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New medical assessment for DLA from 2013 - Budget 2010

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John
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This will happen to new and existing claimants. Also read "Reforming Disability Living Allowance 2010 to 2014/15"< for the "hidden details"."

 

Read the documents from the Treasury by clicking here.<

John
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DWP Expected to produce new welfare reform measures before the spending review.

John
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kevin
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I thought I would list the number of people accessing AA and DLA within the UK, of the 87,000 known people with HIV/AIDS suggests and confirms about 9% of the community are being supported by these allowances.

Attendance Allowance - November 2009 Listed for AIDS = 700

Disability Living Allowance - August 2008 for AIDS = 7,510 (These figures are no longer available from the DWP)

Independant Living Fund = 104

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John
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 I have read and thought about the budget today. I have to say I am worried, for myself, and for those with HIV who are in a similar situation. I attended an All Party Parliamentary Group on Disability meeting last evening. The first of the new group this parliament. Maria Miller MP the new Minister for the Disabled was there to answer questions and introduce herself. She seems to have a good "handle" on her brief as, unlike the previous minister, she didn't check with advisors before answering a question. In fact she attended with no advisors. I mention this as it indicates, whatever happens, a minister that knows her "stuff".

These meetings are primarily a chance for members of both Houses to pose questions. 

The first thing I note is that in the current climate of the disabled being forced off benefits into most likely unsuitable work. The government expects us to do under the cloud that they do not see full equality for disabled people until 2025. The current government is sticking to, thus far, the Disability Equality 2025 Roadmap.

The new chair of the Work and Pensions Select committee and another peer raised questions concerning benefits directly. I was pleased one of these covered the question I would have raised. I am glad I "had a word" with the MP last week on that subject.

However, today, the answers, non-committal as they were.  In light of today's budget anyway. Not worth the effort. For today, for disabled people we saw a major "hit" on the way.

Disability Living Allowance is in the firing line. You can read more here. Housing benefit is also going to face further "capping" and reduction. Although this was part of the previous governments agenda. The moves in Housing Benefit delivered today go much further.

People with HIV/AIDS have a very tough time getting Social Housing and have done for many years. To repeat the information given to me by a housing officer over 10 years ago. When I had received my AIDS diagnosis. I was told "well you are just not dying in the same numbers you used to be". In other words the housing wasn't being recycled at the same levels. We have seen Social Housing need increase. Pushing many into the Private Housing Sector. The new proposed Housing Benefit measures will push those already struggling to pay rents further into poverty as many already "top up" there rents from other benefits.

In London and the South-east where rents are extremely high but where the largest population of those with HIV live, to get access to care, this will have a huge impact.

If you are receiving Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) I note that from April 2011, you will have your Housing Benefit "time limited". If you are fortunate enough to have a two or more bedroom home in the Social sector (Council or Housing Association) further restrictions on Housing Benefit are due if you live alone. Many people relish a second bedroom. It can help when you need someone to help you though a period of ill health. However if you have a full time carer there are other measures to address this. 

If you have a family when your youngest child reaches 5 years. If you only receive Income Support at the moment, you will then be moved onto Job Seekers Allowance (JSA). This applies where you only get Income Support by the way. You will only get a maternity grant for your first child and the "Health in Pregnancy Grant" will be abolished from January 2011. Child Benefit is also frozen for the future.

The reductions for the earning limit for children tax credits down to £40,000 the to £30,000 will impact families hugely. 

Pensioners have a"triple" guarantee they will rise from April 2011 in line with earnings, prices or 2.5% which ever is highest.

I note protection for the winter fuel payments and off peak travel but no such protections a mentioned for disabled people.

Of course if you are disabled and work you benefit from the personal allowances changes though VAT will claw some of this back.

On the subject of VAT is it regressive taxation. That is the poor are effect the most. The Office for National Statistics states that £1 in every £25 for the rich is paid in VAT. For the poor its £1 in every £7 spent.

Whether you work or are unable its clear that cuts in the services you rely on to function will also be hit.  You hear the NHS is a ring-fenced budget but I know my local hospital and HIV Directorate is making 10% cuts this year and more next.

There is much detail in the "Red Book" and this isn't just about DLA.

