Tag Archives: Personal Independence Payment

Ensuring support for disabled people and their families

Government plans to radically overhaul Disability Living Allowance and replace it with a new payment, Personal Independence Payment, got the go-ahead last week. The changes will see people who were previously entitled to Disability Living Allowance having support withdrawn as new assessment criteria is start to bite.

Both DLA and PIP are designed to help disabled people pay for the extra costs their impairment incur, but I struggle to see how this can be the reality when an estimated half a million disabled people stand to lose support when new eligibility criteria come in to force in 2013.

Over recent weeks the papers have been full of disabled people’s stories and their concerns for the future, but we must not forget that many of these people have children (young and old). What will the impact be on their lives if their parents lose the support that gets them up in the morning?

The stakes have never been higher for disabled people and their children. Both my parents are disabled and I am desperately worried about what the future holds for us all if the new PIP assessment sees their support cut.

As DLA is my parents’ only source of income, the impact of any change to the amount they receive could have a devastating impact on the whole family. We only just manage to pay for the basics as it is, to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. I’m really worried about what the future may bring…

I’m determined to ensure the Government understands the impact of these reforms on families across the country. Time is running out to influence their plans.

The Government’s new PIP consultation is likely to be our last chance to have our say before the changes become law and I need your help.

I’m looking for other children (young and old) of disabled people to help me put together a joint response to these proposals that leave them in no doubt of the impact the changes will have. If you share my concerns please get in touch with any comments, stories or concerns you have that you think might persuade the Government to think again.

The issue of who gets what support and how this is decided has long since moved on from being a debate about public finances. It is now, in my opinion, a struggle to defend the human rights and the dignity of people most in need of our support and a debate in which we should all engage.

If you would like to get involved, please get in touch via the campaigns network. Email campaigns@scope.org.uk

Chair of Scope: why DLA is important to me

Post from Alice Maynard, Chair of Scope

One month before heartbreak blog from Chair of Scope

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is important to me and millions of disabled people up and down the country. It was created because, quite simply, it costs more to live as a disabled person. Those costs may be a direct result of someone’s impairment or condition – such as extra heating – or a result of the environmental barriers that disabled people face in everyday life that make day to day living more difficult, like not being able to get on a bus, or having to make expensive phone calls to get information about access to services.

But as you probably know there are plans to cut the overall budget by a fifth. The government’s hurried consultation on DLA reform closes next month. The chances are we will have edged closer to a system that supports fewer people. More people could find themselves in greater isolation, further from their local community and employment opportunities, and pushed towards greater dependency on the state and other services like the NHS.

One of the simple things I do with the care component of my DLA is to pay extra for vegetables that are already prepared. If I lost this I would need more social care support to help me prepare food – and the total cost of that is around £10 an hour. Some quick arithmetic shows that DLA for diced carrots is by far the cheapest option to keep me independent and healthy. Put pressure on this allowance and all the creative ways in which we disabled people manage our impairments start to break down.

The government is starting from the right principles. They have retained the emphasis on independent living and the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – DLA’s potential successor – will not be means-tested. But this needs to be backed up with practical and sensible reforms. This is a great opportunity to completely overhaul the DLA assessment process and develop one based on the barriers that people face in their day-to-day lives and the additional costs that we face as a result.

Since the DLA was introduced, the nature of those barriers has changed. Some – many physical access barriers for instance – have been addressed, but others – access to internet based services, for instance – have come along instead, and we need to understand their impact on disabled people. But, it looks like the PIP will end up having an assessment based on ‘functional ability’ that falls well short of that. An opportunity missed.

And buried in the overall reforms are some iniquitous proposals. The government’s plan to cut the mobility component for those living in residential care is tantamount to imprisoning these disabled people. The government presumes that transport is covered in care packages paid by local authorities for people living in residential care but in most instances this is not the case. The impact of doing this will be devastating for many. As one disabled person recently told us:

“It would completely take away my independence. My sense of dignity as a person and my life as a normal citizen of my community would both be destroyed if I lost my independence.”

The government is right in its desire to reform DLA but for the reform to be effective it must understand why it costs extra to live as a disabled person and what DLA enables us to do. They desperately need to rethink some key areas and:

• Reverse the 20% cut in the overall budget

• Take longer over the consultation – really get to know how important DLA is and the difference it makes to our lives.

• Develop a test that takes into consideration what stops us fully participating in society and what we have to spend to overcome at least some of the barriers – our extra costs.

It’s great that so many disabled people are blogging today to make their voices heard; I hope the government is listening, because there is still time for them to get it right.