These people were living on a shoestring.

Lisa Egan:

I get the care component of DLA for supervision because my bones break so easily. There is no mention of needing constant supervision in the proposed PIP criteria. Because I can feed myself, even though I once broke my arm eating, I will get no recognition for that. Because I can take myself to the toilet, even though I once broke my leg washing my hands after, I will get no recognition for that. Because I can get myself in and out of the shower, even though I once broke… you get the idea. (Huffington Post, 30th January 2012)

Louise Bolotin:

I had a good look at the PIP case studies yesterday, particularly studying the one about a woman with epilepsy. Looking at the points allocation, I’m fairly sure I won’t qualify for PIP even though I have a lifetime award for DLA. I get DLA because preparing and cooking a meal unaided is very risky for me (I once almost burnt down my former partner’s house because of this – it was a miracle the house hadn’t gone up completely in flames by the time he got home), likewise going out unsupervised is also risky because of the possibility of having a seizure while crossing the road. (Where’s the Benefit, 18 January 2012

Sharon Brennan:

I currently qualify for higher rate mobility under DLA but I won’t under PIP. Under the new rules for PIP if a disabled person CANNOT walk more than 50 metres but doesn’t need a wheelchair then they will no longer be entitled to higher rate mobility, which in short means access to a car through the motability scheme.

Please re-read that sentence and then think through the callousness of that statement and what that means to disabled claimants, like me. It means my world would be reduced to my home, and a stumble to the end of my road at best. My world, which has already been turned upside down by my worsening health, would diminish so much I’d have to question whether there is any point fighting to stay off the lung transplant list anymore. (Where’s the Benefit, 18 January 2012

Angela, via @THemingford: Angela has peroneal muscular atrophy and high blood pressure: some complicated medical problems relating to a road traffic accident years ago: anxiety and depression. Until 2009, she was able to work, and paid for adaptations to her home that made it possible for her to continue to live there, worth about £30,000. She used her DLA to pay for a carer to come in some days and help with “washing, laundry, hoovering, dusting, tidying and some aspects of shopping.” She lives alone but needs a second bedroom to store various pieces of essential disability-related equipment, including her wheelchair. “There is nowhere else of this to go or be stored.”

After she was no longer able to work, Housing Benefit paid most of her rent and she used £50 per month from her DLA to top up the remainder. Besides the Housing Benefit she gets Income Support and DLA. Recent Housing Benefit cuts and changes to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) now partly determined by the number of rooms and people in a property – no exemptions for disabled people – mean that her Housing Benefit is much lower: she has to find £35 more a week, so the amount she now has to pay to top up her Housing Benefit is £190 per month. For want of £190 a month – she has no way to earn it and no other source of income – she will have to move. Wherever she moves to, will have to have £30,000 of adaptations made in order for to her live there.

I got that far with Angela’s story and realised full-on how absurd this kind of “cut” is. Angela paid herself for the adaptions to a home she rents: if she moves out, the adaptations are worthless. To “save” the taxpayer £190 a month, £2280 a year, Angela is being required to dispose of essential assets worth £30,000 to her and worthless to the next tenant. What kind of arithmetic is this?

But wait: There’s worse. There’s nowhere anywhere nearby for the local council to move Angela to. Even setting aside the problem of the adaptations to the house. So wherever Angela gets evicted to, she’ll lose her entire local support network:

Angela is reliant upon local neighbours and friends for essential day-to-day help and social interaction. They provide this help for free and gladly. These are also her friends, the people she mixes with, shares her time with, socializes with and the people she cares about.

If Angela is forced to move, she will be ripped away from her community and the place she loves so much. She will lose contact with her friends and lose her support network. In effect, and in her own words, she will lose what independence she has left. (The Inner Voice, 23rd January 2012)

These people were living on a shoestring.

Today the government cut the shoestring.

David Winnick, MP for Walsall North:

In essence, we are debating a 12-month limit—if the Lords amendments are defeated, as I expect they will be—for those with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses in the work-related activity group of the employment and support allowance. After 12 months, most of them will be means-tested. Some Government Members will ask why such a means tests should not be imposed, but let us be clear, so that when hon. Members vote in half an hour they know what they are voting on: a claimant in the category that I have mentioned whose partner works for more than 24 hours or earns £149 weekly — £149, not £249 or £549 — could lose all their benefit. I wonder how many Government Members, who seem so keen on the proposal, could justify that in their constituencies. I certainly could not and would not wish to try.

