Defend vital benefits for disabled people unable to work
Disability benefits provide essential security and support for seriously ill and disabled people, helping with extra costs and providing an income when people are unable to work. The government's plans to reform the system will leave some seriously ill and disabled people unable to cover basic living costs, and they could also face sanctions if they do not comply with specific work-search expectations that could threaten their wellbeing.
Sign our petition asking the government to drop dangerous and unfair reforms to disability benefits and show you stand with seriously ill and disabled people.
What is happening?
In the Autumn Statement the government announced dangerous changes to the Work Capability Assessment (WCA). This assessment determines whether disabled people can work, and so whether they need additional financial support, as well as whether they’re protected from sanctions. These changes will restrict the number of people found unable to work from next year – meaning less money every month, and potentially requiring people to undertake inappropriate work-related activity or have their benefits cut.
In the long term, government is planning to get rid of the WCA. Instead, the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment will be the only assessment used to decide whether people need additional income as a result of disability or ill health. We’re worried about this for three reasons:
First, the PIP assessment wasn’t designed to decide whether people can work – it was designed to identify whether people face extra costs because of their disability. This means many people who can’t work because of disability or ill health won’t be identified through the PIP assessment and therefore won’t get the support they need.
Second, wrong decisions are often made in PIP assessments. Even more people will become even more reliant on a system which is already failing.
Third, people currently identified as being unable to work are protected from sanctions – having their benefits cut off altogether. But the proposals mean that everyone is potentially at risk of being sanctioned if their Work Coach thinks they can work.
Why is this important
Working-age disabled people are already almost twice as likely as non-disabled people to be in poverty. Almost two thirds living in destitution have a long-term health condition or disability. The proposed changes risk pushing disabled people even deeper into poverty and harming people’s physical and mental health.
As we head into a general election year and government and opposition parties develop their positions, we have a real opportunity to influence decision-makers. You can take action today by asking the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to drop dangerous changes to disability benefits which will deny seriously ill and disabled people vital support.
We’ll also be encouraging prospective MPs to stand against the reforms and support a system which gives seriously ill and disabled people security, stability and dignity. Keep your eyes peeled for further opportunities to get involved in the coming months!