Amputees May Lose Benefits Under Reforms

Amputees could be among half a million people who are set to lose disability benefits under Government plans.

Those in receipt of the disability living allowance (DLA) may no longer be eligible for its replacement, the personal independence payment, amid plans to slash the cost of benefits by more than £2.2bn.

Iain Duncan Smith , the Work and Pensions Secretary, defended the reforms which could see people without limbs, including ex-servicemen and women, no longer entitled to disability benefits as their everyday mobility is not undermined by their prosthetic limbs.

He 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'."

Mr Duncan Smith told the paper there had been a 30% rise in the number of claimants in recent years, with the annual cost of the benefits soon to reach £13bn.

Under the reforms, two million claimants would reassessed in the next four years and only those considered to be in need of support allowed to qualify.

Mr Duncan Smith said: "We are creating a new benefit, because the last benefit grew by something like 30% in the past few years.

"It's been rising well ahead of any other gauge you might make about illness, sickness, disability or for that matter, general trends in society."

Ministers are consulting on the new eligibility criteria for the disability benefit system, which will be announced in the autumn.