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Crippen looks at a letter received from the Minister for Disabled people / 6 December 2010

The following letter was received by Caroline Lucas MP (Green Partry - Brighton Pavilion) when she wrote to the Minister of Disabled People on behalf of one of her disabled constituents.

 

From Maria Miller MP "Thank you for your letter of 19 November to the Secretary of State on behalf of a number of your constituents about the effects of the Comprehensive Spending Review on disabled people. I am replying as the Minister for Disabled People.

As you know, the Coalition Government is absolutely committed to supporting disabled people, to improving the quality of life of those facing disadvantage, and to tackling poverty by addressing the causes driving it. The fiscal legacy we inherited has forced us to make some tough decisions about how we target our resources ' the Budget deficit is costing this country £43 billion a year in interest payments alone, and getting debt under control is critical in ensuring that we can put the country back onto the right track, and so safeguard the support we are able to provide to the most vulnerable in society in the future.

Throughout the Spending Review process, HM Treasury has looked closely at the impact that decisions may have on different groups in society, and published a high-level overview of the impact of the Spending Review.

Throughout there have been clear and focussed measures to protect disabled people and help ensure support is there for those who need it most. For example:

  • all households where someone claims Disability Living Allowance will be exempt from the cap on the total amount of benefit a household can receive;
  • we will use an extra £60 million by 2015 to help fund an additional room for disabled people who have live-in but non-resident carers;
  • people aged between 25 and 34 who need additional care will not be affected by the extension of the shared room rate in Housing Benefit;
  • additional investment is now in place to support social care reaching around £2 billion per year by 2014/15. £1 billion of this will be available through local government, and £1 billion will be made available within the NHS to break down the barriers between health and social care provision;
  • there will be continued support, worth £6.5 billion over the next 4 years, for elderly, disabled and vulnerable people through the Supporting People programme;
  • the Disabled Facilities Grant has been protected within the Spending Review and increased in line with inflation;
  • and the current complex system of means tested working-age benefits and tax credits will be replaced with the Universal Credit, encouraging people to move into work. We are committed to simplifying the benefit system to ensure it is fair and supports disabled people in their day-to-day activities. To recognise the role of Disability Living Allowance it will not be included in the Universal Credit.

A full summary of the changes that affect disabled people has been published on this Department's website at www.dwp.gov.uk/adviser/updates/spending-review-2OIO, where people are able to register for updates to help keep them fully informed.

Theresa May, the Minister for Women and Equalities, and I wrote to Ministers across Government in advance of the Spending Review to remind colleagues of the need to consider the impact of policy and financial decisions on different groups of people.

Within this Department, all Budget and Spending Review measures will be equality impact assessed. Where the detail of policies is still being developed, we will publish Equality Impact Assessments at the most appropriate time, for example alongside the Welfare Reform Bill or to accompany the Uprating Order. Some policies, such as changes to the Disability Living Allowance assessment, will be subject to consultation and, therefore, the Equality Impact Assessment will be published at a later date, when policies are finalised. The equality impacts of Budget changes have been published where detail of the policy has been finalised, and can be found on this Department's website.

I recognise that disabled people may be concerned about some of the policy changes, and that a great deal of speculation about certain benefits has caused undue anxiety. I want to continue working with disabled people and organisations that have an interest in disability policy, to make sure that people have the right information about these changes, and to allay some concerns

I believe it is key to work with disabled people, who can tell us about the overall effect of public policy and services on their lives, in order that this can inform how we develop our policy and strategy. The role of EQ2025, the Government's disability advisory group, is therefore invaluable I support a co-productive approach and 1 will continue to talk as widely as possible with disabled people about how we can make reforms that enable economic recovery, while ensuring that the impact on disabled people and other disadvantaged groups remains proportionate.

With regard to the report mentioned by your constituents, "Destination Unknown", I have read the report with interest and have asked officials from the Office for Disability Issues to consider the findings. I plan to meet with Demos to discuss this further.

Your constituents raised specific policy issues, which I have addressed
below.

Removal of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance
The proposed measure will end payment of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance for all state funded residents in care homes after 28 days While these residents will not be paid Disability Living Allowance, they will retain an underlying entitlement so that when they leave the care home they will not need to re-apply for the benefit.

Local authorities' contracts with care homes will cover services to meet a resident's assessed needs. These will cover activities of daily living, which may include providing access to doctors, dentists and local services such as libraries and banks. In addition, care homes should help residents pursue their individual religious beliefs. Our commitment to increasing the take up of personal budgets in Adult Social Care will give disabled people more choice and control over their care – including accessing transport that suits them.

This measure will end the anomaly whereby two State funded residents with similar needs who are placed in the same care home can be treated differently according to whether they are funded through the NHS or local authority. This measure will not apply to residents who meet the full costs of the care home themselves and they will continue to be paid both the care and mobility components of Disability Living Allowance to which they are entitled.

