4 July 2011
Action for M.E. is supporting the Disability Alliance’s decision to send a ‘letter of claim’ to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) over plans to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for working age people with a Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Disability Alliance members like Action for M.E. agree that “PIP will not provide an equivalent level of support for the 652,000 disabled people currently receiving low rate care DLA payments” and that the Government is “failing to take into account the need to impact assess the potential costs of ending support for some disabled people and their families.”
Explaining the decision on its website Disability Alliance says:
“We have raised our concerns with DWP over the last year, since plans were announced in June 2010. We have ensured our member organisations’ views and those of the disabled people we have surveyed have been communicated to DWP. We have aired concerns in meetings, briefings, a consultation and evidence to two parliamentary committees. Over 5,500 organisations and people responded to the Government consultation on DLA reform. But concerns have sadly gone unanswered and the Government have made no changes to plans to reflect the level of anxiety disabled people and organisations like Disability Alliance have communicated.
“We are very concerned that the timetable for the passage of the Welfare Reform Bill may prevent adequate analysis of the potential impact of plans to be undertaken. We do not want to take formal legal action but feel we have no option if our concerns remain unaddressed.
“We have sent a ‘letter of claim’ to DWP. Unity Law drafted the letter which formally highlights our concerns about the Government plans and outlines the legal basis for our challenge. Disabled people are protected by UK (Equality Act) and European law. DWP have clarified that all DLA recipients are ‘disabled people’ in Welfare Reform Bill documents. DWP has a duty to promote disabled people’s equality of opportunity which we believe is being ignored in plans to considerably reduce support.”
Action for M.E. held a consultation, December-February this year to gather views of people with M.E. and their carers about PIP.
Findings were submitted to the Government both independently, and via the Disability Alliance for inclusion in its response, and at a meeting with the DWP’s Dr James Bolton, Deputy Director, Health Work and Well-being Directorate.
The DWP’s call for volunteers to help test the draft assessment regulations for PIP closed last week.