NRAS joint response to Work and Pensions Committee inquiry on the Disability Living Allowance
Maidenhead, UK, 07 September 2011 - NRAS is part of the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) of over fifty charities and other organisations committed to working towards a fair benefits system. The group has made a new joint submission to the Work and Pensions Select Committee as part of its inquiry into the future of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). PIP is a new benefit for disabled people intended to replace DLA, which was announced in the consultation paper on Disability Living Allowance Reform in December 2010 and the Welfare Reform Bill, introduced in February 2011.
In the latest submission, NRAS has stressed its concern about the impact of the changes on people with long term fluctuating conditions and said that the introduction of the PIP assessment test and plans to increase the assessment period for PIP to six months are likely to result in a disproportionately large number of legitamate DLA recipients having financial support reduced or withdrawn.
NRAS went on to say that in its current form, PIP would be more difficult for these individuals to access because the proposed assessment does not take account of the importance of being able to undertake an activity repeatedly, reliably and safely - and without significant pain. More needs to be done to take into account the frequency, severity and duration of fluctuating conditions to reflect these issues and ensure they are addressed by the Government.
The DBC submission also raised a number of other concerns, including:
- Accusing DWP of deliberatley using misleading statistics to suggest that DLA uptake has grown by 30% but releasing a report in August which makes it clear that working
age growth is closer to 16%;
- Criticising DWP failure to justify a 20% targeted cut in resources;
- Identifying risks to disabled people and their families which DWP are ignoring - including ability to maintain health conditions and pay utility bills;
- Highlighting potential NHS and local government costs that DWP is not analysing;
- Suggesting that DWP may not be meeting its legal obligations towards disabled people under the Equality Act.
A full copy of the DBC submission can be found at http://www.disabilityalliance.org/dbcpipresponse.pdf
· The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) was launched in October 2001 and in a relatively short time has become established as the
campaigning voice in the UK for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
· NRAS provides a total one-stop-shop with support, information and advocacy for all people in the UK with RA, their carers and families.
· NRAS has a national volunteer network, a group of people with the disease who provide peer to peer support and provide additional resource to help
NRAS in many different ways.
For more information, please contact:
Jamie Hewitt, Government Affairs Manager, National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society
Tel: 0845 458 3969