31,500 Scots In Line To Lose Motability Cars Under PIP
MORE than 30,000 disabled Scots face losing specially adapted vehicles as Iain Duncan Smith steps up his agenda to cut back on welfare provisions.
Last year a total of 70,000 people north of the Border used the Motability scheme – which allows participants to lease out a car, scooter or powered wheelchair using an allowance provided by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
But a new reassessment process being brought in as claimants move from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payments (PIP) has led to almost 14,000 people across the UK having their vehicles taken from them.
Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP, SNP spokeswoman for social justice and welfare, said that if the reassessment rate continued some 31,500 people on the scheme in Scotland would lose their vehicles. “Almost 14,000 disabled people have already had their specialist cars taken away from them following reassessment, and if the current rate continues it would mean that 31,500 people in Scotland would no longer be able to access this vital scheme,” she said.
“This would leave those in rural areas, where public transport isn’t always accessible or very regular, without any options whatsoever.”
She added: “I am extremely concerned that taking away a disabled person’s means of transport will make it impossible for them to travel to and from work – which flies in the face of the Tory Government’s aim of getting more people in to work.
“And while there is an appeals process, it fails to protect disabled people. Apart from an appeals process putting undue stress on a disabled person, the latest figures show that 60 per cent of decisions to remove mobility allowance were later overturned on appeal, which suggests that the system just isn’t working.”
John McArdle, co-founder of the Black Triangle disability rights campaign, said: “This is a despicable move which targets the disabled. It is nothing to do with supporting vulnerable people and everything to do with reducing the Conservative Government’s welfare bill. Thousands of disabled people rely on these vehicles, and without them many will become prisoners in their own homes.”
Until recently, anyone receiving the highest rate of the “mobility component” of DLA was eligible for the scheme. However, as part of DWP’s welfare changes, PIP began replacing DLA from April 2013.
Under DLA, most people completed their own application form and did not have to reapply once entered into the scheme. With PIP, everyone – new applicants and those already in receipt of DLA – have to attend a face-to-face assessment by Government-hired private companies, and only those scoring 12 points or more will qualify for support – currently £57.45 per week.
To date, about 51,200 people have joined the Motability scheme using PIP. Of those previously on higher-rate DLA, 31,200 have so far been reassessed for PIP, and of those, 55 per cent – or 17,300 – have kept their vehicle. But the remaining 45 per cent – 13,900 people – have lost the higher rate and therefore their vehicle as well.
Some 360,000 people across the UK will eventually undergo PIP reassessments, including those currently on an “indefinite” or “lifetime” DLA award. Disabled children will continue to receive DLA until they reach the age of 16, and those who were aged 65 or over on 8 April 2013 are also unaffected.
A DWP spokesman said: “Decisions on eligibility for Personal Independence Payment are made after consideration of all the evidence, including an assessment and information provided by the claimant and their GP. The majority of people leaving the Motability scheme will be eligible for a one-off payment of £2,000, which will help ensure their mobility needs continue to be met.”