In light of today’s Welfare Reform Bill, which sets the course for the move from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payment (PIP), The National Autistic Society (NAS) has serious concerns that these changes will result in those with hidden disabilities like autism missing out on vital benefits.

Mark Lever, chief executive, NAS says, “We have substantial concerns about the introduction of a face-to-face assessment for the new benefit. Autism is a complex condition and it’s much harder to assess the impact of the disability on daily living than for other disabilities. This has already proved to be hugely problematic with the work capability assessment for Employment Support Allowance (ESA), resulting in costly appeals and unnecessary distress for an already socially isolated and vulnerable group.

Many adults with autism are extremely worried about the possibility of losing benefits they desperately rely on and the proposed reforms to the welfare system are pushing them to a state of near constant anxiety. With 30% of people with disabilities already living below the poverty line, it is understandable that there is such great concern. We therefore urge the Government to ensure that the design of the new assessment specifically covers the needs of people with autism if they are serious about their promise to help those who need it most.”