Monday 17 January 2011
One Month Before Heartbreak is a blog with a number of articles from many contributors that shows the fears and concerns about the possible impact of the Government’s plans for welfare reform, especially the changes being planned to the Disability Living Allowance.
There are many really good and very moving stories on there, we urge you to visit the blog site and read some of them.
There is a video explaining what the disability allowance is and beneath it is a transcript of the video. I’ve taken the liberty of copying that transcript as it is a good explaination and thought it would be helpful for it to be shared here:
"Disability Living Allowance or DLA is a benefit paid to eligible disabled people. It’s a cash benefit and it’s not means tested and it’s not taxable. And the reason that it’s not means tested and it’s not taxed is because it’s a recognition that the costs of disability are fixed. And that whereas you can economise and chose to shop differently or do without to make ends meet when it comes to the costs of disability there is no alternative.
Disability Living Allowance is paid to people under 65 who need help with their personal care or supervision or help with getting around. It’s paid in two components. The care component and the mobility component. The care component is paid in three rates. It’s lower, middle and higher rate and it’s for help or supervision with personal care needs. Now that means things, basic things, like to qualify for lower rate care you have to be unable to prepare a main meal for yourself. Not a ready meal that goes in the microwave but food that goes on the grill or on the hob or in the oven. So you might qualify for that if for example you have very severe arthritis in your hands or your feet and you can’t stand to cook or you can’t safely transfer a pan or chop anything up.
Middle rate care is paid for people who need more substantial help either during the day or during the night. It might be paid if you need supervision to make sure that you’re not putting yourself or other people in danger for example if you have epilepsy and you don’t know when you’re seizures might occur. You need someone around to ensure your safety at all times. If you have perhaps very severe behavioural or learning problems you might somebody with your during the day time to ensure that you’re kept safe.
For the higher rate of the care component you must need help both during the day and the night and that help must be substantial. So you would need help for example going to and from the toilet and help perhaps getting off the toilet. You might need help to turn over in bed at night. Or if you have breathing difficulties somebody there to keep an eye on you.
It is only paid to those with much more severe disabilities. For example if you have a hip replacement and you’re fully recovered in six months you wouldn’t qualify for disability living allowance. But you would if your hip replacement failed and it left you permanently disabled by it.
The mobility component is paid at two rates, the lower and the higher rate. The lower rate is for people who need somebody with them to ensure their safety or to supervise them when they’re outdoors. That might be because they have learning disabilities or challenging behaviour. It may be that they’ve had an acquired brain injury and they forget their way home all the time.
The higher rate of the mobility component is much more difficult to get. And for that you must be either completely unable to walk or considered to be virtually unable to walk by the reason of your physical disabilities. The care component and the mobility component are paid either seperately or together depending on how the person qualifies.
The mobility component. The higher rate component gives people access to the motability scheme. They can either contract hire or purchase a vehicle of their choice through the scheme. So the money goes straight back into the economy. For some disabled people that will mean purchasing a motability vehicle. But for others it’s used to purchase a power wheelchair or scooter. Because those tend to be very expensive and although the NHS provides electric wheelchairs its only if you need to use a wheelchair full time indoors. And they will only be provided with that wheelchair after using a wheelchair indoors for a minimum of 6 months. Now it’s obvious to see that a lot of people will fall outside those criteria and won’t be eligible for an NHS wheelchair but they might be eligible but they might be eligible for the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance and so able to use the motability scheme. "
More information about the disability living allowance can be found on the DirectGov website.