Department for Work and Pensions
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Welfare reform: Disability Living Allowance for the 21st century

Yesterday the Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller, asked disabled people and their organisations to join the debate on reforming Disability Living Allowance – a vital part of the welfare system.

As part of the radical overhaul of the welfare state, Disability Living Allowance needs to better reflect disabled peoples’ needs and extra costs they might incur in society today.

The proposals set out in the consultation are centred on creating a clearer, more targeted benefit, with an objective assessment, designed to enable disabled people to participate more fully in society. To mark this important change, Disability Living Allowance will now be known as Personal Independence Payment, and will continue to be paid to people in and out of work.

Reform of this benefit needs to follow a social rather than medical model based on a person’s needs and the barriers they face rather than their individual disability.

Currently almost 3 million people receive this benefit at a forecast cost of £12 billion per year – the Department’s second most expensive working age benefit and far in excess of the initial estimated costs.

Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller said:

"We want the views of disabled people to be fully reflected in any change we make to DLA and we remain fully committed to the principles of DLA as a non-means tested cash benefit to assist with the extra costs incurred by disabled people. 

"The entire welfare system has grown unwieldy and out of control and we need to make sure that money goes to the right people in the most effective and sustainable way.

"Rather than being a poorly targeted and unsustainable benefit, DLA needs to help disabled people live independently and help meet the cost of the barriers that they face in day-to-day life."

The main areas for reform within the consultation are:

  • Simplification: the current system has grown too complex and its purpose is misunderstood
  • Assessment: the current assessment can be subjective and there is no systematic way of regularly checking that an award remains correct
  • Employment: DLA can act as a barrier to work rather than enabling people to live independent lives.

Notes to Editors:

The published consultation can be found at

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