Please I urge you. If you are angered or worried. Please pick up your pen and write to those in power. Your MP, your local councillors & ministers. The time to let someone else fight for you is over. Never before has there been a need for you to play your part and we can all do something. Yes some more than others but the numbers of us doing something sends a clear message. This is unfortunately a numbers game (no pun intended).

We will continue to advise and direct on what is happening. I am sure the Department for Work and Pensions Select Committee will heavily engaged and may well call for evidence. We will let you know so you can submit.

Finally, we also engage and like other organisations when we are making our case rely on your experience. Please share it as it does inspire others.

You can post on here or email me directly to john@tcell.org.uk.

I am happy to post your story on your behalf. If you want to remain anonymous that is again something I will fully respect. 

Being able to stand up in a meeting and as well as relating my experience being able to relate others is 'powerful'.

John
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Available on Facebook.<

"THT comment on the Proposed Reform of Disability Living Allowance<

 Today at 12:27<
Summary of proposed review: 

  • The government will introduce a medical test for people claiming Disability Living Allowance from 2013/14

  • You will have to take the test whether you are a new or existing claimant

  • The test will replace the current application forms, where an applicant does not need to have a face-to-face assessment

  • It will be similar to the Work Capability Assessment, which was introduced last year for Employment and Support Allowance, however we do not know yet exactly what form it will take

  • The system will be gradually introduced for existing claimants over 3 years from 2013, so some people may not have the new test until 2016

  • The clear intention of the government is to reduce expenditure by 20% via this policy, which suggests that a minority of current claimants are expected to lose their entitlement

THT recognises that this will concern many people with HIV who receive DLA, and particularly those who have already had a benefits review in the past two years due to the changes in Special Rules benefits.

While we believe it is very unlikely that the Government will change their mind on this, THT will be working to ensure that the Department for Work & Pensions understands the difficulties that people with HIV who are on such benefits face. We will also be working to make this review as equitable and fair to people with HIV as possible and to support people who have to go through it. 

If you are facing a review and concerned about it, please call THT Direct for advice on 0845 1221 200 or email info@tht.org.uk. We can give you welfare benefits advice and, where possible, help you through this review or, where THT does not operate face to face benefits advice, refer you to the local provider who is funded to do so. If you are reviewed and are unhappy with the result, we can help you appeal and we want to hear from anyone who feels the process has not been operated fairly."<

kevin
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The DWP Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller MP, has reassured DA that the ill-performing Work Capability Assessment is not the new ‘medical assessment’ to be used for DLA.

Whilst this is a small relief, DA is concerned that the new test will be used to restrict access to much needed financial support for disabled people and will introduce considerable additional costs to administering this essential disability benefit at a time of financial constraint.

DWP have also confirmed that the medical assessment of current DLA recipients will not – for the foreseeable future – include people over the age of 65 or under 18. The new assessment will be for working age disabled people.

DA is seeking further information on the new assessment and will be working with MPs and peers as well as our members to examine the DLA and other proposals in more detail and to ensure the Government provides answers at an early opportunity.

http://www.disabilityalliance.org/dlatest.htm<

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kevin
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Department for Work and Pensions Research Report No 585. DLA claimants – a new assessment: The characteristics and aspirations of the Incapacity Benefit claimants who receive Disability Living Allowance.

http://campaigns.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/report_abstracts/rr_abstracts/rra_5...<

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2009-2010/rrep585.pdf<

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/summ2009-2010/585summ.pdf<

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kevin
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Analysis of the NDDP Eligible Population Survey.

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2009-2010/rrep584.pdf<

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kevin
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The Government’s decision to introduce medical assessments for those in receipt of the Disabled Living Allowance (DLA) has brought a wave of criticism on Chancellor George Osborne’s first Budget.

Describing the ‘unavoidable’ tough Budget on 22 June as one which ‘rewards work’ yet ‘protects the most vulnerable in our society,” the Chancellor pointed to the last decade’s 45% increase in the size of the UK’s Welfare bill, and the need to undertake ‘lasting reform’ in order to reduce the nation’s debts.

“It is right that people who are disabled are helped to lead a life of dignity,” George Osborne insisted in the House of Commons. “We will continue to support them, and we will not reduce the rate at which [DLA] is paid. But three times as many people claim it today than when it was introduced 18 years ago, and the costs have quadrupled in real terms to more than £11 billion, making it one of the largest items of government spending.”

