Today is the start of the national roll-out of Personal Independence Payments. All new claims for DLA/PIP will be for PIP from now on. Given the DWP’s emphasis on the need for PIP, it seemed timely to summarise some of the main facts (and myths) about PIP. More can be found on our most recent Mythbuster report.
Increased expenditure on DLA.
- Each year, DLA claims have increased by a smaller amount than the increase in the previous year.
- Part of the increase in DLA caseload is because the population is growing each year; assuming the same proportion of disabled people, this means there are more disabled people each year.
- Part of the increase in DLA caseload is because increasing numbers of pensioners are becoming eligible for DLA.
- Claims for DLA increased between February and May 2012. This was entirely due to increases in children and pensioners receiving DLA; working-age (16-64) claims fell during this period.
“The DWP uses the concept of “receipt per head” to sort out different types of increase. They use a data set that only goes back to 2002/3, but they helpfully provide “aligned” figures back to 1992 in a separate file. Between 2002/3 and 2010/11, total growth of DLA was 29%, but total growth due to changes in “receipt per head” was 21% and part of this is due to a “maturing” effect.
DLA can’t be claimed after the age of 65, but people who were receiving it before then continue for as long as they need it; this means that, in 1992, the oldest recipient was 65, but now there are people aged up to 84 getting DLA – another reason for the growth in claims. If people over 65 are excluded, the total increase in the numbers is 23% and total growth due to changes in “receipt per head” was 16%. …
Until recently, governments have gone out of their way to make sure that disabled children can qualify for DLA; one of the best things the last government did was, in 2001, to extend the number of severely disabled children who qualified for the care component. Families with disabled children have substantial extra costs and are more likely than other families to be poor. It would be a tremendous shame if the current government plans to reverse this policy intent. (Their benefits are currently threatened by Universal Credit: see Sam Royston’s post for more details.)”
“In reference to rising costs in disability payments, David Turner says that, “The escalating cost of welfare is a real political challenge. However, this is the result of a rising population of disabled people due to higher survival rates rather than mounting fraud. It will remain difficult for the government to get its message across that reforms are intended to help the most vulnerable when media perceptions of the most vulnerable types reinforce negative stereotypes.”
The government has said that, “In just eight years the number claiming the benefit [DLA]has risen from around 2.5 million to nearly 3.2 million—an increase of nearly 30%.” However 36% of this growth was from the increase in numbers of pensioners receiving DLA. There has also been a large increase in children and young teenagers receiving DLA. Neither pensioners nor children and young teenagers will be affected by the changes to DLA that the government is bringing in.
For DLA claims based on physical health, all of the increase since 2002 can be based on the increase in overall population size plus the demographic change with increasing numbers of pensioners becoming eligible each year. The rest of the increase in claims since then is due to increased numbers of claimants with mental health issues or learning difficulties. This matches the increasing prevalence of severe mental health issues and learning difficulties in all developed countries, and cannot therefore be attributed purely to any inappropriate loosening of criteria.”
Extract from “Why We’re Not Benefit Scroungers,” Aida Aleksia
Cutting the DLA budget
By comparing the 2009 figure with the 2015 figure, the DWP is able to say that DLA is not being cut.
David Cameron said that, “In 2009-10, the money spent on disability living allowance was £12.4 billion. By 2015 it will be £13.3 billion. There is no cut in the money going to the disabled.”
- “But Cameron failed to tell MPs that forecasted spending on DLA this year, 2012-13, is £13.6 billion. This means – according to the Department for Work and Pensions’ own figures – that spending on DLA will fall over the next two years.”
- “450,000 disabled people will have no disability benefit entitlement at all and 510,000 disabled people will have a reduced award.”
- “The higher rate mobility criteria was slashed from 50 metres to 20 metres without consultation or warning with the consequence that once PIP has been fully implemented, in 2018, up to 428,000 fewer people will qualify for the enhanced mobility element which provides eligibility to lease cars using the Motability scheme . This is now the subject of a legal challenge.”
Consulting with disabled people
- The abolition of working age DLA was announced in the emergency budget of 2010. There was no consultation with disabled people or groups prior to the announcement.
- The DWP ignored the majority of responses to the consultation on Disability Living Allowance, which were opposed to the DWP’s proposals. Only 7% of responses fully supported the DWP. 
- 84% of decisions use additional evidence from GPs, consultants, hospitals and others who provide care, support and treatment, or from a medical assessment with the company Atos.
- There have always been random checks and reviews of DLA, so that people do not continue on DLA for many years without reassessment.
 David M Turner, February 2012, ‘Fraudulent’ disability in historical perspective, History and Policy
 DWP evidence submitted to Work and Pensions Committee http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmworpen/1493/1493we13.htm
 Pensioners only receive DLA if they were receiving DLA before retirement. If a person becomes chronically ill or disabled after retirement then that person claims Attendance Allowance, not DLA.
 Campbell, Marsh, Franklin, Gaffney, Dixon, James, Barnett-Cormack, Fon-James, Willis, 2012, Responsible Reform