DLA – a judicial review?

The Disability Alliance is launching legal action to obtain a judicial review of the government’s policy on DLA. And not before time – I’ve been saying that some group with the wherewithal to do so should do so, and not just for DLA but for ESA too. See article here, on the BBC website (hat tip to Dawn Willis’ Inspiring Folks Daily).

And I sincerely hope it focuses on government lies about the level of DLA fraud, not to mention the continuing outpouring of lies and disinformation about the sick and disabled community, which appear to emanate from IDS’s domain – we do not, any of us, get “BMWs on the state” as recently claimed.

I can survive without DLA, or PIP – just barely. What I can’t survive without are the fringe benefits that DLA brings in, like additional Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. Having to pay those would wipe me out. I could, just possibly, pay my way but nothing more. I wouldn’t even be able to afford taxis for medical appointments, for example (I’m unable to use public transport), and clothes would be out of the question.

The Disability Alliance says “Disability Living Allowance is paid to 3.2 million people, including 1.8 million of working age.”

Which I feel is rather irrelevant. After all, DLA is not linked to the inability to work but, broadly speaking, to the inability to walk without pain (not on the inability to walk at all as so many people wrongly think), and is payable whether one works or not.

However, the government is making a serious attempt to link DLA to ESA, and people who lose out on the scurrilously dishonest ESA assessment are also losing their DLA (according to comments posted on this blog by those to whom it’s happened), which is not only improper, it’s illegal, as the two benefits are entirely separate in every conceivable way. The Disability Alliance needs to address this, too.

Personally, I think any judicial review should embrace all disability benefits issues, as the way ESA is so blatantly biased against making a successful claim, with Atos allegedly being paid a bonus for every person the reject, is profoundly, and quite deliberately, dishonest. I don’t believe that anybody involved in ESA can be unaware of this, from IDS down to the most junior clerk.

I feel sure that the mismanagement of ESA cannot stand up under judicial scrutiny – so don’t drop this ball guys, it’s at least as important as DLA, not least because the ESA Work Assessment forms the basis for the reassessments at the transition to PIP.

It is the government’s avowed intention to remove 20% of people from DLA – that’s 640,000 people reduced to the extremity of penury at a stroke, whether or not their claims are justified.

And that simply cannot be allowed to happen.

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