News: Disabled people say they are unfairly targeted by welfare reforms

15/01/2012

In advance of tomorrow's important vote on changes to Disability Living Allowance (DLA), we are sharing insights from disabled people who responded to our survey throughout the day.

Update - 4pm:

People's biggest fear about a new DLA assessment is that it will be unfair.

"If it allows genuine people with disabilities [to be] treated fairly then I think it is a good thing."

"I have Rapidly Evolving Severe Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. This condition fluctuates without warning, causing exacerbations that affect my sight, balance, speech, cognitive ability, bowel and bladder control, levels of fatigue, physical sensation, spasticity, and swallowing. Many of these symptoms are not detectable simply by following a crude, pre-written assessment script. The Government's proposed assessments will be arbitrary, carried out by people with no expertise in fluctuating conditions like MS, and will put people such as myself at great risk out of a cynical desire to claw back money from the most vulnerable people in society. I will be assessed at a single point in time with no reference to my on-going health, or the fact that my condition is likely to worsen over time."

"I am concerned about all the areas above, particularly that the assessments will be biased but also that even if we receive the new benefit there will be a deficit in our income, which has already been cut by £200 a month under the current administration."


Update - 2.15pm:

Three quarters of disabled people will be more dependent or will have to rely on friends and family if their DLA is stopped or cut.

"Taking away some or all of my benefits (I receive the higher rate of mobility and lower rate care components) will save money, but will also make me housebound, as I could no longer afford my Motability car, let alone run it. It would also make me more dependent on the Health Service as I could no longer afford to buy all the drugs I need, make doctor visits, etc. which eventually cause me to be admitted into hospital for longer and ever longer stays."

"I already rely on friends and family, they should not be unpaid or unrecognised for their work for me. [...] They already do more than their share to cover things I cannot do."


Update - 12.30pm:

86% of disabled people will have to cut back on essentials like food and transport if their DLA benefit is reduced.

"We would not be able to manage. My partner gave up work to look after me as I need 24 hour care. Without the extra income from DLA we would simply starve."

"My husband receives DLA, it enables him both to get about independently (by purchasing and maintaining a mobility scooter) and to pay for care line which enables me to keep working and for someone to do some of the things he used to do around the household like help maintain the garden. Those are invaluable to both our sanity and self esteem."


Update - 11am:

Three quarters of our survey respondents think that the Government is penalising disabled people unfairly.

"The rise of the cost of living is penalising us enough. I barely have enough to get me through the week."

"Penalising disabled people will also affect their carers who, like myself gave up work to look after a disabled person - I went from a job paying £33,000 to the miserable pittance of carers allowance - now at 59 years of age how am I supposed to get a job if my wife loses her DLA?"

"I think the government [is] discriminating [against] people with disabilities. [...] The government is causing a lot [of] people unnecessary anxiety and worry. People feel life is on hold at the moment."


Source: Papworth Trust DLA survey, 2011


Links

Welfare Reform Bill - the key issues - Guardian interactive guide
Papworth Trust's guide to the changes to disability benefits
Government cuts will force disabled people further into poverty - Papworth Trust's DLA survey results

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