Key measures in the flagship Welfare Reform Bill represent a major assault on the incomes and independence of working age blind, partially sighted and other disabled people, says a major new report launched today (31 January 2011).
‘More Than Meets the Eye’, published by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) on behalf of seven sight loss charities, is calling on the Government to work with them to achieve the fairness and justice they promised in their reforms.
The report’s analysis highlights three key measures likely to have the greatest impact on blind and partially sighted people.
* Replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with a Personal Independence Payment. This could mean 20 per cent fewer people able to receive the benefit, including up to 12,000 blind or partially sighted people.
* Time limiting contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) to one year for those in the Work Related Activity Group. Yet 92 per cent of employers say they would find it ‘difficult’ or ‘impossible’ to employ somebody blind or partially sighted.
* Linking benefits to the Consumer Price Index (rather than the higher Retail Price Index). For those currently claiming higher rate DLA care this could represent a loss of up to £360 a year – ten days home care – while those on lower rate DLA mobility may lose the equivalent of 20 Taxicard journeys a year.
read in full here Government failing the disabled, say UK sight loss charities | Ekklesia