Guest post: Last chance to save Disability Living Allowance

This is a guest post by Lisa Egan, who tweets as @lisybabe

“Yes, disabled people will be among the hardest hit by these cuts, but they will also hit back the hardest.”

Last week’s votes in the House of Lords in which the government were defeated 3 times in their plans to make Britain a crueller place were an
outstanding success for this country’s disability rights activists. The Uncut community helped make this happen by tweeting and emailing peers telling
them that dismantling state assistance for people unable to work was not acceptable.

We need your help again.

Tomorrow, the Lords will vote on amendments to preserve Disability Living Allowance (DLA). The most glaring fact that you need to know is this: They
plan to cut the Disability Living Allowance budget by 20%
despite the fact that only 0.5% of claims are fraudulent. This
means that one in every five genuine DLA claimants will be losing out on money we depend on to get by.

Despite what you’ve probably read in the papers; DLA is not an out-of-work benefit. If you need to use a wheelchair to get around or you need help to
get out of bed; those needs don’t go away because you’ve got a job so the money to pay for that help doesn’t go away either.

As a manual wheelchair user who gets the care component for supervision because of my unfortunate habit of doing things like snapping a rib when I bend
down to pick something up: I’m set to lose everything. I honestly

don’t know how I’ll be able to cope without that small amount of support
. The government keep saying that the reforms are about “making work pay,” but as DLA is what enables many disabled people to work, these
cuts will force a lot of people out of the workplace.

What you can do

We need you to email and tweet at Lords tonight, particularly Lib Dems and Crossbenchers, so that their inboxes are full before the
votes on DLA tomorrow. You can find a list of the email addresses of all Lords below and a list of all Lords on Twitter here.

Ask them whether they are comfortable destroying disabled people’s lives for the sake of £1.2bn in savings when the country continues to lose up to £120bn in tax avoidance and evasion each year.

Ask them whether they have read

Responsible Reform

AKA #spartacusreport: A piece of research published last week which proved that

the Department for Work and Pensions misled the Commons and the Lords by suggesting disabled people approved of the reform
. All Lords have received a printed copy of the report, but it won’t hurt to email them the link in case they’ve left their copy on a train or

Ask them whether they are aware of the

devastating consequences of taking benefits from people that need them

Finally, ask them why disabled people should pay the price for a crisis caused by the greed and recklessness of the banks.

If you need any more information about the DLA to PIP planned changes, please see below and have a read of Deborah’s excellent piece. And then please,
please, please act. Email the Lords, then send a few tweets too. And if you happen to be free on Tuesday afternoon please attend the vigil outside the House of Lords to remind them when they go in to vote
that British people will not tolerate making innocent disabled people pay for a financial crisis we didn’t cause.

Email addresses of all Lords using email (send a bcc email):;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

More on DLA:

There are 2 components to DLA: Care and Mobility.
The mobility component is paid at 2 rates:

  • Low Rate: This is mainly for people with learning difficulties, mental health problems or visual impairments who need human help getting
    around outside the house because they may get lost easily, etc
  • High Rate: This is for people who are unable or virtually unable to walk

The care component has 3 different rates:

  • Low Rate: This is for people who need help with things like cooking, getting out of bed and other personal tasks a lot – but not all – of the
  • Middle Rate: This is for people who need help all of their waking hours
  • High Rate: This is for people who need assistance 24/7

These reforms plan to change the name of the benefit from DLA to Personal Independence Payment (PIP). They then plan to achieve the 20% budget cut by:

  • Abolishing the Low Rate Care Component: this means that everyone who needs help “merely” most of the time will lose their support
  • Removing the Mobility Component from manual wheelchair users
  • Increasing the time between onset of condition and being able to claim from 3 months to 6 months

Also missing from the draft criteria is any mention of the need for supervision for safety reasons. A lot of people get the care component of DLA for
that reason including people with conditions like brittle bones, epilepsy and mental health problems.