Needs of younger disabled adults must be championed

The debate on long-term care funding has focused on older people at the expense of younger, disabled adults, an issue which must be redressed ahead of this year’s green paper.

That was the view from Leonard Cheshire Disability head of policy and campaigns John Knight after the charity released a report yesterday outlining the adverse impact on disabled people of the withdrawal of social care through tougher eligibility criteria.

The study of 35 disabled adults – two-thirds of whom earned £15,000 or less a year and 9% of whom worked – found over one-third had gone into debt to cover basic needs and more than half had experienced accidents or further illnesses after their entitlements changed.

Knight said the experiences of disabled adults – particularly those in poverty – were not registering sufficiently in the Department of Health’s thinking on the forthcoming green paper on adult care and its funding.

“The bulk of the debate on social care funding has been about older people. Older people have usually had a lifetime of work, they’ve been able to accumulate assets. If you’re disabled you are twice as likely [as the general population] to be poor,” Knight said.

He said the green paper needed to ensure younger people with moderate needs but without resources had the right to a basic care package.

Knight insisted he did not want to pit older people’s interests against disabled people’s, but he wanted “the same intellectual energy” applied to them.

Help the Aged head of policy Paul Cann said older and disabled care users had common interests, and that one of the charity’s “priority groups” were those who lacked the means to pay for care, which spanned all age groups.

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Leonard Cheshire Disability: Your Money or Your Life

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Mithran Samuel


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