The Tories are playing a very clever, but disturbingly immoral game with the benefits system. They plan to make dramatic changes to the system for people claiming DLA in 2013. DLA will be scrapped, and replaced with PIPs: Personal Independence Payments. This has been opposed by many disability charities, but to no avail.
When the changes begin, many people with serious disabling conditions will find themselves cut off from help. This is likely to cause an initial negative reaction from the general public, as they witness vulnerable people being forced into an even more vulnerable position.
So, what can the government do about this anticipated lack of support for their policies? Well, cleverly, they have chosen to repeatedly downplay the needs of disabled people and to encourage disability discrimination. Ian Duncan Smith is particularly making encouraging progress in turning the public towards disabled people, and, as ever, the Daily Mail are lapping up the opportunity to spread the hate, like overenthusiastic teachers' pets...
The Daily Mail published THIS article this week. As well as insultingly belittling a condition which can be hugely stressful for many families, the article also printed other grossly innaccurate information.
(...a brief pause to allow you to get over your shock at the last part of that sentence...)
Full fact stepped in once again, to investigate the Daily Mail's claims, and to help put the record straight HERE. This was their conclusion:
"The Daily Mail's claim that 3,200 people with ADHD have used the Motability Car Scheme is inaccurate. The number eligible for higher rate DLA- and therefore Motability vehicles- is recorded as 100 by the DWP, some way short of the figure given by the Mail.
However even if we conflate behavioural disorders with ADHD, as the Mail appears to have done, it is likely that the number using the scheme would fail to top the 3,200 claimed, as only 30 per cent of those eligible end up using the scheme.
To cap it all off, the article also downplays the severity of the disability that is needed to qualify for the Motability Scheme."
Other than being aware that many families face enormous stress in dealing with the behavioural problems of ADHD, I know very little about the condition. However, the NHS website states that "Many people with ADHD also have additional problems, such as sleep disorders or learning difficulties", so to make assumptions about their needs by generalisation of the condition is, I believe, unwise.
Not happy to leave the damage there though, Richard Littlejohn, journalist for the Daily Mail, wrote THIS piece , stating that "Even naughty schoolboys diagnosed with the make-believe disease 'Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder' (ADHD) are classified as disabled." Obviously he has an extensive medical background qualifying him to make such judgements...oh hang on, my mistake...
An extract from the Mail article..
"To get the motability element, families of sufferers must prove they need 'guidance or supervision most of the time from another person when walking out of doors in unfamiliar places.' They can either spend it themselves on transport, or have it paid directly to Motability to provide a lease car".
For anyone not aware, the motability element of DLA is split into two parts: lower rate and higher rate. The quote above is directly taken from the descriptors for the lower rate. To be eligible to use the Motability scheme, you MUST be receiving the higher rate.
I've previously written a post about the Motability Scheme, but given the utter tosh that is circulating in the media on the topic lately, I think a few points of fact are worth repeating...
- Only people receiving the higher rate of DLA are eligible to use the Motability scheme.
- The DLA forms are over 50 pages long, and requires medical evidence to support each claim.
- DLA is not about your ability to work. It is about your care needs, and your mobility needs. Many people receiving DLA are working, and without the funds to cover the extra costs incurred through being a disabled person in the workplace, would have to give up their job.
- The Motability scheme allows you to nominate up to two people to drive the car for you. You do not have to be in the car when it is being driven, but the trips must for your needs.
- Motability cars ARE NOT FREE. It is a lease, the car must be returned within three years, and is paid for with the higher mobility element of the DLA, should you choose to spend your benefit to which you have been found to qualify for, in that way.
- Very few people using Motability have 'luxury cars', due to the four figure sum needed to be paid as an extra fee, which most people on benefits simply can't afford (...and that's not because all of their money has gone on plasma tv's and holidays... that is a Daily Mail myth too!)
Luckily for them, government and media aren't being disappointed...