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"Disability Living Allowance is an outdated benefit...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 388.

    I believe many thousands of people are getting disability benefit when actually fit to work. Doesn't everyone? I think they should lose their benefit. Some people seem to require an incentive to work in the form of wages higher than benefit. They shouldn't be thinking like that; it signifies a choice and there should be no choice. Benefit should be given only to citizens unfit for any work now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 387.

    So, rather than tackling the real issue of astronomical rents making obscene profits for private landlords or the lack of affordable social housing (which would save the country money), the coallition has decided to implement changes which will cause massive problems for those families living in high rent areas (which will cost us money). .

  • rate this

    Comment number 386.

    We'll see what happens as things play out but what will the priority be?

    Saving money and potentially making life worse for a great number of vulnerable and disabled people who need help in tough economic conditions. Or putting the lives of these people first and providing the help and support they need to be able to live.

  • rate this

    Comment number 385.

    What is so sick is that the financial cost to this country will be quadrupled.
    There will be need of many more mental health hospitals, more police, more solicitors, more Charitable Institutions funded by government. The whole exercise is not about saving money whatsoever, its distraction away from the real criminals. And it is not the poorest in a disturbed disjointed land.

  • rate this

    Comment number 384.


    "The state is virtually bankrupt. We cannot afford all these benefits."

    What a stupid and ill informed statement. You just swallow all the lies this shower tell. Try reading the truth with real facts and figures..but of course it wont fit with your tory dogma so you won't read it...I dare you...http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ramesh-patel/growth-cameron-austerity_b_2007552.html

  • rate this

    Comment number 383.

    Life is unjust, selfish, riddled with greed and thieves from top to bottom, divisive, and unfit for purpose.

    Should the people of this country support RBS, HBOS and finance through QE?

    Time for a YouGov e-petition calling for immediate halt of support of the distressed banks and QE by BoE. The majority of people who decide how life is would overnight be shown up for what they are, bankrupt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 382.

    3.5 million registered disabled people in the UK ? This is a matter of what degree of disability warrants taxpayer money

    Previous governments set the bar very low because it reduced the unemployment figures Now we more people claiming disability than unemployed

    Genuinely disabled are always indignantly vociferous but this is not targeted at them but those abusing the system & quite right

  • rate this

    Comment number 381.

    So Frank (238), what if you were in a two wage earning household and had to look after a disabled relative. Can you afford one extra mouth, plus additional care or access arrangements, on one less wage.

    If so then you are pretty well set up in life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 380.

    More than 'fully employed', struggling with health, made it to 60

    Used to buy 'keep-fit' running shoes, now supported transport spend

    Point being, with reasonable income or pension, no need to beg

    One relative's hell made worse by heartless employer then by DWP

    Another protected, at least 'lucky enough' to have family support

    Democratic deficit IS important, here as everywhere!

    @200 Minus-3!

  • rate this

    Comment number 379.

    is it just me, but its still cold, summer seems a long way off, its dull and depressing and the fact that our caring government have at stroke just made some peoples lives unliveable. Well done Tories, but hey we are all in this together! I'd like to see MP's pay cut to minimum wage, in fact the tories are so rich they don't need to take a salary at all, shame on you for your evil actions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 378.

    As I write, Gateshead1 (3) has one of the highest rated comments on here.

    I agree with his criticism of the old system, but you have to doubt the veracity of his story. How can his brother have enjoyed "nearly 30 years" of DLA, when it was only introduced by John Major in 1992?

    It makes you wonder how many others on here routinely exaggerate their case, n'est-ce pas?

  • Comment number 377.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 376.

    319 SH and interesting class war analysis of the second world war and the Napoleonic wars. Blucher who 'saved the day' was of course a toff as was churchill. Poor churchill his foundation will be so disappointed by your insights. Our toffs are after all at least as good as German ones. Whats Blucher got that Welling didn't apart from timing of course.

  • rate this

    Comment number 375.

    Few probably object to the need of support to place those with disabilities equal in society.

    What is worrying is they way assessments appeared to be made particularly in failing to help those in real need whilst still enabling fraudsters to continue claiming.

    These allowances must be fair for both claimants and taxpayers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 374.

    Those complaining about the changes are seem a bit dillusional to me.

    Nobody is claiming genunine cases should not get benefits.

    But the dillusion critics are living under is that the numbers abusing the system are small. In fact, I think about 60% of those claiming disability are deliberately exagerating the extent of their disability.

  • rate this

    Comment number 373.

    Thus speaks a man who lives rent free in a former family home, whose deeds are held by a family-run business - and no doubt acts as a tax loss and possibly reducing the overall tax paid to government.


  • rate this

    Comment number 372.

    Just now

    So let me get this right. If you have lost your legs you will be checked to see if anything has changed?
    No you won't. But carry on being facetious if you think it's constructive.


    I suggest you read the article again. Esther McVey said, and i quote, "The Personal Independence Payment will include a new face-to-face assessment and regular reviews."

  • rate this

    Comment number 371.

    This is a genuine question: Benefits, Social Services, State Pensions etc will cost what £200bn in a few years a year... where is that money going to come from?
    Given that money is an emotionally detached entity, in a realistic world where will the funds come from? Increased tax? Army cut further?

  • rate this

    Comment number 370.


    Meanwhile in other news Millionaires get a £100,000 tax cut.


    Lower taxation rates usually result in an overall increase in tax revenue. So you would rather we take less in taxes, as a whole, just to shaft what you deem as the 'rich'? Sensible!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 369.

    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;

    You are correct it is being abused by the Government.
    6% of children in the UK are disabled (3 million)
    Add to that traffic accidents, working accidents, old age illnesses...



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