Time Limiting contributory Employment and Support Allowance
Employment and Support Allowance for those in the Work Related Activity Group was never intended to be a benefit for the long term. A system where people can pay National Insurance contributions for as little as two months and then potentially receive Employment and Support Allowance for the rest of their lives is not sustainable, and is unlikely to be viewed as fair by the wider public

It is important that people who are capable of moving towards employment are not left to spend years on benefits. People in the Employment and Support Allowance Support Group, for whom work is not a viable option, will be unaffected by the change, as will those receiving income-related Employment and Support Allowance. After a year, those people who have no other means of supporting themselves will qualify for income-related benefits - there will always be a safety net for those who need it.

We know that disabled people want the chance to compete in the labour market and over the course of this Parliament, we are investing very substantially in back to work support, including the new Work Choice programme, which is expected to support more disabled people into employment each year than any of its predecessor Government programmes.

Funding for social care not being ring fenced
Funding for social care has never been ring fenced at local government level. Personal Social Services grants, which were previously un-ring fenced grants from the Department of Health to local government, have been increased by £l billion in real terms. They have now been rolled into the local government formula grant to help support social care, while giving local authorities maximum flexibility to use resources in a way that best meets local priorities. This is part of an additional £2 billion that the Spending Review allocated to support social care, which together with e programme of efficiency savings, will mean that local authorities need not restrict access to care.

I do hope that this helps to reassure your constituents that the Coalition Government is fully committed to enabling disabled people to have the same opportunities and choices as non-disabled people.

Maria Miller MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Disabled People"

Comments anyone?!
 

Keywords: bad jokes,benefit cuts,black triangle,care homes,cuts to services,disabled peoples movement,disabled peoples protest,disabled vote,discrimination,funding,money,politics,poverty,residential care,wheelchair users,young disabled people

Comments

Em

/
17 January 2011

As parents of 3 children, one with asd one with suspected asd and a third with very complex needs we have had to fight always to recieve the help that enables our children to live as every other valued member of society. without the mobilty of dla we would never get our child around on a daily basis, and our other children already miss out in much of their own needs. there is absolutely an imperative need to keep dla at this rate or children will suffer, maria miller must make this clear to our government. what is more important? our roads or the well being of our children?

Susan Quick, Enabling Radio Drama

/
1 January 2011

To Jack Barfoot

Contact DART (Disability Advice and Resourse Team) Harrison House, 10 Harrison Road, Halifax 01422 346040 www.calderdaledate.org.uk

They took me to a DLA Tribunal. They'll be able to tell you the organisation nearest you.

jacky (willow raven) barfoot

/
19 December 2010

I have spinal degeneration and poly cystic ovarian syndrome and bowl problems. I have to stick to restricted diets, pay for osteopathy and physio as my GP will not refer me, I cannot obtain new scans of my back to support my DLA tribunal and My GP just wants to fill me full of more anti-depressants, kosh pills and pain killers - saying there is nothing can be done for me and i'm just going to get worse. There are days i'm in too much pain to go out of the house. I hardly sleep at night as the pain wakes me up and my hands and feet go dead and swollen. Sometimes my hands burst open and bleed when they swell up. I get no benefits due to my savings yet I have no wage and have to pay for help with my garden, taxi fare, handymen etc, as i can no longer dig my garden, cut my hedges unless i end up immobile and in excrutiating pain. I also get bladder leaking due to both my ovaries and my spine - and sometimes my bowl goes as well -

im only 43 - i fear for my future. I am alone with no family nor help, ive been stuck on the floor for hours before now and unable to get help.

social services have closed the book on me, occupational health cant help me beyond putting in grab rails which i already have, atos at my medical in 2007 told me i had no spinal nor bowl problems - really???? thats why im on MS drugs for the nerve inflammation and had ct scans etc because it causes fainting vertigo and blackouts if i turn or lift in certain directions -

I have to pay thorugh the nose for extra wide shoes as due to my spine my arches have fallen and my feet swell up -

id love to work, but whos going to employ me if i ring in and say i cant come out today as its minus 5 and i can hardly walk, or ive been up all night and im in too much pain and exhausted, or im afraid ive fallen over with a dizzy spell and ive got go to a and e for the morning??? - this is my weekly life and has been now for 5 years

i envy women who can carry toddlers in their arms and the shopping and do pilates - i can hardly carry anything, if i wash the dishes i have to lie down on the floor by the fire until the numbness stops in both hands and the pain stops in my back and ribs -

i despair, my future is bleak and camerons just made it bleaker, i cant get dla, i cant get esa, im paying council tax and prescriptions and have to keep my house warm or i cease up and cant move.. where is the justice for people like me?

Celia Lawton

/
19 December 2010

I'm surprised they haven't instigated a policy of selective euthanasia like the Nazis did, oh hang on... maybe that's the next step if they haven't forced enough mentally ill and distraught disabled people into committing suicide through the effects of these cuts.

alison wilde

/
19 December 2010

I agree with most of what has been said above and am making my comment mainly to add my support.

