Ministers urged to ensure benefit tests are fair

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MINISTERS were urged yesterday to ensure eligibility tests for a new disability benefit are “accurate and fair” before they are rolled out.

The Work and Pensions Select Committee said there were “high levels of anxiety” among claimants of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), which is to be replaced with the new Personal Independence Payment for those of working age.

The Treasury has projected 20 per cent savings under the new system, to be introduced in 2013, but it was still unclear which claimants stand to lose their benefits, the committee said in a report yesterday.

Committee chairwoman and Labour MP Dame Anne Begg said that the new assessment must avoid the mistakes of that used for the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from 2008, which had a “mechanistic, box-ticking approach”.

Disability campaigners urged the Government to heed the MPs’ report.

Richard Hawkes, chief executive of Scope said: “Day-to-day life costs more if you’re disabled. PIP should be a financial lifeline for disabled people, but if they get this wrong many more will be being pushed further into poverty.”