 

‘DLA IS NOT A BENEFIT’

According to the Chancellor, the new medical assessment, to be introduced for both new and existing claimants from 2013, will be a ‘simpler process’ than the current complex forms. “We can continue to afford paying this important benefit to those with the greatest needs, while significantly improving incentives to work for others,” he said.

However, the Chief Executive of disability charity Scope, Richard Hawkes, insisted there was one simple goal behind the announcement. He said: “The proposal to introduce a new medical assessment for DLA appears designed purely to reduce the number of people eligible for this support.

“DLA is not a benefit, but a basic recognition that it is more expensive to live as a disabled person in our society,” he insisted.

ABSOLUTE LIFELINE

The chief executive of the National Autistic Society, Mark Lever, also suggested that medical assessments could exclude many people affected by autism from receiving the support they and their families need.

“Thousands of individuals and families affected by autism struggle to meet the extra costs of living with a disability,” he said. “All too often they are denied essential benefits and face poverty due to a lack of understanding, support and services. For many, DLA is an absolute lifeline.

“Autism is a serious, lifelong and disabling condition and, without the right support, it can have a profound and sometimes devastating effect,” he added. “It is vital that this is acknowledged in any proposed changes to the way DLA is assessed.

SAFEGUARDS NEEDED

Another organisation with concerns about the announcement was learning difficulties charity Mencap. Their campaigns and policy manager, Esther Foreman, told us: “Strong safeguards must be put in place to ensure that people with a learning disability, who desperately need the support, do not miss out because of these assessments.

“We recognise that cuts have to be made but it is vital that we protect frontline public services enabling people with a learning disability to live independently,” she added. “Rising inflation and continuing growth in numbers of people with a learning disability means that, even if budgets standstill, people with a learning disability are going to be seriously affected.

“We fear that short term cost savings could have long term implications for people with a learning disability and their families and carers.”

MORE: www.scope.org.uk<, www.autism.org.uk<, www.mencap.org.uk<

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http://ablemagazine.co.uk/dla-medical-assessment-criticised/<

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kevin
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1.0 Introduction

1.1 This paper sets out a written memorandum to the House of Commons Social Security Select Committee on the subject of the proposed measures outlined in Chapter 6 (concerning Support for Disabled People) of the Welfare Reform Green Paper "New Ambitions for Our Country: a New Contract for Welfare" (Cm. 3805). Although the comments in this paper relate specifically to the section of the Green Paper concerned with disabled people, it must be remembered that individuals do not always fit so neatly into ordered pigeonholes  disabled people may also be lone parents or homeless, for example. Further, other aspects of the Green Paper, such as pension provisions, are of as much salience to disabled people as non-disabled people.

1.2 Principle 4 of the Green Paper states:

That those who are disabled should get the support they need to lead a fulfilling life with dignity

Chapter 6, which deals with this principle, explores a number of ways that this principle may be realised. I shall comment on a number of these in turn, before considering the Success Measures that are proposed.


2.0 Proposed measures for support for disabled people

2.1 Civil rights for disabled people

The plan to introduce effective civil rights for disabled people is to be welcomed. However, merely implementing the remaining provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) will not introduce effective civil rights for disabled people. The DDA as it stands is flawed in its acceptance of "justifiable discrimination", its exemptions and its omission of crucial areas such as education and transport. Wholesale amending or repealing the DDA is necessary in order that it be replaced with legislation similar to that suggested in the Berry and Barnes Private Members Bills. Only then can the Disability Rights Commission fully work to protect, enforce and promote the rights of disabled people.

2.2 The new deal for disabled people

The commitment to support employment for those disabled people who are able to work is to be welcomed. However, the greatest help for employment opportunities for disabled people must come from:

 

  • A fully inclusive educational system that delivers the same standard of education to both disabled and non-disabled children alike
  • Tackling attitudinal discrimination against disabled people by society at large
  • Employment advisor pilots to work with all employers to help tackle such discrimination. Personal advisors for disabled people merely reinforce the individualising nature of disability, not its social causes
  • Circulating examples of good employer practice is not enough. There needs to be a statutory element to this
  • Restoring the cuts in funding and eligibility criteria of the Access to Work Scheme

2.3 Disabled Persons Tax Credit

In the Budget, the Chancellor announced the introduction of a new Disabled Persons Tax Credit (DPTC) to replace Disability Working Allowance (DWA). If the DPTC is introduced:

