WtB Podcast - 3. #myDLA


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Where's the Benefit? Podcast

News & Politics

Transcript:On Friday November the 11th several of the right wing newspapers were running dubious storiesabout DLA; varying from slightly massaging the facts to suit their agenda to out and out bollocks.In response writer Lucy Glennon asked people on Twitter to use the hashtag #myDLA to tell theirstories about claiming DLA and how they spend it. Inspired by this I asked WtB readers to submitshort audio files with their DLA stories. This is what people had to say:Person 1: I get DLA as I am bedbound with ME. My DLA review wasrefused on paperwork and then it was stopped completely when I had amedical because apparently, I don't look disabled. It was reinstatedat the highest rates after my MP became involved. The whole thing took18 months to get sorted out and it shouldn't take an MP's involvementto get the basic rate of support in this country. Daily Mail articlesare just full of lies and hate and I just don't understand why? Whatdid we do wrong? We've done nothing wrong, it's just so pointless.Person 2: I have an invisable illness. It took me two years, a medicalassessment, two appeals and a tribunal to get my DLA. It was highlydamaging to my health. Because my illness is also variable, I let myDLA lapse when my health improved for a while and now I've relapsed, Ihave to go through it all again.Person 3: My DLA is how I buy equipment. It pays for the electricitythat keeps my ventilator powered. It pays for the electricity thatkeeps my feeding equipment powered. It pays for my electricwheelchair, without which I would be completely unable to mobilise andit pays for other smaller things like incontinence pads or specialcutlery, plates - all the things you can't really get from the NHS.Really, without my Disability Living Allowance, I wouldn't be able tosurvive and I would die without my ventilator.Martyn: Hello, my name is Martyn Sibley. I'm 28 years old. I've beendisabled since birth due to a genetic condition called Spinal MuscularAtrophy. I just wanted to take a little moment to share with you#myDLA, the way I use Disability Living Allowance. Due to mydisability, I qualify for both the higher rate of care and the higherrate of mobility component of the benefit. Obviously the overall pointof the benefit is that it recognises the additional costs that resultfrom being disabled, living in a society that exists at the moment.The care part of my component enables me to employ full time careassistants to enable me with getting out of bed, general personalcare, domestic chores and also getting out of the house and sociallybeing active in the community. The mobility part of my DLA is alsoenabling me to drive my adaptive car, without which I would find itvery very difficult if not impossible to get anywhere beyond thedistance in a wheelchair. And because I have that adaptive vehicle, Iam able to drive myself out for work, which means I am contributing tothe economy, and also I'm able to get out and about and spend themoney I have earnt, back into the shops and cinemas and bars, again,putting back into our economy too. So I hope that illustrates thepicture that DLA enables me to live a very full and independent life.And if you want to look at it from a very economical perspective assome of the right wing press seem to want to do today, I am actuallyfar more valuable to our society and our economy when I am able to beout there, living a great life, working and spending my hard-earnedmoney. Thank you very much.Person 4: Without my DLA, I wouldn't have personal assistants. I wouldbe stuck inside all of the time. I wouldn't be able to eat. I wouldn'tbe able to get out of bed. I wouldn't be able to move around my house,go to the toilet or enpty my catheter bag. Without my DLA I would bemoved to a nursing home. I'm 25 years old and that would be the end ofmy life.Jack: Hello, my name is Jack and my DLA supplies us with a reliablecar and helps us towards essential costs such as energy, special dietfoods, medication and travel to appointments and many many morethings. Without my DLA I would be less independent and not more. Thiswould force me to be more reliant upon my partner and the social caresystem. It took me six weeks of all my useful hours to fill out theapplication form. That is 36 hours and resulted in a form includingevidence that was hundreds of pages long. I would hardly call that asimple form.Louise: My name's Louise and I'm a working claimant for DisabilityLiving Allowance. I receive middle rate care and lower rate mobility.I have epilepsy which means I don't have a driving license any moreand haven't done for the last 15 years because my seizures areuncontrolled. I use the mobility allowance mainly for taxis because Iam a working journalist, I am out and about a lot and sometimes it'squite difficult for me to get around. Sometimes journeys would takefor example an hour, and hour and a half whereas by car they mightonly take 20 minutes as I am reliant on public transport so that'swhere the money goes on taxis. For the care allowance, which I get themiddle rate I use that to buy in meals for after I've had seizures andI'm not well enough to get out of bed and cook for myself, orsometimes I'm just too tired from the medication and just don't wantto make the effort, so on those days I will do something like order atakeway over the internet and have it delivered.I also occasionally use my DLA for things like buying in theassistance of a cleaner for the days when I'm too tired and too illtobe able to do things like vacuuming my home. For me it is anabsolute lifeline. I really wouldn't be able to manage without becauseof the things I am able to do with that extra money. I don't earn alot of money for my work. But the DLA helps me with all those extracosts and if I was to stop receiving it under the proposed changes, Iwould probably have to stop work, that would mean I would be thrownback completely onto benefits whereas while I'm working and receivingDLA which enables me to keep working, I'm actually paying back intothe pot, I'm paying my taxes and my National Insurance. For the statethat's actually a lot cheaper than taking away my DLA and stopping mefrom working.Person 2: My DLA form was so overwhelminglylong and difficult that I had to get a charity to fill it in for me.Eleanor: Hi, my name's Eleanor. I use my DLA to help me withtransport, to get train tickets. I also use my DLA to get support fordoing housework that I can't do, to get some shopping. I also use myDLA to help to adapt my flat so I can negotiate my everyday living.And I use my DLA to help me buy equipment.Pippa: Hi, my name's Pippa, also known as Incurable Hippie. I'm one ofthe bloggers with Where's the Benefit? I get DLA for my mental healthproblems. The difference it makes to me is massive. I can get veryextreme anxiety which will stop me from going anywhere or doinganything and I use my DLA for things like taxis or my telephone billto help me get support, taxis to appointments for instance. Anotherthing it's very helpful for is that sometimes when I'm unwell I'm notsafe to use things like sharp knives and heat sources and I can use myDLA to spend the extra money on things like ready meals which make ita lot easier to be able to eat. Without my DLA I would be a lot moreisolated, I would have less contact with my friends, which is a veryimportant part of me staying as well as I can, I would missappointments, which are also clearly important in helping me staywell. And I would overall become a lot iller, which would of coursecost the government a lot more in treating me, perhaps in hospital orcertainly more intensive treatment. So not only does DLA help me, italso helps the government save money, because it reduces the risk ofme getting so ill that I would need a lot more expensive care.Lisa: You can read all the My DLA tweets Lucy collated at http://storify.com/LucyTweeting/mydlaThere’ll be another episode of the WtB podcast… Eventually. In the meantime you can find our blogat wheresthebenefit.blogspot.com, you can ‘like’ us on facebook by going to www.facebook.com/wheresthebenefit. You can follow us on twitter @wheresbenefit (there’s a character limit on twitterusernames and we didn’t have room for the “the”. So we’re just @wheresbenefit) or if you’ve gotanything you want to ask us, or you’d like to pitch us a guest post for our blog then you can Email usat wheresthebenefit *at* gmail *dot* comThanks for listening!