Disabled people slam government’s Disability Living Allowance reforms

The Coalition government’s proposed ‘reforms’ to the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) lack support and credibility and are ‘highly misleading’, says Responsible Reform, a report written by sick and disabled people, their friends and carers. Based on an analysis of 500 responses to the UK government’s consultation on its planned changes to disability living allowance, this report argues that the decision to reduce DLA expenditure by 20 per cent may have been based on misleading data about the reasons for growth in DLA. It is estimated that the proposed changes could lead to 500,000 disabled people losing entitlement to the benefit. The report found:

  • overwhelming opposition in the consultation responses to nearly all of the government’s proposals for DLA reform
  • the government has consistently used inaccurate figures to exaggerate the rise in DLA claimants
  • that nearly all of the recent increase in working-age claimants of DLA has been associated with mental health conditions and learning difficulties. Between 2002 and 2010, the number of working-age DLA claimants – excluding those with mental health conditions and learning difficulties – remained remarkably stable
  • that 98 per cent of those who responded opposed plans to change the qualifying period for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) from three months (as it is with DLA) to six months
  • that 90 per cent of respondents opposed plans for a new assessment, which disabled people fear will be far too similar to the much criticised work capability assessment used to test eligibility for employment and support allowance (ESA).

The full report, Responsible Reform: A Report on the Proposed Changes to Disability Living Allowance, is available from the Ekklesia website.