However, in addition to the above comments about work I would like to add questions about the work choice scheme.

Why have the Ingeus UK/Deloitte partnership been given a (no doubt lucrative) contract which is about as groundbreaking as Jeremy Clarkson's views on environmental sustainability?

Their plans for getting disabled people 'back to work' are premised on the same tired old assumption that we give up work or never start work because of our impairments or illnesses, seen by them, (not us) as deficit.

They talk of preparing us for work and helping us get jobs that we can be positive about. Services include help with writing CVs and using their facilities for job hunting (no doubt thief proofed like th chairs which are chained to the floor in job centre plus).Whilst this may be helpful for a few people its not new completely inappropriate. (incidently, given the type of 'training' which is offered, why is it assumed that all unemployed disabled workers are unskilled or semi-skilled- perhaps this reflects an unspoken knowledge of systematic discrimination-that we will have recieved a sub-standard education?)

Once again, the blatantly obvious is being ignored; a)that jobs are scarce and disappearing as we speak, and b)that employers discriminate- there is nothing there to stop them. For those who can work and are fortunate to get past these obstacles, a weeks help with travel expenses is going to do next to nothing to increase people's chances to stay in disabling work cultures (especially in an era of intense competition, job insecurity and short term contacts).

Which brings us back to the rhetoric about benefits and eligibility..

Perhaps these organisations who are given these massive contracts should prove their capacity to do the work properly, not to mention those without knowledge who are put in positions of great power.

Why IS Miller Minister 'for' disabled people?

Lynn Harrison

/
19 December 2010

Maria Miller, do you realise how much specialist medical evidence already has to be provided for people to get DLA and how many are already refused? What evidence can you provide that you and your 'government' (which doesn't have a mandate) truly understands the issues facing people with impairments in the UK?

Do you actually understand how hard it is for many disabled people to get work? Do you understand, in particular, the discrimination and barriers we face?

Why is your government increasing this stigma by painting us as 'lazy benefit scroungers' and why are we having to pay for this financial collapse that we didn't cause when the rich in the UK are getting richer?

Bob Williams-Findlay

/
17 December 2010

Maria Miller and DWP have put forward a consultation document on DLA reform which is crammed full of twisted logic and outright spin. Miller is a typical Tory Minster for Disabled People - a careerist prepared to crap all over disabled people in order to make us pay for the capitalist crisis.

These liars talk about supporting people with "the greatest needs" whilst in the same breath claiming to work within 'the principles of the social model' - they argue that the more significant the impairment is, the more disabling the barriers will be and therefore the greater the financial cost. This simplistic reductionism is the 'individual model' at work; disabled people's lives not as straight forward as this and "social restrictions" go far beyond 'barriers to activity".

Our lives are in danger from these callous muppets - we need to do all we can to halt this disablist shite.

Catherine Bennett

/
17 December 2010

It is not widely known but blind and partially sighted people are not entitled to middle or high rate DLA even though their disability means that they are unable to drive, do shopping, be independent, cook etc. As sensory impairment affects ALL aspects of a person's life they often require considerable care and support in their everyday lives and often cannot go anywhere outside their home without a sighted guide. The role of carer/sighted guide is often fulfilled by family members who, because only low rate DLA is received, cannot claim carer's allowance despite caring 24/7 for their loved ones and receiving little support and no respite. Not to mention that they often cannot work/have restrictions to working because of their caring responsibilities. One such person I know of has been identified by social services as being in danger of "carer strain".

Assistive technology costs can be extremely high for example; a set of talking scales to enable a blind/partially sighted person to prepare meals costs from around £30, a talking mobile phone costs £200 and a blind friend recently told me that a talking microwave had cost him £400. There is also the cost of computer magnification software, magnifiers, cost of converting documents to large print/braille etc. etc. need I go on.

The RNIB had previously campaigned for ALL partially sighted and blind people to be able to receive the higher rates of DLA

and the previous government had decided that this should be the case. Reported by Hampshire Association for Care of the Blind as righting a, "long standing injustice" the decision brought hope to many blind and partially sighted people that they might receive a little bit more money towards the cost of living with their disability. It now seems that the current government has reversed this decision as blind and partially sighted people known to me have received telephone calls from the DWP stating, amongst other things, that they will now continue to receive only low rate DLA.

The injustice continues...

Crippen

/
16 December 2010

Thanks for taking the trouble to respond to this disgusting letter from Maria Miller. You've done us Crips proud and have raised so many pertinent points that I'm not sure how she's going to wriggle out of answering them?!

I've cut and pasted the contents of these responses onto a Word document, which has been forwarded to our one of our allies Caroline Lucas MP (Green Party). She has agreed to place them before Ms. Miller for a response.

I'll post up any further response we get and will also continue to send in further comments that we receive on this blog.

Once again, thanks for such a great response.

