Lady Grey-Thompson led the commission, which was backed by three charities. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “450,000 disabled people to lose out under universal credit, study finds” was written by Randeep Ramesh, social affairs editor, for The Guardian on Wednesday 17th October 2012 07.00 Europe/London

Nearly half a million disabled people and their families could lose up to £58 a week under the coalition’s flagship welfare policy – cuts so deep that one in 10 disabled households with children fear they might lose their home, a commission led by the Paralympic gold medallist Lady Grey-Thompson has found.

Backed by three charities – Citizens Advice, the Children’s Society and Disability Rights UK – the commission examined the impact on disabled people of the switch from the complex set of means-tested benefits to a single universal credit payment from next October.

The commission’s report, based on surveys of 3,500 disabled people and their families, says about 450,000 disabled people could stand to lose out under universal credit once it is fully implemented. Many are likely to struggle to pay for basic essentials such as food and heating, it says.

Three groups are particularly at risk, according to the report: 100,000 disabled children stand to lose up to £28 a week directly; 230,000 severely disabled people who do not have another adult to assist them are at risk of losing £28-£58 a week; and up to 116,000 disabled people who work could lose about £40 a week as the disability element of working tax credits is subsumed into the new scheme.

The charities and the commission are calling for more cash to be injected into universal benefits for disadvantaged families. "When families who may be affected were asked about losing £30 per week in support for disabled children, they expressed widespread concerns about having to cut back on food or heating, and getting into, or further into, debt," the report says. "Around one in 10 families expressed fears that they could no longer be able to afford their home."

The government claims universal credit will "make work pay", but the commission says it found evidence that the changes could make it harder for disabled people to remain in work.

Grey-Thompson said: "The findings of this report do not make easy reading. The clear message is that many households with disabled people are already struggling to keep their heads above water. Reducing support for families with disabled children, disabled people who are living alone, families with young carers and disabled people in work risk driving many over the edge in future."

Labour has called on the government to postpone the introduction of universal credit by a year, arguing there are too many unresolved problems.

Liam Byrne, the shadow welfare secretary, said: "This report is another nail in the coffin for David Cameron’s claims we are all in this together. The PM tried to hide it in the Commons, but this report lays bare the truth that he is snatching up to £1,400 from 100,000 disabled children yet offering a huge tax cut to millionaires. Disabled people and their families are being forced to pick up the tab for the government’s shambolic mismanagement of our economy".

The government reacted sharply to the report, saying it was "highly selective and could result in irresponsible scaremongering". A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said: "We inherited a system of disability support which is a tangled mess of elements, premiums and add-ons, which is highly prone to error and baffling for disabled people themselves.

"Our reforms will create a simpler and fairer system with aligned levels of support for adults and children. More importantly, there will be no cash losers in the rollout of universal credit. In fact, hundreds of thousands of disabled adults and children will actually receive more support than now, including paying a higher rate of support for all children who are registered blind."

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Comments
  • Jane Russell October 17, 2012 at 9:05 am

    This is what the campaign needs, high profile people to highlight the reality of this farce. I was speaking to a man yesterday who is seriously disabled and was awarded higher rate DLA many years ago. After an unfit for purpose assessment, he was given zero points which doesn’t make sense at all! I know that being awarded higher rate DLA is pretty hard to get, so there is no way he should have been awarded aero points. He has had his appeals turned down and is so worried he doesn’t know what to do. The best I could do for him was to refer him to a brilliant free service to help him fight his case. The cutting off of DLA has started in prep for PIP – trying to get as many people as possible off DLA before this unfit for purpose system is rolled out.
    I have highlighted this to the Equality and Human Rights Commission who are conducting an investigation, & I’ve recently written to Liberty and am awaiting their response – well if it’s good enough for terrorists it’s good enough for genuine disabled and seriously ill people in my eyes. My own opinion is that we are suffering because now we have to treat all EU citizens as our own and we can’t afford to do this, as the system wasn’t designed to help everyone else, only our own people. Now the truly needy are paying the price and it’s shameful beyond belief!

