- 6 month qualifying period? Yep
- Assessment of what you can and can’t do? Yep
- No process to check the award is correct? Yes there is, awards can be (and frequently are) fixed term (people can get better or learn to adjust- DLA is for needs arising from a disability, NOT from the disability itself)
- Scored on a proxy of care needs and mobility needs (the report on one hand criticises this and on the other confirms PIP will have the same approach!)
- Successful use of aids etc should be considered? Yes, DLA already does
- Individuals responsible for reporting changes of circs? Yep
Wednesday, 8 December 2010
D's response to the DLA PIP reform paper
I’ve just read the DLA reform paper…
First thoughts were, why fix something that isn’t broken? According to the report, 9% of the population claim DLA. The Office Of disability Issues estimates that 10% of the population are disabled. I’m not sure if that 10% includes people like me (I’m guessing not, otherwise I imagine the number would potentially be higher. I’d perhaps argue that even though I’m covered by the DDA legally, I’m not ‘disabled’). So, assuming that it’s roughly correct the ‘right’ number of people seem to be claiming. There are people claiming who shouldn’t be, people trying to claim for ludicrous things and getting aggressive and abusive about it. However, this is a minority and is likely matched (if not exceeded by) the people who don’t claim, either because they don’t know about it or, (try telling the Daily Mail this) don’t want it.
Secondly, the way the paper is written makes it sound like all a claimant has to do is say they are disabled and they get a big fat handout. This is not the case. The vast majority of the paper states new measures that are already in place:
DLA isn’t inherently broken. Yes the process is difficult and the forms are a pain. But… it’s a self assessment benefit. The DWP need as much information as they can possibly gather. It needs to be accurate, it needs to be detailed and it needs to give a picture of what the person can do, can’t do, how they do things etc. I expect it is difficult to fill in and can be unpleasant but it’s necessary. The other way to do it is to have an assessment that seems to be deeply unpopular, costly and unnecessary.
The flip side of this is why do people find it difficult? Have DWP asked? Have they considered researching the issues and discussing possible solutions with disabled people and communication experts? Why not consider that?
Any money saved from not reforming the whole benefit but refining it could be spent where it is most needed, on educating people (both disabled and non disabled) that being disabled doesn’t make people useless or stupid; it just makes them approach tasks in a different way. So many people are amazed that a blind person can use a computer for example. Or that a blind person can navigate round a room or sit on their own without a sighted person following them round like they are made of glass. You can even talk to disabled people, you won’t catch their disability!
Some of the approaches of the reform are laudable- signposting people to further help and advise? Brilliant idea- why aren’t DWP doing it now?! Making it more straight forward and easier to understand, yes yes yes! Again, this should be does as a routine lessons learned exercise as often as necessary.
With regard to being objective, then I imagine the process/assessment is. In fact its perhaps too impersonal. You are a file, a sheaf of paper. Do the DWP care that that sheaf of paper is sat on a shelf about to run out of payment? And its coming up to Christmas? And reducing or stopping that benefit impacts the other? No? Then why the hell not? This is a person’s life we are talking about!