Last week, I started getting emails telling me there were 100 days left to save Disability Living Allowance benefits. Well, it got my attention. It started off as a trickle and then a deluge of emails. After some detective work, we saw that Benefits and Work have led a very effective campaign which has got – according to their website – 14000 people signed up for regular updates within a week. To give some context, around 400 people so far have taken action on acoustics for the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS). Frankly, I’m jealous.
So what’s prompted all of this? The Government has published a green paper – a fancy way of saying a consultation where the Government thinks aloud, rather than puts forward specific policy proposals – on reforming the funding for social care. Some of it looks quite interesting and these bits have been welcomed by some disability organisations. But it does suggest in very vague terms that the Government could consider ending disability benefits and using this to fund social care provision for severely disabled people.
The campaign has been very effective in raising an issue that might otherwise have been missed. But one downside is that it has got some parents of deaf children worrying that their Disability Living Allowance might literally end in 100 days. It won’t. It is highly unlikely anybody’s benefit will be cut in the short term. If the policy proposal does get pushed through, it is likely that there will be transitional arrangements in place.
That said, there is no room for complacency. NDCS will be responding to the green paper to say Disability Living Allowance, which many deaf children benefit from, needs to be protected. And NDCS is encouraging others to respond as well.
Let us know what you think of the campaign by leaving a comment below.