The future of care and benefits
Posted Thursday 20 August 2009
This week we've been contacted by lots of people who are concerned about reports that Disability Living Allowance may be scrapped, as part of the Government's plans to reform the social care system. The DLA is a really important benefit for people with mental health problems, so it's not surprising that we have received many calls and emails.
When we last asked our supporters about this issue, people told us the DLA was essential to pay for social activities, transport and to help with basic living costs. Seventy-eight per cent of people said they would oppose any proposals to pool DLA money with the general social care budget, as DLA provides financial support for the extra costs of living with a disability, which are different from care costs. Mind has always argued there must be no change to DLA.
But it is not true that the Government has any concrete plans to get rid of DLA. They have published a new Green Paper, which sets our their vision for the future of care and support and which asks people for their views about whether Attendance Allowance - the equivalent of DLA for older people - should be pooled with social care money. But there is absolutely no mention of scrapping DLA.
The Government's proposals are still in the very early stages and far from becoming law. They are asking for people's views, and Mind will be responding to the consultation in the Autumn. If, at a later stage, there was any proposal to scrap DLA, Mind would strongly and publicly oppose this.
Everyone can have their say on how social care services should look in the future. You can respond online, on Facebook or Twitter, or go along to one of the 'Big Care Debate' events taking place around the country. And although there is no threat to DLA now, we do need to tell politicians of all parties how important it is for people with mental health problems. I will be writing to my MP about this and I hope everyone who has contacted Mind about DLA will too.
Amy Whitelock, Policy and Campaigns Officer, Mind
Update: See below for Amy's reply to readers' comments
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