Monday, October 04, 2010

Welfare Reform, what we know for sure..

For all the people arriving here looking for answers about disability benefit cuts after Chancellor George Osborne's speech today at the Conservative Party Conference, so far all we know for sure is this;

Universal credit is to be introduced as a replacement for Incapacity Benefit, Income Support, Employment Support Allowance, Job Seekers Allowance, Housing Benefit etc. There is currently no information available on how UC will be set a different levels for different groups but Disability Living Allowance WILL be kept apart from this system. I can only assume that DLA entitlement will be used to indicate different levels of eligibility for the different levels of Universal Credit. Anything else would be impractical, expensive and unworkable*

Benefits will be capped at a level meaning that no family will be better off on benefits than the average family is in work. Families with disabled members were specifically excluded from this cap which is to be welcomed. As yet there is no information available as to what definition of disability will be used. Using the Disability Discrimination Act definition of 'substantial impairment on day to day activities' would presumably set entitlement too widely to be workable so again, I assume that a level similar to that used to assess eligibility for Disability Living Allowance will be used.


*Though that doesn't mean they won't try!

9 comments:

Damon Lord said...

I hope they use the Equality Act 2010 to define disability, which should mean mean that to qualify as a disability it's much less lax apparently than the previous DDA1995.

misspiggy said...

Nope, it's going to be whether or not people are in receipt of DLA. So if you don't qualify for DLA your/your family's benefits are capped at £26k per year.

Anyone wonder whether successful DLA applications are shortly going to become as rare as hen's teeth?

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Damon & Miss Piggy: That's what I thought, any other way would be too expensive and unworkable. I suspect this means the important detail will be in how they decide who's eligible for the ESA replacements then...

Emma said...

I think next year all existing IB claimants are to be transferred onto ESA (which I've been dreading). Wonder if that'll still go ahead?

My verification is WowNest. Seems kinda appropriate in a bizarre way!

elburto said...

@ misspiggy - "So if you don't qualify for DLA your/your family's benefits are capped at £26k per year"

hahahah, omg, hahahah, DLA included I only get £4500 a year! (gross - my rent is £3000 - not entitled to HB)

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Emma: If they've got even the tiniest bit of sense they'll gradually move ppl to UC & not bother with ESA 1st. But...like I say, they'd need sense ;)

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Elburto: Are you on any means tested benefits/living with someone who's working? Sounds like you should at least be entitled to some income support if you're living alone. Not sure why you wouldn't qualify for HB if you're living alone?

Anonymous said...

I've noticed that some of the newspaper articles have been picking their words very carefully. I'm concerned that there will actually be no replacement for incapacity benefit, as I seem to keep reading that this is in the list of benefits to be removed, but the Universal Credit will only be replacing income based benefits such as income support. This could well be the end of contributory benefits.

It doesn't seem fair if I am to get nothing due to my husbands salary, but the amount of tax he pays doesn't take into account my lack of salary. I'm dreading losing half of my support money as currently I use my IB to supplement my DLA which just isn't anywhere near enough even though I get the maximum amount. Yes, my husband has a reasonable salary, but it all gets taken up by our (london) mortgage, bills, his working costs etc. We would be much better off if he quit his (central government) job and we moved to a cheaper area and claimed this new Universal Credit whilst he took on the role of my carer. This shouldn't be the case.

elburto said...

BendyGirl - DWP fucked up by not giving me the under-35 IB rate in 2008.

When I found out they adjusted me up, but falsified my record. Council claimed I'd fraudulently claimed HB+CTB based on false DWP record, cancelled HB+CTB and I'm having to pay them £300 a month as the onus is on *me* to prove the DWP/Council fucked up. I'm paying £220 pcm council tax because of arrears I don't actually owe bcause the council merged with others to become unitary, and claim I've been getting HB+CTB since before I even went sick again. All my records, copies of award notices, initial application details etc. have been conveniently 'lost'.

Wrote to them recently detailing all of this, stating that a 2 week appeal rule is unfair given that some of us are unable to predict when we'll next be awake and compus mentis, but they just sent me a form letter addressing none of my points and stating "Your benefit was cancelled because you did not fill in a review form". I did, and a friend took it to their bloody office personally!

Not got the spoons to deal with them again.


I get IB and LRC/LRM (keep insisting that I need HRM, can't walk - they don't care. Scared to ask again in case they cut me off entirely).

Last time I applied for income support they sat outside my house for three months. They called me saying they knew I was working (I wasn't, the stupid sods had followed my housemate) owned two houses (I don't), that I leave the country regularly (I don't leave this room), and that they'd ensure all my benefits were stopped if I tried to press the matter. The first time I ever applied for IS (different area but that same office) they lied and said I'd been approved, strung me along for months saying "We just need to check this and do that". I called one day and they said "We have a giro at the office for £350, bring your passport.". Borrowed £30 to get a taxi there and back, arrived with passport which they photocopied, then led me into a room where I was interrogated and told that £80pw (this was 2004) was a high income, that I was a disgrace and not entitled to further help in the form of IS, and again, that they'd take me to court for benefit fraud if I complained.

I'm too bloody scared to apply for anything any more. The idea of this new shake-up is making me more ill.

My current income is £420pcm IB+£150 DLA, but my share of rent is £200, and council want £300pcm from me including £220pcm council tax. Housemate is still paying her £50 share of council tax.

I haven't got the energy, the money, or the will to keep fighting the various agencies involved. It's my word against the DWP (who falsified my files), the council (who made a decision based on falsified files, then conveniently 'lost' my proof that my claim was a) months and not years old and b) not fraudulent) and the DLA appeals panel.

Supposed to use my bloody DLA to help me be 'normal', some chance.

I realise i made an 'oops' with the 4k thing, I forgot how many months there are in the year :D

Still nowhere near 26k though.

Sorry this got so long.