Independent Living – Welcome to the latest Independent Living news roundup.

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Welcome to the latest Independent Living news roundup.
01.05.19 Contents:
Universal Credit disgrace
“Catastrophic” care costs
NHS wheelchair services
NHS and Automation
Making voting accessible
Latest – Carer’s Allowance
1. Universal Credit disgrace

The DWP announced last June that no more people who received Severe Disability Premium would be moved onto Universal Credit, which resulted in them losing these essential payments.

They were required to repay 7000 disabled benefit claimants the sums of money they would have received if they hadn’t been switched onto Universal Credit.

Except that people on Severe Disability Premium payments continued to be moved to UC until January this year, and nobody has yet received any of the money they are due. In fact it now looks as if they won’t be refunded until the end of 2019.

Find out more here

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2. “Catastrophic” care costs

More than 143,000 older people – over a third of the 421,000 currently in residential care – are likely to face costs of £100,000 or more to pay for their care. Such costs are classed as “catastrophic“.

The government proposal of a cap on care costs won’t work for the majority of people, largely because so-called hotel costs aren’t included in the reckoning.

Independent Age is calling for free personal care for all older people as a better, fairer solution.

Read more here

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3. NHS wheelchair services

We get a lot of enquiries about NHS Wheelchair Services.

Personal Wheelchair Budgets (PWB) were trialled in a few parts of England, and offer more choice and control to wheelchair users.

As part of the expansion of Personal Health Budgets, wheelchair users “whose posture and mobility needs impact their wider health and social care” will have a legal right to a PWB.

You can read more here

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4. NHS and Automation

The Taxpayers Alliance has produced a report on the role of automation in the NHS.

It considers how existing and developing technology can enable the health and social care system to increase productivity, reduce costs, and provide better care.

£12.5 billion a year is the sum it suggests could be saved on staff costs.

Read more here

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5. Making voting accessible

Whatever your thoughts about the likely upcoming elections to the European Parliament, the results will be a statement about Britain and how we feel about being part of Europe.

Surely everybody who wants to vote should be able to? Voting is still not as accessible as it should be, but there is a campaign run by Dimensions to support people with autism and learning disabilities to understand and exercise their right to vote.

Read more here

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6. Latest – Carer’s Allowance

Carer’s Allowance can make a modest but essential contribution to the finances of people caring full-time for someone who receives a qualifying disability benefit.

In 2017-18, 826,000 carers received £2.9 billion in Carer’s Allowance. Rules around it are strict and quite complicated – it’s easy for carers to breach them without realising. And staff shortages combined with inadequate systems at the DWP have contributed to many people receiving overpayments, sometimes for long periods. These have to be repaid, causing real hardship for some.

The National Audit Office is investigating.

More info here

Don’t forget that you can apply to join the Independent Living Facebook group, if you would like to spend more time discussing these themes with other interested people.

There are various ways you can get in touch with us: email me; visit our Facebook page and leave a message there; or if it’s short and sweet, Tweet!

Previous newsletters are archived here.

If you are reading a copy of the Independent Living newsletter that has been passed on to you by a colleague or friend, why not sign up for your own free subscription – it’s quick and easy, and won’t lead to your inbox being bombarded with other stuff!

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Until next time, best wishes,


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Frances Leckie

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t: +44 (0) 208 133 0628
Skype: francesleckie

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