 

  • It must be disregarded when assessing for means tested benefits such as Housing/Council Tax Benefit - OR - the earnings disregard for these benefits must be increased
  • There needs to be a commitment to maintaining a two-year linking rule as is the case for the current DWA

Rather than the introduction of the DPTC, I am in favour of the alternative proposal suggested to the Select Committee by Elizabeth Bray. Bray has put forward the concept of a Disability Earnings Concession (DEC) which allows people in receipt of disability benefits to work and earn as and when their health allows it, without any risk to benefit entitlement. Working thus has no effect on benefits. But a higher tax code for DEC earners will deduct the usual tax and NI, plus a reasonable percentage towards DSS, council tax and housing benefits when that person does work (DLA would be excluded from this consideration). Four DEC tax bands have been proposed, and then anyone capable of sustained earnings of £12,500 per annum would stop claiming benefits and come into the usual tax system. The DEC proposal has far greater potential benefits than the introduction of the DPTC. It would allow disabled people to work for the proper market rate for the job and would facilitate intermittent working. It would simplify the bureaucratic maze that one has to deal with when stopping or starting a job and would relieve the uncertainty, risk and poverty traps that disabled people with fluctuating health conditions experience.

2.4 Extended Linking Rule for Incapacity Benefit

The extension of the period of time during which disabled people can take up a job and return to benefit if their health fails to one year is welcome. However, a 2 year linking rule would bring it in line with DWA claimants (or the new DPTC).

2.5 Reforming Incapacity Benefit

The emphasis in reforming Incapacity Benefit appears to be cost-driven and raises the concern that tighter eligibility criteria will deny genuine people the benefit they have paid their contributions to receive.

Any test for claimants of Incapacity Benefit must take account of fluctuating conditions as well as the continuum for capacity to work.

2.6 Review of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Attendance Allowance (AA)

 

  • The Green Paper states its commitment to maintaining DLA and AA as universal, national benefits for those who meet the entitlement requirements. However, a further commitment is needed not to tax DLA or AA
  • There is a need for mental health component criteria to be introduced to the assessment for DLA
  • The Benefits Integrity Project, set up to check the validity of DLA claims, has not found significant evidence of any fraud. This suggests that self-assessment of care or mobility needs by the claimant is working well and need not be replaced by assessment by a medical professional in all cases.
  • The setting up of a forum to look at the gateway to benefits is to be welcomed, provided that it includes a range of organisations of disabled people.

 


3.0 Success measures

The Social Security Select Committee sets out a number of success measures against which the Governments progress on reform will be assessed. Four have been identified in the chapter on Support for Disabled People:

3.1 A reduction in discrimination against disabled people

 

How will a reduction in discrimination against disabled people be measured and assessed? Only fully comprehensive, legally enforceable anti-discrimination policy (as mentioned in 2.1 above) is acceptable, in order to eliminate discrimination.

3.2 An increase in the number of disabled people able to work

 

An increase in the number of disabled people able to work is not an adequate success measure, if this is based on insecurity, coercion, the continuance of prejudicial attitudes or the absence of any real opportunities for work. A more appropriate success measure must be based on changes taking place in the workplace, the implementation of tighter employment criteria in a Disability Discrimination Act and the number of cases taken on by the Disability Rights Commission to enforce anti-discrimination policy in the workplace, etc.

3.3 A reduction in spending on Incapacity Benefit

A reduction in spending on Incapacity Benefit may suggest tighter eligibility criteria and genuine people being refused benefit, not a measure of success.

3.4 A simpler, clearer and fairer system for determining entitlement to benefits

 

This is to be welcomed. There are two strands to this  one is to reduce the complexity in applying for disability benefits and, therefore, capturing the large number of non-claimants. The second is to streamline the process, improving communication between the different branches of the benefits system and providing a more holistic service. Instead of putting money into personal advisers offering individualised help to disabled people who want to work, I should prefer to see a broader role for Disability Advisors, who would be able to partner each person claiming any type of disability benefit and advise and assist them with regards to the applicability of other benefits or services as well as work-related help.

4.0 Final Comments

4.1 The Green Paper omits to mention support for disabled children and their families. This is a significant area of omission, given the available research evidence on the difficulties of these families and their strategies for coping. For example, reducing the age eligibility criteria for the mobility component of DLA would be welcomed, as would Family Support Workers (similar to Disability Advisors above) who could be the point of reference for families with a disabled child.

