500,000 to lose out on disability living allowance

There are fears that up to half a million disabled people will no longer be eligible for benefits and be forced into poverty as a result of the Government's welfare reforms.

The proposed changes to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) aim to reduce its expenditure by 20% and replace it with a Personal Independence Payment.

The Welfare Reform Bill, which will implement the proposed reforms, is now in its final stages but it has been claimed that details of how the new legislation would affect disabled people have not been fully investigated.

The figure was included in a consultation document on the assessment criteria and eligibility thresholds for PIP, issued today, and comes despite a number of government concessions on the much-criticised reform, including:-

  • Dropping plans to double the qualifying period for the benefit after the onset of disability from three to six months, as revealed today.
  • Dropping plans to remove mobility payments from 80,000 state-funded care home residents.
  • Revising the original assessment criteria following criticisms that the threshold for the benefit was too low.

Like DLA, PIP would be split into two components: a daily living part, equivalent to the care component of DLA, and reflecting people's needs for assistance in supporting themselves; and a mobility component to support people to get around.

There would be two rates for each component- a standard and enhanced rate - in contrast to DLA, which has three care rates (lower, middle and higher).

Under the proposed assessment, disabled people would be assessed on their ability to carry out nine daily living activities, including preparing food and drink, bathing and grooming, communicating and engaging socially, and two mobility activities: moving around and planning and following a journey.

Points would be awarded according to people's abilities to carry out tasks, with account taken of how far they need prompting, support or aids to do so.

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Last Updated : 24 January 2012. Page Author: Laura Bimpson.