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May 21, 2012 9:47 AM   Subscribe

Following the announcement of plans to replace the Disability Living Allowance, eliminating benefits to 500,000 people via new criteria and the already-controversial Work Capability Assessments, and concerns that the change will undermine the legacy of the Paralypmic Games, public transit access to the Olympics for wheelchair users is put to the test (autostart video). For reference, the TfL suggests form Trafalgar Square to Stratford takes 35-40 minutes without accessibility considerations and approximately 50 minutes using wheelchair accessible routes.

For further reference, the Disability Living Allowance and its replacement, the Personal Independence Payment.
posted by hoyland (29 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Just to give a little context: this relates to the UK. TfL is Transport for London, who run public transport.
posted by Drexen at 10:14 AM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Geez, why doesn't the UK just put them on an island somewhere and let them fend for themselves if they don't want to deal with disabled people? I take it there's nothing like the ADA over there?
posted by desjardins at 10:54 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The British version of the ADA is the DDA.
posted by the latin mouse at 11:07 AM on May 21, 2012


So what would it take for Clegg and his Lib-Dem idiots to pull out of the coalition? What would happen if they did? I hope their complicity to go along with the Tories bites them so fucking hard in the ass. Shame on them. And the worst part is that the alternative is the shitty feeble corporate Labour, and it's almost six of one, half a dozen of the other, but ... I dunno.
posted by symbioid at 11:15 AM on May 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


I call shenannigans on all the working lifts in that video.

I also note that even though the test run took place outside of rush hour, when there was no major sporting event taking place and the travellers had a camera crew from a major news outlet with them to ensure all the bus drivers were on their best behaviour, it still took almost twice as long as TfL's estimated journey time.

I am feeling extremely grateful right now that I am a) able bodied and b) not living in London during the games.
posted by the latin mouse at 11:35 AM on May 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh and any post about the many and varied ways the coalition are fucking over the disabled should probably mention the gutting of Remploy in there somewhere too.
posted by the latin mouse at 11:37 AM on May 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


"The rigorous new process being introduced by Mr Duncan Smith could lead to those without limbs, including former soldiers, having their payments reduced as their everyday mobility is not undermined by their prosthetic limbs."

Damn straight, I mean, you only fought on behalf of the rich and powerful so they could get their hands on oil, minerals, and strategically important land, why should they give you anything in return?
posted by marienbad at 11:37 AM on May 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Why is Personal Independence Payment replacing Disability Living Allowance?

Replacing Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payment will mean everyone will get the right support to live independent lives. Personal Independence Payment will consider the impact of disability in a better way than Disability Living Allowance does, considering all conditions fairly.

This means that people with mental health, intellectual, cognitive and developmental impairments will be better assessed - along with people with physical disabilities. The impact of their conditions will also be taken into account in a fairer way.

The new benefit also allows disabled people to be reassessed over time to ensure everyone gets the right support if their needs change.


hahahaha tell it to ATOS. More on ATOS via google search here.
posted by marienbad at 11:42 AM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Geez, why doesn't the UK just put them on an island somewhere

That's ridiculous. 500,000 people cut out of 3.2 million isn't exactly putting disabled people out on an island. That's a 15% cut. You may disagree about those 15% fine, but don't make it into something else.

In the USA, since mid-2010, precisely the time millions of US citizens used up all of their 99 week of unemployment insurance since the recession began in 2007, disability claims have risen by 2.2 million.
The number of workers receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) jumped 22 percent to 8.7 million in April from 7.1 million in December 2007, Social Security data show.
The SSDI system has fraud as these numbers show. Not everyone, but a non-trivial amount. You get around $1200 a month on average potentially for life. Many people devote their time and energies to get this money any way they can. I have no doubt other countries experience the same, and have seen a bubble in disability claims post-recession.
posted by stbalbach at 11:46 AM on May 21, 2012


the travellers had a camera crew from a major news outlet with them to ensure all the bus drivers were on their best behaviour

It looks (though you can't tell for sure) that they got passed by two buses before one stopped, even with the cameras.

The new benefit also allows disabled people to be reassessed over time to ensure everyone gets the right support if their needs change.

