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2 March 2006

The only claimants the media ever shows us are fraudsters running marathons, wrestling crocodiles or doing roofing jobs. But if Trevor McDonald ever decided to make a programme about the 99.5% of claimants (by the governments own estimates) who are honest, what would you want to tell him about your life and what it's like to be sick or disabled in Britain in 2006?

We'd like to publish your story here on the Benefits and Work website.

Why are you claiming incapacity or disability benefits? Have you worked in the past but then something happened? Have you never had the opportunity to work at all? Are you still in work now?

As the anti-claimant rhetoric heats up in preparation for incapacity benefit reform, we think there needs to be at least one place that bears witness to the truth about who claims benefits and why. It probably won't make any difference, we certainly don't expect journalists or decision makers to rush to read the truth. But somehow it just seems important that amongst the millions of pixels of prejudiced dross and self-serving propaganda there's a few pages left behind that tell the truth

Initially we're asking people to contribute their stories in a new discussion forum just called My Story, but later we may transfer some of them to the main website.

As always, postings are moderated and we have to reserve the right to edit or decline to publish some posts if they might cause distress or offence, though it's something we do as seldom as possible.

We can't really offer any editorial guidelines - we're not looking for literary gems -except, perhaps, to keep your story short enough that people can read it comfortably. So . . what is your story?