Changes to the welfare system: implications for people with a learning disabilityTatu DelaneyRegional Campaigns OfficerSeptember 2012
Overview • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) & the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) • DLA reform – the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) • Wider changes under the Welfare Reform Act 2012: • Housing Benefit changes • A new Universal Credit
Part one – Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and the Work Capability Assessment (WCA)
ESA and the WCA (1) • ESA to replace Incapacity Benefit, Income Support (because of a disability), and Severe Disability Allowance. • New claims from October 2008, ALL existing claimants from April 2011 – March 2014. • 1.5 million people being re-assessed. • New assessment underpinning ESA – the WCA. • No exempt group as per the previous PCA – small number of exceptions. Likely that many of the people we support will be called in for a face to face assessment with a medical practitioner. • If a claimant does not attend the WCA they face a sanction.
ESA and the WCA (2) Limited capability for work related activity? Support group Yes Limited capability for work? Eligible for ESA Yes WCA No No Fails the WCA Work-related activity group Apply for JSA 6 work focused interviews and some work related activity
IB migration - reassessment process • Near review date – letter from JCP • Telephone call from JCP • ESA 50 form • WCA (for the majority) – claimants can take a supporter, they can request help with taxi fares, in some cases they may be able to be examined at home • A decision maker will telephone to inform claimant of decision they are likely to make
ESA claimants – what will they have to do? • 6 work focused interviews • Identify activities or training that may help claimant move towards work • Work-related activity • “activity which makes it more likely that a person will obtain or remain in work or be able to do so” • Welfare Reform Act inserts ‘work experience’ • Take part in Work Programme if required
Implications for people with a learning disability • Supportive of broad principles of ESA BUT • Too many people being found ‘fit for work’ • Staff training issues – DWP and Atos staff • Increased conditionality – but are claimants getting the right support?
DLA reform – the proposal • Replacement of DLA with the Personal Independence Payment or PIP (working age adults only) • Rising caseload and expenditure unsustainable • More enabling – helping people to manage their disability or condition • Periodic review • No automatic entitlement • PIP to be introduced 2013/14 – daily living and mobility component • To remains a non-means tested, extra costs benefit • Context: estimated 500,000 less people will receive PIP than under DLA
Before and after… DLA to PIP Non-means tested PIP DLA Extra costs MOBILITY component CARE component DAILY LIVING component MOBILITY component Highest rate £77 Higherrate £54 Enhanced rate Enhanced rate Lower rate £21 Middle rate £52 Standard rate Standard rate Lowest rate £21 Automatic entitlement for those with “severe learning disabilities”
DLA to PIP – next steps • New assessment being designed – consultation on assessment and thresholds taken place • Regulations expected Autumn 2012 (i.e. some of the details – rates, finalised assessment etc) • Key dates • April 2013: PIP for new claimants • Autumn 2013 (- 2016): PIP migration
Implications for people with a learning disability Half a million people to lose out Focus on those with the “greatest need” A threat to independent living? The draft assessment – will it allow people with lower level needs to meet the threshold for eligibility? Will the assessment process work for people with a learning disability? Impact on passported benefits?
Housing Changes • New size criteria (under occupancy / bed room tax) • 450,000 disabled people affected • Some exceptions for those with a social care package including overnight carer • Household benefit cap • Upper limit, family: £26k (£500 / week) • Upper limit, single person £19k (£350 / week) • Exemptions – DLA recipient • Council Tax Benefit • Outside the Universal Credit • Council discretion, but with Government requirement to achieve 10% cut whilst maintaining concessions for older people
Universal Credit • To replace all means-tested support (i.e. Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit). • Aim: improve work incentives (i.e. people are often not better off in work) and to make the system less complicated. • Basic allowance + additional elements for disability, children, housing costs etc. • First individuals expected to enter the new system from 2013. • Great in principle, but some issues with the details: • Loss of Severe Disability Premium • Children’s disability additions