Benefits Green Paper

22 10 2009

The recent Government Green Paper on Care Services in the UK is still causing concern to many people who are worried that this will mean the end of their entitlement to Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

There are only a few weeks left before the consultation period on the green paper ends – so See Hear are hoping to organise a question and answer session at the House of Commons next week, with an MP who will try their best to answer your questions.

If YOU are concerned about your future benefit entitlement, or want to find out more about what the green paper may mean for you, please email See Hear‘s forward planning producer: cynthia.charles @ bbc.co.uk with details of your name, address, age and background, along with a few words on why you’d like to take part in the question and answer session.

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Save DLA and AA – the first crucial task

11 08 2009

This post is an email sent from Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd.

Persuading disability charities to speak out against the threat to disability benefits is absolutely crucial. Unless leading agencies like Mind, Arthritis Care and the MS Society are prepared to openly oppose these proposals it will be very difficult to halt them. The government will be able to argue that they consulted with ‘stakeholder’ organisations and they supported the green paper.

So whether charities are swayed by the strength of your arguments or alarmed by the prospect of losing members who feel abandoned by them, it’s vital that they commit themselves to defending AA and DLA. So far only RNIB has been courageous enough to risk the wrath of six secretaries of state rather than desert its members.

So what we’re going to suggest you do today is to get in touch with a local or national disability organisation, preferably one that deals with a condition that affects you or someone you care for.

Even if all you can manage is a quick email saying:

‘What are you doing about the green paper plans to abolish some disability benefits?’

that will be enough to make them realise people are aware of, and concerned about, the issue.

But if you feel able to write in more detail, below are some of the points you may want to make. We haven’t written a standard letter or email for people to copy because we think that they may quickly be dismissed as just a sort of spam.

1 Explain very briefly that you are concerned about the proposals in the Shaping the Future of Care Together green paper to integrate some disability benefits into a new funding stream for a National Care Service

2 Explain why DLA care component or AA is important to you.

3 Point out that it’s vital that their organisation work with other disability charities to fight with you on this issue, because the government will find it hard to ignore a wide coalition of disability organisations.

4 Point out that RNIB have put a statement on their website saying they will oppose the scrapping of AA and other disability benefits and that if such a reputable organisation is prepared to do this then there’s no reason why every disability organisation can’t do the same.

5 You might want to explain that at the moment the campaign against abolishing disability benefits is being led by a private sector company and that you think this is highly inappropriate, it ought to be a coalition of charities leading the way.

6 You may also want to suggest that if charities look the other way as their members are deprived of a vital part of their income then it may result in charities getting a great deal less support, fewer members and fewer donations in the future.

7 Most important of all: ask for a reply. And if you don’t get one, keep going back until you do. And when you do, send us a copy and we’ll publish at least some of them. Or if you’re a Benefits and Work member, post the reply in the forum.

If you’d like to contact more than one charity, then members of the Disability Benefits Consortium are worth considering. This is a coalition of charities which “aims to lobby and campaign on welfare benefits as they relate to disabled people.” Clearly they are the people who should be running this campaign, rather than Benefits and Work.

You can find the email contact details for all these organisations on this page.

Another possibility is the members of the green paper stakeholder panel. There’s a list of the members here, though we haven’t had time to research email addresses – volunteers to do so would be very welcome.

If you want to be getting on with other things rather than waiting for next weeks’ email, then there’s a few suggestions here.

Thank you again for signing up to the No More Benefits Cuts campaign. At the time of writing you are one of an astonishing 13,815 people who have done so in less than a week.

Please feel free to forward or publish this.

(Steve Donnison)





No More Benefits Cut campaign update

6 08 2009

Emailed to me today:

Many thanks for joining the No More Benefits Cuts campaign.

We had an astonishing 5,245 people sign up in the first 24 hours of the campaign. I confess this has taken us rather by surprise: we thought it would take most of August just to get 1,000.

What happens next?

Over the coming months we’ll be sending out an email each week asking you to do one thing in relation to the campaign. It might be writing to your MP, submitting a response to the green paper, contacting a local disability group and so on.

The emails will be sent out each Tuesday morning with the first one being sent on Tuesday 11 August.

As new people sign up to the campaign they will receive the same emails in the same order that you received them. Once the 100 days are up the emails will stop.

We’ve already been contacted by literally hundreds of people about the campaign and in truth it’s already started without us. Lots of you have been posting on forums, contacting your MPs, writing to papers, emailing TV and radio programmes and generally making an enormous fuss.

Thanks again. And, until next Tuesday, please keep up the good work – you don’t really need us at all.

Best regards,

Steve Donnison
Keep up to date with the no more cuts campaign.

JOIN THE CAMPAIGN ON FACEBOOK

– Actually, I wish the captioned telephony campaign would take off like this, with more and more deaf people clamouring for our rights….. come on, join that one too! All you have to do is write to your MP and tell them how much it would benefit you, and ask them to sign the EDM currently tabled in Parliament. And tell everyone about it!





Free energy saving products worth £54.98

14 07 2009

If you receive Disability Living Allowance you can get a free standby saver (£19.99) and electricity monitor (£34.99) from British Gas. Simply enter the code EF3 and you will need your benefits reference number (this could be your national insurance number).

Source: HotUKDeals
Thanks to Alison Bryan for the link.





Confused about benefits?

3 09 2008

Do you need to claim for

    Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
    Incapacity Benefit
    Employment and Support Allowance

It’s a minefield and the forms are legendary for their complexity and stupid questions.

I discovered a useful website which gives advice on completing these nightmare forms. Check out Benefits and Work.

This site has a forum and free newsletter. They provide guides to these benefits at £18.95 – it’s worth it if you’re claiming for the first time, you’ve been turned down, or are not getting what you think you’re entitled to. They also provide training.