Peers to vote on changes to disability living allowance
The government's proposed changes to disability living allowance (DLA) will be debated in the House of Lords later on Tuesday. This comes after peers voted down three other elements of the welfare reform bill last week, relating to changes in eligibility criteria for employment support allowance.
The BBC reports that many campaigners and disability organisations feel the welfare reform bill has been rushed through parliament to meet Treasury targets. Charities and concerned disabled people have asked for a delay in changes to disability living allowance, saying new medical assessments are not ready.
In light of last week's government defeats, the Guardian foresees a rebellion against the reforms to DLA during Tuesday's debate. The paper reports that Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson "will seek to amend parts of the bill with provisions that mean that there would have to be a pilot scheme before a tough new assessment regime for claimants is introduced".
In defence of proposed DLA reforms, the Daily Mail points out that DLA costs have trebled in the 20 years since the benefit was introduced and that 3.5 million people could be claming disability allowance by 2015 unless reforms proceed.
DLA is a working age benefit, designed to finance help with extra costs incurred due to difficulty getting around or with care tasks such as washing or dressing. The Guardian has been exploring what the proposed replacement of this benefit with personal independence payments could mean for disabled students and families with disabled children.
Disability campaigners have also been posting personal accounts of experiences of applying for and receiving disability living allowance on a dedicated blog.
In addition to a government U-turn late last year on the proposed removal of the mobility element of DLA from disabled people living in residential care, BBC News reports that further concessions have been made by government over changes to DLA ahead of Tuesday evening's House of Lords debate. Ministers have opted to reduce the period before people can claim disability living allowance from six months to three.