What really has started to make me nervous is that all of a sudden, whilst the disabled are being categorised as having lost out in Osbourne’s budget in order the further enrich the wealthy, we have been described as ‘poor’.
This bothers me immensely as it seems to conflate the two things, ‘disabled’ and ‘poor’.
If you accept that all the disabled are also amongst ‘the poorest in our society’ then it’s really only a tiny jump to decide to means test PIP. This will then have the desired effect of reducing the PIP bill, thereby helping to balance the books.
But, it will mean that many of us will no longer qualify. Anyone who is working, has a pension, has savings (or a partner who works or has a pension or savings) would then have trouble qualifying.
And to add it onto working tax credit, child tax credit, universal credit or income support, or any one of a number of means tested benefits would seem to fit with the move away from non-means tested benefits (which once upon a time used to be called ‘universal benefits’) of which DLA was one and PIP has replaced. Child benefit is another, but the government is only slowly removing that from the higher earners.
Obviously, the change for those people in the ‘working’ group for ESA rather than the ‘support’ group, has the same outcome; given that contributory ESA for those in the working group is now only paid for a year, meaning that ESA becomes a means tested benefit after a year for those in the working group.
Time may prove me wrong, I truly hope so.