:-)

Dennis Queen - DAN

/
15 December 2010

Will we have to wait til they've filled up all the hospitals with protestors and police, when the schools are rammed with arrested protesters theres no cell space for.... will it really take that much cost and time for Govt to realise this rubbish isn't going to save money??

Alan Holdsworth:To take a stand against a government and the voters on principle is a brave thing, much braver than the impairment you live with. We are voters, We have rights and we will not go away to your dark places to die. Not today not any day.

Dennis Queen

/
15 December 2010

Maria Miller - we met you on our most recent DAN action in Manchester Town Hall and you talked to us, for which we are grateful.

You claimed to be listening to disabled people. None of the disabled people we know are recommending this approach. You've got it all backwards. Were your advisors reading the responses upside down?

The Government is looking in the wrong direction. Barking up the wrong tree.

The Government needs to consult with organisations OF disabled people, not quangos and charities full of nodding dogs and people who make profit from dependence.

You want us to work, but government won't chase, support and penalise excluding employers. You won't chase premises and people who exclude us. You wont give us legal aid to do it ourselves.

340,000 disabled people in the UK live in institutions which provide low levels of care and rake in profit for business people.

Hundreds of care agencies rip disabled people off, by underpaying their overworked staff providing disabled people with fractions of their allocated care for profit, whilst councils are happy as long as they don't have to deal with disabled people direct. My staff get an extra £2 per hour in wages than care agency staff and this is STILL CHEAPER than hiring agency labour and even cheaper again than an institution.

Forcing peoploe off ILF will increase the cost overall and mean more people dumped in institutions, people who are out there contributing and paying tax rights now.

You're moving more money out of our direct control onto these wasteful inefficient profit making agencies, who skim it and in many cases leave people lying in their own piss and shit..

We've been fighting institutionalisation for 30 years and you're taking us back 2 decades in the blink of an eye. This will not increase our contribution to society or the economy.

You're getting it wrong and it's not too late to get a grip.

STOP!

ASSESS!

FIND A BETTER ROUTE!

You people want to know how to make cuts? talk to us, and we'll give you a list of all the profiteers and middle men raking it in from our dependence. TESCO, AforE, and the rest.

Stop giving our money to others, give it to us because only we know what we need.

These so-called necessary cuts are a thin veil for continuing to fund business, shrinking the job market visa workfare schemes paying employers to take staff... paid for by taxpayers... and taking freedom and homes away from the poorest people in society.

What about cuts to banking support?

It's disgusting.. and you probably think disabled activists have been a bit quiet.

We have noticed that you've let us down and we don't like having to come back twice...

Get the kettle on and keep the bathroom unlocked.. we're not going to be so agreeable next time.

We realise you're in a hard position with pressure from above but if you can't stand against it and represent our people you're a waste of space.

Clair Lewis

Disabled People's Direct Action Network

Anne Pridmore

/
14 December 2010

For the last 27 years I have campaigned for independent living. I fought to get disabled people third party payments in late 80's. Before this I received very little care. I had 11 different people coming into my home,

I had no choice over when I got up, went to bed, what I ate, who assisted me in my personal care needs. In 1989 I was forced to have a hysterectomy because I could not keep myself clean. I had a bath once a week if I was lucky but if there were bank holidays I had to go three weeks - tell me marie miller would you like to live like this?

I'm 71 of age now and always hoped I would die in my own home with the carers I had recruited myself when along comes the Coalition government with it's immoral cuts to the weakest members of society. It looks like with the demise of ILF I shall spend the end of my life in an old peoples home. SHAME ON YOU ALL.

eleanor lisney

/
13 December 2010

Today we got confirmation that the ILF will be scrapped by 2015 and it really fills me with dread for many of my friends who depended on it to keep an independent life. It is not easy to stay on independent living - even with DLA (soon to be turned to PIP), what are disabled people to do? And with the other cuts it will mean that services will be cut (unmanned stations), less bus services etc.

Life looks indeed bleak for disabled people. We should say stop this erosion of disability rights. STOP!

Crippen

/
13 December 2010

Thanks for all your comments folks. I'm cutting and pasting them to a document to be sent to Caroline Lucas MP in order that she can formulate further challenges to the ConDem programme of cuts. Keep them coming in though ...

Linda Burnip

/
12 December 2010

In addition to the comments I made within the response from DPAC, I would also add:

Independent living is being pushed back 30 years within months of them taking office; no care funding, local authorities like Brum only funding extra critical care, Dudley and Warwickshire putting charges up ridiculously,and cutting numbers eligible. Kensington and Chelsea forcing incontinent disabled people to piss themselves and lie in soaking nappies and wet beds because they won't fund night time care anymore.

What is happening to ILF funding and ILF itself?

Without support disabled people can't even get out of bed in the morning - so how are they supposed to go to work even if they could get jobs?

Why do new governments always start by attacking crips? Same now as benefits integrity programme.

