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"Disability Living Allowance is an outdated benefit...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 688.

    Al was woefully ignorant and spouted:

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


    "9 out of 10 employers rate blind and partially sighted people as either 'difficult' or 'impossible' to employ" (DWP, 2004)

  • rate this

    Comment number 687.

    It would be enlightening to know how many of the work force, including their families of however many, are given benefits and why this is so.

    Howmany of those in work, driving, smoking, drinking alcohol, whilst skiving the benefits from sick and ill. Working and getting handouts, why? What is wrong with you.

    Good old double standards by two faced working skivers.
    Millions of you. Disgraceful.

  • rate this

    Comment number 686.

    if it is more expensive for people with disabilities, why do so many WANT to be disabled?
    maybe it`s the extra money?
    but my car cost exactly the same to run, able bodied or not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 685.

    649.Peter Buck
    6 Minutes ago
    (What is going on in this web site? I just marked a comment down and instead it went up).

    Hi Peter. It's not too much of a stretch to imagine other people wanting to vote up/down at the same time as you, is it?

    Just sayin'

  • rate this

    Comment number 684.

    654. Gordon bennett
    "Why setup two agencies to do PIP Health evaluations, when the NHS is better placed (and probably a lot cheaper)?"

    Because the tory mantra is: profit is god (regardless of who makes the profit)

    Because medical basis for claiming is of little concern, it is about reducing numbers claiming, nothing more nothing less.

  • rate this

    Comment number 683.

    I know a lot of NE workers that publicly stated they would "dance on Thatchers Grave and worse". 13 years of the labour Party almost destroyed the progress this country made by under her premiership. Disgusting Socialists lots of them in the North East of England, that is why I moved away from there

  • rate this

    Comment number 682.

    My uncle claims DLA for a back injury received at work. On some days he can move around (with difficulty), on other days he simply cannot even sit up as it is too painful and stiff. He was forced back into work at one point, doing the job he was injured doing, and the problem became much worse. The damage is permanent and although the pain fluctuates, is debilitating. They still want him to work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 681.

    3 Minutes ago
    Sorry I was about to say something treally significant, but I ca't stop laughing for joy."

    Why? Because of the death of someone who proberbly did more for this country in 5 mins, than you have done in your entire life?

  • rate this

    Comment number 680.

    667.John Knee
    Not my experience when I was out of work during 2010. The question re disability was to assess whether there was any work I could not be considered for or wourld find difficulty in doing. I know, because I asked why they asked.

  • rate this

    Comment number 679.

    If someones swinging the lead, report them! Don't say "i know someone", say "I know someone and the letter's in the post"

    Re Mrs Thatcher - she was a person and she has died as we all will. Remember that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 678.

    From personal experience I can tell you that the Private Sector rarely employs blind people"

    Clearly blind people can't successfully be employed in many jobs, but there are many roles such as in IT and other industries where when supplied with appropriate technology and help (which in many cases the government funds) blind people can be very productive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 677.

    The derogatory comments on this site regarding Margaret Thatcher truly beggar belief. That lady did more for our country than any leader in the last 50; she was principled, strong and gained the respect of most other world leaders. Putting all of that to one side, only animals and scum would delight in the death of another human being. Shame on you all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 676.

    I agree that the system does need fixing but it's the genuine people that are getting shafted by the system. Stop paying money/benefits to non UK citizens and that will free up a huge pot of cash to start with.
    Don't penalise the innocent for the few scratters

  • rate this

    Comment number 675.

    Why is it that GPs are good enough to run NHS but there MED 3 notes are not good enough as proof of been unfit for work and you have to go to a ATOS form ticking exercise
    A GP does not sign a MED 3 unless the GP as seen you face to face and as checked your condition most GPs require to see you at least once a year to continue issuing your medication

  • rate this

    Comment number 674.

    @639.Neil Smith

    They do have to prove it though already. Atos though isn't fit for purpose... they are paid to keep people off benefits and have certified disabled people as fit to work even if work would literally kill them (And it has in the past already).


    Yes they do check, and if you're found to be lying say hello to 6 months of no money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 673.


    People who receive Higher rate DLA mobility component could either buy their own car themselves using their DLA money or exchange it for a motabiliy car. Either way they have a car to help them be independant. You may have to pay for your own car but at least you can walk and use public transport if you want, I and other disabled people dont get that choice.

  • Comment number 672.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 671.

    Labour loved state dependency, labeling 3.3 million people as 'too disabled to do any kind of work'. This simply can't be true. It was a gigantic fraud on the taxpayer.

    Now some signs of sanity. Fraudsters are unmasked and booted off the benefit. Genuine claimants are no longer stigmatised as spongers.
    Taxpayers know their cash goes to those who deserve it. Congratulations to the Coalition.

  • rate this

    Comment number 670.

    Lots of regional industrial areas that she destroyed, have high welfare claimant counts,a travesty of her politics
    Thats becasue you missunderstood her politics, she was for the continued existance of the middle class which she saw vanishing resulting in just the very rich and very poor of pre victorian era. The middle class thrived after her tenure, she did what she set out to do

  • rate this

    Comment number 669.

    Peter Buck

    (What is going on in this web site? I just marked a comment down and instead it went up).

    1-maybe it's lefty, commie, piinko, hushhy puppy wearing conspiracy against you from the beeb.

    2- Other people are voting comments at the same time as you.

    I bet you think it's 1.


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