Friday, 10 July 2015

Personal Independence Payments, welfare reform and the shrinking disability category

an article by Alan Roulstone (University of Leeds, UK) published in Disability & Society Volume 30 Issue 5 (2015)


The question of who counts and how we construct just who can ‘be disabled’ is central to our concerns in disability studies. As Stone makes clear, disability is exactly what a state deems it to be; the very malleable nature of the category has been exploited to widen or more commonly to narrow just who counts as disabled.

This article will apply and adapt Stone’s thesis to current plans to revise the Personal Independence Payment extra costs benefit. Using official and disabled people’s narratives, the article will make clear the force with which new definitions of disability are being put forward.

This process arguably risks doing state violence to a number of disabled people. These reforms have also used the language of independence in a way that fundamentally distorts the origins and potential of the term in an enabling society.

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