4.2 The emphasis on entry to the workplace must not diminish the real needs of those disabled people who cannot work or who are beyond working age. There is a danger in residualising these disabled people, by maintaining them on low level benefits and therefore furthering the process of their social exclusion. Disability benefits for those unable to work must be held up in line with current wage levels, the cost of living and inflation.

This paper has considered one chapter of the Welfare Reform Green Paper, that of support for disabled people. It has identified areas of concern and suggested ways of achieving the principle of support for disabled people.

http://www.radstats.org.uk/no070/response2.htm<

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kevin
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Welfare Reform Act summary

part 1 - employment and support allowance (esa)< 
how much is esa?< 
sanctions< 
support component< 
part 2 – Housing benefit< 
local housing allowance< 
anti-social behaviour – pilot scheme< 
part 3 – Social security administration: general< 
sharing of social security information< 
fraud< 
part 4 - Miscellaneous< 
widowed mothers allowance/widowed parents allowance< 
disability living allowance age conditions< 
social fund< 
vaccine damage payments: overseas vaccinations< 
compensation for pneumoconiosis< 
attendance allowance/disability living allowance and care home residents< 
independent living funds< 
more information<

Part 1 - Employment and support allowance (ESA)<

This will replace incapacity benefit and income support paid on the grounds of incapacity. It is is intended to start for new claimants from October 2008. From April 2010 all existing incapacity benefits claimants will be required to take the work capability assessment.

ESA will be paid to people in Great Britain (separate legislation will be introduced for Northern Ireland) who satisfy the following:

  • have a limited capability for work – have a physical or mental condition, which means that it is not reasonable to require them to work.
  • are at least 16 years old and who have not reached pensionable age
  • are not entitled to income support or jobseeker’s allowance (including joint-claim jobseeker’s allowance)
  • pass either a national insurance contribution test (similar to that for incapacity benefit – people under age 20, or age 25 in certain circumstances will not have to satisfy the contribution test) or an income test (similar to that for income support).

Anyone claiming ESA will be assessed during a 13 week period, or longer if necessary, to determine whether they have a limited capability for work but also whether or not he or she is capable of ‘engaging in work-related activity’.

The method of assessment has not yet been decided but a number of consultative groups are looking at different aspects of the pca test with a view to amending it.

These groups are looking at the mental health activities/descriptors, physical activities/descriptors, the test as a whole, appeals and work related health issues. Some of these groups involve voluntary organisations and some do not.

The findings of the physical function and mental health technical working groups have now been published - "Transformation of the personal capability assessment"<. You can view this document and a brief summary of their findings by clicking on the link below.

Healthcare professionals will be allowed to carry out examinations under the amended assessment. Only health care professionals who are members of regulated professions will be allowed to do this. They will be bound by the same duties of confidentiality as departmental staff with respect to information about individual customers.

The Secretary of State will be required to lay an annual independent report before Parliament on the operation of the revised personal capability assessment.

How much is ESA?<

The amount of ESA will be determined by whether someone is entitled to a contributory or income-related allowance or both, and whether they are entitled to the work-related activity or support component.

Following the response to the Green Paper the Government has stated that young people under age 25 will receive the same basic allowance to for the main phase of ESA as everyone else. However this does not seem to apply for the 12 weeks prior to the medical assessment (where the rates will be similar rate to that for jobseeker's allowance).

Those who cannot engage in work-related activity will receive a 'support component'. Those who can engage in work-related activity will receive a 'work-related activity component' but may be required to do three things as part of the ‘conditionality’ for receiving this component.

    1. They may have a work-focused health-related assessment aimed at providing additional information about the claimant's functional capacity.
    2. Attending a work-focused interview to discuss what steps they can take to move towards work. A claimant may be asked to assist in drawing up an action plan of work related activity they intend to undertake - but they would not be obliged to do what the action plan says.
    3. Undertake activities that increase the likelihood of getting a job. This may include activities such as work trials, training, or attending a programme designed to help them manage their condition.

The detail of this will be contained within regulations. Initially, it seems, conditionality will be satisfied by attending and participating in a work-focused interview. The number and frequency of work-focused interviews someone has to attend may be varied in the future.

