Almost half a million will lose out on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) by 2016, under major reforms to disability benefit.
The government wants to reduce the £13bn annual disability benefit bill by 20% amid wider reforms of state benefits. Under its proposals, two million claimants will be reassessed over the next four years, with only those its considers it to be in need of support qualifying for DLA.
Work and pensions secretary Ian Duncan Smith told the Daily Telegraph that claims for DLA had risen by a third in recent years, and that the benefit was so loosely defined that almost 70% of claimants had continued to receive the benefit without any further assessment.
What is Disability Living Allowance?
DLA is a tax-free benefit paid by the government to help with any extra costs you may have because you’re disabled. In order to claim the maximum, you must have a physical or mental disability, which must be severe enough that you need care or have difficulty walking.
There are two components to the DLA.
Care component: if you need help looking after yourself. There are three rates of benefit: you receive £20.55 on the lowest rate, £51.85 on the middle rate and 77.45 on the highest rate.
Mobility component: if you have trouble walking or getting around. There are two rates of benefit: on the higher rate you receive £54.05 and £20.55 on the lower rate.
If you qualify for both components, you could receive a maximum of £131.50 a week.
What is the Personal Independence Payment?
From 2013, the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is proposed to replace the DLA. This will mean than people claiming the DLA will have closer assessments to whether they qualify for payments. The government is currently new eligibility criteria, to be announced in the autumn.
The Department for Work and Pensions stated that the ‘DLA is an outdated benefit with £630m of overpayments and the vast majority of people getting the benefit for life without systematic checks to see if their condition has changed.
‘We are replacing DLA with personal independence payment (PIP) and introducing a new face-to-face assessment and regular reviews – something missing under the current system.’