Monday, 9 December 2013

Social Security - Aspire and World Human Rights Day

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Two contentious areas of disability benefit reform relate to Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Both areas are being severely criticised by disability groups and disabled people. DLA is a non-means tested benefit that recognises the barriers that disabled people face and the extra costs they incur because of their impairment. DLA is set to be replaced by Personal Independence Payments (PIP). PIP will still have the same aims to support disabled people. However, the government’s own projections show that they expect the case load, that is the numbers supported, to decrease. Within their own figures, they have also predicted that less people will receive higher mobility support.

ESA has had its problems stretching back to its creation. We have had negative reports over the years on the accuracy of assessments, assessment centres being inaccessible and the success rates of appeals.

Another damaging development has been the new under-occupancy penalties. This has been more commonly described as the Bedroom Tax. As a result of this welfare reform, we have found couples unable to share a room and people with heavy machinery being penalised for having what the government deems to be a spare bedroom.

Aspire believes that state should contribute and support disabled people if needed to live independently in society. Doing so has an overall positive effect on that person and will empower them to contribute to society too. We work with decision makers to get this argument across and we will continue to strive for this Human Right for disabled people.

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