Monday 9 January 2012

Living With Disability and Why DLA is a Godsend

The twittosphere is abuzz with news of the Spartacus report, which you can read here. I do not know a lot about the proposed Government reforms regarding Disability Living Allowance (DLA), to be honest, it scares me. As much as I know is that in 2013 everyone currently on Disability Living Allowance will be reviewed, and as a result many people will lose their benefit. This blog provides excellent and in depth insight into the changes that are proposed, and I would urge you to read and support Bendy Girl.

I don't talk about my husband much. He doesn't read my blog, not because he doesn't support me and what I write, but because he is a Luddite. If it's not on paper, it doesn't exist! He doesn't use Facebook or Twitter and certainly is not a blog reader.

My husband has a serious and life long congenital disability called Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita. He does know and support the fact I am writing about it today.  This disability affects him every day. I met and married Corey knowing about his disability and fully accepting him, but we cannot hide from the fact that, at times, his disability makes a huge impact on our lives.

DLA is a fairly unique sort of payment, I had never heard of it until I met Corey, but it is awarded on a sliding scale, to people with a disability, living in the community. It is non-means tested, and an acknowledgement that regardless of your income, disability can impact you financially. There are two components to DLA, mobility and care. Corey gets both a mobility and a care component.

I think some people are under the misapprehension that if you have a disability automatically you get extra support and help from the NHS and the council, but this is not the case. We don't get any additional help for Corey, if we need assistance, we use the DLA payments we get to help with the additional costs of living with disability.

Corey's disability means his hands are fused, he has limited function in his wrists, so there are a lot of household tasks he cannot do, and personal care tasks. His knees are also fused, and he cannot kneel, therefore many tasks are outside his reach. Even changing nappies is very difficult for Corey, he can't do it on the floor, and he doesn't have the strength or stability to lift a baby on to a changing table. We did nappy changes on our bed, but even that is hard for Corey.

Corey's biggest issue are his feet. His toes are bent under his feet, it is painful for him to walk, his toenails are constantly assaulted when he walks, he is prone to infections, both fungal nail and skin infections. Somewhat unbelievably, he is not eligible for specialist footwear provided by the NHS. He has to find boots that will fit him, which are expensive, and due to the way he walks, do not last very long. We are on the constant hunt for the pefect boot!

DLA helps us keep Corey healthy and mobile, and helps offset the impact his disability makes on our lives, and I am very grateful for it! Without DLA Corey would not be able to work, and would be able to claim a lot more benefits.

After having Joseph, the impact of Corey's disability became a lot more apparent. He gets very tired, it isn't fair of me to ask him to do night feeds and nappy changes. However, Corey does do the washing up everynight and hoovers and washes the floors. Lately under this cloud the government has put over people with disabilities has made him feel nervous about mowing the lawn, or hoovering the front room, in case someone tries to say he's not really disabled. I find that sad.

I'm eager to find out more about these changes and learn more about the campaign to ensure that people who really need it, do not loose their DLA.


  1. Excellent piece. I think it's great that people are talking - at least then understanding and next steps can happen.

  2. Thanks Kate, I think disability is still a taboo that we don't talk about, I certainly don't, and that's how governments get away with really awful decisions. I do hope those who need to, stand up and take notce.