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Disabled people could lose benefits

21st October 2011

The charity Scope has warned that many disabled people risk losing payments under planned benefits changes.

Wheelchair

It is concerned the proposed test of claimants’ need is flawed because it focuses more on the disability but ignores relevant factors like housing and transport.

The government says the new system will benefit those in greatest need and cut annual overpayments of £660m, but fears many people may be left with little or no financial support.

Under the Welfare Reform Bill the disability living allowance, currently paid to more than three million disabled people, will be replaced by the personal independence payment and incorporate a new medical assessment that will be carried out on around two million disabled people of working age.

However, Scope is concerned it does not consider factors such as unsuitable housing and inaccessible public transport that lead to extra costs for disabled people but are not “related to the direct effect of an individual’s condition and impairment.”

Scope chief executive Richard Hawkes said the charity recognised that disability living allowance needed reforming but added: “Without understanding the extent of barriers people face, the government has no hope to overcome them and genuinely enable people to take part in daily life.”

Minister for disabled people Maria Miller said: “At the moment disability living allowance doesn't have an in-built reassessment as part of it and we have £600m a year going out in overpayments as a result.

“I want to see that change so that the money is really getting to disabled people who need the help the most.”

 

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