25 June 2010 Disability Living Allowance under threat from Budget cuts

Chancellor George Osborne has announced that from 2013 people seeking Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will need to go through a new medical assessment to claim the benefit which is essential to the daily lives of many disabled people.

During his Budget speech Osborne announced that assessments would be introduced "to reduce dependency and promote work." However, for many disabled people DLA is the only reason they have found can remain in employment.

Furthermore, the Budget announcement states that the decision has been made: "to ensure payments are only made for as long as a claimant needs them." Trailblazers are concerned that in stating this the Government has fundamentally failed to appreciate reality of living with a long-term progressive neuromuscular condition, which can cause severe disability and for which there are no cures. For someone with a neuromuscular condition to be forced into attending regular ‘check-up assessments' would be a waste of their time and the tax payers' money.

The Disability Living Allowance was introduced 18 years ago and is not an income replacement benefit in the same way Job Seekers Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance is. DLA is an allowance for ‘living'. It has  contributed to allowing many disabled people to sustain a reasonable quality of life. Although it is often thought not to reflect real costs, due to the expenses related to transport, and the cost of living, it is still an essential way of subsidising the additional expenditure that being disabled often incurs.

DLA is not means tested for this reason. If a person is on minimum wage or a well paid job, they should not have to spend their hard earned cash on disability related walking aids, transport and alterations to housing.

Other major concerns of Trailblazers include the impact that a failed assessment will have on people who are refused the higher rate DLA and are currently using the Motability car scheme. What would happen to the vehicle, and more importantly how would the disabled person continue to travel independently. Taking away such an allowance could also have a negative impact on the state, with more people becoming reliant upon state help and local authority care packages.

Trailblazers Project Manager Bobby Ancil says:

To ensure that young disabled people do not have their independence snatched away from them we call on the Government to ensure that assessments are carried out by experts in the various medical fields. We also demand that due care and consideration is paid to the disabling impact the removal of Disability Living Allowance will have on many young people.

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1 Comment

  • Krishna Talsania replied on 27 Jun 2010 at 17:37
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    This doesnt't surprise me in the slightest as most cuts made by the government effects the most vulnerable citizens of this country. In order to prevent this from occuring, these vulnerable citizens are foced to fight for their rights. Despite voting for a government or any government for that matter who promise to make things better, vulnerable people with disabilities are always discriminated against through budget cuts. Can I ask, why are budget cuts not made on weapons development? Why cant immigrant families be forced to pay tax, making a positive contribution to the economy? There are other solutions to 'cuts' on to benefits disabled people receive.

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