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The DWP commissioned this report into the impact of Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance on the recipients and their familys / carers. First published in 2010. As it is a very long document, I have summarised it. Please bear in mind that these benefits have been targeted by our beloved Coallition to face cuts despite the fact they would have read the report....
The study was carried out with the help of professionals, advisors, claimants and their carers.
The consensus of the Advisors is that DLA and AA has a major positive impact upon the lives of the claimants .Benefits include allowing greater independance, improving quality of life, enhancing physical and mental health and meeting some of the extra costs of living with a disability.
DLA and AA recipients describe how they use the money to improve their life by, for example paying for housework, gardening , buying medical equipment and care (no, not all given for free!), transport and home maintainance.
The findings showed that most of the personal care and support given to the claimants is unpaid and provided by spouses, older children and other relatives.
Other benefits of DLA and AA are that it enables claimants a "passport" to claiming other supports eg. Blue Badge Scheme. It enables more people to retain their independence by living at home, enables paid and voluntary work and very importantly, acknowleges the claimants medical condition.
For child recipients, the allowances were found to be used to improve the child's future by spending on Speech and Language therapies, physiotherapy and stimulation.. all with a view to future developement.
DLA & AA were introduced under a Conservative government in 1992, as non-means tested benefits to contribute to meeting the extra costs of living with a disability. The number of people receiving DLA in May of 2009 was 3,070,610 of whom 366,540 were children under the age of 18 and 792,380 were over the age of 65. The number of AA recipients was 1,585,790.
An Age Concern paper written in 2008 shows that just 24% of the benefit was spent on personal care, the rest being used to enable the recipient to stay in their own home with a degree of dignity and comfort.
A different way of thinking about DLA and AA benefits is preventative.. The findings showed preventative roles in avoiding moves into residential and nursing care, avoiding deterioration in health and making fewer demands on formal health and social care services.