Amputees could lose disability benefits

  • @robhastings

Amputees, including wounded soldiers, could be among half a million people to lose their disability benefits under government reforms, the Work and Pensions Secretary has warned.

Iain Duncan Smith, who wants to cut the benefits bill and encourage more disabled people to return to work, said losing a limb should not mean automatic entitlement to state allowances if prosthetic replacements mean they are not hindered in their mobility. But some amputees have raised concerns about the way claims are being assessed.

Explaining that the new system would be based on how claimants are affected by their condition rather than on the condition itself, Mr Duncan Smith told The Daily Telegraph: "It's not like incapacity benefit, it's not a statement of sickness. It is a gauge of your capability. In other words, do you need care, do you need support to get around. Those are the two things that are measured. Not, you have lost a limb..."

The Government believes up to 80 per cent of incapacity-benefit claimants could go back to work.

But Mr Duncan Smith said the Coalition had, "to be careful because these are vulnerable people".

"There are all sorts of scaremongering going on about how we are getting rid of it [disability benefit], slashing it, cutting it. The reality is that for the most part that's not true... We are creating a new benefit, which we think will be better."