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At any given opportunity when in front of TV cameras, David Cameron waxes lyrically about what this nation owes to British Military Forces, with special consideration given to disabled veterans, writes Mo Stewart.
But it seems that he means modern disabled veterans who, since 2005, have benefited from the more generous Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.
Until April 2005, members of the armed forces who suffered a permanent disablement due to service life were awarded a War Pension, with many awarded access to Disability Living Allowance (DLA), for life, to help to fund the additional costs of disability.
Without warning, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has sent letters to working-age War Pensioners advising that access to DLA is about to be stopped and that disabled veterans may, if they wish, apply for the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – with no guarantee that it will be awarded.
DLA for care at the highest rate is the monitor used by local authorities to provide home care services that permit disabled people to enjoy independent living in the community. Without DLA, or its equivalent replacement, the care services will be removed.
Older War Pensioners, over 65 years of age, are permitted to retain access to DLA for life. Modern disabled British forces have access to the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and are unaffected by this unacceptable change as they have access to the new Armed Forces Independence Payment, introduced in 2013.
However, an estimated 80,000 disabled working-age War Pensioners, disabled when in service to the nation before April 2005, are about to have their DLA removed with a guarantee that many will not be awarded PIP, which continues to cause concern with less than 13,000 decisions from more than 220,300 applicants as of May 2014. PIP has a 12 month waiting list for assessments.
This is yet another cost cutting measure by the Prime Minister and the DWP, without consideration for the unacceptable price in human suffering, leaving 80,000 working-age disabled War Pensioners at risk of imminent destitution if PIP is not awarded.
All War Pensioners should be permitted to retain access to DLA to acknowledge their much proclaimed “service to the nation” as constantly mentioned by the Prime Minister – but only when in front of the TV cameras.
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