Plans are now in hand to claw back more money from benefits that are needed by severely disabled people to cover their additional daily living costs.
More than half a million disabled people across the UK could lose out as a result of the changes over the next four years – saving £1.2 BILLION.
The formula the Government uses to calculate the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for disabled people will change in January.
Recipients of PIP are assessed using a points system to determine what level of help they receive.
Claimants can get between £21.80 and £139.75 per week.
The new plans come after an independent review found the current assessment criteria “may not be working as planned”.
The Department for Work and Pensions say a significant number of people are likely to be getting the benefit despite having minimal-to-no on-going daily living extra costs.
It said many of the aids and appliances for which points were awarded were likely already to be found in people’s homes.
So the weight given to the use of aids and appliances in two of the 10 daily living activities – dressing and managing toilet needs – will be reduced from January.
Minister for disabled people Justin Tomlinson said: “Many people are eligible for a weekly award despite having minimal to no extra costs and judicial decisions have expanded the criteria for aids and appliances to include items we would expect people to have in their homes already.
“This new change will ensure that PIP is fairer and targets support at those who need it most.”
Disability charities including the MS Society, Scope, Sense and Disability Rights UK have slammed the proposals and say they could have a devastating impact on some claimants.
Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of the MS Society, said: “This decision could have a devastating impact. PIP is an essential benefit, which goes towards the extra cost of being disabled.
“The new plans will fail some of the most vulnerable people in society and we have serious concerns about the future health and welfare of those affected.”