As a social care service user, I have had the concept of need used by others to try to control my life for 20 years, and I have realised is it something that is meaningless on its own. It is easy to come up with a whole range of reasons why someone needs or does not need something. I used to say and believe need is what someone’s else’s want and this is often quite true. I now realise that need stems from people’s outcomes and in the past, these outcomes were simply dictated by funders as something unspoken. Now service users are having a say in their outcomes, when their needs are clearer and makes sense.
But when people say disability living allowance meets people needs when the amount awarded is not assessed on an individual basis, it makes no sense and the money is simply free for people to spend as their wish. Until everyone has individualised payments based on their outcomes and therefore needs, it is an illusion to say its making any kind of needs.
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