Campaign to save Disability Living Allowance

Michael Moulding, Deputy Leader of the Community Action Party in Greater Manchester, who is leading the campaign to save the Disability Living Allowance, has written this short piece for us to highlight the situation.

Michael MouldingHe is also asking for as much assistance as possible to recruit signatures for the public petition launches to draw the UK Government’s attention to the need for reflection. It takes 100,000 signatures to have the chance of getting a debate on the issue in the House of Commons.

Over to Michael.

‘Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is being abolished by government and replaced with Personal Independence Payments. This change has little to do with making the system fairer but more to do with making massive savings through savage cuts in welfare. It is believed the abolition of DLA will result in the following:

  1. Savings of £8.6 Billion Pounds from Disability Benefits in this parliament alone. IE £8.6 Billion removed from those currently getting help.
  2. Half a million current recipients losing their benefit altogether.
  3. People with ‘hidden’ disabilities/illnesses affected the most. For example blindness, hard of hearing or mental health.
  4. People with physical disabilities that get other help may also get their helped stopped or reduced. For example, amputee’s that have prosthetic legs.

‘I am not disabled. I dont receive DLA. However, the proposal to abolish DLA which has been responsible for transforming the lives of millions of UK residents is appalling and we all should oppose attacks on the most vulnerable in society.

‘Please everyone sign our petition here  – and ask others to do the same – to oppose the abolition of Disability Living Allowance. Many thanks for your help.

Michael Moulding

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11 Responses to Campaign to save Disability Living Allowance

  1. While there are those who have deservedly received it, DLA has also been exploited by others with fairly spurious “disabilities” which did not require additional financial support. It is about time that it and certain other allowances were scrutinised and the criteria tightened up.

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    • Of course this is the case – as it is with every other benefit. The indefensible damage caused by those who exploit is that the many who are in genuine and immediate need lose heavily in the inevitably crude quick-fix measure any government will introduce to address the exploitation we cannot afford.
      The only real answer is something like a social covenant emphasising and educating on the responsibility of the individual – alongside that of the state to look after, with care, the genuinely vulnerable of all kinds.
      But that is a slow burn evolution, not attuned to politicians in a hurry, with a five year term and another term to try to win with no other real objective but to try to win the one after that.

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    • My blind friend (sadly, since deceased) was asked by the assessor what steps he was taking to recover from his illness (i.e., his blindness, which was his major disability). He said “Can’t be recovered from, genetic etc.” Box ticked — “Claimant is taking no steps to recover….”

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  2. I’m so grateful that your’e highlighting this. I’ve just read the mobility criteria for the new PIP and I wouldn’t be elilable for this. It would mean that I lose my motability car. if this happens I would be house bound as I have limited walking.

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  3. The stories I have heard – one os a woman who was in too much pain to go for her assessment so she was assessed at home and was asked whether she could move from one chair to another and had to be helped, by her social worker, to do so, causing her much pain and discomfort, The result was she failed and her money was cut. She died soon after. She had terminal cancer.

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  4. I am a 47 year old man, living on the south coast. I worked hard all my life, up until 10 tears ago.

    In 2000 I had a bout of Bronchitis. This got worse and turned into full blown terrible pneumonia. I was coughing terribly, and feeling simply terrible.

    I was totally shattered, I couldn’t even walk 10 yards from my bed to the loo.

    I was sent for a chest x-ray, and I was diagnosed with Tuberculosis. I was still coughing very badly.

    I keep referring to coughing for a reason, and that reason being, during my TB I cracked several ribs from coughing. It was just unbearable pain, I was in tears for weeks on end, and could see no help.

    The ribs couldn’t mend properly due to the constant coughing from the TB and pneumonia, and they just got more and more painful. I went through a nasty drug therapy to combat my TB, and thankfully after about 6 months I started to get a little better.

    However, I was still coughing, and was still suffering excruciating pain in the right intercostal ( Rib) area. I spent several months being given Epidurals to help combat the pain. I was also on a lot of morphine patches and lozenges.

    After several months the Pain clinic consultant offered me the chance to simply undergo a procedure which would in effect burn the nerve endings and stop them from sending the pain signals back to my brain. This was a great option, and I grabbed it.

    Unfortunately 1/2 way through the procedure the Surgeon pierced my lung, badly, causing a huge pneumo thorax. I was immediately sent to a different hospital, where they did some procedures and then drained/blew my lung back up. It took several weeks for my breathing to get a little better, and the pain in the ribs was even worse than ever.

    So, the surgeon refused to do any further work on my pain, basically telling me I was to live with this pain all my life.

