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"Disability Living Allowance is an outdated benefit...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

Analysis

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
    +2

    Comment number 648.

    I was interviewed several times by State doctors....all this again?

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 647.

    575
    Al with mind numbing ignorance commented:

    "Sorry, registered blind and therefore unable to work!?
    Since when has blindness equated to inability to work?"

    You have no idea mate have you. From personal experience I can tell you that the Private Sector rarely employs blind people. I spent 6 years looking for work when I lost my sight and was turned away at every door. Laughable.

  • rate this
    +11

    Comment number 646.

    although not a supporter of Mrs T i think some comments are not appropriate and im surprised the BBC allowing them.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 645.

    For all you glorifying in Mrs Thatchers death, shame on you.

    Would you like it if someone villified and stomped on your mothers grave?

    Grow up and get back to the debate in hand.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 644.

    342.
    benbowlane
    Comment number 342 is an Editors' Pick
    1 Hour ago

    I work as a DWP Fraud Investigator... There are 8 investigators in my office, all with at least 100 files on the go at any given time. We prove about 80% of cases.

    Sounds a lot but how many people live in the area covered by your office?

    Without this information your figures mean nothing.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 643.

    Margaret Thatcher RIP

    Interesting that she believed in 'liberalism' at heart but joined the Tory Party.
    Lots of regional industrial areas that she destroyed, have high welfare claimant counts.......a travesty of her politics.

  • rate this
    -12

    Comment number 642.

    I'm just fed up with the money that I pay in taxes being wasted through the entire benefits system, do away with the whole benefit system, lower taxes all round etc etc....

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 641.

    Why do fraudulent claimants take so long to investigate. On a TV program it showed filming for well over a year before he was arrested, even then he only had to pay back "what he Could" afford. It aught to be 4 times amount fraudulently claimed, then disbarred for several yrs to pay for cost of fraud dept. Its the same for benefit fraud, this does not deter where as claiming back far more would

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 640.

    616.revolutionnow999

    Correct, most people are completely unaware that approx. 40p of every £1 they spend goes in interest yields (a private tax) to the withholders of national currencies. I would however make a distinction between savings & investments as investments can go down as well as up.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 639.

    The apologists here are amazing. Anyone would think a basic requirement to prove you are ACTUALLY DISABLED was akin to forcing people crawl the length of the country, Yeah I know, they're disabled. All the time defending that benefit money already somehow belongs to people no matter what. Frankly this is a move long overdue.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 638.

    I spoke to a senior manager of a blue chip company last month and he wanted me to work for this company and encouraged me to apply. I was interested to work there, and the agency involved agreed that everyone was happy.

    I divulged that I had a disability for a reasonable adjustment.

    The answer was “You do not have…”.

    And some people here wonder why disabled people are on benefits.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 637.

    I think the disability allowance needs amendment and rigorous enforcement but I worry that people with true disabilities will suffer by such a blanket approach and this will be for Cameron, Osbourne et al what the poll tax was for Thatcher the end of government.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 636.

    This benefits requires changing. When going to Europe you very rarely see anyone travelling around in these electric disabled buggies. Why in the EU? Because we have more disabled than any other country in Europe. It is a fiddle from end to end. I know of a guy who has had a Motobility Car for 15 years, he claims to have asthma, yet he can bike 2 miles plus to his pub twice a week. It's a farce.,

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 635.

    616. revolutionnow999

    Anyone who has a pension has an interest in shares delivering a dividend.

  • Comment number 634.

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

  • Comment number 633.

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

  • Comment number 632.

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

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 631.

    @617.singwhenyourwinning

    Given that benefit fraud is less than 1% of the total amount of claimants, I think the witch hunt is going a little too far. Sure you have people who don't appear disabled, but someone with severe epilepsy or a heart problem from birth isn't going to get better anytime soon. I'd rather have them supported than them risk their lives to live.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 630.

    I totally support these changes to the Welfare system by this Government, the increases have been going on for to long. There may be some people who feel these are unjust but things have to change. Nu@labour would continue spending more then we earn whilst also selling of key assets, how would this solve the problem.

  • Comment number 629.

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

 

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