Dear Mrs Miller,
I would like to voice my concerns over the proposed reforms to the Disability Living Allowance
1. Renaming DLA as PIP is a waste of time and money.
2. If the aim is to remove 20% of people from the benefit how is the eligibility criteria to be set?
3. The reforms take no account of those with fluctuating illnesses. Many conditions such as MS vary from day to day. One day could be a good one. One week could be good. The next could be awful.
4. DLA is NOT claimable simply by filling out the form. Medical evidence is ALWAYS required. Introducing mandatory testing is unfair, unnecessary, unjust and a huge waste of money. Paying millions to a firm to complete the assessment - as is done with ESA - is utterly criminal when claimants already have to provide evidence. You cannot claim it for a broken leg. You cannot claim it for flu. The condition must be serious. You should try to claim it yourself and see how far you get.
5. The fact that many claimants have been claiming it for years does not speak of a broken system. It says that many people have long term illnesses that won't go away simply because you want to stop paying. If you want to discern if these people are still genuinely entitled then write to their specialists. Because they WILL have one.
6. DLA does not stop people from working. In many cases it helps people to be able to work. If the benefit is taken away then many people will be forced to leave work and become reliant on benefits. This completely negates any money saved from cutting it.
7. Saying you want to direct support to those who need it most might sound laudable but it does not cut the mustard. If you take away support from those who don't fit the criteria then it is entirely likely their conditions will become worse and end up costing more in the long run than it does to support them now. Whilst also causing pain and humiliation to those who suffer.
8. Telling people they are unsustainable is an insult. Telling them they need to represent value for money is also an insult. No-one asks to be disabled. People don't make it happen so they can claim benefits. Living with a disability every day is a battle, a struggle to be independent and not a burden to others. Being told that you are unsustainable takes away that shred of independence and tells everyone that you ARE a burden.
9. DLA fraud has been estimated at less than 1%. Punishing the many to weed out the few is not a system that would be encouraged anywhere else. Even hardened criminals are judged to be innocent before being found guilty. These reforms are treating the disabled as guilty before being judged innocent.
I sincerely hope these ill informed and ill thought out reforms will be stopped. Those who suffer from disabilities already deal with enough. Don't make their lives even harder.
*Don't worry, I did put my last name on the letter ;)