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.