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Stigmatisation of benefit claimants needs to end - McCann

13 October, 2010 - by Fra McCann

Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast Fra McCann speaking after the release of information regarding the uptake of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) across the North of Ireland, said:

“The recent figures showing that there is a high degree of people across the north that are receipt of Disability Living Allowance are not as surprising as they may initially appear.

If we look at factors such as the legacy of the conflict, a traditionally higher level of disability within the north and patterns of social deprivation, all of these play a part in people’s quality of life and health levels.

The facts are that DLA is a benefit that needs medical approving before anyone receives it; there are various grades of DLA and those areas with the highest rates have in reality seen very little inward investment into their communities over a prolonged period of time.

DLA has already been proven to be the least fraudulent of any benefits that people are entitled to. We must get away from the stigmatisation of those in receipt of this important benefit.

What we need to see happen, instead of targeting those who are on benefits in a negative way, we need to explore in what ways we can address the needs of those in receipt of benefits.

That includes support mechanisms, service provision and improvements in preventative health measures.” CRÍOCH

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