Proposed benefit changes could 'exclude disabled'

Walking stick The ability to walk more than 20m is one criteria for the higher mobility rate of PIP

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Disabled people would be "ghettoised and excluded from society" under the new benefit rules, says a crossbench peer.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson says the government needs to "think again" about its last-minute changes to the system of Personal Independence Payments.

It replaces the Disability Living Allowance.

Tougher rules to assess how far people can walk mean many claimants will lose help with transport from April.

Those unable to walk more than 20m would qualify, rather than the previous distance of 50m.

Ministers say the benefit will be targeted at those who need it most.

Start Quote

It is not a tightening of the assessment”

End Quote A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions

But campaigners say thousands of disabled people could lose out.

New rules

About 3.2 million people receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA), a payment of between £20.55 and £131.50 a week to assist them in leading independent lives.

The Department of Work and Pensions maintains it is making an out-dated benefit much clearer. And that broadly the same number of people will be entitled to extra mobility help.

Personal Independence Payment

  • From 8 April 2013 a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP) to replace Disability Living Allowance for eligible working age people aged 16 to 64
  • PIP is based on an assessment of individual need - there will be no automatic entitlement
  • The new assessment will focus on an individual's ability to carry out a range of key activities necessary to everyday life
  • PIP is a non-means-tested and non-taxable cash benefit made up of a Living component and a mobility component

The government hopes to save £2bn as a result of the switch from DLA to PIPs.

We Are Spartacus, an online campaign group about disabled people's views on the welfare system, analysed figures from the Department for Work and Pensions and Motability, the organisation that supplies lease cars and specialist converted vehicles to disabled people claiming the highest mobility rate of Disability Living Allowance.

With an estimated 428,000 fewer working-age disabled people would qualifying for the higher PIP rate by 2018, report co-author Jane Young said: "This not only condemns thousands more disabled people to the worry of losing out under the new benefit and the isolation this will bring. It also highlights the lie that the government's reforms are targeted to support those in need."

She said that of the 173 consultation responses from organisations on the new PIP "only one suggested the qualifying distance for those who have the most difficulty getting around should be changed."

The Department for Work and Pensions said it had received strong feedback suggesting a need for the 20m measure to bring clarity over the assessment criteria.

Start Quote

This will really radically changes how disabled people are able to integrate into society”

End Quote Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson Former Paralympian

A spokeswoman said: "It is not a tightening of the assessment - our modelling shows that, after this change, the number of people receiving the enhanced rate of the mobility component as a result of the 'moving around' activity will be broadly the same.

"The intention of the criteria remains the same - to make sure support is targeted at those who need it most, by making sure those who receive the enhanced rate of the mobility component are those who face the greatest barriers to mobility."

Baroness Grey-Thompson said at her local supermarket she could not get from a blue badge parking space to the doors - 20m is not that far, she said.

The former Paralympian and member of the all-party parliamentary disability group said she had a "real fear" that disabled people would be "ghettoised and excluded from society", under the new rules.

"I'd really like the government to think again. Not just about changing the distance but about actually what the regulations say to ensure that disabled people are really protected," she told BBC Breakfast.

"It could be that over 400,000 disabled people won't get support - and that means they won't get help with transport, maybe getting their children to school or to getting work, and this really radically changes how disabled people are able to integrate into society."

Baroness Grey-Thompson said there would many appeals in response to the move, which would "clog up the system".

"Appeals cost far more than actually just giving disabled people the benefit in the first place," she said.

Fewer qualifying people would mean 160,000 fewer Motability cars on the road, the analysis suggested, which in other research has been linked to economic losses such as fewer jobs in the Motability-related industries, and lower GDP contributions.

Ms Young said: "Disabled people will be less independent, less likely to be able to get or keep a job, more likely to give up self-employment and less able to care for their children or support other family members."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 138.

    there will always be a minority that claim to be disabled..and are fit to work...but if your eating yourself to death them you should not get help from the goverment to do so,same goes for drink and drugs...there should be help for these people but not financial live at home and do as you please help.people make disability a way of life when in actual fact there is probably nothing wrong with them

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    The right-wing tabloids are playing the government like a fiddle, exaggerating a small minority of fraudulent claimants to deflect attention away from their own disgusting greedy practices. Labour won't do a damn thing to rectify the damage, either. This country is going down the pan yet nobody seems to want to do anything about it apart from make polite token gestures.

