Disabled people will not only lose out financially from the DWP’s welfare reforms but could also lose independence and access to transport, a charity has warned.
A new report from the Disability Benefits Consortium estimates that disabled people are on average £1,200 a year worse off after cuts to welfare payments.
Michael Griffin, of Parkinson’s UK, who wrote the DBC’s report, reckons that the support disabled people receive through welfare benefits provides only for the basic standards of living, but not the extra costs disabled people face, for example living aids and accessible transport.
He said that disabled people are “bearing the brunt” of welfare changes. “This is simply disgraceful and cannot be allowed to continue.”
“The government must make urgent improvements to the application processes and assessment criteria, and resolve the flaws in Universal Credit before more people are denied the support they desperately need to live independently.”
DBC’s research shows that in households with at least one disabled adult and at least one disabled child, the total loss as a result of all the benefit changes was, on average, over £4,300 each year.
The more disabilities a person has, the more they lose out as a result of these changes, according to the report. Research showed that someone who has six or more disabilities loses over £2,100 each year on average, whereas someone with one disability loses around £700 each year.
Griffin said in the report that the impact on disabled people from welfare reforms are “a disaster waiting to happen”.
He said: “The welfare system must be reformed so that it takes a more personal and tailored approach. We need it to provide greater support to disabled people so they can be free from poverty and despair, and live truly independent lives.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions told the ChronicleLive: “We know that disabled people and those with health conditions can face higher costs, which is why we’re spending £55 billion this year on benefits to support them – more than ever before.
“Disability benefits are exempt from the benefit freeze and in many cases our reforms mean people will receive more money on average, with one million households gaining an average of £100 more on Universal Credit.”
Image credit: Disability Benefits Consortium