Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship

Today sees the second National Protest Day against the significant cuts sick and disabled people face to their support, writes Sue Marsh.

Sue Marsh campaigns to raise awareness of hidden disabilities and long term illness; she set up the blog Diary of a Benefit Scrounger to raise awareness of life with a chronic illness

Today sees the second National Protest Day against the significant cuts sick and disabled people face to their support. The protests are focussed on ATOS Origin offices, the company responsible for assessing a claimant’s ability to work. Assessments are carried out by “medical professionals” who are not required to be nurses or doctors and a recent Compass report showed that the assessment process was “unfit for purpose” with 35 per cent of cases going to appeal and up to 70% of those appeals being upheld.

ATOS are paid according to how many people they assess as fit, and just 9% of those previously considered unable to work are now being found incapable of any work at all.

Around 60% are projected to be taken of Employment Support Allowance (ESA, previously Incapacity Benefit) within one year. Claimants placed in the “Work Capability Group” with working partners will now need to find work within one year or all of their benefits will be withdrawn – a loss of nearly £5,000.

The other main disability benefit, Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is now to be targeted by the government with ATOS also being asked to assess their capability to work. The government hope that 20% of those currently needing to claim DLA will have their benefit stopped.

What’s more, proposals include stopping mobility support for adults in residential care, leaving some unable to leave their homes. Mobility would become based on “ability to mobilise” rather than to walk, hypothetically meaning that  paralympians could be defined as fully mobile.

DLA is not an out of work benefit. It acknowledges the extra difficulties sick and disabled people face to compete on a level playing field with the able-bodied, yet according to this report, compiled for the DWP, the government do not even keep records on how many DLA recipients work.

The report does state, however, that

“DLA recipients, who get DLA but no other benefits, appear to have the highest rates of employment, regardless of the severity of disability.”

The DLA forms state that DLA will usually only be paid in the following circumstances:

*You need help with dialysis at home… at least twice a week;

*You are 100% blind and 80% deaf and you need someone with you while you are outdoors;

*You have had both legs amputated at or above the ankle or were born without legs or feet;

*You are severely mentally impaired with severe behavioural problems and need help with personal care day and night.

It concludes by saying that you are not likely to qualify for DLA if these criteria do not apply, but may still fill out the claim form.

Given how difficult DLA is to claim – the form is 39 pages long with 62 questions, and must be accompanied by reports from medical professionals – and the low fraud rates of less than 1% quoted in the DWP’s own figures, it seems impossible to conclude how the government will legitimately cut numbers by up to a fifth without causing extreme hardship.

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64 Responses to “Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship”

  1. Sue Marsh

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship: http://bit.ly/gucj20 writes @suey2y

  2. Peter Pannier

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship: http://bit.ly/gucj20 writes @suey2y

  3. Sue Marsh

    Woohoohoo! @leftfootfwd is live!! http://bit.ly/gucj20 Feel almost like serious journo type! Time for celebratory cream egg

  4. Karl

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship http://bit.ly/eaxwRJ

  5. Rizzy

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship: http://bit.ly/gucj20 writes @suey2y

  6. Kathryn Rose

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship: http://bit.ly/gucj20 writes @suey2y

  7. dear

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship: http://bit.ly/gucj20 writes @suey2y

  8. Broken OfBritain

    RT @suey2y: @BrokenOfBritain @BendyGirl @DisabilityNow @DisabilityXpert Am on Left Foot forward!! http://bit.ly/gucj20 Piece re Nat Prot …

  9. Rocky Hamster

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship http://bit.ly/eaxwRJ

  10. Donna Manco

    RT @dominiccampbell: Worrying about the potential impact of cuts to the #disability living allowance. Again http://bit.ly/gucj20 via @le …

  11. Richard Gillin

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship: http://bit.ly/gucj20 writes @suey2y

  12. Sue Marsh

    @BrokenOfBritain Whoop! Am on LFF too, where IS everyone in my mo of triumph? http://bit.ly/gucj20

  13. Sarah Mingay

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship: http://bit.ly/gucj20 writes @suey2y

