When DLA was introduced (92/93) there were 1,117,000 claimants. 2010/11 there were 3,182,470.
It seems to me that there are potential reasons for the increase in DLA claimants, and they may not have anything to do with people being "scroungers":
- Ageing population.
- Population increase (57,511 in '92 to 62,026 in 2010).
- Improvements in healthcare may mean that people with disabilities live longer than they might have done, although this kind of ties in with the ageing population argument.
- (Possibly) governments of either stripe nudging people off JSA onto DLA in order to "juke" the unemployment stats.
I'm not sure what the situation is with troops injured in Afghanistan or Iraq though. Do they claim DLA or are they covered separately by a war disablement pension from the MoD budget?
I think you're confusing DLA with ESA and the old Incapacity Benefit - you can get the current DLA even if you are working full time and it's not means tested.