Over 100,000 disabled people will not have access to care and support for basic needs under Government reforms
Yesterday afternoon, Mencap spokeswoman Lorraine Bellamy, pictured right, told the joint meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Health and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Learning Disability about how she struggled to live independently before she was able to get valuable social care at home.
The meeting looked at the future of social care and discussed the Care Bill, which is currently being debated in Parliament.
Research by Mencap and leading disability charities shows that over 100,000 disabled people will not have access to care and support for basic needs, under the Government’s proposed changes to eligibility criteria* in the Care Bill.
56-year old Lorainne Bellamy, who works for Mencap and has a learning disability, said:
“I have been living on my own now for six years and I used to not get any support at home, I struggled a lot. Mencap helped me get a social worker and six hours of support a month from social services. It has made a big difference and really helps me.”
Lorainne spoke to peers, MPs, senior social care figures and people with a learning disability at the APPG about how just six hours of social care support a month keeps her in work, out of debt, and able to do activities that she is passionate about.
“My social worker, Gina, helps me with letters about my tax credits which are really difficult to understand. She helps me read and understand my telephone bills, my gas bills, my insurance and my statements from the bank. She has helped me set-up direct debits so I can pay my bills and not get into debt.
“Gina also supports me to go out more and she pushes me to do things. I enjoy swimming but find it difficult on my own. Being with her gives me confidence. She also supports me with cooking. I love cooking and she helps me make cakes and biscuits for me to bring into work.”
One third of people who use social care services are working-age disabled people, like Lorainne. Social care for working-age disabled adults is under-funded by at least £1.2 billion**. What’s more, 40% of people with a disability said that social care services don’t meet their basic needs like washing, dressing or getting out of the house, and 47% said that the services they receive do not enable them to take part in community life*.
Lorainne urges the Government to listen to the voices of people with a disability to make sure they don’t lose out on the vital support they need to live independent lives:
“I’m worried that there are people worse off than me who don’t get any support at all and worry about what happens to them. I hope the Government and others listen to people with a learning disability and their families so that they get the support they need.”
There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want. Find out more at www.mencap.org.uk
For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap Direct on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
* The other care crisis report: www.mencap.org.uk/other-care-crisis-report
** Ending the other care crisis report: www.mencap.org.uk/ending-the-other-care-crisis