Independence, Choice and Control

3 November 2012

In 2010 the government announced plans to end payment of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), being replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP), to people living in state-funded residential care.

The Low Review was set up in July 2011 to look at the issue in more detail and report on its findings before the House of Lords considered the Welfare Reform Bill which included the proposal to give government the power to stop these payments. Leonard Cheshire Disability and Mencap provided the secretariat to the review.

The review received over 800 submissions from individuals, local authorities and providers, and held six oral evidence sessions. It produced an independent report focusing on:

  • How the mobility component of DLA is being used by care home residents and the impact of the loss of this benefit;
  • Funding arrangements for meeting personal mobility needs between local authorities and care home providers;
  • Responsibilities of care home providers in relation to the mobility needs of residents.

The review found that DLA mobility is key to meeting the personal mobility needs of care home residents. The evidence received by the review overwhelmingly showed that DLA offers personalised support and provides the individual with choice and control over how their mobility needs are met. The review did find some instances where the benefit was being used in a way that might not be considered appropriate, but these were exceptions. However, where there are issues with the use of DLA mobility — for example, where individuals are not being given the freedom to spend their DLA mobility as they choose — this should clearly be addressed. The review felt that this could be done within the existing system, with appropriate guidance, and found no evidence that would justify withdrawing the benefit.

The review found no evidence of overlap in the support offered by the mobility component of DLA and that offered by local authorities and providers, all of which play a distinct part in meeting disabled people’s mobility needs. Whilst action needs to be taken to ensure local authorities are performing their duties and that residential services are adequately funded to provide the mobility support necessary to meeting assessed needs, it is DLA mobility that provides the most appropriate means of meeting personal mobility needs.