By DeusExMacintosh

All 3 million disabled people, including pensioners and children, who receive allowances will be forced to undergo periodic medical tests to justify the payments under proposals outlined today.

Ministers propose to end the automatic right to Disability Living Allowance, worth up to £70 a week for care and up to £50 a week for travel needs. Claimants will have to wait for a year for the new “Personal Independence Payment” and then submit to a series of tests focusing on “an individual’s ability to carry out a range of key activities necessary to everyday life”. A similar system to judge the fitness to work of those claiming disability benefits will have to be overhauled amid mounting evidence that people with serious illnesses are being judged fit when they are not…

Welfare support will also be conditional on disabled people acting on government instructions to “better manage or improve their situation if appropriate”.

Charities said they were “deeply concerned” about the proposals – the government pencilled in £1bn of savings from DLA in the June budget. Sue Brown of the deafblind charity Sense said: “Some of our blind members might lose payments for using a taxi if, for example, they were given a white cane and told they could now move around.”

The government said that the taxpayer this year will have to pay out “a lot more than expected” to disabled people, with DLA costs topping £12bn. It said 30% more people get the benefit than eight years ago.

The Guardian

In fact in the Emergency Budget the coalition government announced their intention to make 20% savings from the DLA budget together with introducing a new “objective” assessment – no mention was made of its complete abolition however. I’ve had to link to the brief Guardian story as the BBC hasn’t even mentioned the development – apart from the regional effects on Northern Ireland where one in ten people currently receives DLA – it didn’t even make the national evening television news (again, apart from Ulster). Or any other national paper.

Department for Work and Pensions consultation documents are now available here.

I really despair.


  1. conrad
    Posted December 8, 2010 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    I guess on the upside, you could just treat it like a free medical check.

  2. Sweeney
    Posted December 8, 2010 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Hmmm, so what is the present day equivalent of picking oakum? And will the British government introduce it in the guise of a ‘key activity necessary to everyday life?’
    God knows most of us have a jaundiced view of the conduct of governments generally, but this is just vile because it seems inevitable that the outcome will the diminishing and degrading of many decent people. Collateral damage much?

  3. kvd
    Posted December 8, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    DEM, I really don’t see the need for despair. Admittedly, the reform consultation pdf is a long document, but I found it easy to read, and quite transparent, simply by adding “and we expect to save 12 Bn annually as a result” to every sentence. Example at random:

    In Personal Independence Payment, we intend to move away from a system that awards automatic entitlement for certain conditions; instead we propose to treat each application individually and we expect to save 12 Bn annually as a result. This will deliver a
    more personalised service that ensures resources are targeted where they
    are most needed and we expect to save 12 Bn annually as a result.

    Hope this helps.

  4. Posted December 8, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I also feel a bit sorry for Maria Miller, the official Minister for Disabled People (that no one has heard of) who ended up with an “objective” form of Tourettes. There’s talk of turning her announcement to parliament into a disabled drinking game: you take a shot every time she says “objective” and end up paralytic.

  5. kvd
    Posted December 8, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Judging from the blurb you would get more drunk and quicker if you worked on the words “prioritize” and “target”.

  6. Miss Candy
    Posted December 13, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Happens in Australia too. People with long-term severe and permanent disabilities have to get medical checks every year to stay on the Disability Services Pension.

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