Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Case #3:...Which Is Why Bad People Are Also Nice

A not-small number of topics that I've wanted to write about have been delayed by circumstances becoming worse. My ability to cope has diminished. I don't know when I'll be able to concentrate on anything for more than five minutes again. To keep the blog semi-active, what follows is fairly recent correspondence with my MP, who is aligned with the Conservative Party.

Hello, it's ***** ********. We first met at Portcullis House in March at the lobby event organised by the National Autistic Society. We talked again at the ********* and I raised the issue of case law history for Disability Living Allowance.

Disability Living Allowance will be replaced for working-age adults with the Personal Independence Payment. The Disability Benefit Consortium in their feedback for the draft assessment criteria for PIP which was released on the DWP website last month drew attention to an issue regarding changes that came into effect in April that would allow more Blind and Deaf claimants to receive the higher-rate Mobility component. This was a change decided on by the last government two years ago which the current government have carried on and it's only recently became a reality. Because DLA is being replaced with an entirely new benefit, this change which came after years of work from charities and campaigners will be erased. I've contacted the Disability Benefit Consortium through the NAS to point out that it isn't just that which will be effectively reversed, but the entire two decades of DLA case law. Many hard-won rights for claimants will be lost and will have to be fought for all over again.

I was wondering if you managed to speak with the Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller and ask her what her or the government's position on the case law history is. I'm sorry it's taken so long to contact you so that you have my e-mail address to fill me in on what's happened, but I've had a lot of difficulty recently. It took some corrospondence from the NAS to remind me about the issue.

Thank you for your time.
 The reply was as follows.
 Dear *****
Thank you for your email about your concerns over the planned Disability Living Allowance reform. It was good to meet you in London and at the *********, I hope you had a great time at both events as I did.
I was very concerned about the issue that you raised in your email but I want to assure you that those who are genuinely sick disabled or retired have nothing to fear. I know that this Government does not regard caring for those in need as a burden, but as a proud duty. I believe that it is right to make sure that people entitled to this support get the help that they need and that those capable of working do go out to work.

The Personal Independence Payment will maintain the key principles of DLA, as a non-means tested cash benefit contributing to the extra costs incurred by disabled people, but it will be delivered in a fairer, more consistent and sustainable manner. It is only right that support should be targeted at those disabled people who face the greatest challenges to leading independent lives and this reform is required to enable that.
At present, lower rate mobility component is linked to the need for supervision or guidance when outdoors and the care component is largely based on the need for supervision or attention. This means that there is some overlap between the components. In the new assessment, there will be separate criteria for each component, based on an individual’s ability to carry out certain everyday activities and these criteria will determine entitlement. The Government has said that its aim is to make PIP fairer, more straightforward to administer, and easier and clearer for individuals to understand.
I have met Maria Miller many times to discuss DLA and I will certainly take up the issue about blind and deaf claimants next time I meet her and I shall report back to you on her viewpoint.

You are absolutely right with your concerns. Disabled people need our full support and I can assure you that the Government will continue to support those who are the most vulnerable in our society.
By the way, is it possible to send me your full address so that I can reply to you by post when I receive Ms Miller’s response?

I hope that this reassures you and thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Yours sincerely ***** ********.
I take issue with much of my MP's response, but have so far been unable to adequately focus on a response. I was kind of alarmed by the dodgy formatting and I'm left wondering how much of this my MP actually wrote. The second time I met them, I also met their staff, one of which was running in the local elections for councillor in my ward. They had a desk at that May day event with leaflets and such. I was not impressed by the candidate, who was slouching and mumbled in response to my question asking where our MP was. I'm the one that is supposed to mumble in conversation; I have the condition that says "I have license to mumble", what was his excuse?

Case File #3 finds that mumbling is a privilege, not a right. It is also extremely annoying, so I will persist in doing it myself whilst complaining about others who mumble- especially if they are aspiring politicians (which I fortunately am not).


  1. I hope that this reassures you!!!!
    Disabled people on benefits are dieing and being found fit for work and also committing suicide because of these heinous disability welfare reforms.
    I can assure your MP that the vast majority of disability benefit recipients are extremely concerned and absolutely terrified

  2. Incidentally you are probably aware that a great forum where you can get quite a lot of info regarding how to combat the ESA WCA test and ATOS is http://dwpexamination.myfreeforum.org/index.php
    please by all means have a quick look and also put your blog web address on there many people on there would be grateful for advise provided from your blogs
    Kindest regards James

  3. I read your last post on cif and am sorry you sound so exhausted and fed up. You've done brilliant work over there and sound worn out. Your dogged persistence and grasp of the issues has been admirable!

    It looks as though the meeja are finally beginning to realise how important these issues are and its thanks to you and the few others like you who've kept at it.

    If you need some time out now to restore yourself then take it - you deserve it!

  4. Much of the reply you received from your MP matches a response I received from my own MP. There does seem to be a scripted response to any concerns to IB/ESA and DLA reforms.

  5. I have a strong suspicion most of the reply from both our MPs were written by Maria Miller. My MP has e-mailed me again to say she has replied to my questions and will mail it to me soon.