PM’s response to AA and DLA Petition

1] PM’s response to AA and DLA Petition

2] Update from Benefit and Work’s Steve Donnison


This petition is now closed, as its deadline has passed.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to recognise the vital support that Attendance Allowance (AA) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) provide to disabled people, and to ensure that these benefits are secured and are not removed as part of any future reform of the social care system in England.

Submitted by Peter Hand of Mencap – Deadline to sign up by: 07 December 2009 – Signatures: 23,707

Read the Government’s response

The Government understands that disability benefits provide an important means of financial support for severely disabled people who have extra costs as a result of their disabilities.

We also know that the care and support system that we have at the moment is not sustainable. By 2026, population estimates show that there will be double the number of people aged over 85 that there are now, and the number of people over 100 will have quadrupled. In 20 years’ time, we expect over 1.7 million more adults to have a need for care and support. We need to reform the care and support system radically to meet these future pressures.

In a reformed social care and support system, which offers more support to older and disabled people, we are looking to see if bringing together the new care and support system and some disability benefits into a single system may be a better way of providing support. However, we will only do this if we can better support the needs of older and disabled people, and we have ruled out bringing Disability Living Allowance for those under the age of 65 into the National Care Service.

Whatever the outcome of the consultation, we want to ensure that people receiving any of the relevant benefits at the time of reform will continue to receive the same level of cash support under our new and better care and support system.

If consultation shows that integrating some disability benefits into a simplified system is the right approach, we would want to ensure that the future care and support system retains and builds on the main advantages of the current disability benefits system. We know that disability benefits are popular because they provide a universal entitlement which does not depend on where a person lives, they provide a cash budget which can be spent on the services someone wants, and people often use them in ways that help them to stay independent and well for longer.

These three aspects – a universal system that is consistent across the country, flexible methods of payment through personal budgets and investment in prevention – will all be important components of the new system.


2] Update from Benefit and Work’s Steve Donnison

From Steve Donnison  |  Benefits and Work

DLA short form con update plus keeping ESA after losing appeal

04 February 2010

Dear Subscriber,

In this edition we have an update on the four page DLA renewal form – and we’re definitely advising people to treat it with enormous caution, given the feedback we’ve had from members.

Moving on to employment and support allowance (ESA), the latest statistics for both claims and appeals make very dismal reading indeed, with almost 7 out of ten claimants who have an assessment being found fit for work and fewer than 4 out of ten winning their appeals.

Not that losing your appeal necessarily means you have to stop claiming ESA. The confusing mess that is the ESA regulations, combined with the increasing delays in administration, is allowing some claimants to claim ESA again immediately after losing their appeal against being found fit for work. This is happening even though there has been no change in their condition, as we explain.

The DWP are taking advantage of the backlog in administering ESA wherever they can, however. We have a copy of guidance issued to decision makers this week to ensure that, where there has been a delay in medical assessments, the DWP pockets cash that should be being paid to claimants.

This week we also get our first look at the new ‘fit notes’ that will replace sick notes from April. We were left completely under whelmed by the idea that a few tick boxes are sufficient to ensure a gradual and safe return to work for people with serious health conditions.

Equally under whelming was the discovery that RNID are quietly proposing to axe the casework team that, over the years, has built up unique expertise in helping deaf claimants get their benefits. RNID’s reason for doing so sounds like the kind of corporate-speak that used to be the sole preserve of the private sector, but is gradually taking hold in parts of the voluntary sector.

On a cheerier note, we have the tale of the claimant so fed up with what he regards as the poor standard of medical assessments that he flatly refused to have another one if he couldn’t tape it. In the end he got his medical cancelled and his incapacity benefit renewed. Please don’t try this yourselves – you’ll almost certainly end up losing your benefit.

But isn’t it comforting to know that, at least occasionally, utterly foolhardy stubbornness can face down even Atos Healthcare and the DWP?

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

Has your agency had employment and support allowance training yet? With the transfer of incapacity benefit claimants beginning in pilot form in October 2010 and starting in earnest in February 2011, even if few of your clients have been affected yet, many are likely to be in the future. Find out more about our employment and support allowance training

These articles can be read by anyone, but you do need to register first. Find out more about the free stuff available when you register:

RNID to axe benefits casework team

RNID is proposing to axe its highly valued casework team without seeking the views of service users, possibly within three months.

Almost 7 out of 10 refused ESA

As more statistics emerge about the work capability assessment (WCA) for ESA, the picture is becoming increasingly grim for claimants.

Fit notes are coming

From April 6th 2010 GPs will no longer issue sick notes to their patients. Instead, they will issue a ‘statement of fitness for work’ or ‘fit note’ as it will generally be known.

ESA return to work rip-off

The DWP have issued instructions to decision makers to ensure that claimants lose out because of long delays in arranging employment and support allowance medicals.

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Find out how to subscribe to Benefits and Work and get instant access to all our downloadable claims and appeals guides, DWP materials, members news items and more.

Staying on ESA forever, even after losing an appeal

Confused regulations combined with the increasing delays in the benefits system mean that it may be possible for claimants to remain on the assessment phase rate of ESA indefinitely, even after losing one or more appeals

DLA short form con update

Fears that the new DLA short form is simply a way of preventing claimants giving evidence appear to be justified, as we hear from more members who have completed it.

Claimant refuses untaped IB medical – and wins

A Benefits and Work member who refused to a attend a medical for incapacity benefit unless he was allowed to record it had his medical cancelled and has been found incapable of work.


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(c) 2010 Steve Donnison. You are welcome to reproduce this newsletter on your website or blog, provided you do so in full.