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"Disability Living Allowance is an outdated benefit...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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  • rate this

    Comment number 368.

    We are run by men of average inteligence who lack the courage not to do as their dogma dictates but what is fair and right. They are in fact agents of their own class, All decisions are based on benefiting the few thereby (in their minds) retaining political and financial power. Fortunately for our Country they lack morals and decency and so will stab one another in the back,it should not be long.

  • rate this

    Comment number 367.

    I don't deny there are abuses of the system, but consider how many are genuine. Many on this HYS claim to know "at least 2 people claiming benefits who are fit to work"

    -Yes but most exist only in the imaginings of Tory Troll Central.

    Fortunately being disabled from the neck up or having no soul doesn't count for DLA or PIP or they would all be claiming

  • rate this

    Comment number 366.

    4. FishOnADish

    3.3 million ? Come on, there can't be 3.3 million adults out of 50 million that are disabled. That can't be true; it's clearly being abused.

    UK population 63.2m (2011 census)
    3.3m disabled = 5.2% of population
    UN says 10% world population has some disability.
    So yes this can be true

  • rate this

    Comment number 365.

    Under the new criteria a person with no legs and who uses a wheelchair would not qualify for the "NEW" DLA as they are able to "walk" i presume they mean ambulate more than 20m.

  • rate this

    Comment number 364.

    It's about time that the media, in particular the left wing element of the BBC, stopped vilifying the Government in it's efforts to get some control over Britain''s much-abused and unaffordable Welfare State. For every allegedly disabled claimant picking up thousands every year there is at least one taxpayer having to work and pay exorbitant taxes to fund the payments.

  • rate this

    Comment number 363.

    Will it even save money?
    With two private companies doing the "reviews" ?
    How much are they going to cost us compared to the savings from "bad" claims ?
    Or is this just more "jobs for the boys " in the guise of "fairness" in the system?

  • rate this

    Comment number 362.

    The truly disabled deserve every penny. The problem is that these days doctors are so scared of getting sued they will err on the side of caution for the most minor complaints. They need immunity from this so they can give a fair assessment of each persons capabilities and thereby decimate the numbers claiming.

  • rate this

    Comment number 361.

    Supporting your disabled, sick and vulnerable to live in dignity is a pillar stone of being a civilized society. I don't think anyone would argue against that.

    Those who fiddle/abuse the benefits system are the ones who carry the blame for any negative impact the welfare bill has had to the country's finances over the years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 360.

    323. Jay

    Yes, we should end all in work benefits at a much much lower level. It is crazy people above minimum pay, let alone over average pay can claim a penny. That should include scrapping all child benefits.

    Legal aid is being cut a bit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 359.

    A mindset change is also required.

    The 'take all you can get' attitude in any walk of life is rife now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 358.

    I have NEVER BEFORE said information benefit Disability Living Allowance replace by PIP.

  • rate this

    Comment number 357.

    "Scrap all disability benefits. They just serve as a disincentive to people becoming productive workers."

    Lack of jobs is the bar to people becoming productive workers.

    I suggest you resign and give a disabled person your job .... unless you're a trapeze artist.

  • rate this

    Comment number 356.

    Divide and conquer by placing the financial blame on people on benefits, immigrants etc.

    Peoples comments on here saying "oh people can work if they have to lets not help people",Its crazy. The benefit system has been around years but bankers mess up and ruin this country's finances and suddenly everyone hates benefit claimants. and most figures people seem to be saying are completely incorect

  • rate this

    Comment number 355.

    Years ago the disabled was given a green card private firms who had a certain number of employees had to employ so many green cardsIf they applied to the Raikways the GPO the council they where more or less guaranteed a job

  • rate this

    Comment number 354.

    hope all you losers on hear never need dla

  • rate this

    Comment number 353.

    As a claimant of DLA, I've looked into PIP. I think it is morally corrupt. Many people get carers allowance because their condition means they need help dressing. Under the DLA system there was no distinction between upper and lower body.. under PIP. you get 8 points if you need help with both, 4 points if you need help with upper, but only 3 if you need help with lower, which is harder!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 352.

    Allowing for all NI, some are paying a marginal rate of over 70p in the £ - that cant be right

    Yes, that's the situation that those on benefit face starting work. If you're rich you can't have more than a 45% marginal rate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 351.

    I would have been classed as disabled and eligible for benefits two years ago when I discovered that I have a heart problem which ended my security career in my early 30's. However, I started working from home, and now I run my own business. This is about finding a persons skills, finding their place in that business, and giving them the tools to support themselves, possible in millions of cases.

  • rate this

    Comment number 350.

    IMHO Most people who receive disability benefits genuinely deserve them, but there are some who don't & those should be weeded out by tougher checks. this must be good, as getting rid of fraudulent claims will leave more money for the Genuine claimants.
    In these times of austerity & cut-backs it is fair that the squeeze applies to everyone equally not just those who don't claim benefits.

  • rate this

    Comment number 349.

    People will be better off? Come off it. These cuts are designed to save money at a cost to the needy. I admit there are some swindlers but as as many as the government and the gutter press try to make out, which is why they are trying to persuade public opinion to accept the cuts, but people have realiseed what the crack is. Time is running out for the government and they are begiining to panic.


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