More than 600,000 disabled people could be missing out on thousands of pounds a year of disability benefits they are entitled to, according to new figures released by the minister for disabled people.
They show that 632,000 people are receiving out-of-work disability benefits that only those with the highest support needs are eligible for, but not receiving the extra costs disability benefits disability living allowance (DLA) or personal independence payment (PIP).
The figures could mean that tens or even hundreds of thousands of disabled people could be eligible for up to £156 a week more in benefits than they currently receive.
The figures, released by Tom Pursglove, show that, as of August 2022, 259,000 disabled people who were in the employment and support allowance (ESA) support group were not receiving any PIP or DLA.
Another 373,000 disabled people were receiving the limited capability for work-related activity element (LCWRA) of universal credit without receiving PIP or DLA.
Both the ESA support group and the LCWRA group are for those with limited capability for work-related activity because of their impairment or health condition, so it is highly likely that many of them would also be entitled to some level of PIP or DLA.
Some of these disabled people could be receiving the new adult disability payment from the Scottish government, but that is likely to apply to only a few thousand claimants, as only 3,470 disabled people were receiving that benefit in October 2022.
The figures were obtained by Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, Vicky Foxcroft, who has called on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to take action, including writing to every one of the 632,000 claimants to ask if they have considered applying for PIP, a move which could help drag hundreds of thousands of disabled people out of poverty.
She said: “I am concerned to see that 600,000 people who are in the ESA support group or claiming universal credit with LCWRA are not receiving PIP or DLA.
“Ministers need to urgently investigate the discrepancy to establish the reasons behind it.
“The government must do all it can to ensure people are aware that they may be entitled to further non-means tested support.”
Anela Anwar, chief executive of the poverty charity Z2K, told Disability News Service: “This data suggests that hundreds of thousands of low-income disabled people could be missing out on money they’re due.
“Disabled people are more likely to be in poverty than the general population, and the cost-of-living crisis is hitting hard.
“DWP must take greater responsibility for making sure people can access their full legal entitlements – not just put the onus on disabled people themselves.”
DWP refused to say what action it had taken to ensure disabled people in the two groups were claiming all the benefits they were entitled to.
But a DWP spokesperson said: “Take-up may be affected by broad factors such as the attractiveness of the benefit, awareness of the benefit/application procedure, awareness of entitlement, and the perceived stigma of receiving a benefit.
“PIP/DLA can help with some of the extra costs if your health condition or disability is expected to last 12 months, while ESA/UC can provide financial support to people whose disability or health condition affects how much they can work.
“Receiving one benefit does not mean an individual will be eligible for the other.”
Picture: Tom Pursglove (above, left) and Vicky Foxcroft
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