Duncan Lewis

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Disability benefit changes take effect in north England and would gradually be introduced across the country.

Date: (8 April 2013)    |    

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Some parts in the UK are now being introduced with the new changed disability benefits for new claimants before it will be introduced across the nation.
The Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is being replaced by Personal Independence Payments (PIP).
The Work and Pension Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said the current system of disability benefit was ridiculous as no further checks were conducted before benefits were given. But charity scope has said that these changes was being done only to save money and the government denied it saying that spending was not being reduced but more help would be given to those who need it the most.
PIPs would be commencing operations from northern England and then introduced gradually all over. The disability charity says 600,000 people would eventually lose their financial support.
Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that more than 70% of claimants get DLA for life. But ministers believe the circumstances of some individuals could improve over time, so there is a case for more regular assessment.
Seventy per cent of the beneficiaries are having lifetime awards meaning no one sees them again it doesn’t matter if these beneficiaries get better or their conditions gets worse which is ridiculous says Mr Duncan Smith.
He added it was not harsh measures as UK was paying £50bn in sickness and disability benefits which was quiet ahead than any major country in the G20.
Minister for Disabled People Esther McVey said the PIP would give more targeted support than DLA. At the moment majority of claimants got their benefits for life without any systematic reassessments and around 50% of decisions are being made on the basis of the claim form alone.
The PIP would include a new face-to-face assessment and regular reviews - something missing in the current system. This will ensure the billions being spent would give more targeted support to those who need it.
New claimants in the north of England will now begin face-to face assessments with Atos - one of two firms administering the process.
From June, new claims will be treated under the PIP system elsewhere - and in October some current DLA claimants will start moving to PIP if their circumstances change or an existing award ends.
But it will be two years before most existing claimants begin moving to PIP.