Why are they ignoring the UNCRPD and Human Rights legislation when this has been ratifed. I would very much like an answer to that one.

Where did they pluck figures of 1 million of ESA on to JSA from and 20% fewer DLA claimants?

Housing benefits please see attached info from Housing Emergency re numbers of people In London who won't be able to afford to rent in private properties below 30th perventile when LHA changes next November.

Where do they think disabled people are going to live and where are the accessible properties coming from. Discretionary Housing payments are not a viable alternative as you have to claim every 13 weeks. There is no right of appeal if you don't get it, and there is no guarantee that it will continue. Therefore there is no security for disabled people. Longer term changes re housing and benefits are also a nightmare.

Debbie

/
11 December 2010

I concur : a load of bollocks form the right honourable idiot

Six things I would like to add:

1.All this talk of NHS funded residential care is misleading ( e.g. those in NHS funding care do not receive the mobility component of DLA so not fair for others to have it argument) – NHS funding for residential ‘care’ does exist, but it’s very difficult if not impossible to get according to another charity- making its wealthy way into providing ‘services’ for disabled people: Age UK. Figures do not appear to be publicly available on amounts of people funded by NHS in residential ‘care’- quelle surprise!

I was also was surprised to learn that those funding their own places would keep the Mobility component of DLA- this does appear to mean those in private homes, but is also a misnomer because unless individuals get this NHS funded care- many are funding their care through the L.A.s commandeering individuals’ savings and selling their houses –will those people who have been robbed by the state in this way after paying national insurance and taxes for most if not all of their lives retain the mobility component of DLA or not? Because they are paying twice.

2. Workchoice ( one of the revamped schemes to help the ‘disabled’ into work) will only take 23,000 people across the UK and these will be people described as having 'complex difficulties' although this would include all disabled people in the current economic climate: Workchoice (like all the failed programs that went before) does not guarantee a job, and those unfortunate enough not to have secured a job by the end of the four modules are actually expected to start again from module 1-what more dehumanising scheme ( apart from the work fare type nonsense- already proven to fail in the US and Canada) could there be?

3. Echo this point re Access to Work cuts against the blithe double talk of always supporting disabled people- are they really arrogant enough to think that we are all completely stupid?

4. Job Centre Plus which is miraculously going to place all these disabled people in work (how we laugh) has a) already made cuts to staffing levels b) has a recruitment ban on staff and is set to lose approximately 80,000 staff over the next year what position will these people be in to ‘support the disabled people back into work’ when they can’t even hold on to their own jobs

5. Contrary to the right honourable idiot’s view that those who exhaust their years worth of ESA will qualify for other benefits –they will not- according to other right honourable idiots. Given the Condems public (while they allow Vodaphone and other Greens to get away with it) chanting of tax payers not having to pay for ‘scroungers’ Have the right honourable idiots considered that those they are excluding from benefits have usually been tax payers and payers of national insurance –a payment paid for supports in times of sickness or disability once upon a time. Statistics show that most people become disabled with an acquired impairment i.e (as they will not understand what this means) impairment acquired after birth often in working years.

6. Since DPAC guys got together to respond to the letter from the rt Honourable –we all know that

a.) DLA overall is about to go –there’s a consultation, but Dave’s cartoon says it all about these playful little wastes of time.

b.) ESA 12 months term for some ESA persons is going to be retrospective

So I am even more amazed that this Miller woman or anyone connected with this government has the gall to keep peddling the constant crap that they ‘support’ disabled people- support them to where exactly…?

Carol Hall

/
10 December 2010

To whom It may concern

Before I respond to the ministers letter I would like to introduce myself. I am a single mother living in the north of England. Like many as a result of disability of I lost my career (as a Sure Start manager) my marriage and finally my home. It wasn't until my husband left that I first applied for any benefits at all and at one point my only income was DLA. I now live close to my parents for support however am totally dependant on paid care since my mother is full time carer for my dad. I run an online support and social group and in the last few weeks have seen the average number or active members rise from the low 200s to the high 400s and where a few months ago the majority of members did not want to see politics discussed now they are expressing fears and anxiety.

I will now answer the ministers points:

"all households where someone claims Disability Living Allowance will be exempt from the cap on the total amount of benefit a household can receive;"

**but housing benefit will fall as the way the amounts are calculated change, since I live in a tourist town any fall may render me homeless.

"we will use an extra £60 million by 2015 to help fund an additional room for disabled people who have live-in but non-resident carers;"

** does this include occasional carers covering times of crisis or only permanent ones, how will this be judged.

"people aged between 25 and 34 who need additional care will not be affected by the extension of the shared room rate in Housing Benefit;"

**not having the energy to go an check am I right in thinking that a single person under 34 who cannot work due to disability will effectivly not be able to live alone and thus independently? Surely this is going to increase the sense of poverty amongst this group. What about members of this group already in flats? Are they going to loose their home?

