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|28 Jun 2016|
Dundee Stronger Together
The Ayrshire Stronger Together group has been working on personal Independence Payment for a while and has put together a training course to help make sure people with learning disabilities get the right help in applying for the new benefit.
From October 2015 the DWP will be asking everyone with Disability Living Allowance to apply for Personal Independence Payment. Many people with learning disabilities are worried that they may not get the help they need to apply.
Some people will be able to get professional help but many others will depend on family members and support staff to complete their forms with them. We would like to invite families and paid staff who support people with learning disabilities to a training course to help complete the application forms for the new Personal Independence Payment and to prepare for any further information that might be needed.
We have up to 20 places on each course but at this time they are only open to families from Ayrshire as the training course will be based in Kilmarnock. There is no cost to the course but they do need to book. There are more details on the leaflet.
MSP Siobhan McMahon today launched a consultation on the abolition of non-residential social care charges.The consultation was launched at the Scottish Parliament and will be open until Friday 30th January 2016.
Currently, many disabled people are being driven into poverty due to the increasing amounts of money that they have to pay as a contribution towards their social care.
Ms McMahon believes that non-residential social care is an equality and human rights issue and, therefore, should be free at the point of delivery. She also believes that the current system is unfair, because charging procedures for these care services differ considerably between local authorities.
Previously, a petition was lodged at the Scottish Parliament by the ‘Scotland Against the Care Tax’ group which was signed by 4013 people and urged the Scottish Government to abolish all local authority charges for non-residential social care services.
The consultation has received backing from many organisations including the ‘Scotland Against the Care Tax’ group, Learning Disability Alliance Scotland, and Quarriers, who were all represented at the launch event.
There were also a number of people present from across Scotland who have experienced first-hand the difficulties these charges can present to disabled people who wish to enjoy the things in life that non-disabled people take for granted.
Interesting news today from the Petitions Committee. The Clerks organised that our petition on ending social care charges for everyone be heard shortly after a petition from Amanda Kopel which was also seeking to end care charges for people with Alzheimer's and other degenerative conditions. Because the Cabinet Secretary Shona Robison had been present for an earlier petition she stayed on to comment on the care charging issues. Her news was
- Professor David Bell from Strathclyde University has been working on financial options for achieving fairer and more consistent care charges. He has now finished this work and the report is with the Scottish Government.
- The Scottish Government agree in principle that they need to take action to achieve a fairer social care charging system.
- The Scottish Government would be reforming care charges for all service users regardless of disability or condition.
- There were a number of options that the Scottish Government were considering such as Increasing the minimum income disregards or extending Free Personal Care to the under 65s
- The options that would be eventually chosen would depend on the final decisions over the budget for the next 3 years in Novembers spending reviews
- The Scottish Government proposals would be published well before the dissolution of the Scottish Parliament in March 2016
This Wednesday sees the launch of a consultation on a private members bill to abolish all social care charges and the work has begun on a number of legal cases to challenge the fundamentals of social care charging. We are hopeful that these efforts will come together to achieve real and lasting change.
The Learning Disability Alliance Scotland has produced a new guide to what Health and Social Care Integration might mean for people with learning disabilities. It uses a combination of Easy Read information and photo stories including the "Carry On" films to help explain what the benefits of working together are. This will still take some time to work through but it is a fun way of exploring a challenging subject.
However this is not a study of what is actually happening on the ground with local authority and health board plans. Further research on this will be available at a later date.
Our first article is about Disability Hate Crime. This month sees Police Scotland launch it first ever Tackling Hate Crime awareness month with each week featuring different types of hate crime. The first week is on Disability Hate Crime. Earlier this year, new figures showed that reported Disability Hate Crime has gone up by 270%. Read more here.
Our second article is about Poverty and Disabled People. The current way of calculating poverty focuses on income. We think it does not take enough account of disability related expenditure and this means that poverty among disabled people may be twice as much as the official figures suggest. Because this is a difficult subject there is a link to more detailed information at the bottom of the online article.
Our third article is about the treatment of Stephen Armstrong. Stephen died in hospital in circumstances that might not have occurred if hospital staff had had a better understanding of learning disability. This is a controversial subject that is may yet be subject to a Fatal Accident Inquiry. There are links to additional reports and newspaper reports at the bottom of the online article.
Finally there is a short note in the printed newsletter that we will be launching a national survey in the autumn of this year to find out the experience of people with learning disabilities and their families about the treatment they have had from the NHS. We want to find out what lies behind the numbers. You will be able to answer a short questionnaire, tell us your story, come to meetings to talk to other people about these and share ways of making things better.
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