MBHA and Capability Scotland commission report about the DLA mobility component
Published by Laura Oakley for Margaret Blackwood Housing Association Ltd in Housing and also in Central Government, Health, Local Government
DLA Mobility Component Report Cover
"How am I going to put flower's on my Dad's grave?" This was the response of one disabled man when asked how he would be affected by the withdrawal of a vital mobility benefit.
The man was taking part in a piece of research commissioned by Margaret Blackwood Housing Association and Capability Scotland and undertaken by the Strathclyde Centre for Disability Research to find out how disabled people living in Scotland's residential care homes use the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in their everyday lives.
The resulting report entitled, 'How am I going to put flowers on my Dad's grave?: Care Home Residents' Use of the Mobility Element of the Disability Living Allowance' is published as the future of the entitlement continues to hang in the balance.
The Government is currently reviewing its plans to scrap the mobility component of the DLA for people living in residential care homes. It is hoped the evidence collated in this report will be fed into the Government review providing a powerful argument for saving the allowance based on the real experiences of disabled people.
DLA mobility component is a benefit designed to cover the extra day-to-day costs of living with a disability. People tend to use the benefit in a variety of ways including paying for cars and other forms of transport and for lightweight and powered wheelchairs.
The people who took part in the report said that the benefit supported them to participate in a range of activities including; accessing health services, visiting family, going on holiday, going shopping, taking part in social activities and accessing education and training opportunities such as going to college. Some respondents also used the benefit to buy mobility aids such as hoists which enabled them to use facilities in their local community.
As well as assessing how individuals used their benefit, the report also flagged up some of the wider consequences of the proposed cuts. These included: the psycho-emotional impact on individuals who would lose the freedom to get out and about in their local community; increased strain on services like general practitioners who would struggle to meet the healthcare needs of disabled patients who could no longer make their own way to appointments and consultations and a concern among residential care managers that their ability to meet national standards of care could be compromised if individuals could no longer access the same choice of activities and opportunity to access community services.
Commenting on the report, Richard Hamer, Director of External Affairs, Capability Scotland, said:
"As the title of the report suggests the mobility component of DLA makes it possible for disabled people to participate in all aspects of society. Whether that's the big things like going to work or accessing health care services or the things that contribute to a person's overall wellbeing like visiting friends, going shopping or even the ability to tend to a loved one's grave, it is clear the mobility component plays a vital role in supporting disabled people to live their lives. Without it there is a real danger that that we will see individuals effectively becoming prisoners in their own homes.
"It is also clear from our report that the impact of the changes will not be restricted to disabled people - they are also likely to affect healthcare services such as GPs who simply don't have the capacity to cope with the increased demand for home visits that is likely to occur as a result of these cuts."
Jock Welsh, Care & Support Services Director at Margaret Blackwood Housing Association, added:
"Few things stir up passion in people as much as restricting their liberty and choice. These proposals would do both and no wonder people are angry. We have to look beyond the meagre savings this retrograde change may accrue and ensure we respect the rights of disabled people, not condemn them to a life without colour, variety, human contact, congruent services and joy.
"If appealing to your heart doesn't work, then think about the costs and tot up in your head how soon the ‘savings' will be spent on higher care costs. This smacks of being penny wise and pound foolish. Nowadays you don't seem to get much for forty quid: this benefit is fantastic value for money, however you look at it."
For further information, please contact:
Julie Laird, Communications Co-ordinator, Capability Scotland
Telephone: 01698 377 031
Mobile: 0784 178 2708