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Budget 2010: DLA Medical Assessments- Charities React

June 22, 2010

From 2013, those seeking disability living allowance (DLA) will have to go through a strict new medical assessment to help “reduce dependency and promote work”, with many current claimants set to lose out under the new regime.

The benefit will not be reduced but the government estimates the move will save £1.4bn by 2015, suggesting many of those seeking support will be turned away.

Some 2.9 million people are currently eligible for DLA, three times as many as when it was introduced eighteen years ago, chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne said while delivering today’s budget, at a cost that had quadrupled in real terms to over £11bn. The medical assessment would be a simpler process than the “complex forms” claimants must fill in at present and would allow those with the greatest needs to continue receiving the benefit, while “significantly improving incentives to work for others”.

Charities working in the sector expressed alarm at the plan. Richard Hawkes, the chief executive of Scope, said: “The proposal to introduce a new medical assessment for DLA appears designed purely to reduce the number of people eligible for this support. DLA is not a benefit, but a basic recognition that it is more expensive to live as a disabled person in our society.”

Mencap said it was concerned that those with learning disabilities in particular could lose out under new assessments. Increasing pressures on social care budgets meant DLA was often the only financial support they got, said Esther Foreman, the charity’s campaigns and policy manager, and short-term cost savings could have long-term implications for claimants, their families and carers.

“We want to ensure that any medical assessment does not unfairly squeeze out people with a learning disability. These services are not a luxury but an essential part of their lives.”

27 Comments leave one →
  1. Michael Talbot permalink
    June 22, 2010 7:48 pm

    I support the initiative of this coalition goverment. When we first applied for DLA for my son we were refused. It took 9 months and intervention from our local mp to get the help my son deserves whilst at the same time I knew of someone who was awarded DLA for asthma. You cannot compare child with asthma to a child with down syndrome.

    If my son was seen by a professional to start with (and without the novel of a form we had to fill out )I am posiitve things would have been easier.

    My feelings are that to many people apply and get DLA that in my opinion do not deserve it..

    If this new system sort the wheat from the chaff then I wholeheartedly support it.

    • treborc permalink
      February 1, 2012 11:17 am

      So dying of Asthma is not the same as Down syndrome, interesting view.

      • October 10, 2012 3:54 pm

        Although having asthma can be debilitaing, there are medications to control symptoms and many live relatively normal lives… having downs syndrome means severe global delay.. mentally and physically.. as far as im aware, there is no “medication” available to make their problems better?

  2. David Haworth permalink
    June 22, 2010 9:22 pm

    I have cerebral palsy and I’ve had it since I was 3 years old I’m worried how this is going to affect me long term.

    • treborc permalink
      February 1, 2012 11:18 am

      yes it is a worry to all I have Paraplegia and it seems we may get nothing

  3. June 23, 2010 11:11 am

    I’m assuming (possibly wrongly) that this will NOT affect the claimants that automatically get DLA (eg those with MS, cancer etc) because if it does … blimey if it does … some of us are a danger in respespect of the health and safety laws. One minute I am standing walkin & talking … next minute, I’m on the floor knocking over whoever & whatever is in my way. I have MS – can’t help it.
    Could someone clarify this please? George Osbourne didn’t on the BBC at 7.40am this morning.
    Thank you.

    • June 24, 2010 8:53 am

      I’m assuming it will make it just as difficult – if you have ms and on the day that you’re assessed you can perform certain tasks then it may well mean you lose your DLA. I have a friend with MS that was recently refused a fresh claim for DLA as he forgot to renew his existing claim on time. It took an additional claim three months later for him to be awarded DLA again.

      I am also very concerned regarding mental health claims as it took me four clams to be awarded DLA even when one of my claims on appeal didn’t take into account that I had to be hospitalised with psychosis within the claims process.

