We’ve published new figures today which reveal the severe extent of possible benefits cuts for people living with MS.
We estimate that more than a thousand people with MS have already had their benefits downgraded since Personal Independence Payment (PIP) replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for some.
Of those eligible for DLA, 93% of people with MS received the highest rate of mobility support. But of the 4,349 who have so far been moved over to PIP, only 70% have received the same rate.
With more than 80% of people on DLA still to be moved onto PIP, we’re concerned that up to 10,000 people with MS could eventually lose access to the highest rate of mobility support.
Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive of the MS Society, said: “Changes to disability benefits assessments have already had a devastating impact on the lives of too many people living with MS.
“It’s absurd that those who were once deemed in need of this crucial support now face having it reduced or taken away. We’re deeply concerned by the staggering figures of how many could lose out.”
A system that doesn’t make sense
Tightening of the eligibility criteria under PIP means that more people with MS stand to lose this support. Under PIP, if someone can walk more than 20 metres, even with walking aids, they will no longer qualify for the highest rate of support.
Previously, 50 metres was considered to be the rule of thumb for entitlement to the higher rate under DLA.
Changes to the eligibility criteria for mobility support under PIP were introduced with no evidence to show why it was reduced. These changes must be reversed to reflect the barriers people with MS face.
Having a condition like MS is hard enough. It shouldn’t be made harder by a benefits system that doesn’t make sense.