Friday, September 17, 2010

Cuts to DLA 'The easiest bit of welfare reform to sell'

"The coalition’s assault on what the Conservatives refer to as “broken Britain” is underway. The government has announced for the first time how many of the UK’s 2.6m recipients of disability benefits it estimates will be reclassified as fit-to-work in this parliament. The answer: a cool 500,000 or 23 per cent of the total.

Although this will generate political heat among those affected, it is the easiest bit of welfare reform to sell. Britain’s out-of-work disability benefits have been abused. The last government belatedly recognised this and started to introduce a more rigorous system. But many of the 2.2m people who still claim the old benefit elected to do so because it is more generous than the dole."


This article in yesterday's Financial Times* makes very clear the ethos behind the Coalition government's slash and burn attacks on sickness related benefits, that cuts to disability benefits are perceived as the "easiest bit of welfare reform to sell" . The FT don't distinguish between the different types of sickness related benefits so I assume the figure of 2.2million people claiming what they describe as 'the old benefit' refers to Incapacity Benefit, the predecessor to Employment and Support Allowance brought in by New Labour. It seems equally safe to assume that the 2.6million they refer it is actually the 2.9 million Disability Living Allowance recipients, some 1.25 million of which are adults who claim both DLA and IB. 

The official Department of Work and Pensions fraud rate for Disability Living Allowance makes it very clear that only 0.5% of the total number of claims are fraudulent. That's approximately 14,500 fraudulent claims out of an overall 2.9million.  So, less than 15,000 Disability Living Allowance awards are fraudulent and the coalition are determined to reduce the numbers claiming DLA by half a million. Playing fast and loose with the DWP's own statistics and assuming they're wildly underestimating the problem of fraudulent claims, which seems particularly unlikely, if an overall fraud rate of, say 5%, 10 times that of the official rate were assumed, that would still only be one hundred and forty five thousand fraudulent claims out of a total 2.9 million. Still some three hundred and fity five thousand short of the half a million proposed reduction.

The agenda is clear. To vastly restrict eligibility to DLA, already the most rigorously assessed and difficult to claim benefit of all. 

So much for David Cameron's claim that "Those that can should, and those who can't we will always help. I want to make sure that my government always looks after the elderly, the frail, the poorest in our country." David Cameron, 11th May 2010




*10 articles available to view per month if  free registration completed. 

7 comments:

Lankylonglegs - Jo said...

As is the norm always...no matter which party gets in they all do the same thing... either lower the tax or keep it the same for the rich bloated fat cats that sit on their luxurious leather sofas and wallow in their riches in their multi bedroomed mansions while those that already have desperate need are punished again and again with cutbacks and higher taxes!
More lies from yet another so called "Trustable MP", but then it has always been "do as we say, not do as we do" and meanwhile they will continue to lie cheat and steal the money that should help feed those that cannot work for themselves and try to convince everyone that they really need that extra house, extra holiday, and staff to do the work that most of us have done singly handedly forever!
Get rid of the politicians and we'd all be better off financially.

Arienette said...

Once again, every single time something new comes out about benefits, it always seems to be about disability benefits, and it always takes my breath away and makes my heart sink.

Also, loving the use of language in all these articles... 'elect to do so'...'choose to claim benefits'...'more generous than the dole'... all of this serves to make out that anyone who is on disability benefits is faking it to get cash. Reading these articles sometimes is like being being killed by an expert swordsman. I can't help but admire their form as they stab us all in the heart.

Achelois said...

I am on overload right now on all this. I know I have said this before but to reiterate, in the vein hope someone who has any influence may read blogs related to disability ha ha ha. I would just like to say, having finally been awarded dla for life or whatever they call it for my lifelong condition. I mind if you wish to waste more money in the future proving again that I am not a benefit scrounger. I am not lying about my condition.

I am thinking that if I am feeling unhinged by the current goings on, how is everyone else feeling.

So when you get round to me, if you can find a doctor to assess all of us all over again costing more no doubt than the projected savings, still reading I hope so person who makes up this $%^& I will be adding PTSD to my conditions. A direct result from the severe mental torture I endure because I claim DLA. I thought picking on minorities was wrong? It seems not.

