Disability Living AllowanceIn particular the DBC regrets the decision made by the Government to introduce reforms to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for working age adults that will result in a reduction in spending on this vital benefit. According to the Government’s own ‘State of the nation’ report, spending on working age DLA currently stands at just over £6 billion and their own Budget predictions see this fall by over £1 billion by 2014/15. These changes are likely to leave thousands of working age disabled people unable to meet the additional costs many face as a result of their disability and can be expected to increase the number of people living in disability poverty.
Mark Baker, Head of Social Research and Policy at RNID and co-chair of the DBC policy group said “We are concerned that the introduction of the new medical test for working age DLA will create additional stress and anxiety for disabled people claiming this benefit. It will create unnecessary bureaucracy as well as increasing those costs associated with both the assessment and appeals process.”
Benefit upratingWe have similar concerns with regards to the switch to using the Consumer Prices Index for the annual uprating of benefits. Again, we are worried that priority has been given to saving money over ensuring sufficient support for disabled people.
Local Housing AllowanceLocal Housing Allowance (LHA) is a benefit that provides vital support to disabled people on low incomes. Disabled people experience extra barriers to finding suitable homes – eg the need for ground floor access, space for specialist equipment and wider entranceways to allow for wheelchair access. Many disabled people are restricted in their choice of location, needing to live near local support services or accessible transport. All these factors increase the cost and reduce the availability of suitable housing. Reducing LHA payments, placing a cap on the overall limit for LHA and annually uprating LHA by CPI (which excludes housing costs) risks leaving many disabled people unable to afford suitable accommodation.
Rebecca Rennison, Senior Policy Officer at Leonard Cheshire Disability and co-chair of the DBC policy group said “Local Housing Allowance provides vital support to many disabled people on low incomes. If the Government is serious about tackling disability poverty it has to ensure that all disabled people are able to access suitable and affordable housing.”
Further informationThe DBC works to ensure that Government policy reflects and meets the needs of disabled people. Our members include:
Action for Blind People, Action for M.E., Age UK, Arthritis Care, Child Poverty Action Group, Citizens Advice, Disability Alliance, Disability Wales, LASA, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Macmillan Cancer Support, Mencap, Mind, Motor Neurone Disease Association, MS Society, National Aids Trust, National Autistic Society, National Deaf Children's Society, Parkinson's UK, Royal Association for Disability Rights, Rethink, Royal National Institute of Blind People, Royal National Institute for the Deaf, RSI Action, Scope, Sense, Skill, TUC, Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, Carers UK, Deafblind UK
Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC)