Changes to disability benefits

This month marks a significant change to disability benefits and I've been in Parliament long enough to remember the last one.

In 1992 Disability Living Allowance was introduced. As with any worthwhile change, the transition caused some real problems. There were some difficult individual cases and I remember constituents coming to see me about them. So, I understand why people are concerned about these new changes to disability benefits.

From June, there can be no new claims to the old Disability Living Allowance. Instead those who need help will now claim for PIP, the Personal Independent Payment. I am sure there are again going to be some hard cases as the new system is set up and I will do what I can to help any constituent with problems. But, like it did with Disability Living Allowance, those initial problems will settle down and we will have a better system fit for today.

The system needs to be changed for a number of reasons.

Some people who claim Disability Living Allowance have not had their claims reassessed since the system was introduced twenty years ago. Sometimes this will mean there have been overpayments where an individual’s conditions have improved.

But, importantly, there will also be many people who have not been receiving enough money, as their conditions have worsened. The change will focus the benefit to ensure those with the greatest need get the most.

The Government is not cutting support to disabled people who need it. The change will actually focus more resources on those with the greatest need. Indeed, the Government will continue to spend around £50 billion a year on disabled people and their services. The UK’s spending on disability-related benefits continues to be a fifth higher than the EU average which is a real testament to our country.


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