The giveaway that it's bullshit is that unless DLA is completely broken, one could presumably apply for re-assessment if one's situation changed. Otherwise, there's no advantage to the user of getting rid of granting people a lifetime benefit.
posted by hoyland at 11:47 AM on May 21, 2012


The DDA has been superseded by the Equality Act, and it has sharper teeth than the ADA. The main issue with accessibility on the Underground is the deep lines in central London, in rock that is very hard to drill. Wheelchair accessibility was not a high priority in 1863.
posted by goo at 11:50 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've no idea what changes to the DLA has to do with access for those with disabilities.

Even the timeline is all off. Public Transport access for the disabled is an ongoing issue, and it's something that's come up time and again for years. As goo mentions, the issue is less to do with a Conservative Conspiracy and everything to do with difficulties providing disabled access in a densely packed city with an ages old infrastructure designed for the able bodied.

It gets better, it's not enough. This is the story now, it was the story 10 years ago, and it'll be the story in another ten years time.

If anything, this post is just an axe-grindy pop at the current administration.

On the DLA. Unless there are extra bits and pieces needed in order to get around, I can't understand why people on Disability need more money than those on the JSA. I really don't. If you're missing a leg, but have your prosthetics and home modifications provided by various agencies, then why should you get more money than anyone who can't find work.

Making the argument that people missing legs may be injured soldiers conflates issues of how we treat our service people on retirement with wider issues of disability. It's a shame that people in the media and to the left are bringing it up, and it's a shame the line is being parroted here on metafilter.

I know about 10 people who get some kind of disability. All ten of them are just as capable of surviving on JSA as the multitudes of people I know who just get basic benefits. The blind ones, the mad ones, the autistic ones, the epileptic ones, the lazy ones, the ex-addicted ones. They're all as capable as anyone on basic benefits. The fact that a previous Tory government shovelled millions of people out of the official unemployment figures by convincing people to apply for disability allowance seems to escape people at the moment.

Just because someone has a disability doesn't mean that they're not capable. We remember that most of the time, but at the moment it seems to have slipped the minds of our increasingly shrill left.

Notes:

This is not to say that JSA isn't a fucking joke. They should double it. At the moment, it's less than subsistence living.

Annoyingly, the only person I know who is disabled and could do with extra benefits has been deprived of that disability for the last 6 years. At the moment he needs to supplement his basic allowance with rent based scams and the generosity of his friends.
posted by zoo at 12:39 PM on May 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


On that Remploy story:

I actually agree that this was a bad move by the government. It''s interesting to note though that the linked article says : "Most disability charities back the move on grounds that the sheltered factory model is long outdated"

So the charities that represent and look after the disabled say that Remploy was a bad model, and you're still blaming it on Cameron?
posted by zoo at 12:44 PM on May 21, 2012


The DDA has been superseded by the Equality Act, and it has sharper teeth than the ADA. The main issue with accessibility on the Underground is the deep lines in central London, in rock that is very hard to drill. Wheelchair accessibility was not a high priority in 1863.

That's true, so true, and we need to bear it in mind when judging accessibility and how much our society has and should do. However, they seemed to be riding the Jubilee Line, which is far newer than the rest of the London metro. It wonders me to think how they would fare on another line of the system.
posted by Jehan at 1:21 PM on May 21, 2012


The SSDI system has fraud as these numbers show....I have no doubt other countries experience the same, and have seen a bubble in disability claims post-recession.

There is fraud in any such system, but an increase in applications for benefits does not mean that the new applications are all fraudulent. Many of them will be from people who genuinely qualify, but have just toughed it out until the current recession put limits on their options.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 1:41 PM on May 21, 2012 [8 favorites]


Thank you not_that_epiphanies!!! This was DEFINTELY so for me. All I could get were crap jobs with no insurance for much of my working life.
Meaning all I could get was SSI, I
had to agree not to pursue SSD in
order to get SSI. Frankly if you are
disabled in any way that prevents
you from driving, in most of the US you will not be able to get a job.
The way they do it is to require 'reliable transportation' no the bus does not count. My then perfectly good feet did not count. They would have in Bosnia, but not the US.
So I call shenanigans on the people who say there are fraudulent applications.
There are fraudulent ways of denying people work as well.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 1:55 PM on May 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


I've no idea what changes to the DLA has to do with access for those with disabilities.

It doesn't per se. I was attempting to provide context for why the Guardian would suddenly care about whether the Olympics were accessible. Because, well, even if it's the Guardian, that's not something the media normally think about.
posted by hoyland at 3:13 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't understand why people on Disability need more money than those on the JSA.

