Disability Living Allowance replaced by PIP scheme

A wheelchair user People with disabilities will eventually all move over to the new PIP system

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Major changes to disability benefits for new claimants are being introduced in some parts of the UK ahead of a national roll-out of the new measures.

It is the start of the replacement of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) by Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said the current "ridiculous" system where people were given benefit with no further checks must end.

But charity Scope says the changes have been designed just to save money.

That charge has been denied by the government, which says spending will not be reduced, but more help will be given to those who need it most.

There are currently 3.3m people claiming DLA, compared to 1.1m when it was introduced in 1992.

PIPs will be introduced gradually for new claimants, starting in Merseyside, Cumbria, Cheshire and North East England.

Scope says 600,000 people will eventually lose their financial support.

Margaret Allen, who is registered blind: 'People need disability payment'

The disability benefits changes are the latest in a round of welfare reforms introduced at the start of April.

Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that more than 70% of claimants get DLA for life.

But ministers believe the circumstances of some individuals can improve over time, so there is a case for more regular assessment.

Mr Duncan Smith told the Daily Mail: "Seventy per cent of people on it have lifetime awards which means no-one sees you ever again. It doesn't matter if you get better or your condition worsens - it's quite ridiculous."

"Taxpayers pay out £50bn in sickness and disability benefits - we're ahead of pretty much every other major country in the G20," he said.

"So this is not exactly what you would call harsh - this is quite reasonable to get it back under control and stop the unnecessary growth levels".

Minister for Disabled People Esther McVey said the PIP would give more targeted support than DLA.

"Disability Living Allowance is an outdated benefit... and needs reform to better reflect today's understanding of disability," she said.


The DLA application form is universally dreaded and will be missed by few. Fifty-five pages long, it forces claimants to focus firmly on what they can't do. Simpler paperwork will be broadly welcomed.

But disabled people have concerns about the new face-to-face assessments for PIP, worrying that an assessor won't fully grasp the extent of their needs.

Many have also experienced - or heard - horror stories about controversial Employment Support Allowance assessments carried out by Atos, one of the companies contracted to do PIPs assessments on behalf of the government.

The government says it will continue to spend similar amounts on PIPs as it does on DLA. However, 600,000 people who get DLA now, won't be eligible for PIPs.

There's a general feeling of fear as current claimants try to establish whether they'll receive the new benefit.

"At the moment the vast majority of claimants get the benefit for life without any systematic reassessments and around 50% of decisions are made on the basis of the claim form alone".

"The Personal Independence Payment will include a new face-to-face assessment and regular reviews - something missing in the current system. This will ensure the billions we spend give more targeted support to those who need it most."

'Lifeline cut'

New claimants in the north of England will now begin face-to face assessments with Atos - one of two firms administering the process.

One of the new assessment criteria that has been heavily criticised is tougher rules to judge how far a person can walk.

Under the new regulations, claimants who are unable to walk more than 20m will qualify for the benefit, rather than the previous distance of 50m.

From June, new claims will be treated under the PIP system elsewhere - and in October some current DLA claimants will start moving to PIP if their circumstances change or an existing award ends.

But it will be two years before most existing claimants begin moving to PIP.

Even before the majority of the face-to-face re-assessments have taken place, the government claims the introduction of PIPs will reduce spending by a total of £2.2bn between now and May 2016 compared to spending projected under an unchanged system.

BBC reporter Emma Tracey said the 55-page DLA application form will not be missed, but that many disabled people have concerns that PIP assessors will not be able to fully grasp the extent of their needs.

One of those facing the changes is Margaret Allen, of Chadderton in Lancashire, who is registered blind with the hereditary eye disorder Retinitis pigmentosa and is unable to work.

She is worried the reforms will cause her to lose money for petrol, which she and her husband need to get around.

"My message to the government would be: 'Stop persecuting the entire sick and disabled population for a handful of people and listen.

"'People need it, they paid taxes.'"

Disability groups have argued that DLA is one of the most effectively targeted benefits, with an estimated fraud rate of just 0.5%.

Scope says DLA does need to be reformed but the new changes mean a "financial lifeline is being cut".

The charity's chief executive, Richard Hawkes, said: "Day-to-day life can be more expensive if people are disabled. These are tough times for everybody and times are even tougher if your everyday life experience is more expensive.

"The assessment itself has been designed to achieve a budget target of the reductions that the government talked about in the Comprehensive Spending Review. They said there was going to be a 20% reduction, then developed an assessment that will deliver that.

"The assessment looks at an individual's condition, the health or medical condition of an individual, it doesn't look at what the fuller picture is and what the additional cost might be of being a disabled person."

Ms McVey denied that the government had any targets to reduce spending.

