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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  • Comment number 398.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 397.

    385. Tio Terry, I consider any avoidance of paying taxes immoral, regardless of whether the Government encourage it or not, lets be honest Governments are never the pinnicle of morality, so we shouldn't judge morality by what Governments espouse. My income has decreased since the condems came to power.

  • rate this

    Comment number 396.


    "This is a missallocation of resources on a monumental scale."

    DLA costs £12.57bn

    Tax avoidance costs £ 70 bn

    You do the maths, then ask yourself who is ripping who off and who is missallocating resources. It certainly is not the disabled.

  • rate this

    Comment number 395.

    As someone is severley disabled with MS it always makes me laugh that as soon as the words disability and benefits are mentioned people who have no experience of either become experts on both subjects.

  • rate this

    Comment number 394.

    @379 widgeon "It is the nature of all animals, including humans, to attack and kill weaker animals."
    Not so....humans, believe it or not, were given a mind therefore a choice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 393.

    The Tories follow a political philosophy which is for private enterprise, but they are against and if given the chance would entirely get rid of the welfare system meaning nobody receives any benefits, state run organisations such as NHS, and any law that helps the citizen fight against unjust and unethical decisions such as sackings etc,

    Tories hate the public, UKIP hate us even more.

  • rate this

    Comment number 392.

    Do the DWP have access to lists of people flying out of the country on holiday?Surely it would a good idea, and anyone who is in receipt of any welfare benefit should be targeted.Fly on any plane to Spain or Portugal in the Winter months and you will find it full of pensioners.How many are on disability benefits,council tax benefit,free prescriptions etc etc

  • rate this

    Comment number 391.

    At the hate the disabled people within these comments, prey you do not end up like many that rely on the help they get, of course there are abusers of the system but its a well known fact the % of people not entitled to DLA is low, and have all of you that continue to spew tory poison never dipped the sticky finger into what is the establishment, i doubt it, and i am not disabled thank god!

  • rate this

    Comment number 390.

    Sentimentality's not sickening; it's people like you, sadly growing in number, who are callous & lack empathy. I rile against the benefit cheats but also live with a severely brain injured man who can't do a single thing himself. What looks to be generous benefits don't go anywhere meeting his complex needs. Govt promises to stop cheats & pay more to genuine claimants. Huh!

  • rate this

    Comment number 389.

    There is a vast number of people who have blue badges for their cars and receive other benefits when they really shouldn't qualify.

    I regularly see people with blue badges parking their 4x4s in supermarket disabled bays when there is nothing apparent that would prevent them parking elsewhere and walking just a little further. There is rarely a stick, walking frame or wheelchair in sight.

  • rate this

    Comment number 388.

    It's amazing how many non-disabled people fall for government disinformation campaigns by the right wing press - and occasionally the BBC. If you're "jealous" of those of us who are Disabled, then take our impairments as well as our money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 387.

    We've already cut public services and the military. Where do people expect the money to pay disabled people to live for free to come from?

  • rate this

    Comment number 386.

    Never ceases to amaze me at the number of times I see a disabled drivers park up in a nice new car and leap out in a sprightly fashion....they are suppose to not be able to walk more than 50 metres without being in pain...Is it no surprise that so many are slightly peeved at the so called disabled.

  • rate this

    Comment number 385.

    375.Have your say Rejected
    I dont consider having an ISA immoral. The previous, Labour, government encouraged me to have one and I have. I also have private pension provision and private Health Care, is that also considered immoral? I earnt it, I pay for it. The rich have tax cuts? Mine has gone up from 40% to 45%, how much has yours increased by? I'll bet nothing at all.

  • Comment number 384.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 383.

    There is a need to focus on the most needy with limited resources. I don't see how being able to drive, even a short distance, can be squared with disability given the demands of the task. It is the duty of the government to look into this aspect as benefits spent on joyriding would be better spent on people with serious illness. This is a missallocation of resources on a monumental scale.

  • rate this

    Comment number 382.

    "Then we wouldn't need the expensive tribunals"

    Most of the tribunals are caused by the assessor taking the word of an ATOS employee, who interviews the claimant for 15 minutes, over their G.P. and hospital specialist's diagnosis to meet targets.

  • rate this

    Comment number 381.

    Every time these discussions come up, it brings me feeling a little more suicidal knowing that come May I probably won't be able to afford to live.

  • rate this

    Comment number 380.

    I have a condition that means I won't make 50 .I'm on mid rate care,low rate mobility,I don't have a car from mobility,I have no savings.I don't have many clothes.My life sucks.I don't smile much. have just been put on work related because ATOS can't read medical papers & they are using non medical personnel.Reading some of these comments makes me feel very unsupported.I wish I could work!

  • rate this

    Comment number 379.

    It is in the nature of all animals, including humans, to attack and kill weaker animals. Thus the winners have a bigger share of resources and chances to mate. The extent to which people can overcome this is the measure of how civilised they are. Whether, and by how much, they are different from wild animals.


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