Archive for the ‘learning disabled’ Category

Disabled: What’s in a Word? by Frances Leckie

23 September 2011

One word that some campaigners would like to see disappearing is “disabled”. Sir Philip Craven, the president of the International Paralympic Committee, finds it completely unacceptable as applied to humans. He says that if a machine is disabled, it means that it is broken down, and describing a person as disabled, immediately establishes this negative association. Another of his objections is the way it is used as a collective noun: “the disabled” – as though a wheelchair user and a blind person are more logically connected with each other than with someone who has no impairment.

Read the full article here

‘Dear Mr Miliband’ – why you need LISTEN

22 September 2011

UPDATE  – reply received from Margaret Curran Labour MP

and the following

margaret.curran.mp@parliament.uk,coopery@parliament.uk, eaglea@parliament.uk  denhamj@parliament.uk   jowellt@parliament.uk
caroline.flint.mp@parliament.uk  lewisi@parliament.uk hilary.benn.mp@parliament.uk    jimmurphymp@parliament.uk creaghm@parliament.uk  andy.burnham.mp@parliament.uk
meghilliermp@parliament.uk   healeyj@parliament.uk  woodwardsh@parliament.uk ann.mckechin.mp@parliament.uk
eaglem@parliament.uk  hainp@parliament.uk  timmss@parliament.uk 
stephen@stephentimms.org.uk   buckk@parliament.uk byrnel@parliament.uk

Dear Mr Ed Millband (and to each and everyone copied in above)

  The 10 million disabled people in this country plus their carers, relatives and friends are watching what your party do in relation to disability issues and wondering why you seem disinterested in trying to get their votes by opposing the savage attacks against disabled people being made by the Coalition government. During conference season we wish to remind you, the architects of Employment and Support Allowance to ‘never fall ill, never grow old, never become disabled, never become a carer’, for if you do, as we have found, not even Labour will speak up for you.

Not only am I a carer of my autistic son, who has been treated very badly by our local authourity (Bracknell Forest) in what he is entitled to receive, (education up until the age of 25) that I have had to engage a specialist solictor on legal aid. Legal aid which has also been cut very savagely. But because of his severe condition (he cannot interact with people face to face) so he had been taught behind his bedroom door for 6 1/2 years (very successfully passing many GCSE’s, receiving a distinction and a merit grade in 2 of them) at home by 2 home and hospital tutors. He had his SEN statement ended at 19 last summer, and I have been struggling a whole year to try to reistate his education, so far without success.

My son although autistic deserves and has a right to continue with his education in the best and only way he can cope with at the moment (behind his bedroom door).

 I am also a carer to my elderly mother of 86 too who lives alone. I am 60 myself (an older carer) and my own health is deteriorating very fast, with very little regard from anyone for that, I am also disabled with arthritis, epilepsy, severe depression, high blood pressure and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. No help or support for my son’s own mental health, despite me attending countless meetings in the past, where ‘professionals’ had considered it ‘OK’ to lie to me, to my face but in writing too. Offical complaints I made were literally completely ignored.

Desipte reassurances that assessments undertaken by ‘medical personnel’ at ATOS medicals or Job Centre Plus assessment interviews would understand Autism in all its different presentations, time and again it has been shown not to be the case. So I cannot bear for my son to be put under so much pressure and stress to attend a ESA assessment, so he can’t apply for the ESA benefit he/we so need.

There are so many carers up and down the country in similiar situations watching your conference, and please may I suggest you listen and read the words stated in this link below.

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvsX03LOMhI 

  Yours sincerely

  Ms Rosalind Brewer

Proposal to replace Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payment (16th September 2011)

22 September 2011

 

3.1 Carers UK is surprised and disappointed at the lack of adequate assessment of the impact of the PIP proposals on carers:

· There was no mention of carers in the initial Impact Assessment of the DLA reforms, published with the Bill; or in the Equality Impact Assessments published during the Committee stage. The Government’s response to the DLA reform consultation, published in April, simply states that the Government is considering the implications for Carer’s Allowance of DLA reform.

· This lack of upfront information not only makes adequate scrutiny of the proposals impossible – but it is also causing a huge amount of distress for families, including those affected by the most severe disability and terminal illness, who fear the loss of their disability and carers’ benefits because they do not know if they may be affected.