As has been stated, Macmillan Cancer Support believes that 7,000 cancer patients will be adversely affected by the proposal. The Government’s own figures show that 94% of people with cancer who are placed in the group that I have mentioned need ESA for longer than 12 months. That is not disputed—if it is, the Minister will intervene. I repeat: the Government’s own statistics show that 94% of such people require that support for longer than 12 months.

This is not just about cancer patients. Let me quote a piece written by someone who has a rare bone disease. He is 50 years old and has spent more than three years in hospitals, trying to recover. He is not in a position to take employment, and that is not disputed. He says that he paid national insurance contributions all his life, until his illness, and he gets £89 a week through ESA. He writes that it

“isn’t a big sum…but it makes a huge difference for me. Among other everyday essentials it pays for the heating to keep me warm during the long and often painful days at home while my partner is out at work.”

Not an extravagant sum, is it? We are not being over-indulgent to someone who worked until he had that terrible disease and wants to try to make the best of his life in such circumstances.
Hansard, 1st February 2012

See also: An open letter to Maria Miller & Liveblog of the Commons debate.

These people cut the shoestring:

Nigel Adams, Adam Afriyie, Peter Aldous, Danny Alexander, David Amess, Stuart Andrew, James Arbuthnot;
Richard Bacon, Norman Baker, Steve Baker, Tony Baldry, Harriett Baldwin, Stephen Barclay, Gregory Barker, John Baron, Gavin Barwell, Guto Bebb, Sir Alan Beith, Richard Benyon, Sir Paul Beresford, Andrew Bingham, Brian Binley, Gordon Birtwistle, Bob Blackman, Nicola Blackwood, Nick Boles, Peter Bone, Sir Peter Bottomley, Karen Bradley, Graham Brady, Tom Brake, Angie Bray, Julian Brazier, Andrew Bridgen, Steve Brine, James Brokenshire, Annette Brooke, Jeremy Browne, Fiona Bruce, Malcolm Bruce, Robert Buckland, Aidan Burley, Conor Burns, Simon Burns, David Burrowes, Paul Burstow, Lorely Burt, Dan Byles, Vince Cable, Alun Cairns, David Cameron, Sir Menzies Campbell, Alistair Carmichael, Neil Carmichael, Douglas Carswell, William Cash, Rehman Chishti, James Clappison, Greg Clark, Kenneth Clarke, Nick Clegg, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Dr Thérèse Coffey, Damian Collins, Oliver Colvile, Mr Geoffrey Cox, Stephen Crabb, Tracey Crouch;
Edward Davey, David T. C. (Monmouth) Davies, Glyn Davies, Philip Davies, David Davis, Nick de Bois, Caroline Dinenage, Jonathan Djanogly, Stephen Dorrell, Nadine Dorries, Jackie Doyle-Price, Richard Drax, James Duddridge, Alan Duncan, Iain Duncan Smith, Philip Dunne;
Michael Ellis, Jane Ellison, Tobias Ellwood, Charlie Elphicke, George Eustice, Graham Evans, Jonathan Evans, David Evennett;
Michael Fabricant, Michael Fallon, Tim Farron, Lynne Featherstone, Mark Field, Don Foster, Dr Liam Fox, Mark Francois, George Freeman, Mike Freer, Lorraine Fullbrook, Richard Fuller;
Sir Roger Gale, Mark Garnier, David Gauke, Nick Gibb, Stephen Gilbert, Mrs Cheryl Gillan, John Glen, Zac Goldsmith, Robert Goodwill, Michael Gove, Richard Graham, Helen Grant, Chris Grayling, Damian Green, Justine Greening, Dominic Grieve, Andrew Griffiths, Ben Gummer, Sam Gyimah;
