as freelances. Given that many will probably not be able to work full time, the question of lost benefits is of the utmost importance, especially considering the extra costs so often associated with being disabled.
So, we'll have to do the job ourselves. Is there anyone out there who has any useful information to hand? In which case, I'd like to know about it...