Time for a confession – I’m what the tabloid newspapers would call a benefits scrounger. Yes, I receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Been receiving it since I was a child.
So what do I use my DLA for? Well, obviously, I use it for to pay for wild reckless parties, luxury holidays, a 5 a day in the pub and a dirty dozen daily Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I sometimes wonder why I bother going to work – with that £14 a week I get being on the sick, I could be totally living the dream!
Not really. Instead, I use my DLA to pay for special equipment like flashing fire alarms in my home. A special digital recorder thing so I can watch and record TV with subtitles and be able to chat about modern stuff with my friends. A decent phone to help me communicate with people on the go. And various other things to help me handle the horrors of what I call the “hearing” world. *shudder*
I may even get a textphone one day if relay services improve and make use of technology that was developed after I was born 30 years ago.
Though I sometimes ask myself whether I really deserve it, I value the fact that I live in a society that recognises that disability comes with extra costs and that it is just that disabled people should receive financial support to cover the costs of this.
I may not be living in such a society for much longer. The Government is planning to abolish DLA and replace it for adults with something called PIPS -Personal Independent Payments. They also plan to cut the costs of the benefit by 20%. Though they can’t say what it is, there’s obviously a clear rationale for the 20% figure – the Government would never just pluck a number out of thin air when it comes to vital benefits for disabled people. Ahem.
If I lost my DLA or it was reduced, I’d manage and get by. I might even write an angry blog about it. I can defend myself. But what worries me is what will happen to deaf children, for many of whom the benefit is vital. Lots of parents of deaf children have been writing in to NDCS to explain how important the benefit is to their families and helping their deaf child lead an independent life.
So what is happening to DLA for disabled children?
Well… nobody really knows. Despite the fact that the Government has legislation going through Parliament now that will abolish DLA, they haven’t yet said what they’re replacing it with for children.
Just a small detail. I’m sure they’ll explain their intentions at some point. Maybe before they’ve abolished DLA. It’s not as if the Government is just making it up as they go along and treating deaf and other disabled children, some of the most vulnerable children in society, as an afterthought.
If you, like me, would prefer to see some answers sooner rather than later and make sure that welfare reform doesn’t disadvantage deaf children, NDCS has set up a campaign action whereby you can email your MP. The action is urgent as MPs are debating the Welfare Reform Bill this week on Wednesday.