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Benefit cuts affect disabled people's independence

08 April 2013

PRESS RELEASE: REDUCING BENEFIT ENTITLEMENT TO A MILLION DISABLED PEOPLE WILL NOT IMPROVE THEIR PERSONAL INDEPENDENCE

Today sees the start of the staged introduction of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which will replace Disability Living Allowance.

According to the government’s own figures, 55% of DLA claimants will have no award or a reduced award once the roll out of PIP has been completed.  This means 450,000 disabled people will have no disability benefit entitlement at all and 510,000 disabled people will have a reduced award.[1]

Disability Rights UK is concerned that this alongside other benefit changes such as the bedroom tax, council tax and the reduction in social care support from local authorities, will have a major impact on disabled people’s quality of life and independent living.  Liz Sayce, Chief Executive of Disability Rights UK says:

“We are very concerned about the impact of PIP which could see thousands of disabled people become institutionalised in their own homes.  For example DWP expects that 428,000 disabled people who currently get the higher rate mobility component will lose it altogether or receive the lower amount.  This means that many will lose their car under the Motability car scheme so they will no longer be able to get to work or get out and about.”

If the purpose of PIP is to contribute to the extra costs of disability so that disabled people can maintain their independence we doubt whether this will be achieved.  For example, someone with severe epilepsy may qualify for the current DLA care component on the basis that they require someone with them ready to take action to avoid injury if they have a seizure but will not qualify for the daily living component of PIP.  Under DLA, disabled people who are unable to cook a main meal for themselves and those disabled people who need continual support or supervision to ensure they are not in substantial danger will be made an award. This is not the case under PIP.

Disability Rights UK will continue to raise these and other important issues affecting hundreds of thousands of disabled people – both directly with government and by raising them publicly, including in parliament.

Ends

For further information please contact Sue Bott, Director of Policy, Services and Development Disability Rights UK on 07590 929 441 or email Sue.Bott@disabilityrightsuk.org    

Notes to Editors

We are disabled people leading change.  Disability Rights UK’s vision is of a society where everyone with lived experience of disability or health conditions can participate equally as full citizens.

disabilityrightsuk.org

[1]The Government’s response to the Personal Independence Payment consultation assessment criteria and regulation http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/pip-assessment-thresholds-and-consultation-response.pdf  - The relevant paragraphs are 8.16 and 8.17.