Caution to disabled: changes to DLA

East Ren residents on DLA are being warned to look out for a letter from the Department of Works and Pensions.
East Ren residents on DLA are being warned to look out for a letter from the Department of Works and Pensions.

RESIDENTS in East Renfrewshire who claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA) are being urged to make sure they are aware of changes being made by the UK government.

Its second stage of changes to the benefit are about to take place and it is believed it wil affect some 600 people living in the region.

That is the number who are on the fixed term DLA and the Department of Works and Pensions will be contacting them this month to re-asses their claims.

From this month children who turn 16, people who are under 65 and coming to the end of their fixed term and those who report a change in their condition will now have to apply for a new benefit entitled Personal independence Payment (PIP).

Those aged over 65 will be unaffected by the changes.

Those claiming DLA who ask for a review of their payment will be reassessed under the PIP process.

Councillor Ian McAlpine, East Renfrewshire convener for corporate services, said: “The changes to Disability Living Allowance are confusing and will also worry a lot of people.

“It’s a major concern that the UK government wants to achieve a 20 per cent saving in the cost of DLA – but we still don’t know how that will impact on disabled people.

“The UK government’s own figures recognise that only 0.5% of DLA is claimed fraudulently, so when they cut the bill by 20%, many genuine cases will lose out.”

PIP is being gradually introduced to replace DLA for 16 to 64-year-olds and has a new structure which will bring new assessments, including medical assessments, and amended criteria.

The new assessments will affect all people on DLA, including those on so-called lifetime DLA.

ERC is warning that those who fail to go through the PIP process will have their DLA payments stopped.

The council is hoping that anyone who is having problems with the changes will get in touch with one of its support structures: call the income maximisation team on freephone 0800 052 1023 or e-mail money@eastrenfrewshire.