Influencing DLA reform
Posted Thursday 17 February 2011
Today, Mind has submitted a joint response to the Government’s consultation on reforming Disability Living Allowance, along with the Centre for Mental Health, Hafal, Rethink, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Scottish Association for Mental Health. We decided that combining our experience and expertise on this issue was the best way to try to influence the reform process.
The key changes that the Government is proposing are:
- Changing the name of DLA to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Introducing a new assessment of eligibility (likely to be a face-to-face meeting with a healthcare professional)
- Reassessing people more frequently and regularly
- Requiring people to have experienced a disability for longer before being eligible to apply
- Changing the ‘Care’ component to ‘Daily Living’ and reducing the number of levels of payment from three to two
- Recognising that the ‘Mobility’ component should take account of people who have trouble getting around for non-physical reasons
We welcome some of these changes, such as the last two mentioned above, but we are very concerned that the reform process is being driven by a 20% savings target, rather than making sure that all those who need support can access it.
We are also concerned that the Government has not fully considered the knock-on impact of removing DLA from people in terms of their wellbeing and the potential costs to health and social care services.
You can read more of our concerns and comments in our submission to the consultation.
As part of our campaigning work around DLA reform, I went with Lee (a Mind supporter who claims DLA) to a meeting in Parliament to talk to Conservative MPs about why DLA is so important and what the impact of losing DLA might be. Lee has produced a video blog about his experience:
The Welfare Reform Bill has also just been published – there’s a lot to be concerned about but we have already helped to convince the Government that its plan to reduce the Housing Benefit of people on JSA for more than a year is wrong, and they have dropped this proposal.
We will be campaigning hard over the next few months to try and ensure that the changes are fair to people with experience of mental distress.
This campaigning will include getting our supporters involved in trying to influence the reform process. Keep an eye on our Benefits and Welfare Reform pages for updates.
Tom Pollard, Policy & Campaigns Officer
Commenting is now closed.