"We will be spending more in 2015-16 than we are spending now, and it will remain at approximately £13bn every year, so what the difference is and what the big reduction is in is actually in the growth of the number of people getting the benefit, which had gone up 35% in 10 years," she said.

She added that the changes are "about the fact that we couldn't have, by 2018, one in 17 people in the public on the benefit".


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  • Comment number 248.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    Our market economy is not working properly. Whenever you see millions of unemployed people with zero aspirations and few life chances TOGETHER with people so wealthy they can topple governments, we know the market needs recalibrating.

    We have to tackle abuses at the top and bottom of society as if they are part of the same problem, not just focus on the bottom.

  • Comment number 246.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    My fiance is in a wheelchair(paralysed from waist down), he claims no benefit other than his mobility payment for his car, the car allows for his independence. He cannot wait to get out to work after his next operation but agrees those who cant work need the benefit to have decent standard of living. A further bone of contention is the blue badges but thats another story entirely.

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    Generations of useless MPs has resulted in the mess we are in.

    Only MPs can cause such a chaos - always caused by their "Red Ping and Blue Pong! dogma and incompetence.

    The way we have been governed for decades is a disgrace.
    What can we do about it?

    The ONLY option is to vote them ALL out of office.

    If we don't things will get even worse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    The duckers and weavers will continue to play the system and maintain their support, the honest and less adept will loose out.

    This works for the rich and the poor, the fit and the disabled alike.

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.


    Get rid of the minimum wage for disabled workers and employers would be able to pay workers based on their productivity.

    I don't see people should be excluded from making a contribution just because a job might take slightly longer.

    Judge people on what they CAN do not on what they can't.

    The govt should force everyone to earn their corn.

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    170 Steve

    The cars people lease on the Motabiliy scheme are not 'free'. This is paid for using their DLA. If they want a higher spec car, then they have to pay an advance payment, this can be from £500 - £2,999. This has to be paid by the person themselves. Some people need a bigger car to accomnadate a wheelchair, a Ford Fiesta is not always suitable for some disabilities.

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    I suffer enough threw the action of a criminal. Now this government wants me to suffer more. good job I can not afford all my medication then I might just call it a day. I have had enough of the DWP and ATOS. My only wish is that the criminal should have killed me. Do not become Disabled in this country because if you do your life will be hell. Thank you LibDems for my life of hell.

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    194 - anotherfake name. "single flat tax/benefit". Yes, imagine just how much the UK could save on administration, waste & fraud. I have for a long time now
    tried to put the point of view that one of the most valueable resources the UK has is taxation. Also, that this resource is criminally wasted by ALL parties regardless of LIB/LAB/CON. This UK could be the most civilised in the world for all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    Why can't the families of disabled people look after them, I don't see why the taxes I pay should be wasted etc....

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    ...If you weren't referring to DLA, my apologies, but you can understand my linking your comment to DLA as this is a comment thread about changes to DLA."

    Fair enough Colchie, but I was making a general point about the misuse of various benefits in this general area for political reasons.

    I'd guess that DLA probably has been misused politically on occasions too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    216. blackie1947
    "The Lazy party (sorry I meant the Labour Party) seems to want to encourage people ywho wont work to apply for benifits as so far I have not read or heard anything to refute this"

    You have to provide evidence to support your argument, not assume it's true because you haven't read anything to dispute it. And it's "benefits", by the way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    envy, spite and bile you somehow think that what others have earned belongs to you"

    Surely the term "envy" is best applied to those who threaten to leave their employment and even the country if they are not paid an increasing amount of other people's money for performing work of dubious and destructive value to the economy? You know, those "talented" people in the Finance industry?

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    I know exactly what you are referring and would completely agree, but the answer is not to ignore "proper" medical history, such as consultants and specialists etc. however, if you have been on the sick for years with not property diagnosis, medication, treatment regime just a sick note by a Merthy GP every 6 months then no go.

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    i work in a doctors surgery in.
    we have many many patients on DLA, funny enough the first letter came today to write in favour of extra room tax also.
    DLA...people at our practice play the system...they say one thing in writing to the doctors but you do not see those aliments ever...?do doctors help patients/ families they have know for many many years without question....

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    And this lot shut all the Remploy factories as well!

    IDS like the rest of this inept government live in their own bubble, totally oblivious to what's happening in real peoples lives!

    Penalising people for being ill, whatever next?

  • Comment number 231.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 230.

    It needs to be sorted out seems to me you only have to have a twinge and you get benifit. There should be regular checks by Doctors every year. Some people really need benifit who can't work because of ill health who would love to go to work but can't for no fault of there own.

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    MP's know about defrauding the public purse as we have all seen recently, they are masters of the game. What about those MP's who get elected(and claim large salary and expenses) who then spend their time working full time in the City? They are not representing the people in Parliament. These MP's are defrauding the public and the public purse. Stop that fraud first.


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