Welfare reforms will plunge thousands into poverty, report claims
HUNDREDS of thousands of people could be plunged into poverty with coalition plans to scrap the Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
That is the view of a group of 90 disabled organisations, which estimates around 500,000 people will lose out when the benefit is replaced by a personal independence payment next year.
The Tipping Point report, written by The Hardest Hit charity coalition, also suggests the change could see 50,400 disabled people dropping out of the workforce.
Susan Walters, secretary of the Cheltenham and North Gloucestershire branch of Mencap which is part of the group, said: "The lack of knowledge is a great source of worry to anyone with a disabled person in their family or a disabled person themselves.
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"The financial angle is extremely worrying.
"We are not sure how some people will be able to afford to live. It will add an awful lot of uncertainty to people's lives."
The Government hopes the new system will address the issue of some people being overpaid when their condition improves.
But concerns have been raised about the way in which people are interviewed to assess their needs.
The DLA report found that 65 per cent of interviewees said that disability assessors 'did not understand their condition' while 87 per cent of welfare advisors have argued that 'constant re-assessments for benefits are damaging people's health'.
Meanwhile, this week the government has also faced severe criticism for another of its welfare reforms with critics claiming it is now too late to implement the planned cuts to child benefit payments.
The proposed changes will see families where a parent earns more than £50,000 receiving less in payments, while those where a parent earns more than £60,000 will lose the hand out entirely.
Gloucestershire-based tax expert Mike Warburton, senior tax partner at Grant Thornton, is sceptical that all of the work needed can be done in time for the planned January 7 launch of the new system.
He said: "There was always going to be a drawback, it was inevitable there was going to be a bedding-in period and that's what we're going to see now."