· Given that 73% of current Carer’s Allowance claimants are women, it is also concerning that the potential loss of independent income for a group predominantly made up of women was not a key part of the gender impact assessment for the Bill.

3.2 We believe that it is critical that a full evaluation of the impact on carers is conducted as a matter of urgency. This must include an estimate of the number of carers expected to lose Carer’s Allowance, a disability impact assessment and a carer equality impact assessment which looks at the impact on gender equality of the likely loss of Carer’s Allowance .

Proposal to replace Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payment (16th September 2011)

An opportunity to raise YOUR voice to break the silence

21 September 2011

This is a joint venture between CarerWatch, The Broken of Britain, Disabled people Against Cuts and ACTnow

Everyone is urged to support this.

To all our members and supporters;

The Labour party conference starts in Liverpool on Saturday. As we all know, Labour were the architects of Employment Support Allowance and the ‘not fit for purpose’ Work Capability Assessment which is so stressful and traumatic it was linked to the suicide of claimants whilst Labour were still in power. The Labour party are the official party of opposition, but they are not opposing the Welfare Reform Bill as they should be and seem to have forgotten that the 10 million sick and or disabled people plus carers, friends and family in the UK have the power to vote. It is time for us to remind Labour that they will not get any of our votes if they do not start to oppose the parts of the Welfare Reform Bill set to return sick people, disabled people and carers to a life of desperation, dependency, despair and charity.

We are asking you to help with a mass email to the Labour party to remind them of our voting power. Please include the following details in your email and send it to Ed Miliband, Margaret Curran (shadow minister for disability) and Liam Byrne (shadow minister for DWP). If you have time please also email it to any Labour MP and particularly any members of the shadow cabinet. We have provided a list of email contacts below.

Please aim to send your email at 11am tomorrow (Thursday the 22nd September) If you can’t send the email at 11am, don’t worry, just please try to send it at any time between then and the end of Labour party conference on Wednesday 29th September.

The email subject should read “Your Silence Is Deafening”

We suggest embedding a link to this youtube video “The Sound of Silence” To embed the video into your email just copy and paste the link below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvsX03LOMhI  

Then please copy the following text into your email;

Dear (insert name here)

‘The 10 million disabled people in this country plus their carers, relatives and friends are watching what your party do in relation to disability issues and wondering why you seem disinterested in trying to get their votes by opposing the savage attacks against disabled people being made by the Coalition government. During conference season we wish to remind you, the architects of Employment and Support Allowance to ‘never fall ill, never grow old, never become disabled, never become a carer’, for if you do, as we have found, not even Labour will speak up for you.’

If you would like to add a short, personal message explaining to Labour how you feel about their lack of support for sick, disabled people and carers then please include it after the suggested text. You might also like to include a photo of yourself, or perhaps a photo of what disability, sickness or caring means to you. Don’t worry if you don’t want to personalise the email, sending the suggested text is fine.

Contact details below

Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 4778
ed.miliband.mp@parliament.uk
 
Shadow Secretary of State for Work & Pensions
Liam Byrne
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 6953
Fax: 020 7219 1431
byrnel@parliament.uk
 
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 8102
Fax: 020 7219 6656
margaret.curran.mp@parliament.uk
 
Shadow Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities
Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP
coopery@parliament.uk
 
Shadow Chief Secretary
Angela Eagle
eaglea@parliament.uk
 
Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills
John Denham
denhamj@parliament.uk
 
Cabinet Office and Minister for the Olympics
Tessa Jowell
jowellt@parliament.uk
 
Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Caroline Flint
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 4407
Fax: 020 7219 1277
caroline.flint.mp@parliament.uk
 
Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport
Ivan Lewis
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 2609
lewisi@parliament.uk
 
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 
Hilary Benn
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 5770
hilary.benn.mp@parliament.uk
 
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
Jim Murphy
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 4615
Fax: 020 7219 5657
jimmurphymp@parliament.uk
 
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Mary Creagh
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 6984/020 7219 8766
Fax: 020 7219 4257
creaghm@parliament.uk
 
Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Election Coordinator
Andy Burnham
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 8250
andy.burnham.mp@parliament.uk
 
