Concerns over mobility allowance
Sir, – Disabled people have over many months been thrown into disarray by this Government over our benefits and care needs. First, we fought cuts to personal assistant services, then cuts to home help services, then we raised concerns about cuts to other benefits that have now taken place. Carers have also been fighting for respite care services. The anxiety, the stress and depression in our lives has increased ten-fold in the past year. Cuts have been devastating.
Recently the Government said that the mobility grant to those already receiving it would not be cut in June but would stay until October, in order “to alleviate stress, anxiety, and uncertainty among a vulnerable group in society” (Breaking News, June 12th). It is offensive to have caused the stress and anxiety in the first place, so we can hardly congratulate this Government over its apparent magnanimous temporary reprieve of the mobility grant.The Government has conveniently ignored the motorised transport grant which it cut.
Minister of State for Disability, Kathleen Lynch says mobility allowance is not guaranteed beyond October. In other words, many now on mobility allowance may not get it after October when new criteria are finalised. It seems a new scheme for “severely disabled” people only, will leave others who find public transport impossible (and are getting mobility grants now, but may not be classed as “severely disabled”) imprisoned in their own homes.
As for those like me, who never got mobility allowance but increasingly need it, there is no interim scheme for the summer months.There are many disabled people still not able to get out and about, due to a combination of lack of personal assistant hours (which have been cut) and not having mobility grants.
No amount of “generous posturing” by this Government detracts from the dire suffering and difficulties it has caused disabled people and their families.
Disabled people are citizens of this country and deserve to be treated with respect and equality. We have been disproportionately disadvantaged in “austerity” policies and we all need to be concerned about this. – Yours, etc,
Dr MARGARET KENNEDY,
Specialist disability & abuse,
Greystones, Co Wicklow.