Disability welfare changes delayed by assessment process

The government have said the process of reassessing people was taking longer than planned.

Personal Independence Payments will replace Disability Living Allowance next week only for claimants in certain areas rather than across Britain. Ministers said assessments were taking longer than expected and the scheme would be phased in gradually. Over the next few years the government is moving around 3.3 million Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claimants, aged 16-64, to the new benefit - the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). DLA - worth between £21 and £134.40 a week - is available to disabled people who have difficulty walking or need help to look after themselves. Under the PIP system, which introduces regular written and face-to-face medical assessments, claimants will receive a daily living component of either £53 or £79.15 and a mobility component of either £21 or £55.25. Charities have argued it is unfair that millions face a long period of anxiety while they wait for reassessment to find out if their benefits will be cut. By 2018, 450,000 people will be ineligible for PIPs, while 780,000 will receive the same as or more than they previously did, according to the DWP. The vast majority of disabled claimants will continue to claim DLA until 2015, after which they will be sent information about reapplying for PIP. But since June this year, all new disabled claimants have had to apply for PIP, and all current claimants whose circumstances have changed had been due to start moving to the new benefit on Monday. The change to the reform timetable means only those in Wales, the East and West Midlands and East Anglia will transfer to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) from Monday if their condition changes. A spokesman from The Department for Work and Pensions said ministers had deliberately chosen a phased introduction for PIP claim reassessments so the system could be regularly reviewed. Work and Pensions Select Committee chair Dame Anne Begg, meanwhile, said delay in itself was not a bad thing but could cause anxiety. Disability charity Scope said the move was just a "tweak" and that it still believed the reassessment process was "too blunt an instrument". Read more at BBC News.
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