Benefits: the disabled and deserving?

In yesterday’s Daily Telegraph, Iain Duncan Smith pledged to reform Disability Living Allowance (DLA). He plans to introduce an independent medical assessment, so that only those who really need the benefit get it. More than three million people now receive this benefit, three times as many as when it was introduced in 1992.

Report from the Telegraph:

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) thinks a new, independent medical assessment might reduce the number of people awarded the benefit by around half a million. It will even get a friendly-sounding new name: the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

That all sounds sensible in principle. But look at the reasons why claimants are awarded DLA and you can see why any reform will be controversial. Statistics give a detailed breakdown of the reasons people claim. It’s a spreadsheet of heartbreak: 564,000 people claim for help with arthritis; 390,000 people with learning difficulties; 259,000 people with psychosis. Smaller groups are claiming for all kinds of reasons: 22,000 have problems with drug and alcohol abuse; 35,380 claimants are terminally ill. It is strangely affecting to see such a litany of human misery tabulated into abstraction by civil servants.

Report in the Telegraph


Jobseekers who reject help for alcohol and drug addiction face benefits cut

“Iain Duncan Smith to signal measures allowing Jobcentre Plus staff to dock allowances for claimants who refuse treatment…

…Government sources said the contract would allow Jobcentre Plus staff to say that a suspected addict is in breach of their commitments if they refuse help for alcoholism or drug addiction…”

Report from the Guardian 22 May 2012

Why doesn’t Iain Duncan Smith trust a doctor’s decision?

“I am one of the 70% of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) recipients with a lifetime award that Iain Duncan Smith set his sights on this week.  He intends to introduce more rigorous, regular assessments for the replacement PIP benefit and abolish lifetime entitlements such as mine….”

Report in the Independent on 17 May 2012


Paralympics show sport has woken up to disability

“This year looks set to highlight the contradictions facing disabled people in our society. On the one hand, they are facing increasing marginalisation and discrimination under “welfare reform” policy and public expenditure cuts. On the other, the official rhetoric presents them as the heroes of the forthcoming London Paralympics….”

Piece by Peter Beresford for the Guardian on May 21st 2012


Blind dad’s boost in benefits battle

“A BLIND dad has been boosted in his battle against benefits changes after thousands joined his fight.

More than 36,000 people have signed an online petition against reforms Peter Bennetts fears will cost him dearly…..”

Read more about Pat’s support for Mr Bennetts in the Shields Gazette of 21 May 2012


Disabled Barrow man hits out at return to work policy

“A DISABLED man has hit out at a new government policy aimed at getting people on sickness benefits back into work.

More than three-quarters of South and West Cumbria’s sickness claimants have been judged capable of work under the new Work Capability Assessments”

Full story from the North West Evening Mail


Disabled Man’s Family slams Work decision

The family of a severely disabled Dundee man has hit out after he was deemed fit enough to work.

John Kerr is registered blind, deaf, is fed through a tube and requires 24 hour care.

Full story from Tay FM on May 18 2012