DLA reform: Nearly half a million set to lose support


Government cuts to vital disability benefits will be even harsher than the coalition previously admitted, with nearly half a million people set to lose their right to disability living allowance (DLA).

The government finally published figures this week which show estimates of how its plans to scrap working-age DLA and replace it with a new personal independence payment (PIP) would affect disabled people.

The government had already admitted that it wanted to cut the number of working-age DLA claimants – and spending – by 20 per cent.

But the new figures, published only one day before members of the House of Lords debated vital amendments on DLA and PIP in the welfare reform bill, show the cuts in claimant numbers will be even more severe.

Under DLA, an estimated 2.166 million working-age disabled people would be likely to claim some form of the benefit by 2015/2016.

But under PIP, this will be slashed to just 1.7 million claimants – a fall of 466,000 people, or nearly 22 per cent.

At present, 1.974 million people would be claiming some form of the care component of DLA by 2015/16. But under PIP, just 1.23 million disabled people will qualify for the new daily living component.

The number of people claiming mobility support will be just 1.32 million, instead of about 1.93 million if DLA had not been scrapped.

The figures were released as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) published new proposals for how eligibility for PIP will be assessed, including a series of case studies demonstrating how people with different support needs would be affected.

Claimants will have to achieve eight “points” to qualify for the standard rate of the mobility component of PIP and 12 points for the enhanced rate, under the new assessment due to be introduced alongside PIP. The same number of points will be needed to qualify for each rate of the daily living component.

DWP has now launched a consultation on the proposals, which will end on 30 April.

18 January 2012