Yet where are the outraged howls of opposition? Where are the pledges to do more, to do better? Like 1930s sweethearts, waiting for a proposal that never came, we got used to the silence, used to feeling let down, led on, left on the shelf. Then finally, last week, after a year-long nationwide consultation, Labour released its Making Rights a Reality document. Surprisingly, it pulls no punches.
The report is split into five broad themes: the right to work, the right to live independently, the right to live free of crime, the right to a home and the right to a family life. The modesty of those "rights" strikes a chord from the start. Somehow, one feels, they should be the very least we can expect.
In the first paragraph, the report acknowledges: "It is important to support disabled people who can work, those who can work some of the time and those who can't work at all." Hallelujah. That one simple sentence finally acknowledges that all three states exist.
The document reports that "a vast number" said the Work Capability Assessment – the test administered by the firm Atos to determine fitness for work – is "fundamentally flawed and merely tweaking the descriptors will not bring about the improvement needed." There! Was that so hard Labour? Even after three long years, that's very nice to hear.
With the stress of constant and unnecessary reassessments, a labour market all too often unwilling to accommodate us and bureaucracy set against us, the document acknowledges that the failures of the WCA have "poisoned… the whole employment and support allowance system in the eyes of many disabled people, undermining trust in the whole system."
The consultation found that sick and disabled people on the work programme with the most complex needs "are being "parked". Those who are more job-ready are cherry-picked leaving everyone else behind and work schemes were "focused too much on sanctions and conditionality". Self-employment and flexible working were identified as areas where Labour could do more to enable and inspire, but for those seeking traditional work, much more must be done to engage employers.
Social care cuts, the closure of the independent living fund and cuts to disability living allowance were all identified as threats to independent living.
Slashing the mobility threshold for personal independence mobility to just 20 metres and limiting sickness benefits to just one year were identified as counterproductive. People said they were sick of endlessly being assessed by different departments and called for a one-off assessment, yet crucially, the document carries the caveat that "some respondents could be locked out of all support if those tests were badly designed."
Carers felt they had been totally overlooked by the government and pointed out that supporting carers is cost-effective.
One respondent said: "There has been a rise in disability hate crime so I would implore [you] when talking about welfare reform to actually talk in a responsible manner that doesn't leave disabled people feeling segregated and stigmatised."
It concludes by saying "our work over the year has exposed a searing account of how disabled peoples' rights have been attacked by this government". That acknowledgment alone feels almost cathartic.
The second section outlines broadly what Labour feels the solutions to some of these problems might be and how they must be co-produced with sick and disabled people to get them right:
• An integrated system bringing together health, social care, housing, benefits and work support as far as possible;
• Co-ordinators working with individuals to develop a personalised plan rather than faceless, tick box assessments;
• Local partnerships bringing together the Department for Work and Pensions, social care, the NHS, local enterprise partnerships and disability organisations underpinned by the "duty to co-operate";
• A "Tell us Once" approach to assessments to gauge eligibility and need in the quickest and most efficient way possible;
• An empowering approach to assessments;
• Rolling work provision into one personal budget for the disabled person to control and direct themselves.
These proposals do not tinker around the edges. They outline fundamental root and branch reform. They are radical and ambitious. They could not happen overnight and would take real political will to achieve.
Many will say we've heard it all before. David Cameron promised many of these changes himself in opposition but went strangely silent on not quite winning the election.
But there is a crucial difference. Conservative activists and MPs have not held the coalition to account. They have allowed the onslaught sick and disabled people now face.
Labour activists and MPs must make sure that every last word of this document goes forward to inform policy. They have a duty to fight for change both in and out of power. This blueprint is more radical than I dared hope for; now, it is up to every last one of us to make sure that rights for sick and disabled people really dobecome a reality.