About dbconsortium

The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) is a national coalition of over 80 different charities and other organisations committed to working towards a fair benefits system. Using our combined knowledge, experience and direct contact with disabled individuals and carers, we seek to ensure Government policy reflects and meets the needs of all disabled people.

DBC statement on Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work vacancy

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Conservative Vice-Chair James Cleverly has stated that former Disability Minister Sarah Newton will not be replaced until the “very difficult and turbulent” Brexit process has been resolved.

There has been growing concern at the delay (now almost three weeks) in filling this important Ministerial vacancy. With the Universal Credit roll-out constantly generating problems and ongoing issues around various disability benefit assessments and decision-making, now is not the time for a missing Minister.

The Disability Benefits Consortium fully supports the growing number of disability organisations that are calling for this crucial position to be filled as soon as possible.

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DBC statement on changes to benefit system

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Yesterday (5th March) Amber Rudd MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions announced proposed changes to the welfare benefits system.

A statement from the DBC is below:

“Today the Government announced a number of changes that it hopes will improve the experience disabled individuals have of the benefit system. These include the proposal that those over pension age will no longer automatically undergo a PIP reassessment, and bringing the WCA and PIP assessment together to reduce the burden on individuals. In addition, the Government also said that it was trialling a new approach to work-related requirements, starting with no conditionality and then building from there.

The target for getting disabled people into employment may also be made more ambitious, and research is to be commissioned into claimants’ experiences.

The DBC welcomes the change of tone and approach that these announcements present, in particular exempting those over pension age from reassessment for PIP. However, the devil is as always in the detail and while combining the WCA and PIP assessments has some advantages, it must be combined with radical improvements in the standard of assessments and decision-making as well as willingness to look at how the assessment criteria can be changed to ensure that it will improve the situation for claimants. 

We now call on the Government to work with the disability sector to ensure that any changes made address the issues raised by the sector for many years.”

DBC responds to Baroness Buscombe’s comments on sector support for managed migration

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14th January 2019

Dear Secretary of State,

Re: Universal Credit Managed Migration

Following recent comments in the House of Lords, we write to clarify and emphasise the view of the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) (which represents over 80 disability organisations) as regards the managed migration process.

The “70 stakeholders” referred to by Baroness Buscombe in the debate on 8 January (Lords Hansard, cols. 2123-4) include a number of DBC members. We are therefore concerned that Baroness Buscombe’s comment – “Why do 70 different stakeholders want to work with us if they condemn what we are trying to achieve?” – seems to imply that these stakeholders support the “stop-start” approach that currently characterises the managed migration proposals. This is not the case and we are disappointed at this suggestion.

The view taken by the DBC and its members has clearly and consistently been that:

a.) we believe there should be an orderly transition whereby existing legacy benefit claims are converted to UC claims through a review process (we do not accept that this is not possible); and

b.) failing this, we will nevertheless work with the DWP to try to minimise the problems of stop-start and maximise the number of claimants able to transfer without mishap.

Clearly, this willingness to engage does not imply that we support stop-start. We do not, and shall continue to press for an orderly, review-based approach. Meanwhile, we hope to get as near to this as possible in ongoing discussions with the Department.

I hope this serves to clarify our approach. We are making this letter public, so as to help dispel any misapprehension regarding the DBC’s position on these matters.

Yours faithfully,

Signed by co-Chairs of the Disability Benefits Consortium:

Anastacia Berry – MS Society

Beatrice Barleon – Royal Mencap Society

Geoff Fimister – Thomas Pocklington Trust

Hannah West – Motor Neurone Disease Association

Katie Lee-Hall– MS Society

Rob Holland – Royal Mencap Society

 

cc Baroness Buscombe

 

DBC responds to Amber Rudd statement on UC

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The DBC welcomes today’s confirmation that the Government is intending to take time to get the migration process for Universal Credit right.

However, if they intend to achieve this, we believe there will need to be a change of approach. We urge the Government to move away from the “sink or swim” approach to “managed migration” still currently proposed. We would like to see an orderly changeover through a review of existing benefit awards.

Ideally, too, all current transfers from old benefits to Universal Credit should be paused while problems are fixed.

The Government must now focus on how it can support people through this process so that no one falls through the safety net.

The Secretary of State has clearly indicated that she wants to address some of the deep concerns that have been raised in relation to UC. We therefore urge her to also address the cuts to disability benefits that are inherent to UC. These cuts are already a source of extreme concern so everything must be done to ensure people are not left worse off.

DBC response to Work and Pensions Committee report on Universal Credit

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19 December 2018

The DBC welcomes the Committee’s report which confirms the disability sector’s concerns with Universal Credit and the potentially disastrous consequences for disabled people if the Government gets the transition to UC wrong.

The DBC has long argued that the cuts to the disability premiums must be reversed and that disabled claimants, who have not yet undergone a Work Capability Assessment must have their disability recognised in what the work coaches require them to do, and in the payments they receive.

The DBC has also long warned of the ‘sink or swim’ approach of managed migration proposed by the Government.

In line with the Committee the DBC is therefore calling on the Government to do much more to ensure that the migration process is indeed an orderly transition and that disabled people are pro-actively supported through the process and nobody will lose their benefits as a result of migrating to UC.

DBC statement on Universal Credit Managed Migration regulations

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Today (5th November) the Government has laid regulations concerning ‘managed migration’.

A statement from the DBC is below:

“DBC is pleased that Ministers have listened to the serious concerns raised by the disability sector over ‘managed migration’ and have taken action to address some of these.

We welcome the Secretary of State’s desire to work with claimants and charities to improve the process as well as the announcement that disabled people will have a longer time to make a Universal Credit claim before their legacy benefits are terminated.

 However, the ‘stop start’ approach remains and large numbers could still fall through the gaps. We would like to see an orderly process of migration, whereby claimants remain on their “legacy benefits” until a UC claim is in place

 Furthermore, much work is needed to ensure that the application process is accessible and appropriate support is available to complete what is a very complex process.

Finally, the Government cannot escape the fact that close to a million disabled people will be worse off on UC by more than £200 a month despite the measures announced in the budget and we would like to see these losses reversed.”