Tag Archives: disability living allowance

Speak Up, Be Heard

PIPSpread the word – cautiously optimistic news – the Department of Work and Pensions are reviewing a recent decision to change the mobility criteria for the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

This comes after the MS Society and 50 other charities that make up the Disability Benefits Consortium challenged the strict mobility criteria for PIP and highlighted the devastating impact this would have if it wasn’t reviewed.

For the old Disability Living Allowance higher rate mobility payment, applicants had to prove they were unable to walk more than 50 metres. To receive this enhanced rate under the rules for PIP, this was cut to just 20 metres.

People with MS and other disabilities are now being asked to raise their concerns about these changes. The consultation would like us to answer one question – ‘What are your views on the moving around activity within the current PIP assessment criteria?’

We all know that the particular problem with MS is it’s variable nature. Some people can walk 20 metres one day and yet be unable to get out of bed the next. The very fact people with an incurable illness are being reassessed at all is heartless and the changes are causing unnecessary worry and fear. If a person who has previously been awarded the higher rate of mobility allowance and has a Motability car, they are in danger of losing this vital lifeline if they are reassessed and found not to be eligible under the new rules for PIP.

If you think you will be affected by the changes, you can respond to the consultation by reading it here  (details of where to write to/send an email are at the end of the document) or you can email the MS Society  – campaigns@mssociety.org.uk – and they’ll let you know how you can get involved in the campaign. We need to be quick though – the consultation ends on Monday 5th August.

Anyone who has ever applied for disability benefits knows it is not just a case of filling in a form, nor do we receive free BMW’s as the press would have the public believe in their continued witch hunt against disabled people. If we don’t speak up, we lose our voice.

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DLA – A Bit of Breathing Space

Good(ish) news – the process of forcing all those claiming Disability Living Allowance DLA) to undertake new assessments in order to be eligible for the new benefit, Personal Independence Payments (PIP) has been slowed down. Esther McVey, a works and pensions minister has confirmed that all those with an indefinite award will not be reassessed until October 2015 at the earliest, after the next general election (read more about this here).

Most MSers claiming DLA have indefinite awards. Unless the Department for Work and Pensions knows something we don’t, MS lasts for life. So why reassess people with MS at all? It is a degenerative neurological illness and it is not, as yet, reversible. There are thousands of people who fear that losing this benefit will have a devastating impact on their lives. Having the higher rate of mobility allowance also automatically makes you eligible for the Motability scheme and a blue badge, so if people were to lose their benefit, or have them downgraded, they would also lose these components.

Is this what the government wants? To shove disabled people back into their homes, without means to live independently, travel independently and take part in society? A lot of us MSers work, study and contribute, despite the problems MS brings and we are proud to do so.  I have friends who tell me that their DLA means the difference between just about surviving and sinking way below the poverty line.

Having a disability like MS brings extra, often unforeseen costs, so the revised timetable is good news. The MS Society and many other pressure groups are urging the government to look again at the need to reassess MSers. 63,000 people with MS, an irreversible condition, claim DLA. But then so do  21,000 people with drug and alcohol problems. Go figure…

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Firewalking. Seriously?

imagesCAARAXK5I had an email yesterday, an update about ways to get involved in raising money for charity. Fundraising is admirable, worthy, makes you feel good inside and funding multiple sclerosis societies and their research is vital.

So when they knocked around a few ideas of how to raise this money, WHO came up with the idea of firewalking?

If one of the most common and distressing symptoms of MS is heat intolerance, it seems a bit of a strange and slightly cruel choice. How about upping the ante and have people fire-eating and firewalking simultaneously?

A lot of regional societies organise these events and apparently you walk 20 feet across burning embers, with the coals reaching 1200 degrees fahrenheit ( a crematorium burns at around 1400 degrees). In the information section, the guidelines state you must be able to lift your feet and take a minimum of 8 steps at fast pace. Hmm. Beginning to sound like a Disability Living Allowance assessment – at least we’re on familiar territory. In addition, ‘you may use walking sticks or mobility aids but please be aware that these may suffer fire damage’. Hey, that sounds great fun, where do I sign up?

Instead, how about choosing something us MS’ers are good at? A sofa-thon? Who can stay on their sofa the longest (me, me!). Or MS Snap? Give people some cards, get them to write down all their symptoms, shuffle them around and play a couple of games. For the uninitiated, MS has a vast amount of symptoms, so these games could run and run. Sometimes the old ways are the best though, so if you see a sad figure forlornly rattling a collection tin, pop some money in. It could be me,..

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