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Post by allthegearnoidea on Wed Oct 28, 2009 3:14 am

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+ Latest from Benefits and Work

Dear Carer Watch,

It’s a start, but nowhere near enough.

Health secretary Andy Burnham has said that he has ‘heard the concerns and worries
about disability living allowance’. As a result, he has announced that:

“I can state categorically that we have now ruled out any suggestion that DLA for
under-65s will be brought into the new National Care Service.”

Good news indeed . . . for some . . . for the moment.

But definitely not for the one and a half million people who depend on AA.

Nor for the for the three quarters of a million people aged 65 and over who receive

Not even for the 400,000 DLA claimants currently aged between 60 and 64, many of
whom will have reached the age of 65 by the time labour’s proposed National Care
Service is introduced.

Because, of course, DLA is not just paid to people under 65. You have to make your
claim before you are 65, but you can then go on claiming indefinitely if your needs
do not change.

Unfortunately, many organisations who should know better seem to have forgotten that
– perhaps just as the government hoped.

Because Mr Burnham made no secret about why he made this announcement: he wants to
shut people up. He said in his speech, given at a conference in Harrogate on 22nd
October and also published on the Big Care Debate website:

“One avenue I do want to close down, however, is the debate and controversy over
Disability Living Allowance.”

In that ambition, he seems to have succeeded, at least so far as some disability
charities are concerned.

Immediately following Burnham’s speech, Disability Alliance sent out a press release
stating that:

“. . . the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) benefit will not be affected by
Government plans to merge some benefits with social care funding . . . Andy
Burnham’s announcement will reassure disabled people that DLA is safe – for now at

The Disability Charities Consortium told the media:

“This represents a real victory for disabled people who felt very strongly that the
DLA should be retained and made their collective voice heard on this issue. ”

Macmillan Cancer Support also issued a press release saying that:

“Whilst we are pleased the Government has said Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
will not be used to meet the shortfall in social care funding, we remain deeply
concerned that Attendance Allowance (AA) is still under threat.”

But that isn’t what Andy Burnham said at all. He said DLA for under 65’s is not
being considered.

This was echoed by Yvette Cooper, the DWP secretary of state who told a meeting of
the All Party Parliamentary Group on ME on 21st October that DLA for people of
‘working age’ is not under review.

It was also made clear by Burnham that there will be no transitional protection of
existing awards for current claimants. Instead, ‘an equivalent level of support’
will be provided by your local authority.

Burnham’s announcement seems to have had the desired effect, however – the ‘debate
and controversy’ over DLA appears to be over as far as some disability charities are
concerned. Yet, in a little over two weeks time the deadline for submissions on the
green paper ends.

It’s vital that the case for saving DLA for all claimants is still made. Only now
there is a real worry that not only have the disability charities relaxed, but also
that Burnham will claim that because 3,000 submissions to the Big Care Debate were
made before his announcement that DLA for under 65s is safe, they should mostly be

If you don’t want the government to get away with closing down ‘the debate and
controversy over Disability Living Allowance’ there are things you can do.

Contact disability groups you have a connection with and warn them that they still
need to respond to the green paper in relation to both DLA and AA.

Respond to the Care Green paper yourself, again if necessary, making it clear that
you are aware that DLA for under 65s is not under consideration and giving your
views on axing AA and DLA for people aged 65 and over.

Care and Support exec summary


Rouse people to sign the No 10 petition, which is gathering real momentum again: it
now has over 19,000 signatures and is at number 8 out of over four and a half
thousand petitions on the site. Not bad going for a petition that has been running
for less than two months.

Tell your MP what you think or, better still, go and visit them and tell them

One final thought. The revelation that the government is considering slashing the
income of 2.5 million older disabled claimants was made by Andy Burnham in a keynote
speech last week.

The subject of that speech?

Outlawing ageism in the NHS.

Please feel free to forward or publish this article, which is also available online

Finally, remember that you can post your news in the Benefits and Work forum, if
you’re a member, at:

and/or in the free welfare watch forums at:

You can also keep up with news about opposition to the green paper at the Carer
Watch campaign blog:

Tags: andy burnham, attendance allowance, benefits, carers, disability living allowance, disabled

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 at 4:43 pm and is filed under benefits. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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