1. Winter Fuel Payments for disabled people. Liberal Democrats will extend the Winter Fuel Payment to people already receiving the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), on the grounds that they have limited movement, and to those receiving the higher rate care component of DLA, who are terminally ill. We will also pay it to families with children with severe disabilities under the age of 5. Up to 1 million people with severe disabilities, including the families of almost 21,000 young children with disabilities, will get an extra £200 towards their fuel bills each year.
2. Practical help to get to work. Liberal Democrats will give disabled jobseekers better practical help to find a job. People with disabilities or mental health problems often need detailed advice and support to find and sustain a job. We will use voluntary and private sector providers, as well as public sector advisers, to do just that. We will improve access to counselling for people with mental health problems.
3. Reform Access to Work. Currently, disabled people have to get a job and only then can they apply for a grant from Access to Work. We will change the rules so people can apply for the grant while they are looking for work. They will then be able to apply for jobs with an upfront offer to put employers’ minds at rest that they will avoid the bill for adaptation measures.
4. Respite care so carers can take a break. Liberal Democrats will provide a week’s respite care to the 1 million carers in England who currently provide more than 50 hours of care every week. Each carer will be entitled to receive a personal budget each year equivalent to the average cost of a care home’s weekly charge (£510) to redeem with whichever local service they choose.