DAA News Network

UK: Ending DLA benefit for those in residential homes will be devastating

Posted 19/1-11 at 18.42

The mobility component of disability living allowance (DLA) is paid to about 80,000 care home residents. This money allows people to visit friends and family, as well as take part in leisure pursuits or education.

The government is proposing to remove this benefit for those in institutional care, arguing that funding of transport costs should be included in local authority contracts with care homes. This move will save £160m by 2015.

A report, Don't Limit Mobility, from a group of 27 charities, shows that in fact most local authorities do not fund these costs. Given the savage cuts being forced on these authorities there is little likelihood they will step in to replace DLA.

The report concludes that, ‘... removing the mobility component of DLA will significantly restrict the ability of those in residential care to play an active role in their local community, be independent and maintain relationships with family and friends.' And further, that, ‘Limiting people's ability to do these things goes against the concepts of choice and independence, and goes against the principles of the government's personalisation agenda.'

A copy of the report can be downloaded at: http://www.mencap.org.uk/document.asp?id=20622

Editorial comment: DAA agrees with David Brindle, writing in the Guardian, when he says this is perhaps the ‘... meanest and nastiest cut of all in the carnage that is sweeping through our public services.' The response to criticism of this measure from Maria Miller, minister for disabled people, is instructive of how the government is approaching the whole package of funding cuts. In the face of strong evidence of the negative effect the policy is likely to have on the lives of disabled people and that the reason (double funding) for making this particular cut is clearly wrong, she simply repeated it was being done "to remove overlaps in the payment of mobility support". She added helpfully, "It is not intended to lead to a loss of independence and we remain committed to promoting greater personalisation for disabled people."






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