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    Forgot to say on my earlier post ..since taking ill i have dropped 300pound a week to go on benefit many make this choice... i would love to get back to work

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    How much are ATOS paid to carry out their evil benefit denial?In fact,the government is spending MORE now because its being passed to private companies.
    And answering a poster below,mr cameron himself claimed DLA for his now deceased child.
    They say theyre saving money-that can only mean one thing-theyre cutting back on much needed money for the most the vulnerable in this society.

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    I'd like to see these monies spent efficiently by housing the disabled in therapeutic work lodgings which pay for themselves without the disabled having to go anywhere. Segregation would be avoided if these were placed in empty inner city office space. This 'workfare' is how to pay off the huge Labor deficit, not by following some impossible 'human rights' culture until it bankrupts the country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    I know people who get DLA who ride motorbikes, cycle walk for miles and get a free buss pass too. It is time for a re-assessment of those in receipt. DLA was done for the right reasons and has helped many deserving people lead rewarding lives but there is abuse. There needs to be an appeal process, Savings here not great as DLA taken into account in care packages.

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    Why do people come on here spreading lies about hundreds of thousands abusing DLA? The OFFICIAL fraud rate is 0.5%. Shame on these cowardly, disgusting bullyboys on here spreading their lies!

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    Duke of Earl doubts that 5% of the country is disabled, the real figures, compiled by the government, will shock him as they are 20 to 25%. Few people realise how extensive disability is, because most disability is invisible, for instance COPD and heart disease. Even invisible disabilities may leave you unable to walk 50m, no matter how much the tabloids may try to proclaim otherwise

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    I have lived in quite a few countries and to see that, in spite of free healthcare, clean water, sanitation and good food, there are so many of the population disabled.........makes you think does it not?, free car plus tax plus insurance, not many working people can afford to run new cars every 3 years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    As soon as you hear the words, help, support, fairer, simpler and protected from this coalition government, you know for certain it's an attack on the poor, old, young, unemployed, sick and disabled. Well we're waiting by the ballot box Mr Clegg. You're a disgrace to a once great party. Better to die poor than in shame! Course you'll only ever know the shame part!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    11 Minutes ago
    The amount of times I see people jump into motobility cars like spring lambs ...

    How do you know it's a Motability car? How do you know that the person getting into the car isn't driving it for someone else? Do some research before copying the Daily Mail verbatim!

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    This poster is from Germany in the 1930's. The translation reads "60,000 Reich marks (is) what this person, suffering from hereditary defects, costs the People’s community during his lifetime. Comrade, that is your money too"
    Does this kind of talk sound familiar at all ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    Disabled people would be "ghettoised and excluded from society" under the new benefit rules, says a crossbench peer.

    It must be true then.

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    All this sentimentality is sickening.
    Their are thousands, tens probably hundreds, who are abusing the disability allowance.
    The genuine need not worry.
    The country is close to bankruptcy thanks to the last incompetent government and their will have to be cuts in spending. The sizeable minority who are abusing the state will be hit mostly.
    Genuine claimants need not worry by the scaremongering

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    @112 She would not have been able to achieve what she has done without it-that is the point.

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    This country somehow managed to create more 'disabled' then any other.
    Elsewhere, it seems the definition is more precise and those with real disabilites are taken care of.

    To re-examine the payments to the 'disabled' is not the mark of an uncaring society, more the mark of a just one. Our system was crazy, we borrowed to fund it( and our kids will be paying the costs for years to come).

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    #107 "Take up would drop if all they could have under the scheme is 4dr basic saloon" - and if due to mobility reasons they were unable to get into or out of the saloon we could really save money... let's scrap a benefit which saves the tax payer money - unless you think keeping disabled people in hospital needlessly is cheap. What is it - about 0.7%? of all benefits are claimed fraudulently...

  • rate this

    Comment number 121.

    I am well acquainted with someone who has a motability car (a very nice one at that!) and claims he is unable to work. He is more than capable of walking, almost running in fact, to the pub when he has money in his pocket. He is not disabled, simply a lazy fat basket who needs to eat and drink less and move more. The new rules help target what little money is available to the genuuinely needy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    amusing to see all the lefty apologists come out in here. They seem to think anyong who simply says theyre disabled must be taken at their word and money thrown their way. Tests have to be made, spongers cast out of the system. Frankly these tests dont go far enough, if youre fit enough to whinge about losing your handout on here then youre fit enough to do an office job for a start.

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    "And that broadly the same number of people will be entitled to extra mobility help... The government hopes to save £2bn as a result of the switch"



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