An email has plopped into my Inbox, from www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/ saying:-
A government green paper has revealed proposals to stop paying ‘disability benefits, for example, attendance allowance’’ and hand the cash over to social services instead.
Under the plan, current claimants would have their disability benefits converted to a ‘personal budget’ administered by local authorities and used to pay for services – not to spend as they wish.
We know that many people will take false comfort from the fact that, unlike AA, DLA is not specifically named as being for the axe. But if the government was planning only to abolish AA it is extremely unlikely that they would refer constantly throughout the green paper to ‘disability benefits’, a term which includes not just AA but also DLA. (www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/disability-living-allowance-(dla)/dla-aa-cuts )
Now, this may well be true of Attendance Allowance, but as the main component of DLA, for most people, is paid for “help with getting around” (it’s the old Mobility Allowance), then the suggestion that this might be paid to the useless sods at Social Services is quite absurd and is blatantly alarmist. A case might be made for the Care component of DLA, but not for the mobility component. However, since I’m getting just the lower care payment, that would pay for bugger all in services, and splitting off care from mobility would be an administrative nightmare.
In fact, just paying AA to social services, for them to administer, would ramp up the costs of paying the benefit massively. The only cost now is whatever it costs for a credit transfer to the claimants’ bank – it would cost a hell of a lot more for social services to manage every claim individually, and assign carers and services – even if those carers and services actually existed, which mostly they don’t, as anyone trying to get help from social services will have found out for themselves. The whole idea is absurd.
Attendance Allowance claimants may possibly have cause to worry, but I think the attempt to draw in DLA claimants to the Benefits and Work campaign is to ramp up numbers.
There’s another consideration, too. I don’t know anybody on DLA, who is also on Incapacity Benefit or drawing their pension, who doesn’t plough the money into the household budget, with only a small proportion of it, unless they have a Motability vehicle, actually going on transport – most just couldn’t get by without it.
That point aside, DLA mobility, which is what most people claim – simply does not qualify for being paid to Social Services; it’s for taxis, or petrol, or whatever it takes to get around, and I truly believe that the idea is being floated, as I said at the outset, simply to drum up numbers. Which, frankly, is disgraceful. And bear in mind, too, that this is just a green paper, which is essentially a feasibility study and applicable only to AA – it may never see the light of day as white paper and, subsequently, an act of parliament.
If the government is thinking of hiving off the care component of DLA to social services – and there is not the slightest evidence that they are – then the pathetic £18.65 p.w. that I get (lower care), won’t provide much in the way of care and, again, would cost a fortune to administer.
This sentence, above, which begins with the words “But if the government…“, is either just badly phrased or deliberately slanted to cause needless alarm and worry – and, as I’ve seen in yet another email this morning, panic! The term “disability benefits” embraces not just DLA and AA, as claimed, but also IB and ESA too – ignoring that fact just reinforces my feeling that this is an ill-advised attempt to worry people needlessly, and the people at Benefits and Work should hang their heads in shame.
Here’s something to think about, though – it has been suggested that DLA should be removed from claimants over 75 and put into a central fund to pay for residential care for old people. That’s a crock, as if you need residential care they take your DLA to pay for it anyway – we sure as hell shouldn’t be paying for other people with our own DLA. Screw that…