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Complainant Name:
Disability Alliance

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Daily Mail

Complaint:

Neil Coyle, the Director of Policy for the Disability Alliance, complained to the Press Complaints Commission - with the support of a number of other prominent charity organisations - that the newspaper had published a misleading article on the subject of disability related benefits. The complainant said the article was inaccurate when it stated that half of the 3.2 million people on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) had never been asked for evidence to back up their claims when, in fact, the claim forms itself acts as evidentiary support.

Resolution:

The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the publication of the following letter:

"The great disability benefit free-for-all" (Mail) suggested that half the disabled people receiving Disability Living Allowance hadn't provided evidence of their needs. This was misleading - and appeared as the Government plans 2 billion worth of cuts to DLA.

Disabled people seeking DLA have to complete a detailed claim and often ask a GP to provide information. Many are required to attend a medical assessment and the Department of Work and Pensions also conducts further checks.

There is no factual basis to suggest widespread DLA abuse: the DWP estimates DLA fraud at 0.5 per cent, but plans to cut spending on it by 20 per cent.

Perversely, the Government's latest initiative will require a new assessment costing 675 million and mean routinely checking disabled people whose conditions are unchanged, such as those who are blind.

The last Conservative government introduced DLA to help with disability-related higher costs of living, but a third of disabled people still live in poverty. DLA contributes towards equipment not provided by the NHS or higher heating bills to manage health conditions for example.

The importance of DLA to vulnerable individuals cannot be disputed. The 1997 Benefit Integrity Project led to the suicide of some disabled people. As the impending cuts are implemented, we fear history being repeated.

Neil Coyle, Disability Alliance, and representatives of Action for ME, Radar, Mind, the Learning Disability Coalition, Breast Cancer Care, Action for Blind People, MND Association, Parkinson's UK, the TUC, Guide Dogs and Arthritis Care.

Date Published: 19/05/2011



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