  4. sue sparks permalink
    June 24, 2010 11:30 am

    i am a 60 year old disabled with chronic asthma ,arthritis in every joint of my body i also have C O P D and heart disease high blood pressure
    i recieve the highest component of DLA and the highest mobility component but i am so worried about these new plans. I had to have letters from my doctor and my consultants to prove my case,which was agreed immediately how will these new plans effect me can you put my mind at any rest when will these changes take place,i use my mobility allowance in exchange for the car scheme is this going to be effected

    • Ian permalink
      June 26, 2010 1:35 pm

      Check this website. They say over 65’s will not be affected as nobody over working age should be retested (for foreseeable future). Then contact your MP as women are classified as past working age when they get to 60 so over 65 exemption seems like discrimination against women

  5. The King of Pop permalink
    June 24, 2010 6:49 pm


    In response to Sue Sparks, I am afraid you will lose the transport if you lose the DLA.
    DLA is a qualifying benefit for a whole spectrum of services, bit unfortunately, the change of rules will mean the removal of a lot of the services you currently receive. They may change the rules for the other services so you may still get them, but anything you get specifically because of your DLA will probably be lost. I believe the reason they want to reduce the number of people who get this benefit because the government has realised that a lot of people get other services that are very costly. A lot of disabled people get a freedom pass, and it costs a lot, so by stopping a lot of people’s benefits, they will save a lot of money on things like that. Sad but true. No one should have voted these clowns, but I think they won’t get another vote next time around. come back Labour, all is forgiven!!

    • Michael Talbot permalink
      June 24, 2010 6:54 pm

      “The King of Pop” quote – No one should have voted these clowns, but I think they won’t get another vote next time around. come back Labour, all is forgiven!!

      So you would rather the country go downhill and never recover. The government is trying to reduce the 155 billion pound deficit.

      How else do you propose to do this grow some money trees – magic beans!!!

      The budget hits everyone.

    • Michael Talbot permalink
      June 24, 2010 6:57 pm

      Just remember that it was labours fiscal policies and lack of intervention with the banks that got us into this mess.

      In 1997 Labour inherited a budget that was actually in balance. After a painful and turbulent decade under the Tories, the public finances had finally been brought under control. But after four years in office Gordon Brown took out the country’s credit card and let rip. By the end of 2009-10 our annual deficit had ballooned to £170.8 billion.

      Any you say bring back labour!! Please………………………….

    • pauline simpkiss permalink
      September 2, 2010 10:28 pm

      Bring b ack Labour? No way !!!!! They wanted to stop DLA and AA and give the money to local authorities to spend however they wanted.I voted Conservative this time but I think it is disgraceful that they want to reassess everyone in receipt of DLA. They must know themselves that there are certain groups of claimants whose care needs will not change. Why put them through all that stress?

      • Pru permalink
        January 15, 2011 7:11 pm

        I feel – as a Supporting People provider for persons suffering mental ill health, that any claimant that can prove his/her – in this case mental disability – by having a psychiatrist, community care co-ordinator, community psychiatric nurse and attand regular support session at Community mental health reviews , take prescribed anti-psychotice medication over a long period (phew) should automatically be able to maintin their existing DLA payments.

  6. Jennifer permalink
    June 24, 2010 10:49 pm

    It is worrying for me as I was diagnosed with schizophrenia ten years ago & the DLA has really helped and still continuing to help me.

  7. Alan permalink
    June 29, 2010 10:08 am

    If it wasn’t for Gordon Brown not regulating the Banks, the country wouln’t be in half the mess it is today. I myself have osteoarthritis in both my knees and and so am unable to walk far without being in pain, or falling over as my knees give way. Am considered too young for replacement surgery at the moment. If I lose my DLA I will be unable to get out and apply for jobs, with I am doing at the moment. Well done this new government. Oh I was offered a job..accepted it & then the Jobcentre said I couldn’t have the job, as I hadn’t been on IB long enough, had to have been on IB for 39 Wks to qualify!!! Sent E-mail to Ian Duncan Smith….No reply Yet.

  8. July 1, 2010 2:07 pm

    My son suffers from autism and really deserves his dla hel need it for the rest of his life. Whats the odds of it being took off him cause he looks normal

  9. chantelle permalink
    September 27, 2010 10:21 am

    i believe everyone should be assessed 4 dla if they have a genuine illness then it will be well documented and they shouldnt have a problem getting it .there are far to many people milking the system that it has an affect on those need it most how many more needles are the government going to stick in a drug addicts arm .how many more shots of vodka and coke are the government going to throw down alchoholics throat.this need to be sorted beacause it is all wrong and a complete insult to those who genuinely deserve it

    • Pru permalink
      January 15, 2011 7:14 pm

      I agree wholeheartedly. Initially about 15 years ago before moving to mental health I worked with drug and alcohol persons and soon found that all their benefits were spent on drugs and/or alcohol. It certainly means that genuine cases, whether through mental or physical illhealth are to be penalised!

