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"Disability Living Allowance is an outdated benefit...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 768.

    Benbowlane 342

    If you are a Fraud Investigator, are you working today? genuine Investigators DO not say what they do, they keep everything quiet and say nothing, your figures also should NOT be made Public, because of data protection and DWP and Civil Service laws regarding the publication of figures, methinks you are not quite right, rather dodgy and a million miles away from the reality!

  • rate this

    Comment number 767.

    742. GravityBeckons-I would let G4S organise her funeral, that would be a true tribute to the sell it off, me me me system that we have today, whether its those who use welfare as a lifestyle to the rich tax dodgers. As the first ever woman PM she was a trailblazer, as a politician she will be remembered as divisive and uncaring.

  • rate this

    Comment number 766.


    682. Quercus Britannica
    Surley your uncles employer should be liable to pay sufficient money for him to live if the injury happened at work?

    You would think so. Sadly, large supermarket chains have powerful lawyers. They didn't provide proper equipment; they said they did. Not much you can do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 765.

    My son is autistic and gets DLA. We complete the forms every 3 years and no one has ever contacted us or any of the professionals on the forms? Why not? All claims should be assessed properly face-to-face to ensure the most vulnerable get the assistance they need and stop false claims. All govt expenditure should be reviewed including this! Labs tax avoidance schemes are also being assessed!

  • Comment number 764.

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

  • Comment number 763.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 762.

    Disability can vary from day to day. You can be severely disabled and yet be able to walk to required amount on the day inspectors come to call. If you are crippled with an illness like MS or RA, you are NOT going to get better as time goes by - so the only review needs to be if you have got worse and need more help.

    Also, this benefit helps disabled people STAY in work!

  • rate this

    Comment number 761.

    735 ipaytoomuchtax
    Mr Brown will be remembered everytime people pass the hundreds of new schools and hospital extensions he had built, what monuments, Mr Browm has however made 1.5 Million pounds since leaving Downing st.
    All given to charity, He has not taken up his pension. - you were saying.

  • rate this

    Comment number 760.

    Those who are mentally ill may not be able to face an 'outsider' trying to assess them or may even be unable to leave their homes. This will destroy those people for not being able to conform to an ill-thought out attack against the most vulnerable in society. These "face-to-face" assessments are beyond most mentally sick people to understand or face. These people are not fraudsters they are sick.

  • rate this

    Comment number 759.

    Question to those against the changes:
    Are you,
    a) against the principle that people claiming to be disabled should be tested at all,
    b) it is a Tory policy and is therefore inheritantly evil
    c) Some mistakes will be made and therefore it is better to pay anyone who claims so that deserving individuals don't miss out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 758.

    The current BBC programme The Village shows real poverty, people today receive more than enough in benefits , people in the UK can feed themselves on benefits and in my opinion have more than enough money to survive. If anything benefits should be reduced further to encourage people to work. My wages are dropping and I have a wife and 2 children to support so why should benefits continue to rise?

  • rate this

    Comment number 757.

    @738.fredbmw @745.where am I

    They have to report it you realise? It's part of their entire structure as they chase up fraudulent claims as well.

    Now if you feel a witch hunt is justified, you are aware that the vast amount of benefits goes to people already in work, especially full time work because companies are using it to prop up their low wages?

    DLA is but a tiny fraction of that.

  • Comment number 756.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 755.

    Frankly it would be a better situation if no one could 'milk the system'. In order for this to be the case give everyone a benefit which enables them to eat, have water, club together to share a home, keep clean - no more. This would be the same for everyone - a flat benefit to prevent death.
    Then you can tax all at a single flat rate. Nothing simpler, nothing fairer

  • rate this

    Comment number 754.

    "Lets get it straight, she did nothing for this country. No more manufacturing, no more houses, no more bank regs, no more employment in vast swathes of the UK."

    Darren, it is no less edifying when people present palpably false data. "No more"? Do you really believe that? Please take a little time to back up your allegations with real statistics - or else you look a bit silly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 753.

    "don't persecute the sick"?

    Don't persecute the employed - on their backs rest the sick, the unemployed, pensioners, civil servants, prisoners and MP's. That's quite a burden!

  • rate this

    Comment number 752.

    Currently, 49% of households receive more money from the tax payer than they contribute

    That is largely due to Tax Credits, which are effectively our taxes subsidising private companies, by paying part of their employees' income. If they can't pay a living wage they're a failing business. If they can but won't, they're the cause of a large % of the benefits bill.

  • rate this

    Comment number 751.

    Just to counter some points here. Im an ex psychiatric nurse who has nursed people with chronic depression etc. I have seen suicides and despair on a large scale. These 'reforms' have brought more suicides and misery to some people whose mental state is poor. If you think that is right then it says more about you and your values. Of course fraud is wrong but then its wrong at the top also.

  • rate this

    Comment number 750.

    So the doctors who made lifetime DLA checks were wrong?! This government seems to be questioning their own medical staff's ability to do their job.

    Anybody who had their disability diagnosed as permenent by a government doctor and who has any benefit stopped should sue.

    In the meantime, what is the governnment doing about the immigrants coming here for NHS treatment or to claim benefits???

  • Comment number 749.

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


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