    • simmo October 17, 2012 at 10:38 am

      The writing is on the wall but we the electorate are undecided whether we are sheep or ostriches or have been cajoled into believing we still live in a DEMOCRACY .The obvious façade of democracy started to be eroded when Thatcher smashed the UNIONS importing an American named McGregor . Thatcher spent £12 billion pounds ,£36,240,000,000.00 in today’s money to achieve her goal .Blair continued ,with his brazen disregard for cabinet meeting’s and held armchair discussions between him and his chosen advisers .Where were our representative MP’s to argue against this practice .Now we have Cameron and his fascist henchmen such as Schmidt and Grables ,Osborne and May who between them have decimated the welfare system ,made the rich ,richer and have shown scant regard for justice .The rule of Law should be executed on a level ‘playing field’ and not bits of EU law and British Law used in similar circumstances when it suits the Governments purpose. DEMOCRACY has been eroded ,things have gone too far ,there is only one vote open to us all – A NO VOTE ,let’s not support their BIG LIE .Would you buy something you didn’t want – why vote for something you know nothing about .Truth is not in a Politicians vocabulary .
      http://www.brokenbritainundertories.com

  • jed goodright October 17, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Tanni Grey who withdrew her ammendments to the Welfare Reform Act because she thought the Act was satisfactory ……with her £300 per day appearance money at the HoL it’s not difficult to join the dots – disabled people thrown down the river for a pittance…..

  • Paul Davidson October 17, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Well said Jane.

    Why is it word’s such as ‘SOME’ ‘MAY BE’ ‘THE MOST SEVERELY’ USED. WHEN IN REALITY IT’S ALL ON ANY FORM OF BENEFIT’S AND THE LOW PAID. THAT WILL WILL WILL SUFFER. NOT ONLY FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE/LOSS BUT ALSO FACE POVERTY FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIFE.

    Whatever benefit’s I have recieved THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN CONFUSING TO UNDERSTAND WHAT A PATHETIC STATEMENT USED BY GOVERNMENT MILLIONS DONT UNDERTAND HOW MUCH WE GET AND WHY WE GET IT. PERHAP’S WE ARE ALL TO THICK SO NEED PUNISHING BY DEATH’.

  • Paul Davidson October 17, 2012 at 9:48 am

    P.S. Just a bit of ‘TRUTH MONGERING’.

  • Andrew Healey October 17, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Keiser Report: Enema of the State (E354)

    Check out this on you tube approx thirteen and a half minutes in. Max talks to a retired fraud officer from Scotland Yard, never have truer words been spoken. This was aired yesterday 16/10/12 on Russia Today, when I went to get a second viewing last night the station was closed down for maintenance. I always thought that Top Ranking Police Officers, Judges, Politicians and Bankers that no one was above the law in this country apart from Queenie. The laws of this land ARE being bent, twisted and broken for the ultra corrupt with the consent of the establishment, it would seem that none of it is fit for purpose, why is the populace of this once great nation not marching down to the houses of parliament with burning torches and pitchforks baying for the blood of this monster. We need mass civil disobedience now, self policed to stop any wrongdoing that would bring discredit. There are police officers, soldiers, civil servants of all shades being crapped upon by this corrupt government, as well as the poor, low paid, unemployed, sick and or disabled, when will enough be enough? These fascists do not have consent to do what they are doing, not by the vast majority of the British people they don’t. All these scheming spivs should be brought to book and held to account for crimes against humanity. Any Police Officer, Lawyer or Judge who fails to do their duty should join them in the dock.

  • jeffery davies October 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Tanni Grey who withdrew her ammendments to the Welfare Reform Act because she thought the Act was satisfactory ……is this the woman asked to speak out against atos who give money to the olimpics but passed it by ,she was ask to speak out a few times but now reality coming home ,this lot are killing us by cutting our monies so much we cant afford to live me i cant afford heating food is something i can do without and now tammy its the cuts we told you about and others coming home to roost jeff3

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