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Monthly Archives: March 2016

No wonder people in this country believe disabled people are inherently scroungers, receiving money for nothing, when we are greeted by headlines in national newspapers and on the TV, like the ones I have seen today, saying that our welfare benefits are to be cut by £150 per week in next week’s Budget. Benefits that we receive for being sick and disabled. Benefits that are supposed to help put us on a level playing field with our non-disabled fellow citizens. Benefits that we ourselves, or our families, have contributed to by way of taxes and NI contributions.  No wonder we are being vilified and thought of as living a pampered life of luxury when we’re not. No wonder we get shouted at and abused in shops and on the streets by people who are also struggling in the gloom of austerity. No wonder when misinformation such as that I have seen and read today are being quoted on Social Media and by the media as being fact.

These figures are not right. They cannot be right. It is mathematically impossible for them to be right. Figures, implying that our benefits can be cut by £150 every week and still leave us with enough to live on, make it sound as if we must receive an absolute fortune but this is far from the truth. Where these figures coming from?  I don’t know but they are not right. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the situation is not dire, it is, but, by giving out incorrect numbers as fact, the public are being led to believe we can afford to absorb the cuts. We can’t. The problem is, as far as I am concerned, that when the real figures for the cuts are given they will have to be lower than £150 per week as we don’t get that much in the first place. It will look like the Government has listened and has toned things down a bit, when they haven’t. They can’t have done. However hard they try to make us believe it, they cannot reduce figures when the number they are starting from is so wildly out of kilter with reality. They look like they are trying to make it appear they have done us a favour. Well it’s not true. They won’t have because they can’t.

Let me show you the problem and try to set the record straight.

As someone who actually receives these benefits, the numbers quoted in the press and on TV didn’t sound quite right to me but I wasn’t going to kick up a fuss without being sure. I needed to know for certain or I would be doing exactly what I was complaining about and saying something that wasn’t true. So I checked and I was right. The numbers quoted are wildly inaccurate and misleading. PIP or Personal Independence Payments and it’s predecessor, DLA or Disability Living Allowance, the benefits they are talking about, are split into two separate payments, one for care and one for mobility. Disabled people are tested against a number of criteria and are then awarded points based on what we can and can’t do, the help we do or don’t need to do those things and what specialist aids and equipment we may or may not need to do those everyday tasks.  Current rates are set at weekly figures of £82.30 for care and £57.45 for mobility meaning that the most anyone can get for PIP or DLA, combining the two amounts together, is £139.75 per week, a figure that is £10.25 per week LESS than the amount we are reported to be losing every week thanks to Mr Osborne’s cuts. No wonder people who don’t actually know think we are all coining it in.

Where are these numbers coming from then? Are the press being told the figures by the politicians? Are people not even bothering to check that it makes sense? Are they just blindly believing and printing what they are being told? Don’t they even check for accuracy? That’s what it looks like to me and it’s sloppy, it’s not helpful and it’s wrong. If I, an ordinary citizen with no journalistic training whatsoever, can find accurate information on current benefit rates by typing a simple question into Google,namely ‘What are PIP rates for 2016/2017’ surely even a junior hack could do the same thing. Getting it wrong is not helpful, especially for the people you are trying to help and support, it can even make things worse. Please try to check what you are printing or saying before you print or say it, what is so hard about doing that?

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This Government are completely disgusting…

the void

ceiling hoist A ‘low, one off cost’ according to the DWP

The government is set to slash benefits intended to meet the additional cost of living with a disability warning that up to 640,000 people could be affected by 2021.

The shocking announcement follows a recent consultation into Personal Independence Payments (PIP) – the benefit currently being rolled out to replace Disability Living Allowance.  This benefit is awarded based on a points system which assesses addional costs incurred due to disability such as care or mobility needs.  In a press release issued this morning the DWP have said that in future the numbers of points awarded to people who need some form of aid or appliance to help them dress or manage toilet needs will be halved.

According the department this is because much of the equipment needed by disabled people to manage these activites is available for one one off purchase…

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Same Difference

Government advisor, Matthew Oakley, recently published a report titled Closing the gap: creating a framework for tackling the disability employment gap in the UK,

This report suggests a major reform of ESA and the WCA. His suggestions include scrapping the Support Group. (red bolding below mine.)

Four principles that should form the basis for reform of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and the WCA are outlined below. It is important to highlight that this would not be a cost-cutting exercise. The reforms proposed would combine existing money and aim to distribute it better on the basis of need.

  • Splitting benefit eligibility from setting conditionality
    As suggested in other reports, the assessment of eligibility for benefit should be split from the assessment of an individual’s ability to move towards and enter work. This would ensure that, no matter what the level of benefit an individual receives, they will still have…

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As ‘Same Difference’ says in this blog. “Misleading Parliament is a very serious matter, particularly for a Government Minister.” Poppy’s Place would also like to jon with Same Difference and Vox Political in calling for MPs to hold Mr Tomlinson to account for this.

Same Difference

On 3rd February 2016, BBC News reported that nearly 14,000 disabled people have lost their Motability cars as a result of being transferred from DLA to PIP.

On 25th February 2016, in Parliament, Justin Tomlinson MP, Minister For Disabled People, was asked by Daniel Zeichner MP, Shadow Minister For Transport, to reveal how many disabled people had had their Motability cars taken away as a result of PIP replacing DLA.

In response, Justin Tomlinson MP claimed, in Parliament:

The Department does not hold this information.

The BBC News story of 3rd February was shown on BBC television news on that day, as well as being available on the BBC website. The online link to the story  spread like wildfire across several social media pages respected by Same Difference in the first week of February.

Same Difference still remembers it well, and we are, sadly, a much smaller organisation than the…

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