The Secretary of State will have an obligation to review the relevant ESA amounts in each tax year to determine whether they have retained their value.

Sanctions<

Benefit can by be reduced (sanctioned) if a claimant fails to undertake such assessments, interviews or activity as required without good cause. The definition of "good cause" will be similar to the definition used for work-focused interviews in Pathways to Work pilots.

The Secretary of State will not be able to authorise a contractor to undertake decision making that could lead to sanctions under the ESA conditionality regime.

The regulations relating to entitlement to benefit components and the loss of benefit will be subject to the affirmative procedure - i.e. the regulations will be debated by MPs before being set down in law. This is in response to the Joint Committee on Human Rights and the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee report on the Bill<.

Support Component<

Though not required to undertake a work-related activity, those receiving the support component are free to volunteer to take part in these if they wish to do so.

Part 2 – Housing benefit<

Local housing allowance<

Local housing allowance will be extended across the deregulated private rented sector. In addition, housing benefit measures in the Act would make changes to the design and administration of the benefit.

Note that following the response to the Green Paper the Government LHA will not be extended to tenants in social housing.

Anti-social behaviour – pilot scheme<

Housing benefit could be reduced in circumstances where a person has been evicted from his home on grounds of anti-social behaviour and then refuses rehabilitation and support services offered by the local authority to help address any problem behaviour.

It will be up to the local authority to decide the appropriate course of action for a particular case. If a housing benefit sanction is considered the authority will have to do a risk and vulnerability assessment of the claimant.

There will be a right of appeal against any decision to sanction a claimant.

This measure will be piloted in 9 local authorities in England for a period of two years from 1 November 2007. Pilots will not be allowed to continue beyond 31 December 2010, unless primary legislation is introduced.

The pilot areas will be:

  • Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
  • Blackpool Borough Council
  • Dover District Council
  • Manchester City Council
  • New Forest District Council
  • Newham London Borough Council
  • South Gloucestershire Council
  • Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

The starting date< for the pilots will be 1 November 2007. Regulations have now been published - Housing Benefit (Loss of Benefit) (Pilot Scheme) Regulations 2007 (SI.No.2202/2007)<.

Part 3 – Social security administration: general<

Sharing of social security information<

The Act will enable the sharing and use of social security information between ‘relevant authorities’ (local authorities, county councils and the Department for Work and Pensions) to support joint working arrangements, improve the take-up and delivery of benefits and other services, including welfare services. It will be an offence if someone makes an unauthorised disclosure of information to someone who is not attached to a relevant authority.

The sharing of information is to be used solely to encourage people to claim the benefits to which they may be entitled.

Fraud<

Local authorities will be given powers to investigate (and share information with the DWP and other local authorities) and prosecute offences relating to national benefits where there is also fraud against local benefits.

Currently certain specified benefits can be reduced or withdrawn where someone is convicted of a benefit offence within three years of a previous benefit conviction (the "two strikes" rule). The Act will extend the three year limit to five years.

Part 4 - Miscellaneous<

Widowed mothers allowance/widowed parents allowance<

This removes the requirement, where a child is not living with the claimant, to make contributions to the cost of providing for the child of an amount which is not less than the rate of guardian's allowance in respect of the child.

Disability living allowance age conditions<

This clarifies the position for people on or around 16 years old to ensure that the correct test is applied for the Disability living allowance care and low rate mobility components. For example the cooking test should not be applied to someone under 16 and someone over 16 should not be required to show they need substantially more guidance or supervision than someone of the same age who is in normal physical and mental health.

Social fund<

The Act allows a more flexible approach by allowing allocations from the social fund to be made in different ways.

Vaccine damage payments: overseas vaccinations<

Allows claims to be made under the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979 where disablement results from vaccinations given outside the UK and the Isle of Man by, or on behalf of, Her Majesty's Forces, a specified government department or any other specified body. The Act also allows appeals tribunals in Northern Ireland to hear vaccine damage payment cases.

Compensation for Pneumoconiosis<

It amends the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers' Compensation) Act 1979 in order to clarify when a person suffering from such a disease may make a claim under the Act. It also widens the group of dependants who may make a claim to include civil partners as well as same and opposite sex partners.

Attendance allowance/disability living allowance and care home residents<

The Act will amend the rules governing the withdrawal of attendance allowance and the care component of disability living allowance, in cases where someone has been resident in a care home for more than four weeks, to widen their scope.

