I've just had a meeting with my assistante sociale (imperative that everyone new to france, with any serious health/admin/financial/integration troubles asks for one at their local Conseil Generale -invaluable impartial help, wonderful service, disabled or not)

Anyway, the meeting was about our rights to find work. The story is a bit convoluted, but the upshot is that I have spent almost 12 months being batted back and forth between POLE EMPLOI/ CAP EMPLOI & MDPH.

She explained that she feels the reason the Cap Emploi (french job seeking service for disabled) are refusing to help me, is because I am being refused AAH (adult allocation handicappee- the basic minimum salarie guaranteed for disabled people) by the MDPH (specialist depatment assessing disability) The Pole/CAP emploi are, she explained, not discriminating against me by refusing to help me, but are using me as ball to play in the game they play with each other "the grey area between 80 percent disabled and 50 percent disabled". They are apparently, in refusing to allow me to speak with them about access to free equipment or training, attempting to get the MDPH to give me more benefits entitlements(AAH), because they have decided I am going to find it too difficult to compete in the jobs market.

The problem with this is that whilst I would love to be receiving 800 euro a month to live on, instead of 500, which mlight give me the independence to become a volunteer for anything I choose to supply my skills to, and would no doubt be of good value to the community, I have been assessed as 50 percent disabled, which seems to me, quite a fair, if not generous assessment of my actual capabilities. I personally feel that, given the right equipment and training, I could reach 75 percent again. That is to say, if I can concentrate on doing what I am now potentially able to do and learn more french, work using a laptop, or using specialised equipment, I could work part time and be a bit more independent from having to depend on benefits.

What I can't decide, is which position to argue for.

Do I agree with the POLE EMPLOI, and declare that I should be treated as disadvantaged forever more and that I should receive a permanently larger benefit, in lieu of wages, (which is legally not what I am entitled to) or should I agree with the MDPH, that I am capable and have the right to be helped back to work, and that if there is no work, I exist on subsistence benefits.

Technically, physically, the MDPH have the upper hand. I am capable of doing about half of what everyone else can do, and half of what I could do 5 years ago. I think their summary is much too vague though. They describe me, on one summary sheet as being disadvantaged in the jobs market, due to my disability, when assessing me as 50 percent disabled,which, they say, gives me the right to extra help by the Pole Emploi

BUT on another summary sheet I am apparently not disadvantaged in my ability to work, when assessing me for the AAH.

I can see the reason for the Pole Emploi to say "for goodness sake make your mind up are these people disabled or not!,"

To be told " You are the ball in a game" feels a marginally better summary than suspecting that the CAP/Pole emploi are just being horrible to me based on discrimination. The whole discrimination situation is very tiring and one gets to feel as if we are constantly "playing the discrimination card". But again, I can't quite decide. I'm not sure I believe this stuff about being in a game. It feels more like a game of "ignore her and she might give in". If the Pole emploi arn't being vile, or lazy why don't they be honest and tell me? why do they ignore all my letters and leave the Assistante sociale to deal with it. Arn't they just being lazy?

The AS is asking her manager what to do next...next appointment 12 Mars.....

But the reason I wrote about all this today is not because I'm disabled. There's a huge war going on between anyone who's dependent on benefits or struggling to pay their bills and those in work, in charge of our dossiers. There is no-one I know, who enjoys being part of a benefits culture. All this stuff about us all being characters from Shameless, It's all a lie. Most people would prefer a decent job, even given the choice between free, generous benefits for life, and a decent job.

We're being constantly divided and ruled over by each other. On who's behest? I don't want to play the damn game, never mind be the bloody ball.

HI Jo I feel for you , my daughter is registered as between 50 and 79 % handicapped , she has little hope of finding even a further education place next year and no hope because she isn't 80 % handicapped of getting any benefits ... she often panics about her future ..... there is a big hole in the system that people are falling through . I'm trying to keep her positive and we are trying to think outside the box as to what she may be able to do with her future. Anytime you want a rant .. I'll be listening.