Dave's Progress. Chapter 105: Benefits - "What's Going to Happen to Me?"

I've just been reading a document about the abolition of disability living allowance (DLA), which is to be replaced by a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment in 2013/14. Aside from being a little more than confusing, the document suggests that one thing which is certain about this change in the benefits system is that some who currently receive DLA will lose out, it being the intention of the coalition to cut the cost of DLA by at least 20% through these reforms.
So, who exactly will all this affect? It appears that this remains uncertain, although those who currently receive the lower rate of the care component of DLA may be at risk, as this is strongly hinted at in the government's consultation document. It is also possible that people who are unable to walk but who can use a wheelchair will lose their higher rate mobility allowance. Further than that, the document states, it is very hard to guess who may lose out at this stage. "All we can be certain of", says the document at the end, "is that hundreds of thousands of current DLA claimants will be the losers."
So, yet again the coalition appears to be targeting some of the most vulnerable people in society to pay for the economic mess in which we currently find ourselves. Every day now, it seems, there is some story on the news about forthcoming cuts to services which are mostly used by vulnerable, poor or young people, and as I saw one morning, one pundit suggested that the welfare state itself was in more peril now than it has been for many years, this appearing to confirm my friend's suggestion that all such cuts were a means of not just paying off our budget deficit, but of fulfilling a right-wing wish to dismantle the welfare state.
I am not an economist, so do not fully understand the complexities of the situation in which we find ourselves. All I know is that being governed by a, how can I put it, bunch of toffs who don't seem to understand at all how the majority of people in this country live and survive, is becoming irksome. We have even been told that we should no longer "demonise" the bankers who got us in to this mess and still award themselves massive bonus payments. It seems OK, though, for the political right to "demonise" those on benefits and create the impression that we live in a so-called "benefits culture", where generations of families languish within the benefits system. OK, I know that some people cheat and that, in some areas of Britain, generational unemployment is a problem, but surely this is not an accurate picture of all those who are out of work or who claim disability?
I was told myself, under the previous government, that because, it seems, I have a diagnosis of an illness regarded as a severe disability, I would get DLA payments for the rest of my life. I still get the lower rate care component of DLA, but when the new system arrives, it seems that this previous promise may be scrapped. I am all in favour of getting rid of the old culture of low expectation for people with disabilities such as mine, and when my illness is known to be an episodic one, where one can enjoy long periods of relatively good health, such awards of benefits payments can appear arbitrary. Indeed, I know many with the same diagnosis as me who receive the middle rate of DLA and, therefore, get more money than me, but seem to be in no different circumstances than myself. I wonder why this is, as some, also, seem to be in the opposite situation, having the same diagnosis and not receiving DLA at all. So, streamlining and making the benefits system better at delivering what it should to who it should is not something I would contend. It is just that I also know, that many do not make a full recovery, that 75% of those with diagnoses of psychotic illness remain unemployed, no doubt due in no small part to stigma, and therefore need all the support and help they can get. It is for these people, then, that I begin to worry, and who must be wondering, in Cameron's nebulous "big society", "what's going to happen to me?"        


dcrelief said…
Dear David,
Your post hits the mark. Bankers with bonuses helping to demolish the world. I know there are head counts assigned for each nation. It's so much easier to govern less people. Don't forget those pesky lobbyists who count on funds being returning for their favors.
It's a shame the right wing, over here, collectively are Christians. It seems the verse, "It's better to give than receive," has been forgotten.
I hope you always have whatever you need. As the breakdown of USA continues, I understand.
Good wishes to you,
David said…
Dear Dixie,
Yes, unfortunately this situation seems to be one which is being experienced the world over. I hope that you haven't been affected by the recent cut-backs, and just to say, in my humble opinion, I find the Christian right in America quite a worrying phenomenon.
Still, that's just me.
Wishing you all the best,
klahanie said…
Dear David,
You are going all prolific. I was about to comment on this one, when that one, that would be the posting above this one, was noted by me. I shall get to that one after I have commented on this one.
I read this article and you might gather, I relate to your concerns and worry.
Now then, and this is me, you know, the hippy peace and love man type dude. I say, lets have a revolution and send Cameron and his gang of thugs back to where they came from.
Indeed David, a very interesting posting and much of what you have mentioned, I have thought about myself.
Kind regards with cheese and crackers, your way, Gary.
David said…
Dear Gary,
I wondered where you had got to, commenting, as you usually do on my posts, almost immediately. That is not a telling off, though, Gary, just a mild rebuke!
Anyway, I know you must share many of the concerns raised by this posting. I know that benefits provide barely enough to live on at present, without cuts being made, and I was particularly shocked by the mention that people in wheelchairs may lose their upper-rate mobility allowance. Really, Mr. Cameron, why don't you just go round kicking away people's crutches?
Anyway, I hope this post is not so alarmist that it has worried you too much. After all, these changes will not be implemented until 2013/14, and the information in the document I read, it must be said, then remains mostly speculative.
Very Best Wishes and a French Baguette (I don't know why), your way,

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