    I fell into deep depression, wanted to kill myself, I simply couldn’t bear living, I had no hope. I was blessed with some very good friends and my best friend, a learning disabled lady called Mandy , who I share a apartment with (No sexual love relationship, simply a symbioses of 2 people who get along and understand each other problems). Without Mandy and various benefits I would be dead, simple.

    Then last year I nearly died again, I got double pneumonia in both lungs, and spent a month in hospital, 1 week in very dire straights and near death. I was then diagnosed with Pleurisy, which for me is very very regular, not weekly, almost daily I get severe pleuritic pain. I live in pain. I have been close to suicide several times, only for my friends to support me, and love me, and my benefits to help me not suffer from debt or worry.

    My breathing is now totally ruined, I cant walk 10 yards, I have oxygen in the house. My car is the only bit of joy I have left, and Im going to lose this due to callous money saving people.

    I was told to apply for various benefits. Incapacity benefit, Disabled Living Allowance, and Disabled Living Allowance. I didn’t think I was disabled, I didn’t want to beg, but more people told me I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t talk properly, Cant breath properly, I relied on Mandy to do every menial task, was in constant pain, on morphine liquid, chronically tired all day long.
    I was / am slow release tablet, and slow release powders. Due to my mental state I am also on 2 forms of anti depressant, Amytriptaline and Fluoxitine.

    I had so many bills, so much stuff I simply couldn’t do, I couldn’t afford to live, so was very very pleased to be told that I qualified for all 3 benefits.

    It was a huge weight off my shoulders. My mental state started to improve, I felt more able to get out of bed for an hour a day, I slowly started to feel life was worth living. Then I found out I was eligible for the Motabilty scheme, and could get a mobility car. I applied, and got my little car, and this enabled me to go out for a short drive once a week, and to drive Mandy to the supermarket to buy our 2 sets of food. It was brilliant, I was slowly felling more like living.

    This was 3 years ago, and after several scarey interviews where I faced losing my car or my benefits, to be told to stop worrying, I was in no danger of losing any of these safety nets.

    Now Im told I will lose them all due to thes PiP scheme.

    I rely on my Doctor to be up to date with my illness , which is hard, as I never see my GP, I am on medication advised from specialist, I only see GP to titrate my medictaion and raise it a little. Also, nowadays, they wouldn’t be certain of getting my on GP, even a locum could get the illness question from the DSS, and totally stop all my life again. I dont see specialist unless I have a bad period, Im NEVER going to be well again, ever.

    I have COPD, with Constant pain from my ribs, along with Pleurisy

    I have been told this will not ease, it can only get worse.

    This PiP is crazy. I am ill for life, I am severely disabled, and in constant pain, and rely on my benefits.

    But now Im told I have to rely on a face to face interview with NON Medical people. And the chance that a locum has written ‘Have not seen Mr Clark for 6 mths, assume he is better now.” OH Yes that does happen believe me!!!

    I have started to regress again, my few friends have told me not to worry, but I see on the news every day real disabled people get their money stopped,whilst scammers and con men keep theirs. I full understand why these changes, but surely not to mentally punish legitimate claimants.

    I don’t beg, I don’t expect free money, but I worked hard for 25 years, and paid my taxes. I don’t look disabled, until you ask me to walk 10 yards. I rely on my support, mentally, physically and totally.

    To be told I will lose the car at least for certain, and probably get put on jobseekers which I will lose after 6 months as I cant get out of my bed. I simply cant work, I want to I loved my work, I loved people, but now , due to my illnesses and medication, I am simply not able to even get out of the door. I know what this officialdom will do, and it will ruin my life.

    Please, please, consider peoples minds, and their mental health, along with their ability to live a sensible way of life without worry and stress.

    Realize that people like myself simply cannot get to an interview 30 miles away up a steep hill (Brighton being my nearest Non Medical reviewers) If I dont attend, I get stopped, I cant win here can I. Rely on GP who I dont see for 12 months, for my life.

    Realize we wont get better, regardless how many times you make us jump through differing hoops, and realize how much pain and suffering lal this worry is having on people such as myself.

    I dread the postman every day, delivering me a letter telling me my GP has been contacted and my benefits have all been stopped. Dreading that letter telling me DLA and Mobility allowance has been stopped, I must hand in my car and wait 6 months for a appeal.

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  5. Thank you for sharing Mr Clark (you are not alone), and to the others here, for voicing their experiences.

    Being disabled, the one thing that I have become aware of is that disability is highly individualistic. No single form can possibly cover all eventualities. I am extremely dubious about anyone assessing me as previously a then DHS Doctor tried to suggest that I was capable of great feats of mobility, resulting in no Blue Badge (it was an Orange Badge at that time).

    This was later overruled by DHS legal specialist stating that the DHS Doctor was ‘erroneous in law’, I’ve no idea what that meant but after a long wait I won my appeal and obtained my Blue Badge, plus DLA.