"additional investment is now in place to support social care reaching around £2 billion per year by 2014/15. £1 billion of this will be available through local government, and £1 billion will be made available within the NHS to break down the barriers between health and social care provision;"

**really? All my social worker talks of is cuts, are we really going to see any of this since it's not ring fenced.

"the Disabled Facilities Grant has been protected within the Spending Review and increased in line with inflation;"

**OK scary anecdote on this one which may interest the minister. My care and adoptions needs have significantly changed recently, as a result I needed assistance bathing. My OT judged me in need of a bath lift but she felt the 2 bath lifts they provide would be unsuitable and a suitable one would be too expensive. My OT was keen to push me to use a disabled facilities grant costing much more to fit a wet room I didn't want than provide a suitable bath lift as this came out of local (none ring fenced budgets)

DLA: to commence this consultation without considering the impact on vulnerable people is fool hardy. Due to my disability I find it incredibly difficult to take part in consultation. We have a shortened consultation period (and over Christmas!!) by comparison with other legislation, yet are the group least able to take part.

I am terrified about the change to DLA I am dependant on complex equipment (purchased using DLA), all my living expenses are higher and am dependant on social care. I fully expect the combination of DLA and funding of care to be less than they currently are. At present my care is at 'survival' level so when I am presented with choosing between replacing a worn out bed, having the heating at the level I need, care or feeding and clothing my children I do not have a clue what I will do. I cannot overstate my level of fear and am far from confident that I will continue to be able to live independently once all the cuts take effect.

Removal of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance

Another scary one, if I find myself in residential care I will not have the money to pay for taxis to go to my childrens activities or to spend on a wheelchair as my survival needs are being catered for by the home. Once I need a home I will have no further entitlement to independence of any form? I would find this lack of freedom intolerable, it is difficult to get carers for outings without also needing permission from the home.

I do not feel at all reassured by the ministers comments indeed am even more worried as I do not feel she has even a small grasp of the problems being created by this government to this very vulnerable group. None of us chose to be disabled yet we are set to take the hardest hit of the austerity measures. I have written this from a personal perspective yet could have focussed on people coming to my group for support for whom I fear the situation may be much worse

Yours

Carol Hall, Cumbria

Annie Bishop

/
10 December 2010

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/los1210.pdf

this is an example of the government departments failure to communicate,this survey shows you will face significant disdvantage through disability which will only be increased and re-enforced by this government#s proposals on DLA

Nabil Shaban

/
10 December 2010

That's right, Stuart. Why do you think there has been so much campaigning in support of "Assisted" suicide...

Stuart Moore - via face Book

/
10 December 2010

Hey, the more crips and pensioners they can kill off, the less the defecit is going to be... right?

Councillor Andrew Rankine

/
10 December 2010

This letter only goes to show how unsympathetic, uncaring and cold hearted this Govt is in its attitude and understanding towards those living with a disability....we have to carry on the fight and remind everyone just what this Governments intentions are towards the disabled and how Government Policy will affect those of us with a disability.

Jane Hatton

/
10 December 2010

Does the Minister for Disabled have any clue at all? She talks about DLA, which is now going to be scrapped in favour of an alternative scheme. Of all benefits, DLA carries the lowest amount of fraud - it is almost negligible. So if pretty well all the claimants are genuine, and they are cutting this benefit by 20%, then genuine claimants will have to lose out. The concern with DLA has always been that people receive *less* than they are entitled to (hence the 70% success rate of appeals - but what about the vast majority who don't appeal?) not that people were overpaid.

ESA may not have been intended to be a longterm benefit, but the issue here isn't workshy benefit cheats, it's a combination of lack of jobs for anyone (many highly qualified non-disabled people can't find work), discrimination by employers against disabled candidates, and people who genuinely can't work because of their disabilities. Moving people to JSA may save money - that doesn't make it fair or just.

And how could any self-respecting Equality Impact Assessment not highlight disproportionate disadvantage to disabled people from these cuts?? Where is the final report of this EIA published (all should be published where the public can access them)? Where is the evidence that suggests that disabled people aren't more adversely affected than the general population by cuts in disability benefits? Only in some surreal parallel universe, I suspect.

Annie Bishop

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10 December 2010

I am writing to you because of your ministerial position. How is the proposal affecting DLA going to affect those claimants with long term fluctuating health conditions like MS. I have been awarded DLA indefinitely DLA allows me to carry on working. In my experience the doctors commissioned by the DWP have no understanding of conditions like MS which is why I had to appeal and won. Believe me if I got better I would gladly hand back my award but my condition is progressive and incurable. I would be grateful if you can reseach this area before making ill informed statements as there are a lot of anxious people with MS and other debilitating conditions worried that their independence is going to be compromised. Also I can see challenges under the single equality act and forcing people to appeal is expensive and stressful. It also will place a drain on overburdened carers and care services. Disabled people face poverty more than other groups in the UK, is this really your intention?

