Removal of Legal Aid for the disabled

The swingeing cuts to allowances and benefits for the disabled made by our current coalition government have led to a huge number of appeals against DWP (Atos) decisions which has caused a huge backlog of tribunals.  In fact they are having to work on Saturdays to reduce the backlog.  It is well worth disabled people appealing as 40% of decisions are overturned on appeal, rising to 70% when the appellant is represented.

The Tribunal judiciary has produced statistics which show an alarming increase in benefit appeals from 167,000 in 2008/2008 to 418,500 in 2010/2011 with projections that this will have reached 644,000 per year by 2014/2015.  Here are their statistics for Social Security and Child Support:

Annual Intake of SSCS Appeals
2008-09    242,800
2009-10     339,200
2010-11      418,500
(forecast)
2011-12      421,6009
2012-13      483,400
2013-14      576,700
2014-15      644,000

Those wily people we nearly elected to be our government have an answer to this distressing situation.  They are not, as any reasonable person would think, going to change the system that creates these wrong decisions.  That after all would be to admit that they were not as clever as they thought.  Their solution is simple, remove the right to legal aid for the disabled and the success rate of the appeals will go down.

à propos

Today I am asking people to sign an e-petition if they are so minded.  Click link to open a new window:   Stop and review the cuts to benefits and services which are falling disproportionately on disabled people, their carers and families If you sign why not leave a comment.

It is with deep sadness that I report that one of the leaders of the ‘Responsible Reform Report’ , Sue Marsh has had a relapse and has had to be hospitalised.  she joins two of her colleagues who also burnt out with the effort and had to go into hospital.  You may have seen her a few days ago on Newsnight looking remarkably healthy  but the effort of putting the report together and publicising it has taken its toll.

I am reminded by something Martin Amis wrote but here I reproduce it with one word changed.

“When you become disabled….. When you become disabled, you find yourself auditioning for the role of a lifetime, then, after interminable rehearsals, you’re finally starring in a horror film – a talentless, irresponsible, and above all low-budget horror film.”