  10. Tim permalink
    October 20, 2010 7:57 pm

    Hello All,

    I work for a local authority that does a good assessment of applications for disabled parking badges so that non-disabled people don’t get them. Unfortunately, as you know, a lot of them do get badges because they’re automatically eligible for them because they get the higher rate mobility component. Which is one of the reasons why there is so much abuse of badges, and so few parking places for you.

    My advice to you is to speak with your specialist (NOT your GP, who is basically a referring agent when it comes to severe disability) even if you only see that person only once a year. Ask your specialist to be ready to write a letter explaining exactly how your disability – whatever it is – affects your ability to walk and get around. That is what the DWP’s medical assessors will be looking for.

    If you don’t see a specialist, ask your GP to refer you to a consultant who specialises in your medical condition – get a copy of their assessment and keep it where you can find it. It will help you – doctors
    speaking to other doctors have their own lingo that only they understand – and the assessors will be supervised by specialists. You have time to do this.

    I understand your anxiety, but please try not to worry – it will get in the way of your self-confidence in getting the help and evidence you will need for your assessment. Managing your disability takes up a lot of your time, and you should be confident about talking about this – you deserve the extra help you get to do it!

  11. lee permalink
    October 22, 2010 12:11 am

    can anyone please tell me the date when the goverment are going to start accessing the dla or when changes will come into play? my mum is 56 and as been in an out hospital since having a nervouse breakdown followed bye schizophrenia, her mind is not set to work, poeple hew have a family memba with the illness will know what i mean bye that. PLEASE can anyone comment on this. thanks

  12. January 14, 2011 1:47 am

    look, in the war people with disabilities where executed So at least we are just question for 18 months Examined for 20mins to see if we can move prooving that we are fit. Questioned again and again, our GPs and Specialists are deemed liars. (No respect or trust do they have for doctors they pay on NHS?) Sent letters forms We send in evidence that does not count?
    We have home visits Questions examinations and we are told……..? A number of us have paid taxes and NI for help when it is needed……..It makes me more ill Questions SUMMOND TO MORE tribunals and in effect being called able or a liar? What happens if i had to work to survive I would inevitably have an accident through my illnesses. Who are the charities that are looking into our Human Rights for quality of life , privacy and time to try to get well? All this DOES NOT HELP WITH RECOVERY. Why do criminals peadophiles in secure units get heating allowance when i freeze to death in winter because i am ESA contribuntion based This means i have worked so cannot get 0! WHERE ARE THE LIBERATORS TO STOP THIS HUMILIATION AND DEGRADATING BEHAVIOUR? It would NOT have been tolorated by the British years ago???/

  13. Angela J permalink
    March 21, 2012 4:07 pm

    do you know I have just sat and read all of the above comments and have come to a conclusion, The DLA covers a wide host of illnessess and it would be criminal to make certain people go through all the hassle and stress of reapplying again having gone through the process already. I feel that once you are awarded an “indefiniate” decision that this should be honoured. The individual by this time has already had to jump through hoops, with doctors/specialists letters, examinations etc. Once you have done all of this and the decision has been made that should be it and we should not have to go through all of this again! The ones who have not had this decision would have to be re-evaluated at some point anyway so the new rules should apply to them.

  14. mrs williams permalink
    April 8, 2012 11:41 pm

    Although my daughter has cerebral palsy and I hope she will still recieve her benefit when it changes over, I do know people who play on the fact that they have arthritis and turn up to the doctors with a walking stick lieing to the doctor about how much pain they have. They recieve the high rate DLA so they get a car as well then their grown up children use their disability car for work or social use.I think the car should only be used if the disabled person is present.I have had both my knees operated on as I have inflammitory arthritis but still struggle on a daily basis and work full time.So therefore I feel if everyone was assesssed carefully they will hopefully find that a lot of people are screwing the system.Lets hope that is the case and the people with real disabilities continue with the help they really need.


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