Disability Living Allowance

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 28th March 2011.

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Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough 2:30 pm, 28th March 2011

What plans he has for the future of disability living allowance; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Disability living allowance will be replaced by the personal independence payment, which is a new, more transparent and sustainable benefit underpinned by an objective assessment of the barriers disabled people face in living full and independent lives. From 2013-14, working-age individuals in receipt of DLA will be reassessed against the new eligibility criteria for PIP.

Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough

It is so nice to have a Minister give such a full answer. In my constituency, people are worried that DLA is going to go and not be replaced by anything. I wonder where such false information is coming from. Does she have any idea?

Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

I thank my hon. Friend for his question and share his concern about the lack of understanding that people sometimes have about what we are trying to do. I can reassure him that the Government’s reforms are all about putting integrity back into the support available for disabled people, moving away from a discredited system of DLA in which, in terms of the higher rate for the DLA mobility component, more money goes to people who are drug and alcohol addicts than to people who are blind.

Photo of Wayne David Wayne David Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

What can the Minister say to my constituent, Jordan Owen, who is deaf and blind, currently attending school and in receipt of the mobility component of DLA, but who may well lose it when he leaves school and moves into residential care?

Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The hon. Gentleman will of course have heard the earlier exchanges in which I said that the Government are not removing the mobility component of DLA from care home residents from 2012. We will ensure that the needs of individuals in care homes are assessed in the same way as those of everyone else in receipt of DLA as part of the PIP reforms.

Photo of Duncan Hames Duncan Hames Liberal Democrat, Chippenham

What measures are the Government taking to ensure that assessments for PIP, the successor to DLA, are not as disastrous as those introduced under the previous Government for their work capability assessment?

Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

I can absolutely give an undertaking to my hon. Friend that we are learning a great deal from the development of the work capability assessment, although I would stress to him that it is a very different sort of assessment that looks at the barriers people face in living independent lives, rather than the barriers they face in getting into work.

Photo of Michael McCann Michael McCann Labour, East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow

Last Thursday night I met representatives of Lanarkshire Ace, a group in my constituency that looks after adults with learning difficulties. They are terrified about the prospect of going through a reassessment for DLA. Will the Minister confirm that people with life-long conditions, such as adults with learning difficulties, will be exempt from a reassessment in future?

Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will take this opportunity to ensure that his constituents are not terrified about the future of DLA, and indeed the personal independence payment, because we are making sure that it will be a fair and transparent assessment. We will not be, as a rule, saying that individuals would be exempt from assessment, because we want to make sure that they are getting the right support, and we can do that only by looking at their needs.