Destruction Day for DLA

There isn’t much to say other than that I’m very sad that the Lords have failed to delay the destruction of Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Despite the compelling evidence and testimonies of disabled people and the articulate advocacy of individuals, the Welfare Reform Bill passed through the Upper Chamber earlier today.

The Lords voted by 229 to 213, a government majority of just 16, to reject an amendment tabled by Lady Grey-Thompson, one of Britain’s most successful disabled athletes, who proposed a pilot of the changes before they could be rolled out across the country.

It’s estimated that 500,000 disabled people stand to lose a benefit that’s critical to maintaining their basic wellbeing and safety. Don’t let the word ‘reform’ fool you: this isn’t about strengthening a system – it’s about slashing support for the people who need it most. Here’s what my day would be like without the things my DLA helps pay for:

I’d get out of a bed in which I hadn’t slept because I wouldn’t have had the Melatonin or the weighted blanket that help me get some sleep.

My morning cup of tea would get spilt everywhere because I wouldn’t have the lidded cup that stops me soaking myself with scalding liquid. Without these cups, over the day I’d have to do more outfit changes than Beyoncé on an arena tour.

If I slipped and fell in the shower I wouldn’t be able to call for help because there’d be no wireless alarm.

My wardrobe would be without some crucial safety features: I wouldn’t have my padded gloves so my hands would be bleeding from banging my chest. Without my knee pads my knees wouldn’t last long either because of the hundreds of sudden falls I have every day. Within hours my jeans would be ripped to shreds, and my knees would be bleeding to match my hands.

If I still had the support of Access to Work, which isn’t funded by DLA, I’d go by cab to work with my support worker. But we wouldn’t have the emergency bag with the things I need when I have a ‘ticcing fit’. Without them, when I had a fit my skull would go smack on the floor because there’d be no protective helmet, nor extra cushions or medication.

If I made it through the working day without these crucial supports I’d go straight home. I wouldn’t be able to do anything else because I wouldn’t be able to afford other cabs so I couldn’t visit friends, go swimming or go shopping.

If I still had my social services-funded night time support worker, where would they sleep, if I couldn’t afford to provide a bed for them?

Many more disabled people would need support from social services were they to lose DLA, so would I even have a support worker to hold me still when I fit in the night? Would an overstretched occupational therapy service have been able to provide my bath-lift or the grab rail in my hall?

If Access to Work didn’t fund my daytime support workers, I wouldn’t have a job. I wouldn’t be able to earn a living so I’d have to claim income support, and even worse, I wouldn’t be able to do what I love doing – helping children and young people enjoy their lives at the projects I manage.

What hope would be left for what’s left of me?

I’m sad that today equality took a step backwards. But I’m heartened and inspired by the creative and powerful campaign undertaken by so many disabled people.

I know the battle is bigger than this one defeat. But tonight I’m going to bed more fearful than usual about the future.

2 responses to Destruction Day for DLA

  1. catherine says:

    Income support is for either teenagers who haven’t yet built up enough NI contributions or mums with young children. Unfortunately us who aren’t lucky enough to have a job would either get JSA (Jobseekers allowance) if we’re fit to work or ESA if we’re not, but if you’re on ESA you would have to go through the continual assessments by ATOS even if you get put in the Work Related Activity Group you would be required to do work experience, but without the aid of access to work and the amount of support you would receive would be negligble. As a person on ESA at the moment if I lost my DLA when I started work I’d have to work full-time and my health would suffer rather than be able to work part-time an have my wages topped up by tax-credits. It’s a sad state of affairs being a ticcer with mental health problems without a job hang onto your job for dear life gal – being in the benefits system is horrible and demeaning – really could you see me working in a meat-packing factory (seriously Jobcentre thought this would be a good job for me, it’s not just the meat , but pity the person standing next to me in the production line with me weilding a big knife). The whole WRB is a nasty piece of policy and it’s now law, it makes me feel very sad for the future.

  2. jukeskytalker says:

    my heart is dropping reading this ive struggled and left maybe twenty jobs in my life due to my condition which ive just been diagnosed with after 30 years of suffering,i havent a clue what im entitled to claim if anything and after those puppets have played us into early graves,our legacy will be nothing if we dont unite and take it to them,suppresion and depression is thier game,hell i became alcoholic in my illness with thier legal fuckin chemical poison to cure my once thought undiagnosed bad nerves,does someone with bad nerves try to snap thier own neck in violent twitches,the scum dont care and they and laws run this corrupt land,now wheres my topcat dvd to cheer me up lol,sleepless in swansea and hooting like a little owl x peace and respect j

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