Last week, I was asked what I thought the impact would be of DLA changes, but I didn’t feel I could give a sensible answer. The problem I have is straightforward. If the Personal Independence Payment removes the lower rate of the care component, it is not possible to assume that the same number of people will get the new care component as those who currently get the higher and middle rates of DLA. Part of the problem, too, is that it’s never been very clear on what basis people get the lower rate rather than the middle rate – it often hangs on a distinction between care for “a significant portion of the day” and “frequent care throughout the day”. Welfare rights advisers just encourage claimants to put in an application regardless, and that’s what they will need to do with the new rules when they’re finalised.
Today, I’ve just seen the government’s response to the Joint Committee on Human Rights, and it looks as if the government can’t give a sensible answer either. They comment that “The ability to undertake cumulative analysis is limited because of the complexity of the modelling required and the amount of detailed information on individuals and families that is required to estimate the interactions of a large number of different policy changes.”