Campaign to protect Disability Benefits

July 28th, 2010

Carer Watch ask the Coalition to make a clear statement about the level of welfare benefits that they intend to offer to support disabled people and their carers in these very challenging times.

Disability Living Allowance was specifically named in the Emergency Budget as a benefit that was being targeted and where substantial savings could be made. Many groups/organisations representing the disabled people and carers are reporting that this has caused an immediate wave of anxiety and concern.

DLA is an essential benefit that was specifically designed to provide financial support towards the extra costs incurred by people living with a disability.  DLA payments have enabled hundreds of thousands of disabled people to maintain a degree of independence and quality of life that would have otherwise been lost to them. Read the rest of this entry »

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July 2nd, 2010

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Join the discussion group and help to put this campaign together here.

Muscular Dystrophy Campaign

August 17th, 2010

“As a charity at the forefront of the fight against muscle disease, the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign has urged the government to consider that many disability benefits are intended to help meet the extra costs of living with a disability.

“We welcome the intention in the 21st Century Welfare consultation paper to simplify the complex benefits system, and to make the process more efficient. And we are pleased to note that one of the stated objectives of the reforms is “supporting carers and enabling disabled people to have an equal role in society.

“But any reform to the Disability Living Allowance must be carried out with the intention of promoting independence and quality of life for people with a disability more effectively, rather than as a cost cutting measure targeted at some of the more vulnerable people in our society. At the same time, fraudulent claims should be rooted out and the consequent savings used to strengthen and enhance support for carers and people living with disabilities.”

Robert Meadowcroft,
Acting Chief Executive and Director of Policy and Campaigns,

Muscular Dystrophy Campaign

The Princess Royal Trust for Carers & Crossroads Care

August 13th, 2010

Received from PRTC

We regret that benefits will increase in line with Consumer Price Index rather than Retail Price Index as a measure of inflation. The different could mean about £130p/a to each carer by 2015. Carers and disabled people need more not less financial support.

Furthermore, we would like to see greater support to help carers and disabled people work, rather than simply being subject to more testing about their capability which can often be wrongly assessed causing undue stress.

We understand the financial pressures on Government, but public funding cuts must not be aimed at carers and families, who are emblematic of the Big Society they hope to foster. Research shows that cutting support for carers will very quickly cost more money than is saved. Carers who do not receive support are more likely to suffer physical and mental breakdowns. When this happens, the original patient requires emergency hospital admission or expensive residential care and the carer becomes a patient as well – meaning costs spiral.

Carole Cochrane
Chief Executive Officer

National Pensioners Convention

August 9th, 2010

We are happy to add our support to your campaign – alongside the following statement from the National Pensioners Convention’s General Secretary, Dot Gibson:

The NPC has worked with Carer Watch over the past year to defend the rights of disabled people and their carers. The support provided by the Disability Living Allowance is essential to those who need extra help to maintain their independence and mobility in later life, and cutting it will be an act of pure cruelty that will have a devastating impact on some of the most vulnerable members of our society. The government must be made to think again.

All the best
Neil Duncan-Jordan
NPC

Bury/Bolton ME/CFS Support Group

August 7th, 2010

I am writing to you on behalf of the ‘Bury/Bolton ME/CFS Support Group’, in response to your request for comments:
DLA is essential to our members, who have already undergone rigorous testing already in order to obtain it. We support your campaign.

Regards,
Dave

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Prof Jonathan Rutherford – Editor of SOUNDINGS Journal

August 4th, 2010

Throughout its history Soundings journal has been at the forefront of rethinking welfare policy. In the last decade Britain has been subjected to levels of reform that have undermined the old welfare consensus established in the years following the second world war. The issue of conditionality has shifted from being a reciprocal agreement to becoming a punitive method of controlling and monitoring claimants. The collapse in the value of benefits contributes to the fear and anxiety of being made redundant or becoming sick or disabled. The old welfare safety net is in tatters. The Disability Living Allowance is one of the last remaining universal benefits paid to those who are working and those who are not working and based on the principle of need. We know that the Labour Movement will need to create a new welfare system for the future, one that is not run for profit by business, which keeps people out of poverty and which while requiring a fair reciprocity does not punish or impose workfare. This is a major undertaking but it will be built on benefits like the DLA and for this reason we need to defend it as a priority.

Jonathan Rutherford
editor Soundings

Carers UK message of support

July 28th, 2010

At Carers UK, we share Carer Watch’s concern about government plans for DLA and the knock on effect for those people claiming Carer’s Allowance. DLA is a disability benefit designed to help people with the additional costs associated with their disability. The introduction of medical assessments for Disability Living Allowance will cause extreme concern and anxiety amongst people caring, unpaid, for disabled relatives. Carers UK are already receiving daily phone calls and emails from families caring at the sharp end, often 24/7 and at the end of their tether, who are now scared for their financial future.

Carers own income could well be hit, as Carer’s Allowance and other benefits are based on the disabled person receiving Disability Living Allowance at a certain level. People’s experiences of medical tests for Employment and Support Allowance and Incapacity Benefit have not been positive, and poor medical assessment could spell financial disaster for carers and their families.

Making savings to the welfare bill in this way is deeply unfair – hitting the most vulnerable in our society particularly hard, people who are already struggling to make ends meet. Caring is something we will all have to do at some point in our lives and Carers UK will continue to campaign for the contribution that carers make to families and society to be fully recognised and to ensure that carers get the practical, financial and emotional support they need.

Jan Cole – Asperger East Anglia

July 28th, 2010

As a charity supporting individuals, and their families, who are affected by Asperger syndrome; we are very concerned that changes in the benefits system will add yet more confusion and anxiety for vulnerable people.
Most adults with Asperger syndrome would like to have a job, but frequently find it difficult to gain and maintain employment. Trying to keep up with the constant changes in how to apply for support and benefits can only lead to more people in crisis and more costs for statutory services.

Jan Cole, Carers and Parents Support – Asperger East Anglia

ANNE BEGG – CHAIR OF WORKS AND PENSIONS SELECT COMMITTEE

July 28th, 2010

I am happy to support your campaign as there is no doubt that the new government is looking to make major savings in the welfare budget. The projected savings from reassessing people on DLA is £1 billion.

Anne Begg
Chair of the Works and Pensions Select Committee

Anne Kane – Policy Manager, Inclusion London

July 26th, 2010

 

Dear Carer Watch,

Thanks for your information. We too are very opposed to the government’s proposals around DLA and other benefits. You can see our approach on our website .

We are happy to support work on this area.

Best wishes,
Anne Kane, Policy Manager  

Inclusion London have their analysis of  How the Budget will damage the lives of Deaf and Disabled Londoners