WOW! The REAL DLA facts & figures!! Dec 16, 2012 19:56:27 GMT 1
Post by nickd on Dec 16, 2012 19:56:27 GMT 1
Disability Living Allowance
What was so wrong with it?
The child pictured above is precisely the kind of child who David Cameron pledged to protect when speaking at an autism conference in July 2009; he spoke with apparent sincerity but his words would now ring hollow with parents of autistic children and thousands of others who will find themselves adversely affected by yet more of the coalition government's 'radical' welfare reform programme.
Government's welfare reforms have been turned into a bloody battle with the public being asked to consider support for 'strivers' against 'skivers'. What about those who simply have to live with disability, physical and or mental & need to turn to the state for support via welfare?
Pensioner's, children and working people are all being adversely affected as well as carer's and those who are just too unwell & disabled to work - why are we not doing more for the most vulnerable rather than less?
Or is this just because government doesn't like anyone having a reliance on the state?
Is this war on welfare?
This Tuesday sees the launch of the WOW petition; it's primarily about a fast gathering army of those most affected by government's welfare reforms asking Parliament to stop their relentless programme and to more constructively engage with those who feel kicked by these far reaching reforms - they see it that government & the public has declared 'war on welfare' and for what it's worth I completely agree with them - that's exactly what this seems to be.
The phasing out of Disability Living Allowance with a replacement called the 'Personal Independence Payment' is causing many seriously ill individuals to worry about how they will be affected:
To quote the WOW website:
"By 2015/16 500,000 disabled people set to lose entitlement to disability benefit when DLA is replaced by PIP. Budget to be cut by 20%. 1 in 4 disabled people who would have been entitled to DLA will be effected by the cut. 10,000 carers will lose carers allowance."
Mylegal is all about fighting the war against welfare; not through protesting in the streets, but through a thorough analysis of the 'evidence' which establish the true facts surrounding welfare reform. In my 'day job' I run a team of dedicated benefit and debt specialists who help people contest unjust decisions in our courts & tribunals; sadly government is axing our legal aid funding from next April - you have to wonder why?
You can view some recent television coverage we gained on BBC Spotlight South West here. My over-riding concern is that government is misrepresenting our welfare state and changing benefits like the Disability Living Allowance for no reason other than to save money and to suit its own idealogical agenda.
In this article we take a look at Esther McVey's recent ministerial statement which you can read here and in the usual Mylegal way we put the figures into context and analyse them to see whether McVey is right in her claim that Disability Living Allowance 'isn't working'.
McVey refers to the rise over the last 10 years:
"In the last 10 years the number of people claiming rose by over a third, from around 2.4 million to 3.2 million."
I sometimes wonder whether the coalition realises that there was life before the last 'decade'. Every single dubious 'fact' and figure they quote only bears reference to the last 10 years. The coalition is hiding a history when it comes to incapacity benefits because they don't want you to know it was the coalition front runners - the Tories - who created the welfare wilderness in the 1990's, you can check out how they managed it here.
This isn't a blame game, it's a question of accepting the facts. The sooner politicians stop using welfare recipients as statistical scapegoats and start to really come clean over welfare the better. If government gets welfare reform wrong and ends up hurting people at too high a cost the public will demand to how it was ever allowed to happen.
Taking a look at the facts & figures
I've managed to track down some figures going back to 1995 from which we can see how DLA claims grew under the last Conservative government up to May 1997 when Labour came to power:
1995 to 1997
Nov-95 --- 1,684.9
Feb-96 --- 1,728.2
May-96 --- 1,762.3
Aug-96 --- 1,801.9
Nov-96 --- 1,867.5
Feb-97 --- 1,907.6
May-97 --- 1,941.9
1997 to 2002
May-97 --- 1,941,900
Aug-97 --- 1,982,800
Nov-97 --- 2,017,200
Feb-98 --- 2,038,400
May-98 --- 2,054,600
Aug-98 --- 2,073,400
Nov-98 --- 2,089,900
Feb-99 --- 2,102,300
May-99 --- 2,121,900
Aug-99 --- 2,145,300
Nov-99 --- 2,160,000
Feb-00 --- 2,172,200
May-00 --- 2,193,100
Aug-00 --- 2,223,800
Nov-00 --- 2,262,200
Feb-01 --- 2,275,600
May-01 --- 2,306,400
Aug-01 --- 2,337,900
Nov-01 --- 2,365,600
Feb-02 --- 2,391,100
May-02 --- 2,424,300
Should these figures surprise us?
