Unnamed local person with special needs has benefits reduced

Unnamed local person with special needs has benefits reduced

Published by Maria Greenwood at 7:49am 7th November 2019.

Dorset Council is to look again at a decision which has cost a local person with special needs £125 a month in benefits.

The review may result in other Dorset residents having their benefits re-assessed, possibly reversing similar reductions.

Crossways area Cllr Nick Ireland claims the council has chosen to apply the rules in a way which has disadvantaged his, unnamed, adult constituent.

He made the plea for the case to be reviewed at this week’s cabinet meeting in Dorchester.

Cllr Ireland says the cut in benefits came when the person had to move from Disability Living Allowance (DLA)  to Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

Councillors sat in the council chamber.
Cllr Nick Ireland

He said the enhanced government payment has remained unchanged but Dorset Council officers reduced the overall benefits by not allowing a proportion of a payment for night care: 

"The Disability Rights Association highlight that moving from DLA to PIP should not be an excuse for local authorities to disadvantage their dependants when their needs have not changed and that the disapplication should be continued.

"The responses I have received from Dorset Council are that the current policy is based on guidance in the Care Act and also from the National Association of Financial Assessment Officers.  

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"However, they also acknowledge that some local authorities are continuing with the practise of disapplying a proportion of PIP income for assessment purposes.

"Whilst I am well aware of the current funding crisis facing this council, and in particular those services we provide to adults and children, it seems both absurd and completely inequitable that a Dorset resident with extensive care needs is penalised by an arbitrary change that this council has the discretion to ignore, yet has failed to do so."

'Response'

Council leader Cllr Spencer Flower promised a meeting to discuss the case and said that council officers will now review Dorset’s approach to its policy with neighbouring councils, with an update before the next cabinet meeting.

By Trevor Bevins, Local Democracy Reporter