Rosemary Bolinger, 53, had to take medical retirement from the NHS after having cerebral palsy diagnosed 14 years ago. A former nurse and hospital manager, she has some savings, a small occupational pension, and is entitled to incapacity benefit.
Her husband is a senior charge nurse — on about £30,000 a year — and they have a mortgage. She would probably lose all her incapacity benefit if it were means-tested. “It frightens me,” she said. “I would find it very distressing if having worked and pushed my body for years I found out that just when I needed the support most it was whipped away.”
She also has a wrist problem, making it difficult to do even desk work. “I don’t think I’ll have be able to work again,” she said. “I would love to be able to work a few hours a week, but I would never know when my body would be able to cope.
“I don’t know what I would do if I lost my IB. I am sure I would become totally isolated. We have a mortgage of £80,000 and I would not be eligible for any social services assistance or equipment, so I would have to pay for a cleaner and home help,” she said.
“I want to be as independent as I can but my health is dictating that I have to rely on benefits. You pay national insurance for years never expecting that you will have to claim benefit. But when you need it you expect it to be there.”
by Jill Sherman, The Times, Fri 10th Sept 2010