There has been talk in the media recently about possible future cuts to disability services and benefits, and this week Theresa May was taken to task by a lady in Abingdon on the issue.
This is clearly a matter of concern to people living with A-T and to the A-T Society. It comes at a time when the Department of Work and Pensions is rolling out the change from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payments across the country. Many families are receiving complicated forms to fill in and being invited to an assessment interview. This can be very stressful, particularly as the system seems to be operating in an environment where there is pressure to find that people are able to work or are not eligible for the allowance.
The A-T Society is very aware of these problems. We consider it ridiculous that so many people with A-T are being required to undergo an assessment visit, for a condition as severe as A-T, and when they have previously had a lifetime award of DLA. We have spoken to ATOS and to the DWP about this.
However, it is currently a matter of policy that everyone with a disability, regardless of what it is or its severity, has to go through an assessment, unless a doctor states that they are unable to do so. Trying to change this policy is not something we can do on our own, but we will work with others to try and do so. And if you have a chance to raise the issue with your MP, that can only be helpful.
In the meantime, though, if you are sent the forms, please do contact us before you fill them in. Likewise, if you are invited to an assessment, please get in touch, so that we can advise or support you. You can either email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring us on 01582 760733.
And finally, try not to worry. A-T is a seriously disabling condition, and with the support of the A-T Society, we will be able to make them see that. But if you are worried, please do contact us.