If they're permanently disabled then they won't have future income and they may not have had past income. So this money is not just to tide them over until they find a job, this is it for them with potentially no end in sight. Im fine with giving more money to someone who will never have any job prospects and would never be able to save any money.
posted by desjardins at 10:39 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just because someone has a disability doesn't mean that they're not capable. We remember that most of the time, but at the moment it seems to have slipped the minds of our increasingly shrill left.

And just because people increasingly committ suicide when thrown off disability benefits is no reason to keep these scroungers on welfare. Get a job, you lazy bums.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:44 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, it's stupid in the extreme for anybody to believe that the best thing to do in an economic crisis is to throw a vulnerable group of people, who even at the best of times often have to be subsidised by the state to get and keep a job, out of welfare and into the job market and expect them to get a job.

Since even the Tories aren't that stupid, it's of course just a ploy to get rid of expensive forms of welfare and bugger the consequences. Meanwhile the top rate income tax has been lowered from 50p to 45p...

The giveaway that it's bullshit is that unless DLA is completely broken, one could presumably apply for re-assessment if one's situation changed. Otherwise, there's no advantage to the user of getting rid of granting people a lifetime benefit.

Oh, there is. Throw people off DLA and some of those affected won't have the strength or capacity to fight it and will end up subsisting on the much lower JLA, dying slowly. You can save a lot of money that way.

And this isn't just cynicism, that's what's happening everywhere in the British welfare system, which to be fair started under Labour but accelerated with the ConDemmed coalition, as more and more hoops for benefit claimants to jump through have been put in place, all with the goal of making it as difficult as possible to get what you've got a right to.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:52 AM on May 22, 2012


And there we have the shrill Left, in all its glory.

Yeah we get it. If you mash the words Conservative and Liberal Democrat together, you get a word that looks like Condemn. Very good, very clever.

MartinWisse: You can interpret it as badly as you want, and filter it through whatever SWP nonsense is currently filling your head, but nowhere did I make a comment anything like "get a job, you filthy bums".

Here's some of what I said.

1) JSA is too low.
2) If you're on DLA and you have no extra incapacity requirements, you should get the same as the people on JSA.

We're in a post-work society, and we need different solutions to the problem of our countries unemployed. Banging out the same weird political points about the Tories being evil isn't going to achieve anything.

Interestingly, the only thing I've liked to combat this that I've seen pushed by any party is the Green Parties Citizen Tax. They quietly dropped this half way through the last general election because they realised that there was no way society could afford it.
posted by zoo at 1:20 AM on May 23, 2012


zoo: "I actually agree that this was a bad move by the government. It's interesting to note though that the linked article says : "Most disability charities back the move on grounds that the sheltered factory model is long outdated"

So the charities that represent and look after the disabled say that Remploy was a bad model, and you're still blaming it on Cameron?
"

What’s the alternative model here?

The government has pledged £15m over the next three years for Access To Work and £8m into a settlement package over the next 18 months. How much money have they saved by closing those factories? Over £37million every year.

So yeah, I’m comfortable saying this is a cynical cost-cutting exercise at the expense of the disabled and not actually a serious commitment to employment inclusion on the coalition’s part.
posted by the latin mouse at 6:07 AM on May 23, 2012


DLA is a benefit meant to assuage the cost of having a disability, so comparisons to JSA are entirely moot. Having a disability costs money, even in Britain, and that is the purpose of DLA - to offset disability-related expenditure. This is why DLA isn't means-tested and totally disregarded as income for means-testing for other benefits, and adds premiums to other benefits (and also entitles recipients to free public transport, etc).

thelatinmouse, are you arguing that people with disabilities should be happy with segregated employment forevermore? Because that's what Remploy is, people with disabilities locked in a warehouse collating and stuffing envelopes for 65p an hour. Specialist employment services for people with high support needs should be supported by government, but the Remploy model relied on people (and many with only low to moderate support needs) being willing to work shit jobs for much less than minimum wage. Does AtW include working with employers to provide better jobs for people with disabilities - I hope so, because that is of course the main barrier to people finding decent jobs in which they're able to excel, not the segregated Remploy model of business services for pittance. If the money earmarked for jobs for people with disabilities through Access to Work results in better jobs paying at least minimum wage then that's an improvement.

I do totally feel for the people receiving DLA now who might not be eligible for the PIP. Being in receipt of DLA entitles one to a whole slew of things, and having that pulled out from under you could be literally devastating, financially.
posted by goo at 6:45 PM on May 23, 2012


Being in receipt of DLA entitles one to a whole slew of things, and having that pulled out from under you could be literally devastating, financially.