No I don't think they should. They represent a reasonably consistent rise. Why? Well strangely enough people grow older, the population increases and the number of people living through disability increases with medical advances. The figures are bound to increase year on year accruing as more and more longer term disabled claimants get 'added' in to an accumulating total. It has been and upward trend since the introduction of the allowance following its introduction by the Conservatives in 1992.
The figures would have increased under any government. One of the reasons is to to be associated with the number of life time or indefinite awards granted since 1992; all of which will have remained in payment because the DWP has essentially promised the recipient that they have an entitlement for life.
The ageing factor
Over 1 million people over 60 claim Disability Living Allowance
There is an 'ageing factor' in the Disability Living Allowance claimant count. Many people do not realise that Disability Living Allowance - if paid to a person under the age of 65 - can continue to be paid to them for as long as they remain entitled. All governments are reluctant to review claims made by pensioners because it just doesn't bode well with the electorate.
It should be remembered that claimants with a mobility impairment which is recognised in a Disability Living Allowance mobility payment can continue to claim it beyond the age of 65. No new claimant after the age of 65 can claim it; they only get a care related payment in a new claim for Attendance Allowance if they qualify.
Non working age claimants therefore tend to be 'left alone' - the effect is that they remain an accruing statistic for each year they continue to claim. The higher mortality rates make it much more likely that some claimants will live to a 'ripe old age' - and rightly so. The security of a life award will do much to alleviate the stretched financial burden of pensioners and improve their quality of life. What government won't want you to know is how older age Disability Living Allowance claims account for significant growth in the claimant count - it's an expense which government is loathe to mention but it is one which accounts for around a third of the overall claimant count.
Government tells you pensioners will be protected; whilst this may be true of some on existing awards it won't be for those claiming in the future - the reforms will hit many aged who have not yet reached their retirement because they won't be able to claim as others have been able to in the past.
Claimants up to the age of retirement should also be aware that other awards such as incapacity benefits including Employment & Support Allowance can be reviewed and this may trigger a review on their current 'indefinite' award if an Atos assessment leads to an adverse finding.
Example of a life time award claimant[/center][/color]
Take Barbara aged 60 who claims Disability Living Allowance in 1992 and gets the higher mobility component and middle care rate component for personal care. She is awarded her allowance on an 'indefinite award'.
In 1997 Barbara turns 65 but can carry on claiming her Disability Living Allowance (if she had not claimed it before the age of 65 she would only have been able to claim Attendance Allowance which is only payable for those with personal care needs and does not meet costs associated with impaired mobility). She therefore remains as a claimant in the statistical count.
In 2012 Barbara turns 80 but despite her disabilities is still going strong, she therefore remains in the statistics for each year she continues to claim. You wouldn't deprive her of an entitlement would you?
You can check out the growth rate for claims relating to the over 60's here - you can see how the figures rise year on year:
Claims for those over 60[/size][/center][/color]
May-02 - 724,490
Aug-02 - 734,230
Nov-02 - 745,480
Feb-03 - 755,060
May-03 - 768,010
Aug-03 - 778,430
Nov-03 - 789,480
Feb-04 - 798,170
May-04 - 809,950
Aug-04 - 820,700
Nov-04 - 832,470
Feb-05 - 840,440
May-05 - 850,410
Aug-05 - 860,900
Nov-05 - 869,100
Feb-06 - 876,760
May-06 - 886,770
Aug-06 - 897,840
Nov-06 - 909,120
Feb-07 - 918,770
May-07 - 931,800
Aug-07 - 945,280
Nov-07 - 955,160
Feb-08 - 963,400
May-08 - 975,650
Aug-08 - 987,510
Nov-08 - 996,220
Feb-09 - 1,003,290
May-09 - 1,015,220
Aug-09 - 1,027,180
Nov-09 - 1,036,450
Feb-10 - 1,044,240
May-10 - 1,050,800
Aug-10 - 1,053,980
Nov-10 - 1,057,460
Feb-11 - 1,056,480
May-11 - 1,061,010
Aug-11 - 1,064,280
Nov-11 - 1,069,480
Feb-12 - 1,070,420
Representing a rise of 345,930 claims for those aged
over 60 when comparing 2002 with 2012.
Or a rise of 402,140 when comparing the figures for May
2002 with February 2012 on the DWP's 'all entitled'
data base for the over 60's.
So there you have it - claims for those over
60 represent around a 1/3 of all claims
In the next post we will take a look at how all groups will be affected