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
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
- 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.