Payment must go where needed

I AM writing in response to the letter from Jean Fish who is concerned about how the changes to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will affect care home residents.

I can reassure your readers that, as the Prime Minister recently told Parliament, the Government is not removing DLA mobility from care home residents from 2012.

I have been meeting disabled people, their families and care home staff up and down the country as part of our consultation on DLA and I know how important the money can be in helping disabled people live more independent lives.

But I’ve also heard how the DLA self assessment claim form is too long, needs specialist help to fill it out correctly – that it is too long and complex, leading to inconsistencies in the way the benefit is awarded.

More than two million people receiving DLA receive it for an indefinite period which means there is no way of knowing if someone still needs the benefit of or if they actually need more money.

DLA is almost 20 years old and is in desperate need of updating. That is why we propose to replace it with the Personal Independence Payment, which will allow us to reassess those on DLA over time to ensure everyone receives the correct amount of support as their needs change.

The cost of DLA in Boston totalled £11.8 million last year. Reform is needed to make sure that the £12 billion spent every year goes where it is needed and disabled people can rely on it for years to come.

We will consider care home residents at the same time as all other recipients.

You can be assured that there is no intention to remove the ability of care home residents to get out and about, and to have the opportunity to participate in our community life.

MARIA MILLER

Minister for Disabled People