Welfare Reform Bill

Memorandum submitted by the Association of Disabled Professionals (WR 16)

Welfare reform bill

The Association of Disabled Professionals have considered the welfare reform bill and has the following issues

1) Personal independence payment (PIP) it appears that the PIP is only

payable until age 65. It implies that PIP recipients cannot live independently nor drive after 65 because they no longer get PIP. In turn support workers will be made redundant as PIP is withdrawn and the person may go into residential care which will cost the state more money The motability cars will have to be returned and the disabled person will be more isolated. We would suggest the wording to be changed to 'PIP will not be payable to new applicants who are 65 or of state pension age and over'

2) It is proposed that PIP is payable for a fixed term. This proposal

is unacceptable as disabled people are assessed many times for different allowances scuh as social care and access to work. Many people's impairments are not changing such as paraplegia, cerebral palsy, Visual/hearing/speech impairments, people with learning disabilities etc. It is a total waste of money and time reviewing everyone only to find they are on the same PIP.

3) Over and above all the age related issues the state pension age is changing. The PIP clause will need to be changed to allow for this to happen.

4) Healthcare professionals are not trained to deal with the many issues of disabled people.

5) Employment and support allowance we do have concerns around the 12 month limit as disabled people have more barriers to get work ( because of employers attitudes and the current economic climate, accessibility) than non disabled people and often it takes them longer to get work commensurate with their abilities. EG A wheelchair user who was a qualified engineer told us job centre plus had told him, he could work as a filing clerk - He could not do the job because he could not stand up and he felt very undervalued and demeaned.

6) Access to better paid work and doing more hours. This may not be the

best way forward for a disabled person or someone who is sick. We have calls to our helpline from disabled people saying they have been told to find/leave a job but because of their health they cannot do any more hours

- It gives them pride to work. We would urge the government to retain the16 hour working tax credit as this acts as an incentive to work for disabled people.

The Association of Disabled Professionals since its formation in 1971, by Disabled Professionals and Managers who needed to share experiences, has been providing individually tailored practical advice using a common sense approach. We have assisted fellow disabled people and supporters with:

1) Setting up, managing and developing a business.

2) Employment issues, including gaining and retaining employment.

3) Education and career issues.

4) Other issues that impact upon employment and self-employment.

5) Positive campaigning on issues relating to the education and employment of disabled people and liaising with others.

The ADP has a FREE telephone and email helpline operated by two disabled part time members of staff and five volunteers. We are often the last point of call for many clients who have been to other organisations for support.

Using our own experiences, advice is given by disabled people to other disabled people. Often disabled people want to hear from other disabled people and "I wish I'd talked to you before" is a common remark.

The ADP is thus able to provide an 'insider perspective' to effectively support many disabled people to achieve their career aspirations, as well as to support other organisations to generate positive outcomes in their dealings with disabled people.

March 2011