    DLA has been a godsend; but the additional stress of observing others under scrutiny has been very worrying. As is the thought of the procedures and change over to PIP. A recent specialist, effectively stated that, I should forget my wheelchair, get off my morphine, loose some weight (by quartering my food intake) and make an effort. What is more amazing this specialist made this revelation following a 20 minute consultation without seeing any notes.

    I have metalwork and teflon in my leg, the x-rays of my spine are conclusive as to its poor state; I’m anti-drugs and only take pills as a last resort. The dietician has shown that my body is in ‘shut down mode’ due to the small amounts of food that I eat, and by driving 120 miles to see this specialist, I think it fair to say I made an effort.

    The worrying part here is that the DLA/PIP form (a very involved long difficult form to fill out) asks for a record of who has been seen, this is then taken into account when dealing with an application (all of my previous benefit awards state: For Life, i.e. not going to recover), yet this specialist report, after just 20 minutes could potentially ruin my life, possibly leaving me house-bound and unable to access shops, and I mean essential food shops.

    A form filler/reviewer of DLA/PIP with a clause to save money would have a field day!

    Am I worried; you bet I am, I’m terrified!

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  6. i think this government are evil many rely on there car or payments to get to hospital i am over seventy years old with on going severe arthritis i can only walk a very short distance my ankles have swelled up i have stenosis of the spine and no disks left eaten away with arthritis i know the aged are not being touched it will kill many disabled people if they loose there independence this evil lot will never get in again

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  7. I totally agree with all the messages posted above and feel that I have been let down by my government. If I could get out of this country I would. Unfortunately this is not the case as my disability is very severe and I do not see a positive solution ever coming to me.

    Up to 3 years ago I used to work full time and had been since the age of 16. I am now 40 and still have the rest of my life to consider, what little there is left of it. 3 years ago I was told by my job that they could see the pain my disability was giving me. I had shaking in my hands and arms, my fingers would ‘curl’ up and I wouldn’t be able to move my hands for several minutes. I also experienced severe pain in my legs and back which was diagnosed as osteoarthritis and generalised back pain. My GP told me that most of my problems are associated with me being overweight and that if I lost weight these problems will get better.

    Having been told this I was able to convince my GP to put me forward for gastric surgery which I have now had in April this year. I have lost around 8 stone since May 2011 because I had to lose some weight before the operation to be even considered for the operation. During this time before the operation I suffered from clinical depression with tendencies to self harm and also had to attend cognitive behaviour therapy to help combat this.

    Since losing the 8 stone I will say my disability has actually got worse which has put me back onto my anti-depressants and more pills to help with the pain including tramadol and diazepam.

    I have now had new disabilities where I suffer from seizures nearly every day, have pains in my chest which has been diagnosed as pericarditis and I have been that I will suffer from this periodically for the rest of my life including the seizures. I do not have epilepsy I have a condition called non-epileptic attack disorder which I have been told I will have for life. DVLA have taken my licence as I am no longer allowed to drive because of these seizures so I have to totally rely on my parents to take me places and this is not fair on them as they are both in their 80s.

    I now have lost all feeling in both of my legs and have been told that this might not ever come back. I also have what my GP has called a herniated disc where the tissue between by discs in my spinal corder is protuding out and pressing into my nerves in my back. I have now been told that I might have an operation on my back which is 50/50 if it goes wrong it could leave me paralysed from the neck down however the other possibility could be I have MS. Either way it does not look good for me.

    My husband is my carer and as he likes to look after me solely so we do not have any carers from social services. My husband has taken a career break and unfortunately does not get paid for this so we are losing a lot of money each week from his job therefore the benefits we get we totally rely on. I am on employment and support allowance and this already has bills coming out of it. I have been told by benefits that I will not get more because I haven’t paid enough contributions – this is a total excuse because I have been working for at least 20 years without any gaps in employment.

    If my DLA stops then I have no idea what I am going to do but I know what will happen – my depression will worsen and I will end up self harming again.

    I hope the government realises that if they do change to this personal independence payment then I will not be able to pay half of my bills and that they will put my mental state into an irreversible manner.

    I can’t believe the government is doing this – they are practically murdering me because if I do get affected then they will kill me as they are putting me further and further into depression.

    Why don’t the government target the people who are complete timewasters and completely sponge off the government. There are people out there that abuse the system and have no intention to work. I CAN’T WORK AND NEITHER CAN MY HUSBAND BECAUSE HE HAS TO LOOK AFTER ME 24/7!!! MY CONDITION WILL GET WORSE AND THE GOVERNMENT ARE NOT HELPING MATTERS.

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