Charities launch review of disability benefit cut

Charities have launched a review of government proposals to remove up to £50 a week in mobility benefits from disabled people in care homes.

Charities have launched a review of government proposals to remove up to £50 a week in mobility benefits from disabled people in care homes.

Mencap and Leonard Cheshire Disability have asked disability rights campaigner Lord Low to conduct the public review of the proposal to remove the mobility component of disability living allowance from residents funded by the NHS or councils.

It will run in parallel with an internal government review of the Welfare Reform Bill proposal, which was due to come into force in October 2012 but is now on hold until at least 2013, when DLA will be replaced by the personal independence payment.

Charities have criticised the government for not conducting its review publicly.

Welcoming the Low review, Sense head of public policy Sue Brown said: “We are disappointed that the government has yet to offer full disclosure on its review, and remain very concerned that the power to remove the mobility component of personal independence payment remains in the Welfare Reform Bill despite the serious concerns raised again and again by disabled people,” said Sure Brown, head of policy at Sense.

“It is distressing to require a new, independent inquiry to ensure disabled people’s concerns are heard but Disability Alliance hopes Lord Low’s review will help better inform government plans,” said Neil Coyle, director of policy at Disability Alliance.

“The proposed removal of mobility payments from people living in residential care potentially has a significant impact on the lives of disabled people and it is therefore vital that there is a public and comprehensive look at this issue,” said Low.

The review will call for evidence from the public and look to provide recommendations on:

• How the mobility component of DLA is being used by care home residents and impact of loss of benefit.

• Funding arrangements for personal mobility needs between local authorities and care home providers.

• Responsibilities of care home providers in relation to the personal mobility needs of residents.

Sarah Lambert, head of policy at the National Autistic Society, said the review would bring significant new expertise to the debate on the future of the mobility component.

Responding to the launch of the review in Parliament yesterday, Maria Miller said she would be interested to see any new evidence brought to the fore by the review, which would inform the government’s decision making.

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