4 March 2003
Trials of the sawn-off attendance allowance form currently taking place in Bristol ( see: Back door cuts to DLA and AA) are to spread to the Glasgow area from 17th March 2003. Residents in the Glasgow disability benefits centre catchment area are already being used as guinea pigs for the trials of a new DLA form, confirming the area as the government's favourite disability benefits laboratory.
In publicity for the extended trials, the DWP claim that the forms represent 'a new vision for DLA/AA benefit delivery' and that their design 'has been informed by extensive research'. This is at odds with claims from insiders on the government's Modern Services Working Group, who claim that the trials were rushed in without prior consultation. It also conflicts with the reality that the new forms simply take the titles from each page of the old claim pack and reduce them to a series of bullet points on a single page.
The DWP also proudly trumpet the claim that whilst the 'proportion of claims resulting in awards and disallowances has remained fairly static . . . there has been a reduction in the number of requests for reconsideration and the number of appeals.' Given that 63% of oral hearings are won by AA claimants this can only be bad news for older disabled people: the DWP are still making the same proportion of wrong decisions but more people are being discouraged from challenging them.