Independent living funds<

The Act makes amendments to the Disability (Grants) Act 1993 to enable government grants to be paid to the Independent Living Fund (2006)<, which is scheduled to replace the current Independent Living Funds.

More information<

http://www.disabilityalliance.org/ibchange5.htm<

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anonymous (not verified)
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hi...i get te high rate of dla my wife cares  for me,

my mother who is 91 yrs old and severly disabled, i care for her, i am aged 59, we live in the family home, i am worried will i lose my dla with these new medical assements etc...thankyou.

John
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Those of us on DLA and under the state retirement age, 65 are all worried for the same reasons.  There are potentially differing benefit issues here.  You are 59 and therefore of working age and though we await the details of the proposed changes in the new Welfare Reform Bill, you may be reassessed.  You do not indicate if your wife also receives Carers Allowance.

You mother at 91 is a slightly different case as the government have only talked about DLA for "working age claimants". Though the issue of elderly care is another area government is looking at.

Many are worried about being re-assessed and the new tests, as am I.

However I must stress, any benefit anyone receives can be reviewed at any time by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. The "Right Payment Programme" tells us the DWP want to be able to review DLA also on a regular basis.

I mention this again for everyone's benefit to try and tell people that no one can be sure about the when? and if? you get reviewed as you can be at any time.

Thank you for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it and all the best to you & yours.

I will post more information online when we get it.

kevin
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he new coalition Government announced, in its emergency budget, that it would be introducing a new objective DLA medical test.

According to the HM Treasury Budget 2010 policy costings the Government:

"....will introduce an objective medical assessment and revised eligibility criteria for both new and existing working-age claims for Disability Living Allowance, to be rolled out from 2013/14. The assessment will follow a similar process to the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) used for claims to employment and support allowance, with a points based system to assess
eligibility to the different rates of the benefit."

It is assumed that this will result in a 20 per cent reduction in caseload and expenditure once fully rolled out.

It is also assumed that existing claimants would be reassessed over three years, with 25 per cent of the caseload reassessed in the first year, 75 per cent by the end of the second year and 100 per cent by the end of the third year.

The DWP Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller MP, has reassured DA that the ill-performing Work Capability Assessment is not the new ‘medical assessment’ to be used for DLA.

Whilst this is a small relief, DA is concerned that the new test will be used to restrict access to much needed financial support for disabled people and will introduce considerable additional costs to administering this essential disability benefit at a time of financial constraint.

DWP have also confirmed that the medical assessment of current DLA recipients will not – for the foreseeable future – include people over the age of 65 or under 18. The new assessment will be for working age disabled people.

DA is seeking further information on the new assessment and will be working with MPs and peers as well as our members to examine the DLA and other proposals in more detail and to ensure the Government provides answers at an early opportunity. 

More information

http://www.disabilityalliance.org/dlatest.htm<

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anonymous (not verified)
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MORE than £1.5billion a year could be saved straight away under radical proposals unveiled today to slash the benefits bill and get people back to work.

Even more would be clawed back in years to come under the plan, which includes redefining the official poverty line, thereby lowering the minimum income the state will give to claimants.

Some people will lose out in the short term, the report concedes. But it insists it would also help ensure the very poorest no longer “fell through the net” of state help, by making the system simpler for everyone to use.

And by also giving people more incentive to work by letting them keep more of their earnings, they will have a better long-term route out of the “poverty trap”, according to the report, from campaign group the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

The report proposes a single “negative income tax” to replace most benefits now paid to working-age households, including child benefit. Under the system those below a certain income would receive extra from the taxman in pay packets rather than having tax taken out.

The group says its plan would be simple to implement and runs counter to the conventional view that welfare reform must always cost money up front before it can start saving money for the taxpayer. The group’s research director Matthew Sinclair said: “It’s an absolute scandal that politicians have failed to reform a ­welfare system that is trapping far too many people in poverty and benefit dependency.

“Setting a more realistic ­poverty target would mean we could stop people falling through the net.

“Instead they have applied endless sticking plasters that only worsen the underlying problems of a system that severely undermines incentives to work.

