A Lack of Awareness About Benefits Can Harm Sickle Cell Patients
I recently posted on social media about a benefit that London residents with sickle cell disease may be entitled to, and its reception made me both happy and upset.
As a Londoner, I’ve been using a disabled persons freedom pass for years. Provided by the U.K. government, this travel pass allows people with disabilities to use various modes of transportation in the city free of charge, including trams, buses, and the Tube. Unfortunately, many of those who may be eligible are none the wiser.
My tweet was retweeted thousands of times, and messages came flooding in from people with sickle cell who wanted to know more about this benefit.
I’ve been spending the majority of my free time going through messages and supporting people with their applications. I love doing this, but I am disappointed that this information isn’t more readily available.
Sometimes it feels like sickle cell isn’t respected. This may be due to several factors, but I believe it’s ultimately due to a lack of awareness. People typically don’t know what sickle cell is, so they don’t know how serious it is. Many automatically count us out of benefits that people with more visible disabilities receive, leaving us to fend for ourselves. If we want these benefits, we often have to jump through hoops to prove how our health affects us daily.
The lengths we must go to to prove that we qualify do more harm than good. The high barriers to entry and the tricky wording used to define disabilities may deter the very people who need such benefits from applying in the first place.
I found out about the freedom pass by word of mouth, and I now do what I can to pass this knowledge on. If you live in London and want to know more about the pass, please reach out to me.
Do you receive any benefits that help you manage your health? Please share in the comments below.
Note: Sickle Cell Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell disease.