New disability test could result in 650,000 claimants losing benefits.

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Charities and voluntary groups, including Mind, Disability Alliance, and Scope claim the disability tests –  beginning in April 2013 – will hit 650,000 people claiming disability living allowance (DLA).

The new disability tests are aimed at saving more than £600 million a year from those currently receiving between £19.50 and £73.60 a week.  Three million plus people currently receive the allowance costing £6 billion a year. Chancellor George Osborne aims to save £1.25 billion by 2015.

Charities want to see the terminally ill, such as cancer patients, excluded from the cutbacks, but their pleas have to date been rejected by government ministers. 

The mental health charity, Mind, fears the new tests will not identify people with mental disabilities and thus cut an essential ‘lifeline.’

Charities are to put their case for fairer disability living allowance (DLA) tests to ministers this Tuesday.  However, Disability Alliance is angry that the government has not allowed it to participate in the meeting on Tuesday.

Scope chief executive Richard Hawkes warned that any reduction in benefits could hit disabled people ‘disproportionally hard’, these benefits are used for wheelchairs, physical aids, transport and help from carers.