Shadow Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State for Justice
Sadiq Khan
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 6967
Fax: 020 7219 6477
sadiqkhanmp@parliament.uk
 
Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Meg Hillier
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 5325
Fax: 020 7219 8768
meghilliermp@parliament.uk
 
Shadow Secretary of State for Health
John Healey
 
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 6359
Fax: 020 7219 2451
healeyj@parliament.uk
 
Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Shaun Woodward
 
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 2680
woodwardsh@parliament.uk
 
Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
Ann McKechin
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 8239
Fax: 020 7219 1770
ann.mckechin.mp@parliament.uk
Constituency
 
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
Maria Eagle
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 4019
Fax: 020 7219 1157
eaglem@parliament.uk
 
Shadow Secretary of State for Wales
Peter Hain
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 3925
Fax: 020 7219 3816
hainp@parliament.uk
 
 
Steven Timms MP
timmss@parliament.uk
stephen@stephentimms.org.uk

Karen Buck MP

buckk@parliament.uk

Devon father angry at disability benefit questions

21 September 2011

 

A father has criticised a government questionnaire which asked if his severely disabled son could return to work.

The letter was sent as part of the government’s reassessment of those claiming Incapacity Benefit.

Kelvin Halloran, from Torquay, said the Department for Work and Pensions should have been able to access information from the Department for Health.

BBC News – Devon father angry at disability benefit questions

Letter to Professor Harrington re ESA groups and Fluctuating Conditions

19 September 2011

CarerWatch submission to Professor Harrington

Dear Professor Harrington

CarerWatch is a group of unpaid family carers. We also have very many members with severe long-term illness or disability.

We are an e-mail based group, which allows people who are often isolated in their homes to communicate freely. All our policy is decided by the members. We e-mail an alert whenever we are coming to a position or view and all members are invited to come and join the discussion. We decide policy by consensus during the discussion.

Our members are very concerned about ESA. We have never experienced this degree of anxiety and concern before. So we are very grateful for the opportunity to submit this evidence.

We realise that your review is limited to WCA and in our opinion the problems with ESA are deeper than that. We don’t think the ESA groups meet the needs of people with severe long-term conditions. Because the regime in the WRAG contains sanctions and time limits copied from the JSA regime for fit people we think it is too coercive for people with severe disability. This means far more people need to be allocated to the Support Group.

We don’t think the groups are defined clearly.

Are you fit for the WRAG because you can manage some activity or is it because you are mentally fit to stand this level of pressure?

Rethink say in a  campaign –

Rethink Mental Illness is concerned that current benefit assessments fail to understand the reality of what it is really like to live with a mental illness. Further, 80% of people with a mental illness surveyed said the test has made their mental health worse.

After being assessed for Employment and Support Allowance, Ryan* told us –   

“As a direct result of the way I have been treated… I considered taking my own life on and off for a period of months. My GP even wrote a letter to them to spell out the severity of my illness and how the situation was putting me in danger.”

We have an opportunity to change the welfare system so that people like Ryan are treated fairly.

Rethink Campaigns Team

We agree with Rethink. The WRAG frightens people and is not a safe place for them to try and find work.

Our reservations are spelled out in more detail in a recent letter, which we sent to six charities, which is copied below.

We think that sanctions and time limits should be removed from the WRAG so that it is made a safe place to help people find work. Unless this happens the WCA descriptors must take account of the vulnerability of sick and disabled people to undue pressure and place most of them in the Support Group.

Frances Kelly

Letter to six charities from CarerWatch and the Broken of Britain

To – MS Society, ForwardME, Parkinson’s UK, Arthritis Care, National Aids Trust and Crohns and Colitis UK

CarerWatch and the Broken Of Britain are both online campaigning groups. Our members are family carers and people with various disabilities/serious illness.

We would like to congratulate you on your excellent report – ESA WCA Review – Making it Work for Fluctuating Conditions – 2011

In particular we would like to endorse your statement –

“Capability for work is not a clear cut issue. Although some people with long term conditions or disabilities can be completely fit for work or completely incapable of work many do not fit neatly in to either category. Those whose conditions fluctuate may move between the two extremes but more often will fall somewhere in the middle”.

All severe long-term conditions fluctuate to some degree. This statement applies to most people with severe long-term conditions. Most people with disability will never be fully fit for work – neither are they completely unfit for work.

