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Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999

Background

These proposals were put forward in the consultation paper A new contract for welfare: SUPPORT FOR DISABLED PEOPLE (Cm 4103), published in October 1998.

The consultation paper also proposed the introduction of a “Disability Income Guarantee” to provide additional help for disabled people aged under 60 with the greatest needs and lowest incomes. This measure does not require primary legislation.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a benefit to help with the extra costs of disability. It has two components:

  • the care component, which has three rates of payment and is available for those who become disabled, need care and attention, and claim the benefit below the age of 65; and

  • the mobility component, which has two rates of payment and is available for those who become disabled, have serious problems with their mobility and orientation, and claim the benefit between the ages of 5 and 65. The higher rate mobility component is paid to those whose mobility is very seriously restricted; the lower rate is for those who can walk, but need guidance or supervision.

Although the main conditions of entitlement to DLA are set out in primary legislation, there are regulation-making powers which enable the circumstances to be prescribed in which a person is taken to satisfy or not satisfy the conditions of entitlement.

Attendance Allowance (AA) is a benefit paid towards the extra costs of people who are so disabled that they need care and attention from another person, and who become disabled, or claim the benefit, after the age of 65. The conditions of entitlement and the circumstances in which a person qualifies for AA are currently set out in primary legislation. There are two rates of payment: a lower rate for those who need care either by day or night, and a higher rate for those needing both.

Both DLA and AA are non-contributory, non-means-tested benefits, which are paid tax-free. Awards may be for a fixed or indefinite period.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.

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