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  #46  
Old 23rd March 2016
Harold Gough Harold Gough is offline
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Re: One Down, Two To Go (Political)

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Originally Posted by yorky View Post
Ah but remember the last government!
Did you have to remind me?

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  #47  
Old 23rd March 2016
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PeterBirder PeterBirder is offline
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Re: One Down, Two To Go (Political)

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Originally Posted by Naughty Nigel View Post
I suspect that most of those commenting on this debacle don't fully understand the issues, and are making more general political points.

The concept of taking much needed benefits away from genuinely disabled people is one that I abhor, but I don't know if this is really the case?

My understanding at present (based on a BBC report) is that many 'disabled' people receive benefits in the from of DLA or PIP but do not actually need these benefits.

Examples were given of several disabled people who needed specific mobility aids or adjustments to their homes in order to lead an otherwise 'normal' life. These adjustments included hand-rails and other one-off fitments that were provided by the government. Once these were fitted there was no further cost to the individual, yet they continued to receive significant sums in the form of DLA or PIP. It was these payments that George Osborne proposed should be stopped.

Clearly, stopping any benefit is an emotive issue, especially where disabled people are concerned.

This is a serious matter that goes far beyond politician bashing, so if anybody here knows what this is really about I would be very interested to hear.
Since no one else has responded to your points I will hold up my hand and tell you that I am the sole carer for both my daughter, who has learning disabilities and my wife who is now physically disabled. My daughter recieves the lowest rate of DLA (but will eventually be re-assesed for PIP) and my wife receives PIP at the lower rate for "daily living" and the enhanced rate for "mobility".

Your first sentence is entirely correct.

The BBC report from which you have gained your understanding is completely misleading as is most media reporting which again is ill informed and politically influenced. PIP has nothing to do with the one off provision of aids etc.That is covered by local authority Social Services (Adult Social Care).

PIP (and DLA before it) is an allowance intended to help people with significant long term disabilities to live a more "normal" and independant life rather than becoming isolated or in many cases having to live in some form of "care home" (which would be much more expensive). There is no definition or restriction on what you can spend it on as every individual's needs differ.

From the Government website on PIP.

"1. Overview
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability if you’re aged 16 to 64.

You could get between £21.80 and £139.75 a week.

The rate depends on how your condition affects you, not the condition itself.

You’ll need an assessment to work out the level of help you get. Your rate will be regularly reassessed to make sure you’re getting the right support."

The assesment of claims which includes a "face to face" session with a "Health Professional" involves a points scoring system which (in the case of Daily Living) includes details of any "aids" used or needed but not available to you. This is used as a means of assessing your level of disability not determining what you have to spend the allowance on.

This link gives you the details of the points descriptors and the points scores necessary to obtain the different levels of payment.
http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/per...-points-system

The assesment process is daunting and rigorous and (this is where the financial/political pressure comes in) there is a tendancy to make an award which is less than that which you believe is appropriate.
In my wife's case the face to face assesment took place in a local private physiotherapy clinic and was carried out by the much maligned ATOS Healthcare. We entered the clinic (a converted house ) and went to the reception desk in the far corner of the waiting room. My wife was on her mobility scooter and waited on it just inside the waiting room door. A nurse eventually appeared and asked her if she could walk to the consulting room which was "not very far". This proved to be down a ramp (which she finds particularly painful) in a gloomy corridor and she just managed it with the aid of her walking stick and myself in her normal very slow and painful manner. At the end of the assessment the nurse asked "was the distance you walked about the limit of your ability" and she said it was. I assesed the distance to be considerably less than the "more than one metre but less than twenty metres" criterion necessary to score 12 points which qualifies you for the higher rate mobility component of PIP.
When her award letter arrived it was for the standard rate for which the criterion is the ability to walk (without pain, breathlessness etc.) more than twenty metres but less than fifty metres. I went back to the clinic and measured the distance which turned out to be only ten metres.In a telephone conversation with the civil servant who made the decision (which you are entitled to) she was fobbed off with thing like "oh we have to take all sorts of things into consideration" so we applied for a "Mandatory Reconsideration" with another official stating the actual distance together with a letter from her GP and the award was changed to the enhanced rate. Hard work.

