Government gets its green light for disability benefit cuts
16 March 2012
On 8 March 2012, the Welfare Reform Bill was passed into law.
The new Welfore Reform Act now provides the green light for many
billions of cuts to the disability benefits system.
This includes replacing Disability Living Allowance or DLA for
those of working age with a new benefit 'Personal Independence
Payment' or PIP.
Since the Bill was first announced, we have been working with
people affected by Parkinson's to fight against these cuts.
As part of the Disability Benefits
Consortium, a group of over 50 charities and other
organisations, we won some battles, and lost others.
want to thank everyone who took part in lobbying the Government
about this Bill.
Whether you took part in the Hardest Hit marches across the
country, or protested in writing or online - you made a real
And it's not over yet.
The Act is a framework for the welfare changes, but the detail
over important benefits such as the replacement to DLA is all to
There has to be more consultation this year, before changes
begin in April 2013.
Image: Sachin Shah from our Campaigns team with Tina Walker,
who has Parkinson's, at The Hardest Hit march in May
Some welcome changes
We welcome some of the compromises from the Government,
- enabling people who are in residential care to retain their DLA
for their mobility needs (which the Bill threatened to
- Keeping the same 'qualifying period' rules for the new benefit
PIP as for the current benefit DLA. The Bill had threatened to
extend the period of time someone would have to prove they had been
in need of support to 6 months, instead of the current 3 months.
This would have made people wait longer for much needed financial
The Act now also ensures that the 2 new care rates of PIP
provide a 'qualifying link' to Carer's
Allowance, similar to the rules around DLA.
The original Bill was unclear and led to fears that some carers
of people affected by Parkinson's would lose out financially.
Concerns for the future
We still have some serious concerns about how the reforms will impact on people affected by Parkinson's.
If you're worried please call our confidential helpline 0808 800 0303.
We still have some serious concerns about how the reforms will
impact on people affected by Parkinson's in the months and years to
It's unclear how people with Parkinson's who receive DLA will
become eligible for the replacement benefit PIP when this begins in
A government consultation is ongoing on the draft assessment
criteria for PIP.
We know that people may also be worried about what this means
for them. While some of the detail is still to be consulted we will
do our best to make the changes clear as we learn more about the
proposals for the new PIP.
It's possible that a small number of people with Parkinson's on
the sickness benefit Employment and Support
Allowance will lose it as soon as 30 April 2012. If you
think this may happen to you it is really important to get
Anyone who wants advice on their benefits is welcome to call our
confidential helpline 0808 800 0303 or
Tell us your story
If want to help us campaign on welfare or disability benefits,
contact Donna O'Brien in our Policy and Service Improvement team on
020 7963 9307.
Also, if you receive DLA we're very keen to hear about your
experiences of the benefit to help us respond to the
Government consultation on PIP criteria:
Your experience of Parkinson's and Disability Living
The deadline for survey responses is 16 April