  14. Lisa Jenkins

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship http://bit.ly/eaxwRJ

  15. Martin Kelly

    RT @suey2y: @BrokenOfBritain @BendyGirl @DisabilityNow @DisabilityXpert Am on Left Foot forward!! http://bit.ly/gucj20 Piece re Nat Prot …

  16. dontplaymepayme

    RT @suey2y: @BrokenOfBritain @BendyGirl @DisabilityNow @DisabilityXpert Am on Left Foot forward!! http://bit.ly/gucj20 Piece re Nat Prot …

  17. Clarebella

    RT @Rockythehamster: RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship http://bit.ly/eaxwRJ

  18. Hitchin England

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship: http://bit.ly/gucj20 writes @suey2y

  19. Angharrid..

    I know it’s an absolute disgrace. I am one of the IB and DLA claiments and am still on the poverty line. My various conditions mean I am going to get worse not better and am ashamed to say I have lost the will to live. When my assesment letter comes rather than go through all the rubbish I am going to end it all. Sounds dramatic but I can’t face it. The illness is bad enough but to be faced with this and be told i’m a scrounger and forced to work or lose is too much. I already get stressed out when I read all the stuff about bankers, private companies etc and just feel i’ve had enough. This world is so screwed up and people let the rich dictate. It’s too much.

  20. thehooleys

    RT @HitchinEngland: RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship: http://bit.ly/gucj20 writes @suey2y

  21. Michael J. Gorman

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship http://bit.ly/eaxwRJ

  22. Eddy Boyband

    I thought it was labour who gave atos the contract to push 1 million people onto job seekers allowance?

  23. Sue Marsh

    @warrenmorgan Look, look, am on Left Ft Fwd today! A pinnacle! speech about six octaves higher, lol. http://bit.ly/gucj20

  24. dontplaymepayme

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship http://bit.ly/eaxwRJ fantastic piece from @suey2y

  25. Mabel Horrocks

    RT @dontplaymepayme: RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship http://bit.ly/eaxwRJ fantastic piece from …

  26. Zoe

    RT @dontplaymepayme: RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship http://bit.ly/eaxwRJ fantastic piece from …

  27. BendyGirl

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship http://bit.ly/eaxwRJ

  28. Sinister

    RT @BendyGirl: RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship http://bit.ly/eaxwRJ

  29. Lex

    @Eddyboyband, just because Labour behaved grubbily it doesn’t give the Tories an excuse to act filthily.

  30. Nick Durrant

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship http://bit.ly/eaxwRJ Yet another go at the disabled.

  31. Sharon

    @Angharrid. Get expert help in filling out your claim forms and attend any medicals with another person, you can actually request the interview is taped, or tape it yourself if possible, you only have to inform Atos staff you are doing this in writing before the interview. Arm yourself before hand and please don’t give up. Hopefully, with continued pressure this disgraceful persecution of the sick and disabled will cease to be in the hands of a private company making millions from the sick. Give this budget to the NHS and allow GPs, specialists to assess people they actually know. £300,000,000 could be given straight to the NHS to do what they are already doing, only to have their supporting evidence ignored by Atos.

  32. Eddy Boyband

    Lex,
    You are right its no excuse, none what so ever.
    But I find it odd that all of a sudden Labour are angry about this when it was Labour that started it, before the recession had even started.

  33. Susie

    Even though home dialysis patients are entitled to DLA, my partner still had to attend a doctor’s appointment for assessment. To assess that yes he was a home dialysis patient. In order to attend the appointment he had to take a half day off from his job. The process of application was hugely and unnecessarily complicated.
    DLA did make a difference to my partner’s life, it enabled him to have attendance and care at home on one day a week and enabled us both to continue in employment. Reduction in DLA is a shortsighted measure, for the majority of recipients it offers support in living and work, not a handout.

  34. sarah ismail

    RT @dontplaymepayme: RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship http://bit.ly/eaxwRJ fantastic piece from …

  35. Sue Marsh

    Thanks for the comments everyone. This issue seems to be gaining real momentum now, so do please keep supporting.
    Eddy Boyband – ESA was the first thing I ever challenged Labour on. Met Jonathan-Minister-For-Ignoring_Disabled (Lab) Who ignored me for over a year.
    Our pips were already squeaking! With the additional proposals from Osborne, people will die, simple as that.

