vary they will often involve direct cash payments, usually by local authorities,11
‘in lieu of community services’.12 But centrally administered disability benefits
should be considered another form. Indeed, the inclusion of ‘independence’ in
the name of the new benefit reflects its intended role in supporting ‘personal
independence’ for disabled people.13
Although it is set to have by far the greatest impact on disabled people
collectively, by shifting the threshold for support, the introduction of PIP is not
the Coalition government’s only welfare reform of relevance to this group. In
particular, there is also universal credit, mentioned above, which is slowly
beginning to replace the core income-related benefits for those of working age
who are unemployed, or unable to work due to sickness, disablement or caring
responsibilities, and working tax credit for those who are in lowly paid employ-
ment.14 Concern and criticism have been expressed that the omission of certain
specific allowances for disabled people which are part of the schemes being
replaced (such as the income support severe disability premium),15 and for which
entitlement is for many conditional on disability benefit entitlement, will, once
transitional protection has eroded, result in reduced means-tested benefit for well
over 200,000 people.16 The government claims that ‘disabled people will on
average gain £8 a month under universal credit’,17 but much of that average gain
(if correct) seems to be attributable to the extra allowance against income for
those with a limited capability for work,18 from which not all will benefit. The
arrangements have operated in practice, see V. Davey, J.-L. Fernandez, M. Knapp, N. Vick, D.
Jolly, P. Swift, R. Tobin, J. Kendall, J. Ferrie, C. Pearson, G. Mercer and M. Priestly, Direct
Payments: A National Survey of Direct Payments Policy and Practice (London: PSSRU London School
of Economics, 2007).
12 F. Garabedian, ‘Independent Living’ in C. Cameron (ed), Disability Studies (London: Sage, 2014)
81, 81. See also J. Swain, S. French and C. Cameron, Controversial Issues in a Disabling Society
(Buckingham: Open University Press, 2003) 84–85.
13 ‘The Coalition Government is committed to supporting disabled people to exercise choice and
control, and lead active, independent lives’: DWP, n 3 above, 10, para 1.
14 Income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income support, housing benefit, income-based ESA, child
tax credit and working tax credit are the means-tested benefits and tax credits to be covered by
implementation of the credit started in April 2013. The new credit aims to facilitate entry to
employment since, for example, claimants may carry some entitlement into work rather than
having to apply for working tax credit: see DWP, Universal Credit: Welfare that Works Cm 7957
15 The severe disability premium forms part of entitlement to core means-tested benefit (such as
income support or income-based jobseeker’s allowance) to those without a carer (that is, someone
entitled to carer’s allowance) who are severely disabled as established by their receipt of a
qualifying disability benefit such as the care component of DLA at the middle or higher rate (see
below). See eg, the Income Support (General) Regulations 1987 (SI 1987/1967), Sch 2, para 13.
16 House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee, Third Report of Session 2012–13, Universal
Credit implementation: meeting the needs of vulnerable claimants HC 576 (2012) paras 100–115; Citizens
Advice, n 10 above.
17 Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Government Response to the House of Commons Work and
Pensions Select Committee’s third report of Session 2012–13, Universal Credit implementation: meeting the
needs of vulnerable claimants Cm 8537 (2013) para 62.
18 The monthly allowance (effectively a disregard) is £647 (equal to £7,759 per annum): the
Universal Credit Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/376), reg 22, read with the Welfare Reform Act
2012, s 12.
Welfare Reform and Disabled People
© 2014 The Author. The Modern Law Review © 2014 The Modern Law Review Limited.
890 (2014) 77(6) MLR 888–927