DAA News Network

UK: Reformed DLA to be based on harsh eligibility criteria

Posted 10/12-10 at 23.32

 

The government has issued a consultation together with a Green Paper detailing its plans for scrapping Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and replacing it with a more restrictive benefit, Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Like the current DLA, this will be a non-means-testing, non-taxable benefit intended to cover the additional costs of dealing with impairment and disability.

The changes are designed to implement proposals in the Budget to reform the assessment system for DLA, in order to reduce expenditure and the number of claimants by 20%.

The reforms will be introduced for new and existing claimants of working age from 2013 and could be extended to children or pensioners. The proposals include tightening eligibility so that:

Claimants will have to have had an impairment or health condition for six months, not three, as at present. A wider range of aids and adaptations will be taken into account in the assessment process, meaning that people who can get about in wheelchairs may be ineligible. There will no longer be automatic entitlements for people with specific health conditions. All claimants will be assessed by a healthcare professional approved by the Department for Work and Pensions. The Minister for Disabled People says that "...we need to ensure that the benefit reflects the needs of disabled people today, rather than in the 1990s. It is time that we had a disability benefit which is easier for individuals to understand and provides clear criteria and consistent awards."

However, there are concerns that up to 360,000 disabled people (20% of those now receiving DLA) will lose out and that the new system will be extremely bureaucratic, costly and make life more difficult for disabled people and their families. Furthermore, as Richard Watts, of the Essex Coalition of Disabled People, has observed, "There's no evidence of widespread fraud and no evidence to back up claims that the benefit acts as a barrier to work."

http://www.communitycare.co.uk/Articles/2010/12/08/115956/wheelchair-users-may-miss-out-in-benefits-shake-up.htm

http://www.disabilityalliance.org/dlatest3.htm">http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/dec/06/disabled-benefit-medical-checks http://www.disabilityalliance.org/dlatest3.htm

For details of the government's proposals and to take part in the consultation (closing date February 14, 2011) see: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/consultations/2010/dla-reform.shtml

Editorial comment: This latest assault on disabled people is being dressed up as making things simpler and better for us. If you believe that you would believe war is peace, love is hate, etc. Pure George Orwell. The truth is that the government wants to cut expenditure on DLA by 20%. All the rest is little more than verbal flack.

 

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