Regards.
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  #48  
Old 24th March 2016
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Re: One Down, Two To Go (Political)

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Originally Posted by PeterBirder View Post
Since no one else has responded to your points I will hold up my hand and tell you that I am the sole carer for both my daughter, who has learning disabilities and my wife who is now physically disabled. My daughter recieves the lowest rate of DLA (but will eventually be re-assesed for PIP) and my wife receives PIP at the lower rate for "daily living" and the enhanced rate for "mobility".

Your first sentence is entirely correct.

The BBC report from which you have gained your understanding is completely misleading as is most media reporting which again is ill informed and politically influenced. PIP has nothing to do with the one off provision of aids etc.That is covered by local authority Social Services (Adult Social Care).

PIP (and DLA before it) is an allowance intended to help people with significant long term disabilities to live a more "normal" and independant life rather than becoming isolated or in many cases having to live in some form of "care home" (which would be much more expensive). There is no definition or restriction on what you can spend it on as every individual's needs differ.

From the Government website on PIP.

"1. Overview
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability if you’re aged 16 to 64.

You could get between £21.80 and £139.75 a week.

The rate depends on how your condition affects you, not the condition itself.

You’ll need an assessment to work out the level of help you get. Your rate will be regularly reassessed to make sure you’re getting the right support."

The assesment of claims which includes a "face to face" session with a "Health Professional" involves a points scoring system which (in the case of Daily Living) includes details of any "aids" used or needed but not available to you. This is used as a means of assessing your level of disability not determining what you have to spend the allowance on.

This link gives you the details of the points descriptors and the points scores necessary to obtain the different levels of payment.
http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/per...-points-system

The assesment process is daunting and rigorous and (this is where the financial/political pressure comes in) there is a tendancy to make an award which is less than that which you believe is appropriate.
In my wife's case the face to face assesment took place in a local private physiotherapy clinic and was carried out by the much maligned ATOS Healthcare. We entered the clinic (a converted house ) and went to the reception desk in the far corner of the waiting room. My wife was on her mobility scooter and waited on it just inside the waiting room door. A nurse eventually appeared and asked her if she could walk to the consulting room which was "not very far". This proved to be down a ramp (which she finds particularly painful) in a gloomy corridor and she just managed it with the aid of her walking stick and myself in her normal very slow and painful manner. At the end of the assessment the nurse asked "was the distance you walked about the limit of your ability" and she said it was. I assesed the distance to be considerably less than the "more than one metre but less than twenty metres" criterion necessary to score 12 points which qualifies you for the higher rate mobility component of PIP.
When her award letter arrived it was for the standard rate for which the criterion is the ability to walk (without pain, breathlessness etc.) more than twenty metres but less than fifty metres. I went back to the clinic and measured the distance which turned out to be only ten metres.In a telephone conversation with the civil servant who made the decision (which you are entitled to) she was fobbed off with thing like "oh we have to take all sorts of things into consideration" so we applied for a "Mandatory Reconsideration" with another official stating the actual distance together with a letter from her GP and the award was changed to the enhanced rate. Hard work.

Regards.
Thanks Peter for answering the points raised by Nigel so comprehensively. I will just add a few observations of my own.

Nigel is right that the whole issue has become politicised and really that is the last thing disabled people want. It may appear that opponents of the cuts are using them as an excuse for Tory bashing, but much of the behind the scenes campaigning has been done by respected and long established charities such as the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Parkinson’s UK and Arthritis Research UK. Indeed, I supported their joint campaign by writing to my local MP – a conservative but also a decent man who gave me considerable practical support in getting answers from the DWP when they messed up my ESA claim and tried to cover it up a few years ago. I still lost the benefit, but at least I found the reason was that the DWP had given me incorrect information from the start. However, that’s another story.

Regarding the points system, that’s the criteria which have determined the level of financial assistance for disabled people for many years. It may be imperfect, and it could be argued that it does not go far enough in helping disabled people, but to suddenly change the goal posts and take significant sums of money from people already struggling on low incomes is unbelievably harsh.

