Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Huge Turnout Shows Why DLA Reform Matters To Disabled People in Sandwell

By Naeem Arif, Executive Director of Ideal for All

On Monday 7th February we held one of our best attended and most engaging events of recent times. The event was to give disabled people and their carers an opportunity to have their say on the government’s proposed reforms to disability allowance. With a recorded attendance of 228 people across two sessions, it is clear that people wanted to have their voice heard on these changes and that the reforms have the potential to make a big difference to their lives.

People gave their views on a range of proposals including how people complete the forms, having two parts to the new allowance and whether there should be automatic entitlements for certain health conditions. Evaluation of the event was positive with 92% agreeing that the event met their expectations. In addition 95% of people said that they would be interested in attending future events on changes to disability-related allowances. Recorded below are some of the comments made by people who attended which show the strength of feelings held by people on the suggested changes.

We were delighted to hold the event in partnership with the Regional Disability Network and I would like to thank Sandwell Council’s Welfare Rights Team for their support. Responses from the consultation event have been sent to the government and will be posted on the Ideal for All website.

On the same day our Parent Participation Officer engaged 10 parents in consultation. In addition Sandwell Deaf Community Association had a well attended event. I hope the government will act on the views that disabled people have expressed.

Comments from participants:

‘Consult with disabled people when redesigning the form; hear what people want to say’

‘People whose condition is worsening and will never get better should not have to fill in forms and be assessed again and again'

‘There needs to be a lot of publicity about the changes in DLA and other benefits, in all formats and across all sectors’

‘Doctors should help fill in forms, to complete assessment’

‘Everything costs more if you are disabled, twice as much in many situations. This reform seems to be all about the Government saving money not about improving the quality of life for individuals’

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