I agree that the changes to financial situation are going to be hard, and I feel for these people too. People on DLA are supremely stressed about the changes being made. It doesn't matter if you don't need the money for extra care / mobility help, you're going to feel it.

Having a disability costs money, even in Britain
Not always. I think this is where the biggest gap is in where I am with this, and where other people are. If you need extra help with care and mobility, you should get it. But you shouldn't automatically get it if you're registered disabled.

Anyway - I realise that I've been conflating incapacity benefit with DLA for part of this conversation. Which is pretty idiotic. Not sure if that completely invalidates what I've been saying, but it sure invalidates some of it.
posted by zoo at 12:40 AM on May 24, 2012


goo: "thelatinmouse, are you arguing that people with disabilities should be happy with segregated employment forevermore?"

The reason I'm pissed off about Remploy is that the government are taking advantage of the integrated-versus-segregated-employment debate to reduce across the board employment subsidy for the disabled over the next five years by £162million.

Fifteen hundred disabled people are suddenly out of work at a time when a poor economy and changes to the DLA mean it really sucks to be an unemployed disabled person. So now the disability charities and the unions are fighting each other over integrated-versus-segregated-employment while the coalition quietly walks away with a hundred and sixty million quid.

I support integrated employment, but this isn't integrated employment. This is the government taking money from the disabled to spend on their tax dodging buddies at Vodafone and I think it's bullshit. Cleverly executed bullshit, but bullshit none the less.
posted by the latin mouse at 7:00 AM on May 24, 2012


Not always. I think this is where the biggest gap is in where I am with this, and where other people are. If you need extra help with care and mobility, you should get it. But you shouldn't automatically get it if you're registered disabled.

Er... to qualify for DLA, needing extra help with care and/or mobility is precisely what's required. The mobility and care components are separate. There's an exception written in to the mobility component requirements for blind people, as they don't necessarily qualify otherwise. However, it's hard to argue that one doesn't occur extra living costs by being blind.
posted by hoyland at 8:11 AM on May 24, 2012


it's hard to argue that one doesn't occur extra living costs by being blind.

For certain definitions of blind, sure. But to qualify as blind in this country, you just need really, really bad eyesight.

That sounds pretty glib actually, and I don't want to anger up those that are registered blind, but the spectrum of blindness spreads from "pretty damned inconvenient" to "needs a lot of extra help."

Pretty much nobody registered blind is actually stereotypically blind. Most have limited vision.
posted by zoo at 11:24 PM on May 25, 2012


As an example, From the RNIB website, here's how blind you have to be to be covered by the Disabilty Discrimination Act:

- inability to see to pass the eyesight test for a standard driving test
- difficulty recognising by sight a known person across a moderately-sized room
- inability to distinguish any colours at all
- difficulty reading ordinary newsprint
- difficulty walking safely without bumping into things.

A person with sight problems only has to fulfil one of the examples mentioned above to qualify under the Act.
posted by zoo at 11:28 PM on May 25, 2012


That sounds pretty glib actually, and I don't want to anger up those that are registered blind, but the spectrum of blindness spreads from "pretty damned inconvenient" to "needs a lot of extra help."

The standard to be registered as blind is higher than to be covered under the DDA. My grandad doesn't meet that standard. He may even be an edge case for coverage under the DDA (he won't bump into large objects, but he can't really see the ground well enough to walk safely). But he'll still incur some extra costs. He'll need to take a taxi in situations where someone with better vision would walk. And then there's dead useful cheap stuff, like the coin holders from the RNIB that cost about £1, but that'll add up over time (and that my grandad won't use because that'd be conceding he can't see, even if he pays for things by holding a hand full of change out to the cashier and having them pick out the coins.)

I imagine taxis are probably a place where people with limited vision spend money that people with good vision don't. Say you're going to a job interview in an unfamiliar place. I'd budget extra time to get there on the bus, in case the bus is late or I have to spend time wandering around looking for the place. If the first bus of the day wouldn't allow enough time to do that, I'd think about a taxi. But if I have limited vision, I likely need to allow more time, so I'm more likely to need a taxi. Yeah, people don't go on that many job interviews, but you can keep concocting scenarios like that.
posted by hoyland at 7:00 AM on May 26, 2012


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