Letter: Mean test

excellent article ("Cuts will intensify pain of the disabled", 23 May) and would add that, contrary to the Government's expectations, means-testing may drive more people away from private provision in favour of dependency on the state.

I became chronically sick several years ago and receive pounds 3,400 a year incapacity benefit plus a modest private health insurance. At the same time my friend, with no private provision, became ill with exactly the same level of disability. We both examined the eligibility criteria for additional disability allowance and found that, like most chronically ill people, our conditions are variable and do not fit the forms which focus on constant levels of disability.

I could afford to feel optimistic about myself and not declare constant disability. My friend, however, on only pounds 3,500 incapacity benefit, could not. She now receives pounds 12,000 a year and is better off than me. Now she cannot afford to get better.


Hellingly, East Sussex

I CONGRATULATE Geoffrey Lean on his