Disability Living Allowance
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a benefit paid to children and adults with disabilities to help with extra costs they may have as a result of their disabilities.
DLA is paid at different rates to different people, depending on their circumstances. There are two parts to DLA - a care component and a mobility component. The care component is paid to people who need care and the mobility component to help people get around.
Problems and controversy
From next year (2013), DLA will be phased out by government and a new benefit - called the personal independent payment - brought in. The government aims to cut the budget by 20% as it phases DLA out.
Atos Healthcare has just won contracts worth more than £400m to run eligibility tests for this benefit. This is the same private company which has run the highly controversial and unpopular work capability assessment eligibility tests for employment and support allowance (see below)
This budget costing document (pdf, page 36) gives details of the 20% cut that the government aims to achieve. It also says that the assessment will follow a similar process to the controversial employment and support allowance work capability assessment, with a points based system to assess eligibility to the different rates of the benefit.
People on lifetime DLA awards - people who, until now, have not had to reapply for DLA, because their disabilities are not expected to improve - will also be reassessed (see page 5 of this DWP FAQ sheet for more). Everyone of working age (ages 16 to 64) will be reassessed.
Interviews with people affected
In this video, Alison Burton, who has a severe to profound hearing impairment and has just been made redundant from her council job, talks about her concerns as she applies for DLA. She was awarded a lifetime award just after this video was taken, but her entitlement will be reassessed as DLA is phased out.
In this video, Maureen, who lives in Cheshire and has severe arthritis, explains how she uses the mobility component of her DLA to pay for the adapted car she uses to get to her bookkeeping job (from 1:06):