Tag Archives: disability living allowance

Disabled people claiming vital benefits are being treated disgracefully

We hear regular assurances from our political leaders, that priority will be given to meet people’s mental health needs. The opposite is currently the case. Many people with mental health needs receive Disability Living Allowance. DLA is ending and being replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP). DLA recipients, and/or their carers, were sent a letter from the Department for Work & Pensions dated 11 December 2016, informing them that DLA is ending, that they will not automatically be transferred to PIP, but must submit a claim by telephone by 8 January 2017. If the DLA recipient makes no contact, then DLA payments will simply end. The letter ends by suggesting that help can be obtained from unnamed organisations whose details can be found ‘online, at your local library, or in the telephone directory’! The letter was repeated in a follow up dated 25 December 2016! Some Christmas present from our renowned DWP.

I have care responsibility for my adult son, Paul, who has support needs resulting from a condition known as Williams Syndrome. Paul receives DLA, and care support from an organisation called ‘Options’ which I fund. I was away from home over Christmas until 30 December and so had to move quickly to telephone the call number to apply for PIP for him by the 8 January deadline. I called on 3 January, waited for 17 minutes, was then told that the system was down and I would receive a call back the next day. No call back came on 4 January, so I called again myself on 5 January. This time I had to wait 30 minutes to be answered. A DWP (although probably contracted out) officer then took me through an application process which required extensive data of Paul’s NI number, GP address and telephone, social worker and care organisation addresses and telephone numbers, nationality or immigration status, details of time spent abroad, and bank account details. There were bizarre questions about EU and Swiss connections which I didn’t even understand. During the process the officer frequently read out to me various warnings and threats of action which DWP would take in the event of false information being submitted, ranging from benefit withdrawal to prosecution.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 12 Comments

Opinion: 2013’s banana skin?

Banana skin - Some rights reserved by purplemattfishThe LibDem Voice end of year survey gives us, as usual, much food for thought.

Net approval of the coalition’s record is down to 14% from 41% a year before. “Three big hits seem to have been responsible: first, the row over the NHS Bill; secondly, the omnishambolic March budget; and thirdly, the collapse of Lords reform”.

What issues might derail us this year? One is slowly poisoning our society, and with it the claims of the Liberal Democrats to be a party of fairness.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 37 Comments

Opinion: what’s wrong with Personal Independence Payments?

I joined the Lib Dems only a couple of months ago after being a long time voter. In fact, I first voted Lib Dem back in 2001 at my very first election. I decided to join now because I wanted to become more politically active and because I was deeply unhappy with some of the policies of the Government. I’m totally blind, have been since the age of 5 and am extremely disturbed by the removal of Disability Living Allowance and its replacement by Personal Independence Payments.

There’s a great deal I could say about the current proposals and how they …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 10 Comments

The path to 2015 should be one guided by our principles, not by doubt

Before the Christmas break, I produced an article on Lib Dem Voice about how the EU veto could and should be the first step of many where our party expresses its individuality in coalition loud and clear. After this blog I saw many opinion articles about where we stood on various issues. The conclusion? Varied.

Let’s just take one example – tuition fees. Some of us think we will be congratulated at the next General Election for making the loans system fairer. Wrong. While ensuring that up-front fees are in the past and protecting graduates by asking no one to

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Opinion: Welfare reform – LibDems must stand up for the vulnerable

The Commons have already passed, and the Lords are currently voting on, the Welfare Reform Bill. It contains provisions which will scrap the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and replace it with the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). It also contains changes to time limit receipt of contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) (a sickness and disability benefit) to a maximum of 12 months.

As has been pointed out by Lib Dem blogger Caron Lindsay, the change to ESA is utterly destructive and senseless.

The arbitrary time limiting of ESA is, incidentally, also directly against official party policy as set out in

Posted in Op-eds | 33 Comments

Lord German writes… A benefits system that works: the Welfare Reform Bill in the House of Lords

As Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Party Committee on Work and Pensions the Welfare Reform Bill has absorbed most of the past year. It is now in the final stages of passage through the House of Lords. There has been some negative press surrounding the Bill, which is clouding aspects that have been long term goals of the Liberal Democrats.

A big first step is being taken towards our long term ambition of merging tax and benefits. Our benefit system is the most complex and cumbersome system in the developed world. It requires an annual book to be published which explains …

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Jenny Willott MP writes… Protecting a lifeline – Lib Dem success in battle for DLA Mobility Component

With all the headlines and discussion this week about the Autumn Statement and public sector strikes, people would have been forgiven for missing an announcement from the Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller MP, that proves once again the Lib Dem influence in Government, and fulfilling yet another Conference motion.

Maria Miller has today announced that the Government is dropping the proposals to remove the Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from people in residential care homes.

The reversal answers the calls our Party made last Spring in Liverpool, where we passed a motion calling for the plan to be dropped. …

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