The Scottish Government has published a report outlining the potential impact of welfare reform on disabled people in Scotland. The report estimates that up to 100,000 people with disabilities will lose some, or all of their entitlement to disability benefits by 2018.
The replacement of DLA with Personal Independence Payments will hit many people particularly hard due to changes to eligibility for enhanced mobility payments. Under PIP rules anyone who can walk aided, or unaided, for more than 20m will no longer qualify for these payments. 50,000 people could lose between £1,820 and £2,964 a year from this change alone, which has the potential to leave many without the ability to actively participate in society, not least the ability to work or go to college. This of course will impact on the life chances of disabled people, increasing the likelihood of social isolation and poverty for a group that are already disadvantaged. According to the report, the cumulative impact of changes to welfare is hitting this group particularly hard.
The highest reduction in income affects families containing both disabled children and adults. This group loses, on average, three times the reduction in income faced by non-disable households.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“It is simply wrong that so many disabled people in Scotland are set to lose so much money as a result of these UK Government changes.
“I am particularly concerned that the redrawn mobility rules will mean that almost 50,000 people will lose entitlement to up to £3,000 per annum. These are truly horrifying cuts in support for disabled people.
A recent court case had challenged the legality of the 20m rule, however, the judge in the case found it to be lawful. The UK Government decided to introduce this change despite widespread opposition from the vast majority of organisations and individuals that responded to their consultation on this matter.
The Scottish Government has pledged to cancel the abolition of DLA should Scotland become independent.
Source: Scottish Government website