Saturday, 28 January 2012

The Government Dismantles Disability Living Allowance
















Q Can the over-65s no longer get the mob­ility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), or is it meant only for new claimants and those already getting the DLA higher rate mobility component? Can those in care still receive it? Also, are children and over-65s to be assessed or is it only for people of working age?



Neil Coyle of Disability Alliance says:



The Government’s Welfare Reform Bill will abolish DLA for working age adults (16-64 years of age). People over 65 but receiving DLA appear to have avoided this round of cuts. Working-age disabled people will need to be re-assessed for the new “PIP” benefit, the Personal Independence Payment. The Government’s aim in introducing the PIP is to cut 20 per cent of DLA costs by 2015-16, a saving of £2.1 billion. They are hoping to do this by paying £675 million for a new assessment process to ensure the PIP is not accessed by as many people as DLA.



The PIP will also have no equivalent low-rate care payment, meaning that the 643,000 people receiving this support from DLA are now at risk of losing help. However, the Welfare Reform Bill does include provisions automatically to end PIP payments at the point when someone retires or turns 65 (whichever is higher). This means that people receiving PIP would have to apply for Attend­ance Allowance (AA). AA provides no mobility support and, if enacted, this change could see thousands of older disabled people losing support and the ability to stay independent. The changes also mean that a 61-year-old man who has recently qualified for DLA may face a new PIP test in two years’ time and a further AA assessment when he reaches 65, with potential cuts to support and independence with each new assessment. At Disability Alliance, we think the new PIP test will waste public resources. The Government’s plans may have knock-on costs during this tough economic period, through rising (but avoidable) NHS use, increased demands on council support and losses to the Treasury from disabled people and carers being forced to reduce or give up work.



Q Having recently had pins put in the top two or three verte­brae to stabilise my neck, I can no longer move my head in any direction, which makes it very difficult to carry out normal activities. Whom can I contact to see if I am eligible to be registered disabled? If I am, what does this entitle me to, and how do I go about getting my entitlement?



Agnes Fletcher says:



“Registered disabled” is a bit of a misleading term,



Elaine. Our experiences as disabled people are so varied that we are eligible for different things, and there’s no one definitive definition of what it means to be disabled.



I’ll give you a few examples. The Equality Act has a very broad definition, including those perceived to be disabled and those associated with a disabled person (e.g. a parent or partner). That’s because discrimination on grounds of disability happens in all sorts of ways to all sorts of people.



The situation for financial benefits is different, with far narrower criteria for determining who is eligible. The main ones you could look into are



• disability living allowance, to meet the extra costs of being disabled (such as getting around by taxi or someone to help you with shopping or cleaning the house)



• employment support allowance, if you’ve been in work but currently aren’t able to work



• disability-related income support benefits, which are means tested.



If you want to look into claiming any of these, visit:



You might be eligible for a Blue Badge. This would currently be either via receiving the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance or because you can’t walk more than around 100 metres. If you want to look into getting a Blue Badge, visit:



Finally, you could be entitled to some help with personal care in your home from your local authority’s social services department. For this, visit



Why not get in touch with your local disabled people’s organisation (do an internet search or look in the phone book). You may find it helpful to be in touch with people with similar experiences and you can pick up lots of useful advice too.


“The PIP will also have no equivalent low-rate care payment, meaning that the 643,000 people receiving this support from DLA are now at risk of losing help. However, the Welfare Reform Bill does include provisions automatically to end PIP payments at the point when someone retires or turns 65 (whichever is higher). This means that people receiving PIP would have to apply for Attend­ance Allowance (AA). AA provides no mobility support and, if enacted, this change could see thousands of older disabled people losing support and the ability to stay independent. The changes also mean that a 61-year-old man who has recently qualified for DLA may face a new PIP test in two years’ time and a further AA assessment when he reaches 65, with potential cuts to support and independence with each new assessment. “

Disabled activists and UK Uncut join to oppose ‘cruel and unnecessary’ welfare bill



On Saturday 28 January, activists from Disabled People Against Cuts, Disabled People's Direct Action Network and UK Uncut will occupy an area of central London in a ‘daring and disruptive’ act of civil disobedience in opposition to the government’s Welfare Reform Bill which is currently being debated in the Lords.

The activists are angry about the impact that the proposed Welfare Reform Bill will have on poor and disabled people. Recent reports have shown that as a result of the bill 500,000 families stand to lose their homes while others will become ‘imprisoned in them’. Nearly half a million people would lose their Disability Living Allowance, including disabled children. People with terminal illnesses would be forced into work, and 3.2 million will be put through demanding tests that have already pushed some to take their own lives. According to their own research, the government’s flagship reform will push 100,000 children into poverty.

The government has defended the bill on the grounds that it needs to cut the deficit. However, the activists point out that much greater amounts of money are lost through tax dodging by the super-rich each year, money which could instead continue current welfare provision. In January, Private Eye revealed a further £2 billion tax dodge by Vodafone, in addition to the £6 billion scam revealed in 2010(8). The most recent dodge by Vodafone is greater than the cuts to Disability Living Allowance, which will affect half a million people.

The bill continues to be debated in the Lords, but will have to return to the House of Commons, where MPs will vote on peer's amendments to the bill. In spite of strong criticism of the bill from disabled peers, David Cameron has already sworn that he will call on coalition MPs to overturn the amendments.

The target of the secret action is not being pre-announced, with UK Uncut only calling on people to travel to Holborn tube station in central London with a charged Oyster card, ready to travel to a secret location. The exact details of where the action is expected to be leaked through Twitter.

Richard Whitehurst of DPAC said:

“These vicious cuts have already led to at least 31 disabled people committing suicide and many more are now talking about it as they feel they have no future. In the 21st century, in one of the richest nations in the world, disabled people should not be forced to live in fear every day of their lives.

Cuts to disabled people's benefits and services will not save money but will ultimately cost the taxpayer far more as pushing disabled people into destitution and withdrawing care services will lead to an increased demand for NHS care. With the cap on benefits some single disabled people living in London will be left with only £25 a week to meet all their needs for food, heating and all other costs after paying their rent."

Sarah Evans of UK Uncut said:

“British people are proud of the welfare state because it has provided for the 99% for over 60 years. This bill will remove vital lifelines and force people into deeper poverty, making many prisoners in their own homes. This Bill is simply not needed or wanted by anyone. There are alternatives- we can afford a fair welfare system that provides for all."

“Instead of taking serious action against rich companies tax dodging and their ‘fancy corporate lawyers’ David Cameron is instead choosing to make the poorest and most isolated pay for the economic crisis they didn't cause. At least £25 billion of tax is avoided every single year by super rich companies and individuals, far more than the government hopes to save through this devastating bill. The welfare reform bill is cruel and unnecessary and it must be stopped.”

Tel: UK Uncut Media Phone: 07415063231 / DPAC: 01926842253 http://twitter.com/ukuncutEmail ukuncut@gmail.com

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