FPLD responds to the Welfare Bill
Release Date: 22 February 2011
Source: Mental Health Foundation
Country: United Kingdom
Alison Giraud-Saunders, Co-Director at the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities said:
“Disabled people and their families will welcome in principle a system that is simpler and that deals effectively with the 'benefit traps' that bedevil the current system. Our research shows that two-thirds of people with learning disabilities want to work, yet fewer than 7% of those known to social services have a job. One of the barriers is fear of what will happen to the complex web of benefits on which they and their families rely.
Whilst it is important to retain the principle that a benefit is awarded to an individual, it is also important to consider the impact on a household. The Government is thinking about this from the perspective of capping the total benefits payable to a household. We are concerned that many disabled people live in households that have more than one disabled member. For example, parents may be caring for two adult disabled sons/daughters; a disabled parent may also have a disabled child, or a disabled couple may be living together. We know of a growing number of families in which an older person with learning disabilities is becoming a carer for their much older parent(s). In these situations it is not uncommon to find that the disabled members of the household do not individually meet the increasingly stringent criteria for social care, yet the household circumstances taken as a whole are more complex than would be realised if one looked at each individual in isolation. Using DLA, or combined housing benefit entitlements can enable a family to stay together, to manage and to avoid much more expensive state intervention.
Many people with learning disabilities and their families are worried at the moment about the threat of multiple cuts in their current means of support. Housing concerns loom large for many disabled people who have great difficulty in finding and affording suitable accommodation. Shared ownership was one way for some disabled people to get on the housing ladder and enjoy secure tenure, but changes in Support for Mortgage Interest and FSA rules have already called a halt to successful schemes and some existing shared owners will be forced out of their homes.
The Government should put its money where its mouth is and stick to its promise that disabled people will not lose out.”