have I missed something glaringly obvious in the budget re DLA and means testing? I got this email in June in response to my request for more info

Your e-mail of 26 June concerning disability benefits was passed to this Department for reply as the issues raised falls within its remit. I am sorry that a Minister has not been able to reply personally but I hope you will appreciate that they receive a great deal of correspondence on a variety of subjects. Therefore, I have been asked to reply on this occasion.The Government recognises the important role that cash benefits play in supporting severely disabled people to overcome the inequalities they face and remain independent. The Government is also committed to simplifying the benefit system to ensure it is fair and is not a disincentive to work. That is why the Chancellor announced in the Emergency Budget on 22 June that the Government will reform Disability Living Allowance, introducing a transparent, objective assessment to ensure it is targeted at those who are in genuine need of financial help.The Government anticipates that the new assessment will be applied from 2013/14 onwards and it will be working closely with a broad range of interested parties as it develops the detail to ensure the needs of disabled people are addressed fairly and proportionately. As part of that process the Government will also take account of experience from the introduction of the Work Capability Assessment.The Government we will take full account of the needs of those with conditions such multiple sclerosis as it develops the assessment. The Government remains committed to providing unconditional support for people in the most vulnerable situations.I hope this explains the Government’s position.

Yours sincerely

Mrs C Keane

Annie Bishop

graham f

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10 December 2010

I haven't much to add to Bert's and DPAC's clear messages. The elision of DLA into the welfare to work agenda is one of the most worrying things for me. If we need (and we probably do) to focus one a single issue to defend, I think it's the moral and civil rights arguments around DLA being a NON NEGOTIABLE indepdnnt living benefit which CANNOT be tinkered with, let alone decimated. DLA is about two key areas of independent living, help in the home and getting out of the home and participating in society. If these two key areas begin to be eroded, we are in big trouble.

Dawn Willis

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10 December 2010

Ms Miller has quite obviously undetaken a role for which she seems underqualified, otherwise she would not make such sweeping statements.

Every day we read more about how social care budgets will be cropped and people will be taken off one benefit and made to apply for another. (eg DLA and PIP)

Nowhere does she mention the impact on mental health within her broad statements, and this group is historically continually marginalised by NHS and Government cutbacks.

There is a hidden generation (a forgotten generation) within mental health, those people who have a serious long term and enduring mental health problem such as schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, but who are medically 'compliant' and managed only by their GP, these people already have immense difficulties getting help, have no CPN or Social Worker, thus little hope of getting their hands on personal budgets. These are the soft targets for this goverment's attacks on the disabled. Suicides are already on the increase, as a direct result of this Government's alarming tactics. This is a Government with too much blood on it's hands already.

Has Ms Miller actually looked at the evidence obtained by charities such as RETHINK and MIND who have surveyed GP's and found that the MAJORITY feel underqualified to commission on serious mental health, and frankly don't want the responsibility.

DLA - the enabling benefit, the one actually effective form of independent means, which gives people 'choice' over how they recover and care for themselves will be changed. Ms Miller needs to TALK to those who receive this benefit and ask them HOW it has improved their quality of life, she may be surprised to find it's around the issues of being a means to enable people to return to work! (E.G case study uses DLA for cleaner, and for taxi to work, meaning his wellbeing is substantially improved).

'Cut this, cut that. Replace, re-invent Get them back to work yada yada'! Ideal in a world where there jobs which meet the aspiratons of the disabled, and where not only employers accept the disabled, but so do their colleagues. Great if there's a real living wage and the ability for those who are disabled to be able to have the same/similar lifestyles as their counterparts. Great if working is something someone either aspires to or is capable of...

However, this is not the UK we live in. The Government is increasing poverty, marglinalising the disabled, discriminating by intent in it's propagnda 'fraudster' wars, and it's a sorry state of affairs which makes me feel sad to say I'm British.

Crippen

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10 December 2010

caroline Lucas, the Green MP who put Maria Miller on the spot has asked me to get feedback from people about the Ministers letter! Post your feedback as a comment and I'll make sure she gets it. Thanks

Vince - Face Book

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9 December 2010

You are the only crip telling us this sort of info. Keep it coming. We need to know this stuff!

Jane - via Face Book

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9 December 2010

Phew. I thought they'd managed to silence you on this blog site as well. Let's hope you don't get faced with any sex charges from Sweden!

Col

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9 December 2010

The letter is a ridiculous justification for everything the government is

doing. I'm glad you've addressed this ... it's a very funny cartoon as well.

thanks

col

Crippen

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9 December 2010

Sorry guys ... lost this blog for a while but back up and running again. Thanks for all your messages of concern :-)

Clair

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9 December 2010

Oops - the blogs back! What happened, did you get hand-bagged by the Tory teccies again?!

