Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Case #3: ....Or Sometimes Just Plain Stupid

I have received a reply from Maria Miller through my MP. Instead of addressing the point on case law history in DLA, she changed the topic to the matter of Blind and Deaf claimants recently being enabled to claim Higher-Rate Mobility and then didn't even answer that quite right. It is as follows, with liberties taken over my real name which is replaced with my many pseudonyms.

Thank you for your letter of 7 July on behalf of Mr Mason Dixon, Austic who contacted you about Disability Living Allowance.
Mr Dixon, Autistic Trouser-Snake has referred to the extension of the Higher Rate Mobility Component for severely visually impaired people, which came into effect in April, and he is concerned this may be removed under the reforms.
I can assure Mr Dixxy Chicken that we are committed to supporting blind and partially sighted individuals (AKA: blind. Only in "I'm-All-Right-Jack" Land do they split hairs over this), that is why we implemented this measure, because it addressed a fundamental flaw in Disability Living Allowance, which is that it failed to take account of the needs of blind people, other sensory impairments and learning difficulties and it is a clear example of why this particular benefit is long overdue for reform. 
However, it is important that benefits take account of the total need of an individual. Simply assuming by condition fails to take account of the different ways each individual manages their impairment. That is why the Personal Independence Payment, which will replace Disability Living Allowance, is being designed to consider an individual's personal circumstances, and the impact that their impairment has on their lives. The new assessment for Personal Independence Payment is being designed to consider the impact of sensory impairments more effectively than Disability Living Allowance. Finally, I would like to assure Mr Son Of Dix and Autistics that we remain absolutely dedicated to supporting disabled people and are determined that Personal Independence Payment is well targeted to those who are in need of support. We have focussed on making fair choices and protecting those who are most in need. These reforms are about building a new, more transparent, affordable and sustainable benefit, a benefit fit for the 21st century.
I hope this reply explains the position.
Best Wishes, Maria Miller MP; Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Disabled People.
There is so much wrong with this response. Maria Miller has done it again where she has given two completely contradictory statements. If the change to Blind (Deaf was not mentioned for some reason) criteria for Higher Rate Mobility was an example of why DLA needed reform, then why not just make the changes as necessary? You don't need to reform the whole thing to do that. Second, she then goes on to say 'assuming by condition fails to take account of the different ways each individual manages their impairment' (something which DLA does not do, but she convinced the tabloids that this is the case); this completely interferes with what she writes earlier. Either she accepts that DLA's problems can be addressed with incremental changes, or she doesn't and in which case reform is necessary. She can't have it both ways. If reform is necessary, then making the adjustment in April was completely pointless. If that adjustment was necessary, then it is the reforms which are pointless. The Social Security Advisory Committee has already cast strong doubts on the motives behind DLA reform and this just compounds them: the reasons for reform are so thin that Miller has resorted to using even those that mutually exclude each other.

Case File #3 finds that Miller deliberately resorts to vague 'assurances' in place of intelligent debate or respectful rebuttal; she is not capable of either. She is responsible for the uncertainty and dread she blames on 'fear-mongering' charities and campaigners.

1 comment:

  1. I agree.The April measure was agreed by Parliament before the present Government came to power.To portray it as a purposeful act by this Government for the "reasons" she cites is both wrong in fact and does not bear any scrutiny.Regards