Overwhelming support for the User-led Commission’s New Vision on Social Security – Disability News Service – Community News
Social Security

Overwhelming support for the User-led Commission’s New Vision on Social Security – Disability News Service

Proposals of a user-led commission for major reform of the social security system – including a new “extra cost” benefit for the disabled – have received overwhelming support during a consultation exercise.

More than 1,100 people responded to a draft plan drawn up by the Social Security Commission, led by Experts by Experience.

The committee wants to replace the current system of working age benefits with something that is no longer “led by stereotypes and myths about the disabled and people in poverty”.

The three core proposals are to ensure a guaranteed decent income (GDI) of around £220 per week for a single adult and around £320 for a couple; up to more than double the child benefit up to £50 per child per week; and to introduce a new additional cost benefit to replace the Personal Independence Allowance (PIP).

Of those who responded to the survey, nearly nine in ten (88 percent) agreed with the GDI idea, described by a commissioner, Catherine Hale, as “the main foundation of our proposals”.

Four in five (79 percent) agreed or strongly agreed with the committee’s proposal to replace PIP with a new personal payment to cover the additional cost of disability.

And 96 percent agreed with the suggestion that people with disabilities receiving disability benefits should be involved in the planning and design of the system from the outset*.

More than nine in ten (92 percent) agreed that the government should create a new department separate from its efforts to help people find work, a move that would effectively split the much-criticized department for work and pensions .

There was also strong support for higher benefit rates (89 percent) and for free social care (87 percent).

Under the commission’s proposals, the new disability benefit would be co-produced with the claimants at an additional cost, with higher support rates and ratings in line with the social model of disability, while recognizing that disabled people are the experts in how their disability affects them. .

The new benefit would be increased every year and based on the principle of minimum infringement and bureaucracy.

The commission, funded by Trust for London, was launched in 2019 to develop a new social security system in which claimants would be treated with dignity, trust and respect.

Each of the Commissioners has been or is on benefits, and they all represent user-led organizations that champion the rights of benefit recipients and the disabled.

Yesterday (Wednesday), the committee held an online event to review its ideas, before launching its final, detailed proposals later this year or early 2022.

Disabled activist Ellen Morrison, co-chair of the committee, said: “We all have experience with the benefits system, we know how it fails and through our consultation, where thousands of people [shared their thoughts] there is only consensus that the current system is doing enormous damage.”

She said a new system “might no longer be needed”, adding: “The reduction in the universal credit increase, the failure to extend that increase to legacy benefits during the pandemic, the increase in energy bills, the rising food prices, all of which affect people most dependent on Social Security.

“And that’s why when we demand things need to change, whether that’s in meetings, protests or social media posts, we want to do this alongside a vision of what we want instead.”

She said the commissioners had learned that “there is no perfect system”, but said their main question now was whether their proposals were “significantly better” than the current system.

The idea for a user-led project on the future of Social Security was first floated by Dr. Michael Orton, of the Warwick Institute for Employment Research at the University of Warwick, himself a disabled person with experience as a benefit recipient.

The commissioners were supported by Orton and three other academics and researchers: Dr. Rosa Morris, who has personal experience in disability assessment and completed a PhD three years ago examining the assessment process and disability benefits; Dr Kate Summers, from the London School of Economics; and Austin Taylor-Laybourn, of Trust for London.

Morris told yesterday’s event that it would be vital that a new Social Security department be “based on dignity and respect”.

She said the proposals were about “a completely new vision of social security” that would mean “everyone has enough money to live on and receives support with extra costs”.

But she said it should also be “a system that doesn’t stigmatize and scapegoat people, but instead tries to treat people… with dignity and respect.

“And most importantly, it is a system that has been developed, designed and implemented in collaboration with people affected by the policy itself.”

*The Committee emphasizes that these results are from a consultation and not a survey and therefore do not represent a statistically significant representation of the views of the general public

Image: (Clockwise, from top left) Catherine Hale, La Toya, Ellen Morrison and Ellen Clifford speaking at the online event

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