I tell you what if you are reading - I will bargain with you - you can have my disability and I'll not have the DLA. How about that. That seems fair.

I am rambling BG I know and I am sorry but this is all getting too much. Take away the dla and my lifeline is gone. Perhaps that is their intention.

Has a decision maker made a decision yet for you hun? You are on my mind.

xoxoxoxo

misspiggy said...

Saw your interview on Granada Reports - it was great! Hope you're resting well.

Re benefits cuts, I have a question for you and others out there. I am not yet claiming DLA, but I think I would qualify for lower rate care. I'm in full time work (just), so I wouldn't depend on DLA, although I could do with the extra so that I can afford to pay a cleaner. Assuming that DWP is being encouraged to limit claimants, if I apply and get DLA, am I likely to be excluding someone who may need it more? Should I therefore not apply?

mrs j stevens said...

well it goes to show what the government think of the disabled, you want to give it to the Social, so they can say what we need,and don't need . Come on, wake up, dla is supposed to be there to held the disabled ot degrade us. As far as I'm concerned, you are no better than Hitler, do you want us all put down.

Anonymous said...

Miss Piggy, claim DLA. The money can make a huge difference, both directly and indirectly.

It took us years to get it for our son (and Carer's Allowance) for me, but when we started receiving we went from being financially strapped every month to being in the black for eight or nine months. We still have to be be very careful but the amount of stress we're under is hugely diminished.

In terms of the non-financial benefits, our son has benefited hugely by us being able to pay for services that had been withdrawn due to budget cuts.

For example, he lost access to a speech therapist when her post was cut. We use some of the DLA to pay for private speech therapy. It's not as much as when it was provided through the NHS but some is better than none.

We use some of the DLA to pay for private socials skills workshops several times a year. Again, these used to be provided via an NHS mental health team but the team was halved and their caseload cut to 'highest priority cases'. We can't afford weekly or even monthly workshops but even three or four a year is useful.

Half my carer's allowance goes into a private pension for me (I wouldn't have any pension otherwise), while the rest funds travel and activities for our son.

Being able to pay for these things from DLA and CA means they're not eating into our other income. On top of that, DLA and CA entitle us to discounts and free services in other areas, which also reduces the burden on our monthly income.

Claim whatever you're entitled to while you can as the allowances can make a dramatic difference to quality of life.

Aufstehenuk said...

As someone who is NOT disabled, I have to say that I cant believe what a disgusting and immoral country we now live in.

It's very simple to blame MPs, using that as an excuse not to vote. But the reality is that it is the majority of people in this country who believe the garbage in the media and elect a government they know from experience will attack the weak, elderly, and the rights of the individual.

After 18 years of Tory horror, no one should be able to trust them again in their lifetimes.

The argument that no one actually voted for a tory-led coalition is blatantly pathetic an excuse for those voting for the Lib-dems.

As for Labour, they are the lesser of two evils, sadly,when you consider how the came to be formed. But everything they said would happen to the ecinomy has, and they would never have attacked the disabled in the way this Con-Dem(ned) coalition is doing.

The willingness of the people of this country to buy into the view that anyone on benefits is a scrounger, or that anyone getting something they are not (irrespective of facts) are to be envied and attacked, is what makes this country wrotten and immoral.

The often quoted 'British' way of fairness and caring for the underdog, if it ever existed, was destroyed by Thatcher, and remains buried under the weight of the media conditioning of people into seeing celebrity and quick riches and fame as the only thing to strive for.

I have repeatedly claimed on Twitter that this government is fascist in nature, following as it does the acts of Hitler.

His first action was to attack and murder the disabled, trade unionists,the mentally ill, the elderly, and the gypsies.

All of which this government is doing, but being unable to literally murder anyone; they prefer to push them into the gutter of poverty and misery for their entire lives.

Everyone standing by and allowing this is complicate in the destruction of any morality this country claims to have left.

Aufstehenuk - wake up UK!