Changes to the welfare system over the past ten years have left disabled adults four times worse off financially than non-disabled adults, according to new research commissioned by the Disability Benefit Consortium, a coalition of over 80 UK disability organisations.
While many people who receive welfare support have experienced cuts of an average of £300 as a result of changes to the welfare system, disabled people have typically lost around £1,200 per year.
The research funded by the Three Guineas Trust was the first comprehensive study looking specifically at the cumulative impact of welfare changes on disabled people, and conducted by the University of East Anglia, the University of Glasgow and Landman Economics. The research also found:
- The more disabilities you have the more you lose out, for example someone who has six or more disabilities loses over £2,100 each year on average, whereas someone with one disability loses around £700 each year
- Households with one disabled adult and one disabled child lose out the most, with average losses of over £4,300 per year
Today’s report by the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC), ‘‘Has welfare become unfair – the impact of changes on disabled people”, which is based on this research, looks at the financial impact and lived experiences of welfare reform on disabled people over the past ten years.
As part of the research, 50 people living with a variety of conditions and disabilities were interviewed about their experiences. People said that they found the application and assessment processes highly stressful, and that they did not feel trusted, and constantly challenged.
The DBC also state that the current system has become so complex and dysfunctional, that many disabled people have found it has had a devastating impact on their wider health and wellbeing.
Michael Griffin, Research Lead for the DBC and Senior Policy Adviser at Parkinson’s UK, said: “For the first time, our research has shown just how much disabled people are bearing the brunt of the disastrous changes to welfare.
“Many disabled people have not yet even experienced the full extent of the cuts because they are still waiting to be moved over to Universal Credit. However, when this happens there will be a surge in poverty among those who are already at a crisis point.
“This is simply disgraceful and cannot be allowed to continue. The Government must make urgent improvements to the application processes and assessment criteria and resolve the flaws in Universal Credit before more people are denied the support they desperately need to live independently.”
Read the report here: http://www.bit.ly/DBC_report