Skip to content

Disability Wales Raises Benefit Poverty Concerns

December 5, 2010

Welfare reforms could push many disabled people into poverty, a disabled rights organisation says.

The UK government has proposed changes to disability benefits that it is expected will require recipients reassessed.

Disability Wales told BBC1’s Politics Show it was “inevitable” many would face a loss of income.

The Department for Work and Pensions said the reassessment process would be fair.

The UK Government has suggested making changes to the disability living allowance, mobility payments and independent living fund.

Changes to housing benefits and the introduction of universal credits are also on the way.

Paul Swann, independent living officer for Disability Wales, told the programme that the proposed changes would leave disabled people “marginalised”.

“Inevitably there’s going to be a loss of income for virtually every disabled person,” he said.

“The consequences of that for many disabled people is that they’re going to be pushed into poverty and the impact is that disabled people are going to be more and more marginalised, more and more excluded from society than they are now”.

Although the exact details of the welfare changes are not yet known, it is widely expected that all people with disabilities in receipt of benefits will have to undergo a reassessment of their needs.

Disability Wales is concerned that too much emphasis will be placed on whether people are physically fit to work.

Mr Swann said: “The reassessment process is fundamentally flawed by only looking at people’s impairments and very often prioritising their physical impairments and not giving due value to other impacts such as social exclusion and so on”.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said the reassessment process would be be fair and was necessary to “find out what individuals are capable of doing, rather than focus on what they can’t do”.

However, Karen Robson, disability officer at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (Uwic), said changing the assessment process may actually help.

“It’s about a simplification of the benefits system,” she said.

‘Unnecessary worry’

“I used to work for the Citizens Advice Bureau and when it comes to the benefits system there are a lot of benefits that go unclaimed because it’s so complicated to work your way through the process so I would hope that the systems we put in place will make it easier to get through the process”.

Ms Robson said that people with disabilities should wait for the details before worrying.

“I think there’s a lot of unnecessary worry, we don’t know half of the detail yet.

“I know there are a lot of changes that people are very worried about those but I think it’s really important that we keep a level of perspective about this.

“Everyone is experiencing cuts right across the board, I don’t believe disabled people are being singled out for particular pain.”

No comments yet

What are you thinking?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: