Yesterday's Budget has shown that the current Government does not understand the nature of disability or the purpose of Disability Living Allowance. The proposed changes will potentially have a wide ranging impact, especially for families of disabled children and anyone with a hidden disability or one which varies from day to day (such as MS).
DLA is not, and never has been, related to the ability to work, which is covered by Incapacity Benefit (now Employment Support Allowance). Instead DLA might contribute to the cost of special equipment, of having to take taxis, of replacing household items broken by a challenging child. It might help with the cost of a cleaner or occasional carer. The money (and associated Carer's Allowance) might enable a parent to stay at home to care for a disabled child for whom finding childcare would be very difficult. People perhaps assume that all these things are automatically provided by the NHS or Social Services. Well no, they're not, in fact most disabled people don't even have a social worker. The other truth of the matter is that many people who should be entitled to DLA don't even claim, either because they don't know about it or find the form-filling too complex.
I could write a huge blog post on all this, but Anne Wollenberg has already done so in this excellent piece for Comment is Free for the Guardian. Read it, please.