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.