Eight-in-10 people claim losing their Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will drive them into isolation, a coalition of 90 disabled people’s groups says. In a survey of more than 4,500 UK disabled people, the Hardest Hit campaign found nine in 10 fear the DLA loss will be bad for their health. The DLA is to be replaced in 2013 by the personal independence payment.

The Government said money was too often wasted on overpayments where people’s conditions have changed. At Prime Minister’s Questions last week, David Cameron spoke of the plan to give more money to “severely disabled children” and a lower amount for less disabled people, which “showed the right values and the right approach”. Exact details of how the personal independence payment (PIP) will be allocated have not yet been revealed and those wishing to claim it will have to go through a reassessment of their needs.

The Hardest Hit campaign, an alliance of disability charities and grassroots organisations, fears the new PIP will see the criteria for eligibility changed to the detriment of disabled people.

In its report, the Tipping Point, the group claims up to 500,000 people will lose out on “vital support” when the DLA is scrapped. “Disabled people and their families are struggling to make ends meet and feel increasingly nervous about the future,” the report says. Its survey found 65% of respondents who were in work said without the DLA they would not be able to work and three in 10 said without the DLA their carer would not be able to work. Three-quarters of those surveyed said losing the allowance would mean they would need more social care support from their local council.

Minister for Disabled People Esther McVey said there were a lot of misleading stories about the impact of welfare reforms on disabled people. “The truth is – as the Paralympics showed – the UK continues to be a world leader in the rights for disabled people. “However, too often under the current system we are wasting money on overpayments where people’s conditions have changed, with £630m a year on DLA alone.

The Hardest Hit campaign is made up of more than 90 disabled people’s organisations and charities such as Sense, the RNIB and Mencap.

Source: BBC News

22nd October 2012

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