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.Because Middle and Higher rate DLA are both also passport benefits to enable family members to claim Carers Allowance, removing or reducing DLA will not only have an enormous financial impact on disabled people it will also impact on their carers – a double blow which will especially hit hard those families on the poverty line.
It is even more alarming that the Coalition plan a new regime of ‘non medical tests ‘ as happened with Employment Support Allowance. A ‘test’ which was designed to throw 1 million people off sickness benefit altogether. It is a ‘test’ you are planned to fail.
Of course we want the aspiration of work to be open to disabled people and carers but with rising unemployment coupled with cuts to social care support services, realistically how many will find work and how soon? We are concerned that the most severely and enduringly ill people will be subject to threats and sanctions for not finding work and have incomes reduced as a result.
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