November 1, 2009
Our evidence summarises emerging findings from our research on the role of cash benefits - Attendance Allowance (AA) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) -in the support of older disabled people. It relates to people living in private households and excludes the care home population. The principal findings relevant to this inquiry are:
1. Claim behaviour for AA is strongly related to age, income and severity of disability. People with higher levels of age and disability, and lower levels of income, are more likely tomake a claim for AA. Adjudication outcomes are, as expected, strongly related to disability.
2. Although not explicitly means-tested, AA/DLA payments display a degree of income targeting, since low-income people are more likely to have severe disability and are also more likely to make a claim. The degree of income-targeting is less than for Pension Credit, but still significant.
3. There is evidence of a large group of older people (at least 30% of the over-65s) who are not receiving AA but would be predicted to be successful, were they to make a claim.
4. Our analysis finds no evidence of significant numbers of older people receiving AA/DLA long-term without any accompanying health problem.
5. Receipt of AA/DLA and receipt of local authority social care services overlap only partially - there are many people who receive social care services who do not receive AA/DLA and vice versa.
6. A switch from a dual system of support (AA/DLA + local care services) to a unitary system providing only care services will greatly increase the uncertainty faced by potential applicants for support and the risk of uneven administration. Increased uncertainty poses a significant threat to take-up.