It makes for very depressing reading, and while it does not look specifically at disability benefits, it reports on the reductions and changes in Housing Benefit, JSA and tax credits, all of which are claimed by many disabled people. For instance,
From 2013/14 any claimant on JSA for more than 12 months will have their HB entitlement cut by 10 per cent. This will continue until they have “left the benefit system and been in work for a while”.It also explains why changing benefit levels from rising in line with the Retail Prices Index, to the Consumer Prices Index, will result in a reduction in the value of benefits and tax credits.
This seems a crude measure as it appears that it will apply even where the tenant is fully complying with their JSA requirements to actively seek work. The cut will fall hardest on those who face disadvantage in the labour market, such as people in poor health or with a disability who have failed the harsher medical tests for incapacity benefit and employment and support allowance, and have therefore been moved onto JSA.
At the end of the study the report highlights scenarios illustrating the impact of the cuts on specific households, and several of the case studies include the issues of people who are ill or disabled. For instance,
A 50 year old man with mild learning disabilities and literacy issues has done manual work all his life until arthritis in his knees, hips and shoulder forced him to stop work. He has worked and paid contributions all his life until that point. He pays rent of £110/week and council tax of £18/week.
He claimed ESA but was found fit for work, so is now claiming JSA. The number of jobs he will be able to do is severely limited. He also has no access to his own transport and finds public transport very difficult because of the arthritis. His Jobcentre Plus personal adviser finds it difficult to suggest jobs for him. He has been out of work since his arthritis made it impossible to continue in his job two years ago and he has been claiming JSA for a year.
After housing costs he has a disposable income of £65.45 a week (his JSA). After a year as a result of changes in up-rating of JSA and also the LHA rates, his disposable income is likely to drop in real terms to about £64. However he may well also lose a further £8 off his HB as the 30th percentile rate is used to calculate the LHA rate. If he is unable to find a job after a year he will lose a further £10 a week of his HB. If he can not find somewhere cheaper to live he will have a disposable income after housing costs of about £46, a 30% reduction. Even if he can find somewhere cheaper to live, his disposable income will drop to £54, a 17.5% reduction.
If he had been allocated to the work-related activity group for ESA, his income would be £91.30 a week.
(cross-posted at incurable hippie blog)