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Disability benefits campaign

Help us campaign against cuts to disability benefits and for a better welfare system to support people with Parkinson's and their carers.

The welfare system in the UK is undergoing a process of huge reform and cuts to the budget of £18billion over the next few years.

Many of these reforms are in the Welfare Reform Act, which became an Act in Great Britain in March 2012. Similar changes are due to take place in Northern Ireland. A number of reforms are targeted at disability benefits.

Despite the changes there are still opportunities to make sure that people with Parkinson's and carers can access the disability benefits they need.

What are the changes to Disability Living Allowance?

The information below applies to Great Britain only. In Northern Ireland there are no changes as yet.

The Welfare Reform Act gave the green light to reform Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to become the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in Great Britain. PIP was introduced for new claimants from April 2013.

Everyone of working age (16-64) who receives DLA was due to be reassessed for eligibility for PIP between October 2013 and spring 2016.

Thanks to the outcry from campaigners including 12,000 people affected by Parkinson's who signed a petition in December 2012, the Government has said that for most people on DLA the reassessments now won't start until October 2015.

The campaign also forced the government to backtrack and put safeguards in law for people with a fluctuating condition.

But we are still worried about stricter rules for 'mobility' which could see people with Parkinson's losing vital support for travel and transport costs.

And we are concerned that how people will be assessed will depend on where they live - with Atos Healthcare and Capita the companies who'll be operating the assessments in different parts of the UK. Already there are major delays in the new system.

You can take action:

Why campaign for fair Employment and Support Allowance tests?

I could not believe what the doctor at the assessment asked me to do. She said could I stop shaking while doing a test. I'd love to be able to stop shaking but I can't!

Employment and Support Allowance helps people with Parkinson's who cannot work and is a benefit already available across the UK.

We believe the tests of eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) are too crude and simplistic to take account of the full symptoms and fluctuating nature of Parkinson's. And we're campaigning for changes.

Although changes are being made around the process for getting ESA and how people are treated by assessors, no changes to the tests have taken place.

We're alarmed that people with severe and progressive Parkinson's are still being put in the ESA group where a 'return to work' is expected and subject to repeat assessments.

The Welfare Reform Act also affects ESA claimants as some will have their ESA withdrawn after only one year. This is deeply unfair.

There is an opportunity for people affected by Parkinson's to have their say to an independent review on the ESA assessment process:

More information

You'll find more background information, including reports and consultations including our suggestions for how DLA and ESA should change, on our policy page on welfare reform.

We've also published information on the changes to benefits in 2013. These pages may help answer your questions on the changes and how they may affect people with Parkinson's.

Get involved

We want to make sure that the voices of people affected by Parkinson's are heard in these reforms.

  • Sign up to our Campaigns Network - we'll update you on our welfare reform work.
  • Share your experiences of applying for Employment and Support Allowance or Personal Independence Payment for the current independent reviews.
  • Contact us on campaigns@parkinsons.org.uk or 020 7963 9307.

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