Hundreds stripped of disability support cash

Hundreds of teenagers in South Tyneside have been stripped of their disability benefits after their 16th birthday, new figures show.
Disability support cash rowDisability support cash row
Disability support cash row

Two in five young people who claimed Disability Living Allowance in childhood failed to qualify for the adult version of the benefit – Personal Independence Payment (PIP), according to data from the Department of Work and Pensions.

Around 323 young claimants in South Tyneside saw their benefit award rates increase or stay the same after moving to PIP but 250 had their awards withdrawn between October 2013 and October last year.

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Of the cases disallowed, 190 applicants were rejected after failing to score enough points during the assessment part of the process, 26 were refused for not attending assessments without good reason and 34 did not meet the basic eligibility criteria.

Another 69 applicants were approved for PIP but had their award rate cut.

A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said: “PIP is designed to assess how people are affected by their disability, rather than the disability itself. Many claimants have not undergone any kind of assessment for several years and their condition or their needs may have changed substantially.”

Ken Butler from Disability Rights UK said: “If a young person is still meeting the conditions for DLA while a teenager, it is difficult to see why they would not continue to have the same level of needs at 16.

James Taylor from Scope said: “The Government must ensure that disabled young people don’t lose out on vital income to cover extra costs at such a crucial time in their lives.”