The report The Other Care Crisis is published by Scope, Mencap, The National Autistic Society, Sense and Leonard Cheshire Disability. The leading disability charities are concerned that the debate about social care reform has focused on the needs of an ageing population and sidelined the thousands of disabled people under the age of 65 who rely on care in everyday life.
All persons should be able to expect a reasonable standard of living and a social life, while for most of us, this will be reliant on ourselves to fund all of this by gaining employment and then organising our spending budget accordingly.
But there are persons within all communities for whom this is impossible or extremely difficult. Here I am referring to persons with a disability for whom the prospects of employment are not possible, or can only be gained by some considerable effort. For many persons, their only or main knowledge or involvement with people with a disability, will be academics who are disabled like Stephen Hawkins or the athletes who are disabled like in the Para-Olympics.
But, I am afraid these people are in the minority, there are many disabled persons for whom, none of the above is possible, even some basic employment may not be possible. The only income these people with disabilities will have, come from State Benefits, provided they are lucky to live in a country which provides these benefits. I say lucky and perhaps, this is not the correct word, because no matter how it is reported in local and national media regarding benefit fraud, State Disability Benefits are not easy to obtain, especially in the current financial climate. Please also bear in mind that these benefits are only to provide a reasonable standard of living, what ever reasonable means. Is reasonable another way of saying standard or average?
The report mentioned above ‘The Other Care Crisis’ is focused on the situation in the UK, where the provision of these benefits are from Central Government agencies, mainly connected to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
The current benefits are:
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a tax-free benefit for disabled children and adults – what you’ll get, eligibility, applying, Personal Independence Payment
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is paid at different rates depending on how your disability affects you
Carer’s Allowance is money to help you look after someone who needs to be cared for – eligibility, apply, claim for DS700
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) money if you can’t work because of illness or disability – rates, eligibility, apply, assessment
Access to Work is money to help you do your job if you have a disability or health condition – eligibility, how to apply
Attendance Allowance helps pay for your personal care if you’re older or disabled – rates, eligibility, apply, claim form AA1A
Apply to become an appointee for someone claiming benefits – how to apply, stop being an appointee
But DLA is for 16-64 years olds, to be replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP) from April 2013 for new claimants, with existing DLA claimants being contacted over the next 2-3 years.
But as stated above, if your only income is State Benefits and these are cut, this is bound to affect your standard of living. If, this was only reasonable to start with, then what will it be called. If reasonable is standard or average, then is this bringing the funding down to provide a sub-standard of living or below average?
If you feel this is unreasonable you can contact your MP by following the link
In addition to the State Benefits, a person with a disability may be entitled or may be in receipt of a care package from their Local Authority from funding provided by Central Government. This will be in the form of Direct Payments from a Personal Individualised Budget. An individual will be expected to make a contribution from their own income towards their budget. These Direct Payments are not additional general income, but are there to pay for the costs of care, which have been shown to be required from the Assessment of Need and the resulting Support Plan. The Assessment of Need will be undertaken by an assigned Social Worker and the Support Plan from information in the Assessment will be prepared by either the assigned Social Worker or an assigned Support Planner. The Support Planner could be either employed by the Local Authority or from an independent organisation.
But due to the current financial crisis in the World and especially the UK, all Local Authorities have been directed by Central Government to make savings from their spending. This is not only for this year, but from the last few years and also for some years to come. All persons in receipt of a service from a Local Authority are effected, not only those receiving benefits. So, not only could your sole income of State Benefits be cut, but Local Authorities will also be tightening their own eligibility criteria for entitlement to Direct Payments. This will further affect your standard of living.
Should this essential spending, even be subject to cuts?