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PIP Has Begun To Come In

April 8, 2013

Today is the day disabled people in the UK hoped would never come. Personal Independence Payment has begun to replace Disability Living Allowance- in the North of England. Here is the Guardian‘s take on this major event in the lives of disabled people in the UK.

Reforms to disability benefits will end the ‘ridiculous’ system that gives people lifetime awards, Iain Duncan Smith has said as the disability living allowance is replaced by the new personal independence payment (PLA).

The work and pensions secretary said claims in disability benefit had more than doubled in some parts of the country ahead of the changes.

His comments came as nearly half a million people call on the Tory cabinet minister to live off £53 a week for a year in a petition being delivered to his office on Monday.

“Seventy per cent of people on it have lifetime awards which means no one sees you ever again. It doesn’t matter if you get better or your condition worsens – it’s quite ridiculous,” Mr Duncan Smith told the Daily Mail.

“We’ve seen a rise in the run up to PIP. And you know why? They know PIP has a health check. They want to get in early, get ahead of it. It’s a case of ‘get your claim in early’.”

He argued that rigorous new health checks for claimants were “common sense”.

It is the latest in a series of radical welfare changes that started on Saturday, when working-age benefits and tax credits were cut in real terms with the first of three years of maximum 1% rises – well below the present rate of inflation.

Trials will also begin this month in four London boroughs of a £500-a-week cap on any household’s benefits and of the new universal credit system.

On Monday morning protesters, angry at sweeping welfare reforms and the minister’s claim he could live off £53 a day if he had to, will deliver a petition bearing 450,000 names to the Department of Work and Pensions.

Duncan Smith has already dismissed the petition as “a complete stunt”.

Musician and part-time shop worker Dominic Aversano, from Twickenham, near London, started the online petition. He will deliver the results Caxton House in Tothill Street with disability campaigners who say they are at the sharp end of welfare reforms. Aversano, 28, said: “When I started this petition I never imagined the level of support it would get, and the amount of encouragement people would give me. It has sent a powerful message to this government, showing the level of opposition to their vicious welfare cuts.

Protester Heather Simpson, 46, from Battersea, London, said: “My husband is a nursery worker but his low salary means we are forced to claim housing benefit.

“As a wheelchair user the housing association provided me with a three bedroom house and now we’re going to be hit by the bedroom tax. I signed the petition because I want Iain Duncan Smith to live on £53 per week so that in future he might not be so quick to dismiss the challenges faced by the people living in poverty.”

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