  36. jayb

    Both the Labour and the Conservative Government have washed their hands of their less healthy and less wealthy citizens by handing them over to a private consorteum whose sole purpose is to get people off the welfare books in order for the Government to say we have cut the costs of welfare – well yes that’s easy if you stop paying people welfare.

    I am amazed at the societies lack of wherewithal to protest – shame on you all who are sitting on your backsides.

  37. Stephen W

    “ATOS are paid according to how many people they assess as fit, and just 9% of those previously considered unable to work are now being found incapable of any work at all.”

    I have heard this quoted before a number of times. I have also heard it clearly denied by a government minister. Can anyone give me an official source for this?

    Thanks.

  38. Warren Morgan

    RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship http://bit.ly/eaxwRJ

  39. cutchswife

    RT @warrenmorgan: RT @leftfootfwd: Government plans to cut DLA could cause extreme hardship http://bit.ly/eaxwRJ

  40. Eddy Boyband

    Sue,
    Labour starting messing with dla when the times were good, I know because it affected me.
    I just find it distasteful that Labour are saying this is wrong when they started doing this in the good times.
    They are trying to score political points by using the disabled, when they would be doing exactly the same thing had they not lost the election.

  41. Lex

    @Eddy Boyband , fair point.

    We need to change the rhetoric about “scroungers”-somehow, it’s the only way we are going to get the currently able bodied on our side.

  42. Black Triangle Disability Benefits Protest | Edinburgh University Anti-Cuts Coalition

    […] of the information on Atos is syndicated from a post by disabled rights campaigner Sue Marsh on Left Foot Forward. For more information I recommend […]

  43. Atos Origin Disability Benefits Protest | Edinburgh University Anti-Cuts Coalition

    […] of the information on Atos is syndicated from a post by disabled rights campaigner Sue Marsh on Left Foot Forward. For more information I recommend […]

  44. Suzanne Hayes

    I fell 14 ft into a lock onto a concrete sill and nearly died I am still undergoing investigations, but because I can walk 50 paces I was turned down. Until my accident I worked full time from age of 16 I am now 51. I am in constant pain
    Unless all carers unite as one whatever the reason for caring then we are all just one voice in the wind. We need to be a million voices with a million votes and then we will not be invisible

  45. tina lee

    hi can you help me to help a neighbour, she needs help with her dla forms, is there any one in the wallasey, merseyside area to help, i appreciate any advice, many thanks tina.

  46. carole cliffe

    When my son developed epilespy the impact on normal life was awesome both of us were affected as was my employer. As a single parent trying to give a consistant work pattern was nigh on impossible and medication did not resolve the issue so for a whole period you are in no mans land and benefits are so inflexible they don’t offer the practical support required I question why are we penalised in this way merely becuase we offer support to a loved one and why does society label us all in this manner ..because they don’t understand we need more visual documentaries to get over why the help is needed.

  47. Craig Lundie

    Labour aren’t angry, Eddy Boyband. Ed Miliband and Iain Gray levered in a photoshoot at Atos Origin’s regional headquarters in

    Livingston two days before this protest was due to take place.

    http://edinunianticuts.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/atos-origi-disability-benefits-protest/#comment-194

    As you can read at the links below, they loudly proclaimed their support for a charity for war disabled the same day as they visited Atos Livingston headquarters last Friday, knowing full well that a protest organised by Black Triangle and Right To Work was scheduled for the following Monday morning at the same building. If you tried the first link, you’ll know that five vans of police patrolled the area and perimeter of the site. Why would they be doing that on a dreich Monday morning in January, do you think?

    You can see the Scottish Labour Party in action here:
    http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/lZEXo_HozEn/Ed+Miliband+Scottish+Labour+Leader+Iain+Gray
    http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/iain-gray-and-ed-miliband-visit-veterans-charity
    http://news.scotsman.com/edinburgh/Ed-Miliband-joins-fight-to.6699121.jp

    I recommend the Black Triangle facebook page if you want information on Atos Macht Frei.

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