Destined, the learning disability support organisation based in the city, has added its voice in opposition to the proposed coalition government policy of introducing a new medical assessment for those in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
The policy which seeks to introduce medical assessments on all claimants from 2013 is seen by Destined manager Dermot O’Hara as part of the government’s cutbacks that are targeted at those who are most needy and vulnerable in society.
Mr. O’Hara said: “The proposed medical assessments for people who are receiving DLA is seen as a thinly disguised approach to enable the government to introduce cutbacks through the back door. People with learning disabilities are the most vulnerable group in the community and most if not all of them are in receipt of some form of welfare benefit including DLA.
“They are at the bottom rung of the ladder in terms of funding and are the most economically inactive section in society and they are now going to be subjected to more hardships through this proposed medical assessment of the benefits.”
He continued: “I know that if people with learning disabilities are forced to undergo the proposed medical assessment for their disability living allowance that this will create untold stress and anxiety. People with learning disabilities don’t become cured all of a sudden so if they have already been assessed to claim DLA then there is no rational explanation for a re-assessment unless the government is seeking to make cut backs at the expense of this vulnerable section of the community.”
He also called on the DSD Minister Alex Attwood not to allow his department to carry out the proposed medical assessments on behalf of the Conservative/Liberal government.
He said: “ If Alex Attwood is sincere in standing up to these cuts then I hope he will not allow his officers to implement the assessment process.”