Cameron spouting tabloid-worthy lines on DLA

Today during Prime Ministers Questions David Cameron once again repeated the line that Disability Living Allowance needs reforming because many people receive it long term without changes. His statement today:

“Everyone on all sides of the house should recognise that DLA does need reform. There are 130,000 people on DLA who have not had a claim revised at all since the benefit was introduced in 1992. There are three quarters of a million people who have had the same claim for ten years and no contact from the department.”

Camerons premise here is absurd. He is appealing to a tabloid mentality in order to push through Personal Independence Payments. DLA is incredibly hard to claim. I know this because I have in the past claimed it myself, for a variable and invisible health condition. I eventually won DLA on appeal after a long battle, and was given it for only two years. At the end of that two years I did not re-apply, because my health had improved slightly and quite honestly, I couldn’t face the claims process again. My father also claims DLA, because he has serious back problems after suffering a prolapsed disc years ago. Following surgery, scar tissue around nerves cause him permanent pain. His spine is deteriorating and he is two inches shorter than he used to be, and has one leg shorter than the other. He has been awarded DLA permanently, and rightly so, because his spine and his leg are never going to re-grow.

The fact is, Personal Independence Payments are a drastic step back in care. Their main aim is to reduce payments. Given that DLA is already so difficult to claim that many people in need can’t face the process, this is a shocking abuse of the sick and disabled. Adding yet more checks, through ATOS, no less, for people that will never get better is simply loading them down with stress that will badly affect their health. The blind are not going to suddenly regain their sight. Amputees will not find their limbs re-appearing. When DLA is awarded permanently it is for a reason.

David Cameron needs to drop these claims which are damaging people more when they are already broken. His statements are irresponsible and misleading, and I think they are deliberately so.

Author: Latentexistence

The world is broken and I can't fix it because I am broken. I can, however, rant about it all and this is where I do that when I can get my thoughts together. Most of the time you'll find my words on Twitter rather than here though. I sometimes write for Where's The Benefit too.

8 thoughts on “Cameron spouting tabloid-worthy lines on DLA”

  1. surely, if you were to reassess a person who has been awarded permanent DLA, you are likely to find they are MORE in need of it, not less? A lot of permanent conditions deteriorate. Of course, that isn’t going to happen, is it. Because its all about stopping benefits not awarding them justly.

  2. Well said – now, if only we could get Joe Public to listen maybe, just maybe, they would stop falling for these lies spun by Cameron & Co instead of assuming that all DLA claimants are frauds because the Daily Mail etc say so.

  3. If the main ‘problem’ with DLA is that those with lifetime payments have never had their claims revised then REVIEW them! Institute a system of rolling reviews, perhaps every five years, then add in a letter every year saying, “We are writing to ask you whether your disability/illness-related needs for extra help with care and/or mobility have increased or decreased. If your needs have changed please request a review using the form enclosed with this letter. If there has been no change please tick the ‘No change’ box on the form. In both cases please then sign and date the form and return it to us at…..” For the sake of all that’s decent, politicians, just employ a few of us in the blogosphere and WE’ll improve the damned system. But it isn’t about improvements, is it?!

    Good blog!

    xJ

    1. The problem with this is getting DLA is such precious luck (if you can call it luck) in the first place that the idea of telling them your needs have changed probably means you have a strong risk of losing it altogether. There isnt any trust- disabled people don’t trust that their DLA won’t just be stopped/wont be subject to horrible medical examinations which set back health for weeks if they say that yes, they can walk 40 metres instead of 30 now. Authorities don’t trust that the disabled claiming arent lying through their teeth and are in fact taking ballet classes in their shed in secret while claiming they need a wheelchair.
      Of course we know which side needs to be more trusting, but seeing as everyone on DLA is obviously wasting taxpayers money and costing the government such A HUGE amount, how can it be? *sarcasm*

      edit: an afterthought, if you tell the housing benefit people your needs have changed they do a complete U turn, get into a right tizz and usually end up causing you much heartache. I don’t advocate NOT telling the truth, but the way its handled is shocking. just saying.

  4. I can’t face claiming DLA again. I felt like a fraud because the criteria are so narrow, filling in the forms made me very very sad, because it forces you to face how much your condition really DOES limit your health and every time I had a “good day” I felt I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything in case I looked like a cheat.

    1. I know what you mean. I wish the ‘like’ button were just labelled ‘agree’, because I don’t like those feelings you describe, but I understand them. I’m working on my renewal (well, they call it ‘reapplication’) at the moment… already I’ve claimed three times, had no change in my needs between them, but had two different conclusions. Who knows what they’ll decide this time…

  5. Hear, hear. If only we could get articles like this in all sections of the press, maybe we could convince enough people to make the government think it has to listen…

    Of course some people have had no change since 92 – their conditions haven’t improved, and they were already on the top payment so any worsening won’t have increased the payment. If people don’t get worse and they were awarded a permanent award, they have no reason to contact the department except to handle changes to how it’s paid, changes of address, etc. I imagine those people have had some contact, just no re-application.

    Why no re-application? Because they got a permanent award, because there was no reasonable expectation that their condition would improve. If some miracle happened, they are obliged to tell the DWP about it, and the DWP already has the power to check up on such things to a certain extent.

    Having the DWP, via ATOS, regularly check for miracles – in person, no less – seems wasteful to me. Even if it saves 20% without removing benefit from anyone currently genuinely entitled to it (not likely to be possible with fraud rates below 1%), I imagine a fair whack of that will be used in paying ATOS. If it cuts fraud to zero, I imagine it will still be an overall cost. Thus, the only way to get the stated 20% saving is to actually change the terms on which it is paid, reducing entitlement. That is absurd.

    On the other hand, I do think that giving higher rate automatically for needing a wheelchair, but nothing for using any mobility aid short of such, is a bit inconsistent. Yes, wheelchairs create extra problems necessitating more frequent use of cars, for example, but it’s nowhere near the problem it was in 92 – while still being much worse than fully mobile. I also have a lot of the same barriers with the rollator I use. I guess the short way of saying this bit is that I agree that some reforms would be good – but not aimed at cutting spending, and not the reforms that the government is proposing. No need to scrap the benefit and replace it, particularly.

  6. Do any disabled people believe a single word David Cameron says? No. He is the Arch Hypocrite, the Great Betrayer. He had a disabled son. Did that teach him any human values? No. He puts Tory values over and above his experience of father to a disabled child. Is it possible to sink lower than that? No. Does he deserve accreditation as an honorary member of the human race? No, he does not. Neither him, nor his Artful Dodger, the Great White Vampire George Osborne.

    We the disabled are simply one easy step to cutting public spending. Thrown onto the scrap heap to find non-existent work we aren’t capable of doing, because, you know, “Work Makes You Free”. Or “Arbeit Macht Frei” as is written above the gates at Auschwitz. Truly, we are the new Jews.

    This is my blog article about it. http://wp.me/p1knur-4

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