This is the first time to our knowledge that this fundamental reality behind ESA has been so clearly identified.

We believe that this could provide a break through in solving the problems marring ESA. If it can be addressed then ESA can be transformed in to the supportive benefit it was designed to be.

Once it is accepted that most people with long-term conditions do fall squarely in the middle and will never be fully fit for work the solution is to design a group, which meets their needs. Unfortunately the WRAG in its current form with time limits, sanctions and mandatory work activity is not a safe place for people who will never be fully fit for work.

It is necessary to design a group which is a safe and supportive environment for people who will never be fully fit for work where they can attempt to work if they want to, without fear of losing benefits or being timed out.

What is the point of the time limit when people know they will not be better within a set period of time?

What is the point of sanctions when failure to comply may always be due to the condition?

How can you get people to agree to a program of activity when they will never be confident that they can fulfil the demands of a work program?

These coercive conditions frighten people and stress makes all conditions worse. They also frighten people in the Support Group in to abstaining from activity in case they are reallocated to the WRAG.

These threats in the WRAG have been designed by fit people and show no understanding of what it is like to try to find and keep work with a long-term disability. They have been taken en bloc from the program for fit people and they do not translate to the reality of disability. It is a tragedy that what started as a constructive and supportive program has become such a threat because of the unnecessary time limits and sanctions.

This one simple change – removing the time limits and sanctions from the WRAG – would make it a suitable group for most people with disability.

We would like to ask MS Society, ForwardME, Parkinsons UK, Arthritis Care, National Aids Trust and Crohns and Colitis UK if they have any news they could share with our members of any developments since the report was first published. Plus if any specific campaign is being planned.

We have shared this with many other individuals, groups, charities, and would welcome their comments too, along with details of any action being taken that our members would be able to support.

We look forward to hearing from you all.

Frances Kelly
Kaliya Franklin
Rosemary O’Neill

A Policy Dialogue Platform | Promoting Better Governance

16 September 2011

 

Experts have been enlisted to help the Government’s discussions on how to improve the care system in England, Care Services Minister Paul Burstow announced today.


From Monday, the Caring for Our Future engagement exercise aims to pinpoint the priorities that this Government needs to focus on to inform its formal plans to improve the care system. This follows on from the report on Commission on Funding of Care and Support. It aims to use the report as the basis for engagement as a key part of a wider care and support reform agenda.

eGov monitor – A Policy Dialogue Platform | Promoting Better Governance

Further questions raised on Welfare Reform | The Hardest Hit

16 September 2011

 

We urge Peers to make sure that their serious concerns about the Bill lead to practical amendments at committee stage and invite them to join us at one of the Hardest Hit events taking place across the UK this October, where disabled people will be speaking out against cuts to the benefits and services they need to live their lives.

Further questions raised on Welfare Reform | The Hardest Hit

Welfare Reform Bill — Motion to Refer to Grand Committee – Full transcript

15 September 2011

 

My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Freud, I beg to move that the Welfare Reform Bill be committed to a Grand Committee. This is a question of business management, for which I am responsible.

Although the House is regularly called upon to agree commitment Motions, such Motions are normally taken formally because they are the result of an agreement among the usual channels. On this occasion, however, the usual channels have not been able to agree on the commitment of this Bill, despite protracted discussions. As a result, and because there appears now to be no prospect of reaching an agreement in this case, the question does need to be put to the House.

Welfare Reform Bill — Motion to Refer to Grand Committee: 14 Sep 2011: House of Lords debates – TheyWorkForYou

Anger as Welfare Reform Bill debate ‘squirreled away’ from public scrutiny

14 September 2011

 

Peers agreed today to a Government plan to hold the committee stage of the controversial Welfare Reform Bill away from the main chamber of the House of Lords, despite strong opposition from Labour.
Government chief whip Baroness Anelay of St Johns argued that the next stage of the Bill should be debated in a committee room and peers accepted the plan by 263 votes to 211, majority 52.
Decisions on where committee stages are held are almost invariably taken in private between the parties, making today’s vote extremely unusual.
But today both sides blamed each other for the breakdown of negotiations.

Anger as Welfare Reform Bill debate ‘squirreled away’ from public scrutiny » Housing » 24dash.com


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