Why Direct Payments Don't Work for Disabled Parents
The idea behind direct payments was that instead of having home helps come into your home, you would be given an allowance with which to pay any attendant for anything you liked, within a budget.
In reality, the service is a complete non-starter and is proof that social services and the government doesn't even recognise that disabled parents exist. Not only do social services have to agree on the type of help you spend it on, they have also completely barred disabled parents from using direct payments if their children are involved in the activities.
This is because they say that if the activity involves the child, it is for him and the direct payments are supposed to be for the adult, therefore they won't pay. Their alternative solution is to offer up a child social worker to assist in activities with a child. This means that disabled parents either have to go without assistance that might benefit them or have child services in their house and risk losing their child through predudism.
It is obvious that a large percentage of activities any parent does is for their child as when you become a parent they become your priority and it is completely outdated and very insulting not to include parental activities in the list of allowable activities for direct payments.
As the founder of this union and a disabled parent myself, I accessed direct payments when I was going through a hip replacement surgery and recovery because I could not at that time take them to their groups - swimming club, drama, children's foreign language classes, etc - and I wanted someone to drive us (after surgery I was on three months of heavy restrictions in what I could and could not do). i was told that I couldn't use the payments for anything to do with my children and I would have to get a social worker. After the discrimination I faced, I will never let a child social worker in my home or near my children again so this wasn't an option for me.
It's about time the government realised that disabled children don't just disappear when they reach adulthood, they become disabled adults who become disabled parents!
Not only that but the process by which to even qualify for the payments involves numerous intrusive meetings with adult social care and the formation of a care plan which is offensive in itself because they're not 'caring' for you unless you are severely disabled, they are just supposed to enable you to do it yourself. I didn't want that level of intrusion into my home and personal life This is one of the reasons why I didn't claim until my hip was so badly fractured and dislocated that I couldn't stand up and when I finally did claim, I found I could not use it in my parenting role anyway, which was 95% of what I needed it for.
Until the law is changed to recognise disabled parents and the job they do in providing for their children and this is reflected in the direct payments scheme, it is my personal opinion that disabled parents would be better off having family or friendship support if they need any assistance, As part of this campaign we will be lobbying for direct payments to be given over to the control of HMRC rather than social services. HMRC already deal with personal independence payments and the process of receiving direct payments should be the same and free from an agency with a history of splitting up disabled families.