U-turn on mobility payments is just the start
Disability campaigners have forced the government to backtrack on cutting mobility payments for those in care homes. But the battle’s only just begun
Good news. Tens of thousands of disabled people living in residential care have won a reprieve over a planned benefit cut after a high-profile campaign, according to an article in the Times. The decision not to remove the mobility component from disability living allowance (DLA) for people in residential care comes after months of campaigning by disabled people and is a huge tribute to our persistence on this important issue.
First, the facts:
Maria Miller, the minister for disabled people, intends to say this week that the government is to reverse its decision to scrap the transport allowance for 80,000 people in residential homes. She told the Times that the government originally chose to abolish the £51 a week mobility allowance given to those living in care homes and claiming disability benefits because some councils provided their own transport, but Miller now accepts that this provision is “patchy” at best.
Read more in The Guardian
One of the most alarming changes in the welfare reform bill is the proposal to scrap disability living allowance (DLA) and replace it with a personal independence payment (PIP). On the surface PIP appears to be DLA expensively rebranded. However, the devil is in the detail and the details of PIP are deeply disturbing. The government’s stated aim to reduce the caseload by 20%, when DLA has a fraud rate of just 0.5%, indicates that hundreds of thousands of genuinely disabled people can expect to lose out as the goalposts are narrowed.
Instead of claimants being assessed on their ability to walk, their ‘ability to mobilise’ will be considered. So, if someone could theoretically use a wheelchair, they will be considered to be able to ‘mobilise’ and deemed ineligible for the mobility component of PIP – even if they have no wheelchair available. Maria Miller, the minister for disabled people, has suggested the justification for this change is that improvements in technology, and laws against discrimination, mean disabled people are able to access the mainstream world and so do not require funding to overcome access barriers.
Read more in The Guardian
Disabled adults and children will be left “trapped at home” under government cuts, leading charities warn today.
In a letter published in The Sunday Telegraph, 25 organisations said the decision to cut the £140 million mobility allowance paid to 80,000 disabled people who need residential care would be disastrous.
The charities, including Sense, Mencap, Mind, RNID, RNIB, Parkinson’s UK, Leonard Cheshire Disability and the National Autistic Society, said it would prevent people from taking trips, or running electric wheelchairs or adapted cars, meaning they could no longer do “those things that others expect and take for granted”.
Currently disabled adults and children in residential care or schools are given a £49.85 or £18.95 a week mobility payment, depending on their needs.
The only other money most receive is a £22 weekly personal expenses allowance designed to pay for costs such as clothes, toiletries and phone bills
Read more in The Telegraph