Disability Benefits sufficient? I don’t think so…..

So, after five solid years of Conservative spin and lies, our beloved and newly elected Premier is at it again – and this time without the restraining hand of even the Lib Dems to hold him back.

In March, whilst the coalition was still in power, Mr Cameron stated that: “We’ve actually improved the money that goes to the most severely disabled people in our country. We’ve replaced one benefit, DLA, with a new benefit, PIP.”

Now that we have Conservatives only in power, on 3rd June David Cameron’s spokesperson was saying: “The prime minister pointed out that we have actually increased disability payments” and “money towards those [the most severely disabled] has increased.”

Not having noticed any difference in the pitiful amount of money reaching my bank account – I am a severely disabled woman with Multiple Sclerosis and Cancer, restricted to my bed 24/7 and in receipt of Disability Living Allowance and Employment Support Allowance – I decided to do a quick investigation to find out how much I should be getting if, as Mr Cameron says, disability benefits for the most severely disabled people have increased.

Five minutes frenzied typing on Google and the information I was looking for was staring me in the face: Mr Cameron has indeed replaced one benefit, Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with another benefit, Personal Independence Payments (PIP), that is EXACTLY THE SAME. Let us examine the figures:

PIP and DLA both have two components – Care and Mobility.

In 2015/16 these benefits are paid at the following rates:

DLA Care Component: High rate – £82.30; Middle rate –  £55.10
PIP Care Component: Enhanced rate – £82.30; Standard rate –  £55.10

DLA Mobility Component: High rate – £57.45; Low rate – £21.80

PIP Mobility Component: Enhanced rate – £57.45; Standard rate – £21.80.

I would love to know how replacing DLA with PIP has “improved the money that goes to the most severely disabled people.” if the amounts paid have not changed or improved at all. Even my very rusty grade B ‘O’ Level Maths skills cannot work out how the amount now paid is better in any way.

We are now being told that when we are presented with the new budget in July, far from Benefits for ‘severely disabled people’ being protected, it is likely that PIP, DLA and Employment Support Allowance (ESA), another disability related benefit, are likely to be reduced in the cuts demanded by Mr Osbourne and that another benefit, Industrial Injuries Benefit, is like to be cut completely. How does this protect disabled people? We are being punished for being born disabled, becoming disabled through disease or being injured and disabled either in or out of the workplace.

Mr Cameron needs to address this and provide us with answers, not wishy, washy rhetoric. Disabled people in Britain need to know – how are we being protected? Tell us because we can’t see it no matter how hard we look.

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