Wednesday, 1 August 2012

DLA Dallying in The Sun

There was an unusual piece in Tuesday's Sun sticking up for those on a Disability Benefits. Well, sort of.

The author, Julie Thomas, a woman who lost her sight and also suffers from epilepsy, hit out at the small minority of people making bogus benefit claims.

She argued that those claiming Disability Living Allowance, a payment to help disabled people go about their lives whether in work or not, were being unfairly lumped in with those on Employment Support Allowance, the payment for those unable to work.

Incapacity Benefit, which was succeded by ESA, was open to abuse she argued, but it was wrong to tar those on DLA with the same brush.

In her article, Ms Thomas who claims both DLA and ESA stated: "Figures show that around 95 per cent of claimants for DLA are genuine. Part of that must be because it takes such a lot of effort to apply for it.

"Government ministers seem to want to lump DLA in with incapacity benefit, which is paid to those who are unable to work, and it seems the percentage of genuine claimants here is not so high.

"It’s important that these two benefits are not seen together. Disabled people must not be thought of as scroungers."

What was unusual is that the tone of the piece could scarcely be more different from a Sun piece from two days earlier.

Rather than a benefit requiring "a lot of effort" to receive, DLA was doled out to anyone "by simply filling in a form and there are virtually no checks to see if existing claimants are still eligible."

They mentioned that the DLA system costs £13 billion a year, they mentioned that £630 million is spent on people on the mend, they mentioned 21,000 claimants who have alcohol or drug and alcohol problems, and that claimants have trebled in the pas 20 years.

They also found room for a few paragraphs from Iain Duncan Smith branding the system "chaos".

Strangely, they didn't mention the fact that, to quote Ms Thomas DLA constitutes "financial support given to disabled people to assist them with their lives, including paying for technology to allow them to work."

In fact, they didn't mention at all that you could claim DLA while being in work at all.

Could the two pieces be related?

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