One in three disability living allowance (DLA) claimants think it unlikely that they will be able to work if their benefits are cut under government plans, a poll has found.
The survey by Essex Coalition of Disabled People found 57% of claimants fear their benefit may be taken away and two-thirds felt felt their level of support would be reduced.
The study follows the announcement last month of plans to introduce a medical assessment to test the eligibility of new and existing claimants from 2013, starting with those of working age.
Currently, DLA claimants must complete a 59-page form and submit supporting medical evidence for their claim. The government expects the medical assessments to cut claimant numbers by one-fifth.
DLA is designed to meet the increased living costs disabled people encounter so they can focus on finding jobs and improving their lives.
Richard Watts, director of policy and development at Essex Coalition of Disabled People, said the results showed the DLA changes contradicted government ambitions to get disabled people into work: “It feel like it could be a financial gain for the government now but it could bring a lot of social pain for disabled people in the future.”
He added that the change was likely to impact on local authority budgets as more people would need social care services.
In total, 141 people answered the survey.