Thursday, 25 February 2016

Your Disability Living Allowance is ending.

So I received the letter from the Department for Work and Pensions telling me that '[my] Disability Living Allowance is ending.' It begins by saying:

You may already be aware that Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will end soon for most claimants, including you. This affects you even if you have an indefinite award of DLA.

A new benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has been introduced to help with extra costs if you have a long term health condition or disability.

I am angry about this. I think that the DWP's actions are both immoral and unlawful. My DLA was awarded to me on an 'indefinite' basis by an Independent Tribunal - a proper court - after a number of years' dispute. I consider it to be for the DWP to follow this decision.

Instead, they and the Conservative government have come along and unilaterally and retrospectively cancelled the decision of the tribunal.

I think it is open to the government to create a new benefit for new claimants. I do not think it is open to the government to create a new benefit and impose it on existing claimants, replacing the old benefit, but with different rules, rates and conditions. This is moving the goalposts to disqualify people who previously qualified.

This is why they used to make sure that new rules for new benefits would 'not affect existing claimants.' It was consistent with the legal principle of non-retroactivity.

As a result, I wrote to the DWP, requesting a mandatory reconsideration of their decision to end my DLA. I am not an expert on social security law, but I understand that you are entitled to appeal any decision about your benefits.

This was about a month ago and I have still not heard back from them. I asked them on Twitter if they had an e-mail address that I can contact them with, but they said that they do not offer such a facility.

How can it be right for the DWP to discriminate against Deaf people like this? They cancel my benefit and then make it almost impossible to contact them to discuss the matter.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Petition calling for the Speaker to tell Ministers to answer the question.

I've just set up a new petition and the idea behind it is fairly simple.

We keep seeing David Cameron answer a question at Prime Minister's Questions with something other than what he was asked.

For example, Jeremy Corbyn asks about flood defences and Mr Cameron replies with mockery about the Shadow Cabinet reshuffle.

So my petition is to try and dissuade or prevent Ministers from changing the subject. I think that this is important because MPs ask questions on behalf of their constituents and we are anxious to hear what the government is doing about our problems and whether they are taking them seriously.

This is why my petition calls for the Speaker to have the power to direct Ministers to answer the questions put to them in the course of Parliamentary business.

If you support my petition, please sign it and share it, thank you!

Link to petition.