From the TUC

DLA and residential homes – a nastier cut than you may think

22 Oct 2010, by in Society & Welfare

Lurking in the detail of the Spending Review is a horrid little cut that will stop thousands of disabled people being able to get out of their homes. The plan to remove the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance from people in residential care will save the government £135 million a year by 2015, but at a cost to be paid by some of the most vulnerable people in the country.

DLA is a “costs” benefit that helps disabled people cope with the extra costs of disability. There is a “care component” that makes a contribution towards the costs of personal care and a “mobility component” for people who have difficulty walking. The Motability scheme makes it possible for people to use their mobility component to pay for an adapted car or wheelchair or scooter. DLA often doesn’t meet disabled people’s extra costs in full, but it does make a real difference.

The Spending Review announced that people will stop getting the mobility component once they have been in residential care for 28 days. A Treasury document that sets out the policy changes and how much they will cost or save justifies this on the grounds that people already lose the care component when they enter a residential home and that people in hospital are not entitled to the mobility component.

But these are not fair comparisons. Firstly, people in hospital lose the mobility component because they are less likely to need it while in hospital.

Secondly, people in residential homes lose their care component because the residential home now provides the care, it won’t be providing their mobility support. Because of this change thousands of people will be unable to get out of their residential homes.

The Treasury costings document explicitly says that the Motability scheme will be included in this cut. It isn’t clear what will happen to the 3-year leases that most beneficiaries use to get their cars or to the hire purchase agreements used by a minority.

9 Responses to DLA and residential homes – a nastier cut than you may think

  1. Tweets that mention DLA and residential homes – a nastier cut than you may think | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC —
    Oct 22nd 2010, 10:56 am

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  2. Penny L
    Oct 24th 2010, 5:01 pm

    people in residential care need this benefit more than most for several reasons-
    -many care homes are miles from the nearest town
    with no accessible public transport
    -the residents are separated from their families and friends by being in a care home
    -people who need to be accompanied by a paid carer have to pay their expenses.
    -However good a care home is, people should not feel trapped.

  3. Linda Dovey
    Oct 25th 2010, 10:48 am

    If this scheme is adopted I will not be able to visit my husband at all as he is in a care home that is miles from any railway station and the cost of me getting there via taxi would be prohibitive. He also wouldn’t be able to come home for his birthday nor for Christmas or any other special occasion (grandchildren’s birthdays). He would therefore be only contactable by telephone. What a way to treat people who through no fault of their own have to require the services of care homes or nursing homes. Disgusting.

  4. Simon
    Oct 27th 2010, 2:37 pm

    This is a deeply disturbing cut that will affect the most vulnerable in our society. Adults with Learning Disabilities and Mental Health challenges rely on the additional funding that DLA mobility provides, it is their only funding for accessing the community. Are we really saying that people with high care needs are worth £21 per week?
    This seems to have slipped under the radar a bit, I would like to be able to raise the profile. Any ideas?

  5. Alan Forder
    Oct 30th 2010, 6:40 pm

    We are in our 70’s and our 41 year old son has cerebral palsey and is cared for in a Scope residential home. If I am understanding these cuts correctly, we will not be able to bring him home for the odd day as we need the transport provided with help from his mobility allowance to get him home.
    His life is going to be like being in prison and not getting his trips out, that he so looks forward to.

  6. A Rackley
    Nov 18th 2010, 11:42 pm

    We have run a small residential home for five adults with learning disabilities for the last 21 years and have always had to subsidise the mobility component for our residents to allow them to lead the active lives they choose. Subsidising is one thing but meeting all their costs is just not feasable, so what will have to give? And how do we explain this to them? They currently go out every day to chosen activities, to clubs etc two or three evenings a week, they have an annual holiday and then of course various essential visits to hospital, etc. The hardest cut though will be if they can no longer visit their families. I have emailed our local MP about our concerns. Let us hope he can help.

  7. Marion Brockie
    Nov 22nd 2010, 3:24 pm

    I have only just read of this cut today and I am horrified. My son suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm 3 years ago when he was 30. He now lives in a care home since he is paralysed and communication is limited. We were obviously devasted when this happened but one of our joys has been that we were able to get a WAV so that we can take our son out and about, back and forward to our home, out for little trips for lunch or afternoon tea, social trips to the pub, etc. The home is very good and has a minibus but our son’s wheelchair is very large so it is understandable that he gets out less than more mobile residents. There is a good service called Handicabs but, although it is cheaper than a normal taxi that probably couldn’t take his wheelchair, it is still quite an expense for us as pensioners.
    Is there any campaign I can join to voice my dissent to this?

  8. A Rackley
    Nov 22nd 2010, 9:24 pm

    I have found Mencap are running a campaign on this. They are also asking people to contact their local MP explaining the hardships losing this allowance will cause and asking him to ask the government to reverse their decision.

  9. Marion Brockie
    Nov 22nd 2010, 11:01 pm

    Thanks, A Rackley – will check it out – even though I have the only Tory MP in Scotland, I can always try to prick his conscience!