The UK government are declining to answer whether it will go ahead with its £30-a-week cuts to key disability benefits after it’s defeat in the House of Lords in January – prompting hopes of a change in policy.
It’s an uncertain time for anyone claiming Disability Benefits in the UK and in the USA.
In the USA, they face similar issues. Congress has bailed out the Social Security Disability Insurance program using funds from the Social Security’s Retirement program – Robbing Peter to pay Paul?
The first issue that comes to mind when people become ill is “how am I going to make a living?” Disability Insurance in the US is a priority especially if you are unable to work even for a short space of time.
According to a 2012 survey by the Consumer Federation of America and UNUM – 50% of workers polled knew little or nothing about disability insurance. This makes scary reading as most would put insurance coverage as Vital. If it’s offered as part of an employee benefit plan at work make sure you sign up for it or consider purchasing it through the workplace.
According to the Council for Disability Awareness, an insurance industry-funded trade group, back injuries, cancer, heart attacks, diabetes and other illnesses lead to most disability claims but only 55% of Americans have enough savings to see them through the first month of illness.
Back in the UK, we all feel like we are on tender hooks not knowing where the axe will fall. It’s the uncertainty that adds stress to an already worrying picture for people on Long and Short-term Disabilities Benefits.
One worrying issue is people affected by Cancer, there are over 2,300 people currently in the group whose rate for new claimants would be cut.
Research commissioned by charities has also warned that a reduction in Benefits makes it more difficult and more unlikely for people to get back into the workforce.
Today the Prime Minister is offering little assurance on the key concerns of activity groups such as WRAG (work related activity group) The effects will be damaging not only to employment but to people’s health.
New claimants will receive a third less money than the current recipients, 28% say they will not be able to afford to eat with the amount they have to live on.
I see first hand the effects of the cuts having worked for over 18 months with Citizens Advise Bureau here in the UK, the cuts are harsh and brutal forcing many people to choose between Heating or Eating.