Craig's experiences of getting into work


Hi, my name is Craig and I have been asked to share my experiences of getting into work. I guess some background would help you! I am 35 and have cerebral palsy. I use a powered wheelchair to get about. I live on my own but have three different personal assistants who come and support me. Oh yes, and speaking is not great for me, so I use a communication aid. It’s a good one; I have used the same type for years. I am told I am pretty quick at speaking even although I don’t use my own voice.

When I left school I went to a specialist college. I think that is where I got really quick with my communication aid. Not long after that I was asked by an AAC company if I’d like to do some work for them. I did but that was really when the trouble started – not with the company, that was great, but with my benefits! Very quickly it became clear that I could only work a limited number of hours per week or lose some or all of my benefits. I need benefits to help pay for things like transport and my personal assistants.

I was caught – I wasn’t getting enough work or enough pay to let my benefits go. It made me feel pretty rubbish. In the end I stopped working for the company but because I enjoyed it so much I asked if I could still do some voluntary sessions. Since then I have picked up bits and pieces of paid work, usually through people want me to talk about AAC or disability. I have to be really careful how they pay me and how much paid work I do over a 6 month period. I would like to do more paid work but I think I would struggle to work full time. I get fed up by the trap I seem to be in but I keep myself busy with a number of voluntary things.

Things you may want to look into: benefits including disability living allowance - from 8 April 2013, a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment will replace DLA for disabled people aged 16 to 64

December 2012