“Taxpayers footing the bill will expect that the Government take the tough but fair decisions needed.”Fellow researcher Mike ­Denham, a former Treasury and City economist who co-wrote the report, added: “There is an exciting opportunity for this Gov- ­ern­ment to be a game-changer with serious benefit reforms.

“We are all aware of the need to keep down spending in order to tackle the huge public sector ­deficit but there is no need for that to preclude serious efforts to reform the welfare system.” The report claims that among the failings of the current ­system, it is too complicated, with more than 50 different benefits.

It is “administratively chaotic”, allowing fraud and error costing taxpayers £4.5billion a year.

And yet take-up rates for some key benefits and tax credits are as low as 57 per cent.

The system also penalises ­couples for living together, with an estimated 1.8 million low-earning households losing out on an ­average £1,336.

It also almost always pays out more to non-working households. People who make the effort to work and get on in their careers can lose a huge percentage of their earnings – up to 95.5 per cent – in clawed-back benefits.

It means that for some, the £5.80 an hour minimum wage can be worth as little as 26p in extra income.

Meanwhile the number of ­people living in “severe poverty” – currently defined as less than 40 per cent of median income – has increased from five to six per cent of the population in 10 years.

http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/media/2010/07/daily-express-how-to-cut-...<

anonymous (not verified)
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Within the centre right, I think most people agree that the welfare system is in serious need of reform.  It is simultaneously failing the poorest, unfair on couples, costing a fortune and - most importantly - trapping people in dependency with high marginal withdrawal rates.  So most of us wish Iain Duncan Smith well as he sets out to reform the system.  But there is an abiding concern that it might not be possible right now, with a crisis in the public finances.

Most potential reforms involve higher spending initially, as benefits are withdrawn more slowly to make it more worthwhile for people to work and raise their income.  The expectation is that those reforms will save money over time as more people get into work.  But that might not be good enough for a Government that faces a dire fiscal crisis and is cautious (probably too cautious) about relying on dynamic benefits to pay for static policy costs.  Beyond that, we should be looking to get taxpayers a better deal and producing a system that has lower costs on a static basis, while still improving incentives to work, would add to the dynamic savings.

It just wouldn't be good enough to put off serious welfare reform to another day.  Applying more sticking plasters is likely to exacerbate the complexity of the welfare system and would be a massive missed opportunity.  Improving incentives to work now is particularly important as it will mean that the new opportunities that the economic recovery will present are more likely to be taken.  And welfare reform involves hard choices and it could be a long time before politicians are next ready to think seriously about doing something to remedy the situation.  Paltry reforms might be worse than nothing at all, if they encourage people to think that the issue has been dealt with.

So at the TaxPayers' Alliance we've put a lot of work into a major report, out today, on how to reform welfare now.  The report includes a costed proposal, based on full datasets from Office for National Statistics surveys,  to amalgamate out of work and income support benefits into a single negative income tax.  The report's central finding is that it is possible to do that and massively improve incentives to work while saving money, but only if we set a more realistic poverty threshold.

Keeping the poverty threshold at 60 per cent doesn't really help the poorest.  Too many people slip through the net and the numbers in severe poverty (less than 40 per cent of median income) have risen substantially over the last decade.  Withdrawal rates are brutal; the minimum wage at £5.80 an hour can be worth as little as 26p an hour.  It is all incredibly complex, with 8,690 pages of manual needed to administer DWP benefits.

If we cut the threshold to 50 per cent, then we can stop people falling through the net, keep total marginal withdrawal rates down to 55 per cent and save £1.7 billion even before welfare reform starts getting people back into work.

That is the kind of reform the welfare system needs and the Government should move to introduce.  To promote it, please read and pass on the report and share the video at the top of this post.

http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/media/2010/07/conservative-home-how-to-...<

kevin
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Read attached document

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anonymous (not verified)
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I recieve the Higher rate mobility and middle rate care. I am of the understanding that the DWP will look at all cases as individual cases and this would start with those on a lower rate mobility component first. Is this your understanding?If so surely this is also discriminating against an individuals disability by saying your more disabled or indeed less disabled thereforewe will stop your benifit first. It's hard enough to find a job with a disability let alone make up a short fall should your benefit be stopped.This surely will cause hard ship for many disabled people, I know it would for me. Where will it all end?

John
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Is is not just DLA whereby it seems the test is "how disabled are you?" it is also with ESA, especially with those who have cancer where the question is "How terminally ill are you?"

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