Robert Halfon, Duncan Hames, Philip Hammond, Stephen Hammond, Matthew Hancock, Greg Hands, Mark Harper, Richard Harrington, Rebecca Harris, Simon Hart, Nick Harvey, Sir Alan Haselhurst, John Hayes, Oliver Heald, David Heath, Chris Heaton-Harris, John Hemming, Gordon Henderson, Charles Hendry, Damian Hinds, Mark Hoban, George Hollingbery, Philip Hollobone, Adam Holloway, Kris Hopkins, Martin Horwood, John Howell, Simon Hughes, Chris Huhne, Jeremy Hunt, Julian Huppert, Nick Hurd;
Stewart Jackson, Margot James, Sajid Javid, Bernard Jenkin, Gareth Johnson, Joseph Johnson, Andrew Jones, David Jones, Marcus Jones;
Daniel Kawczynski, Chris Kelly, Simon Kirby, Greg Knight, Kwasi Kwarteng;
Eleanor Laing, Norman Lamb, Mark Lancaster, Andrew Lansley, Pauline Latham, David Laws, Jessica Lee, Dr Phillip Lee, Jeremy Lefroy, Edward Leigh, Charlotte Leslie, Oliver Letwin, Brandon Lewis, Dr Julian Lewis, Ian Liddell-Grainger, Peter Lilley, Stephen Lloyd, Jack Lopresti, Jonathan Lord, Peter Luff, Karen Lumley;
Mary Macleod, Anne Main, Theresa May, Paul Maynard, Karl McCartney, Anne McIntosh, Patrick McLoughlin, Stephen McPartland, Esther McVey, Louise Mensch, Mark Menzies, Patrick Mercer, Stephen Metcalfe, Maria Miller, Anne Milton, Andrew Mitchell, Penny Mordaunt, Nicky Morgan, Anne Marie Morris, David Morris, James Morris, Stephen Mosley, David Mowat, David Mundell, Tessa Munt, Sheryll Murray, Dr Andrew Murrison;
Robert Neill, Brooks Newmark, Sarah Newton, Caroline Nokes, Jesse Norman, David Nuttall;
Stephen O’Brien, Matthew Offord, Eric Ollerenshaw, Guy Opperman, George Osborne, Richard Ottaway;
James Paice, Neil Parish, Priti Patel, Mark Pawsey, Mike Penning, John Penrose, Andrew Percy, Claire Perry, Stephen Phillips, Eric Pickles, Christopher Pincher, Dr Daniel Poulter, Mark Prisk, Mark Pritchard, John Pugh;
Dominic Raab, John Randall, Mark Reckless, John Redwood, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Simon Reevell, Andrew Robathan, Hugh Robertson, Dan Rogerson, Andrew Rosindell, Amber Rudd, David Ruffley, David Rutley;
Laura Sandys, Lee Scott, Andrew Selous, Grant Shapps, Alok Sharma, Richard Shepherd, Mark Simmonds, Keith Simpson, Chris Skidmore, Chloe Smith, Henry Smith, Julian Smith, Sir Robert Smith, Nicholas Soames, Anna Soubry, Caroline Spelman, Mark Spencer, Andrew Stephenson, John Stevenson, Bob Stewart, Iain Stewart, Rory Stewart, Gary Streeter, Mel Stride, Andrew Stunell, Julian Sturdy, Desmond Swayne, Jo Swinson, Hugo Swire, Robert Syms;
Sir Peter Tapsell, John Thurso, Edward Timpson, Justin Tomlinson, David Tredinnick, Elizabeth Truss, Andrew Turner, Andrew Tyrie;
Paul Uppal;
Edward Vaizey, Shailesh Vara, Martin Vickers, Theresa Villiers;
Charles Walker, Robin Walker, Ben Wallace, Robert Walter, David Ward, Angela Watkinson, Mike Weatherley, Mike Webb, James Wharton, Heather Wheeler, Chris White, Craig Whittaker, Bill Wiggin, David Willetts, Mark Williams, Roger Williams, Stephen Williams, Gavin Williamson, Jenny Willott, Mr Rob Wilson, Dr Sarah Wollaston, Simon Wright;
Sir George Young, and Nadhim Zahawi.

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Filed under Benefits, Disability, Healthcare, Housing, Poverty

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