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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 March 2008, 17:47 GMT
'We wish we were able to work'
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There are about 2.6 million people on incapacity benefit in the UK
The government has announced plans to extend a new test to all long-term recipients of incapacity benefit. Here one man explains what it's like to be on benefits.

Daniel Ivory, 30, from Birmingham, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was 19. He worked in customer services until going on incapacity benefit nine months ago after suffering a breakdown.

I understand what the government is trying to do. The area I live in is bad for employment and bad for what I call scroungers. If people are able to work, it's fair enough to target them.

I am trying to explore my options of what I can do, whether I can go back to work. The problem is a lot of people don't understand what depression or bipolar is.

It's a lifelong, incurable condition, and it's very hard to work with it. Even a lot of doctors don't understand it fully. There is no funding, I see a psychiatrist once every three months, which isn't really enough, and he is overworked.

I have never told an employer I am bipolar; if you tell them they don't want to know. I might be fine four days out of five but on one day in five I just can't do anything, I am totally incapacitated.

I have always got in my mind that I'm not going to be on this forever

Employers don't want to know if you can't work every hour of every day to the best of your ability. There's no give and take.

I am getting help to find a job somewhere which will take me and is happy to work with me. I have been told to look at volunteer work in the meantime to build up my CV.

There is support there if you look for it; if you want to go back to work there is help there.

Most people on incapacity benefit want to work but cannot. If more was done to help them get over the conditions they have, more could get back into work.

You have got to be prepared; when you get better you have to be ready to get back to work. I have always got in my mind that I'm not going to be on this forever, it's something to help while I get better.





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