Debbie via Face Book

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7 December 2010

More outrage - ESA 12 month limit details published by DWP. The 12 month time limit will beimposed from April 2012, but it will be retrospective. This means that claimants who have already been getting contribution-based ESA for 12 months will have their payments stopped immediately- does not apply to claimants in the support group ... or those receiving income-related ESA - oh thats alright then!

Stronty via Face Book

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7 December 2010

I tried explaining to some people in the pub the other night about how bad these cuts are and how they will effect disabled people. One person said "But they won't effect the REAL disabled will they?" "Yeh" piped up another."It's only those fiddling the benefits that will be effected!"

I think it was about here that I started banging my head against the wall!

BLACK TRIANGLE

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7 December 2010

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1609961482478&set=o.40556497527

It's time to unite and fight.

Frankly, there are others more capable of refuting her justifications and rationale for this exercise in barbarity: We salute them#

Black Triangle believes there can be no consensus and compromise with these murderers of souls.

We call everyone of goodwill to unite and fight to bring this fascist junta to its knees.

Solidarity with all the poor, sick and broken of Britain. With all students and workers whose lives and futures are facing systematic attack at the hands of this heartless ConDem Government.

Let us unite and crush it. Speedily!

Black Triangle Campaign

BLACK TRIANGLE

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7 December 2010

Our member Peter Lockhart speaks for us all:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=77302&o=all&op=1&view=all&subj=40556497527&id=100001786117787&fbid=112838325452371

Arty Farty

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6 December 2010

When she talks about having undertaken an impact assessment regarding the effect that the cuts will have on disabled, where is it recorded that she has included disabled people in this?

I understood that the guidelines stated that disabled people should be included in any impact assessment that effected them (us).

I don't know of any crip that has been invited to participate in an assessment regarding these cuts. Have you?

Crippen

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6 December 2010

There are a lot of subtle indicators within this letter. For example, Maria Miller, Minister for Disabled people, talks about liaising with Theresa May, the Minister for Women and Equalities.

By creating two distinct departments within this government, they are effectively saying that disability issues do not come under the remit of equality. We are something different from the rest of society and therefor shouldn't expect our Civil Rights issues to be included in with those of the mainstream.

The implication of this is that we are second class citizens!

Bert

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6 December 2010

This is a clever letter because it stresses the government policies that do not harm disabled while brushing over those that do.

It is rather like a hospital saying we have great services for people with cancer, let me tell you about them. But the patient then says “that’s fine but I do not have cancer but a dicky heart.” “Ah” says the doctor “we don’t discuss that.”

The £2 billion for social will not be ring fenced so it could end up anywhere. Moreover local authorities said they needed £6 billion so £2 billion will lead to cuts not protection.

Of those in residential care about 60,000 people will be affected. About 20% or so of these will have Motability vehicles if the general Motability take-up figures are applied to residential care. These are people who will have their vehicles removed under this policy. So will local authorities step in? Hardly, they are having to absorb huge cuts. This policy removes mobility from disabled people and other government policies will not influence this.

Does the Government need to make these cuts. The answer is no. Snatching DLA from disabled people in residential care will save the Government £135 million a year. The magazine Private Eye has been running a story for months that the Government is letting a major mobile phone company get away with £6 billion of unpaid tax. That would fund DLA for some years.

This policy is about the choices that governments make. I suspect that this policy was not thought through but now ministers think they have to defend it. A wise and mature government would just admit they got this one wrong and reverse the policy.

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)

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6 December 2010

Overall summary ... what a load of B*LL*CKS!

Re exemption from cap on benefits - this is not clear, all that I understood from this was DLA would be in addition to the benefit cap overall. Not that all disabled people would be exempt from cap.

Re 25-34 year olds and lower shared room rate - this will affect anyone under 35 on lower rate DLA only those in receipt of middle and Higher rates will be exempt.

Re Social services budgets not ring fenced – and the additional money they say they are putting into social care will not in any way compensate for cuts in adult services budgets of 25-30% anyhow.

She doesn’t mention cuts to ILF funding or what is going to happen to ILF funding.

Re DLA - the fraud rate is 0.5 % so why are they going to take 20% of people off this? Are the other 19.5% of people going to Lourdes for some miracle cure? Where does the figure of 20% come from? More dart throwing (see earlier Crippen cartoon)?

Re DLA mobility component - what does she mean homes MAY provide access to doctors, dentists – does she mean the right to health care is going to be taken away from disabled residents?

Isn’t she aware that if you’re in a care home you don’t get a personal budget?!

People in care homes Have no choice and control over access to transport. Why are those paying for themselves ie those who have money, still getting mobility component? No logic at all.

Re EIA again - What organisations is she going to work with on disability policy? Does she mean the charities who are going to raking in the money from crip workfare?

Re Time limiting ESA - People will still spend years on benefits just it will be lower paid JSA not ESA. Cuts to Access to Work funding they are making plus lack of care/support will stop even more disabled people getting jobs than now.

Re her comment - Disabled people in the labour market. What does she mean by investing very substantially. Is this in the slave labour programme?