Of course, “harsh” may not be a reason for not making these cuts when it is obvious that savings need to be made somewhere, but consider this. The vast majority of benefit claimants spend every penny of their income, so the £4.4 billion at stake will immediately generate a 20% VAT return to the Treasury and even more if any of it is spent, heavens forbid, on petrol, alcohol or tobacco. Of the rest, a significant proportion will return to the Treasury as corporation tax (provided the money isn’t spent at Starbucks or Amazon), or be paid as salaries to employees whose jobs are supported by the spending of the benefits and who will themselves pay tax, NI and generate yet more VAT through their own spending. So whilst cutting benefits may reduce public spending, it also reduces income and shrinks the economy, resulting in very little (if any) actual saving.
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Last edited by Zuiko; 24th March 2016 at 08:30 AM.
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  #49  
Old 24th March 2016
Imageryone Imageryone is offline
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Re: One Down, Two To Go (Political)

As one who is Epileptic, has serious spinal defects and now heart problems as well, I no longer qualify for a single benefit, for the simple reason that after spending nearly three years in a wheelchair, we found a way to strengthen muscle and manage pain and regain a life.

A really good example of ATOS assessment, on the 3rd floor of a building with no ramps, no lifts and stairs built in the 1930's. When my wife complained to the receptionist ( I was on the ground floor) she was told that if I did not attend the assessment, all benefits would cease. It took 1/2 hour to negotiate the stairs, to be told at the top that as I could " manage" the stairs, I was no longer considered disabled.

The problem is not with the genuine disabled, but the thousands of spongers who cheat the system so easily, and always get the maximum payments too.
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  #50  
Old 24th March 2016
Harold Gough Harold Gough is offline
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Re: One Down, Two To Go (Political)

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Originally Posted by Imageryone View Post

A really good example of ATOS assessment, on the 3rd floor of a building with no ramps, no lifts and stairs built in the 1930's.
Developers wanted this property about 10 years ago to build some flats. The plans of the upper floor showed carefully drawn turning circles for wheelchairs. There was no access from the ground floor for wheelchairs to the upper floor.

A couple of years ago, I was involved in an ATOS telephone assessment. It was for a relative whose first language was no English. I should point out that this was due to ongoing walking problems from a documented accident at work with the same employer months earlier. My relative was being bullied into doing heavy work when her main job was desk-based.

Based on that conversation, I think the official title of the assessor should be ATOSer.

ATOS no longer acts for that employer.

Harold
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  #51  
Old 26th March 2016
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Re: One Down, Two To Go (Political)

Part of an article by the Independent online, which I've just spotted:

People with brain tumours, motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s disease and a number of other conditions are “able to work”, new work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb has said.

Mr Crabb made the comments the day before he replaced Iain Duncan Smith, who resigned from his position because he found the planned cuts to disability benefits announced in the latest Budget "not defensible".

The MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire wrote on his Facebook page last Thursday: “A decision was taken by MPs to change the benefit awarded to a specific group of people who receive Employment Support Allowance.”

The 43-year-old - who later backtracked on the statement - added: “These people are in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) and they do have a disability or illness but are able to work.”

In response to a freedom of information request, the Department for Work and Pensions confirmed disabilities and illness under the employment and support allowance work-related activity group include: strokes, brain haemorrhages, multiple sclerosis, brain tumours, motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s disease, quadraplegia, polio and cerebral palsy.


Some people with Parkinson's, and indeed any of these illnesses, may well be able to work. I continued in full time employment for 5 years after my diagnosis, until my employer decided I was no longer capable of doing my job. Even then, I feel I could have continued part time in a less demanding profession had government (non-financial) support been available to help me at that difficult time. Instead, I was faced with a constant battle involving assessments, appeals and tribunals just to stay in the Work Related Activity Group. It was blatantly obvious that the DWP had no intention of helping me overcome my specific barriers to suitable employment and were concerned only with denying me benefits as soon as possible. It's a disgrace.
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