Disability charities have launched a petition calling on the government to scrap plans to remove a vital benefit from disabled people in residential care.
Members of the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) believe that removing the mobility component of disability living allowance (DLA) from all disabled people in council-funded residential care will have a “huge and regressive impact” on their independence.
They said the move, announced in the spending review, will only save £160 million but will have a “massive” impact on the 80,000 disabled people affected, leaving many with just £22.30 a week to cover all their personal expenses.
DBC – which includes Disability Alliance, RADAR and the Learning Disability Coalition – said the cut could breach article 20 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which lays out disabled people’s right to personal mobility.
Maria Miller, the Conservative minister for disabled people, has claimed that the cut is designed to address “complexities” in the system, with some people in residential care receiving DLA as well as mobility support from council-funded care services, while some care homes already provide “excellent mobility support”.
But DBC warned that local authorities were already too stretched to fill the gap left by the withdrawal of the benefit. Many of those who receive DLA will not be eligible for council-funded support, with increasing numbers of councils restricting eligibility to those with the highest needs.
Even when mobility needs are included in council-funded care packages, they usually just provide for a limited number of events or outings and do not cover an individual’s personal mobility needs, the consortium said.
To sign the petition, visit: www.surveymonkey.com/s/dbcdla
28 December 2010