Skip to main content

New benefit rates bring little festive cheer to disabled Scots this Christmas

13 December 2012

New benefit rates, announced today (13th December) by the Department of Work Pensions, will be cold comfort to 500,000 disabled people who are expected to lose out on financial support altogether thanks to the UK Government.

Capability Scotland has acknowledged that the UK Government has maintained rates for the new Personal Independence Payments (PIP) at the same level as Disability Living Allowance which it replaces. However, the charity says that this is of no use to almost a quarter (23%) of current DLA claimants whom, according to the UK Government's own predictions, will not be entitled to PIP.

According to the Department of Work and Pensions PIP is targeted at those disabled people who face the biggest challenges to living independently.  It will include 'daily living' and 'mobility' components with two levels of payment - enhanced and standard.

However, an impact report published by the Westminster Government in May this year predicted that the Government will save £2,240 million in benefit payout thanks to the transfer from DLA to PIP. £260m of this saving will be made in Scotland.

Capability Scotland expects that it will be local authority social work departments and the NHS who will be left to pick up the pieces of the benefits shortfall.

Capability Scotland Director of External Affairs, Richard Hamer, said: "We welcome the fact that the UK Government has matched PIP rates to current levels of DLA.  Unfortunately this will be of  little consequence to the 500,000 disabled people who are being left with no benefits at all thanks to PIP's strict eligibility criteria.

"The people who are most likely to lose out are those disabled people who require a small amount of support to maintain their independence and well being. Ironically without any financial help these people may well see their health suffer and their support needs escalate.  The stark reality is that this will mean additional pressure on local authorities and the NHS whose resources are already squeezed to the max."