Over 500 stripped of disability support cash
More than 500 teenagers in Northumberland have been stripped of their disability benefits after their 16th birthday, new figures show.
Over a third of 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 681 young claimants in Northumberland saw their benefit award rates increase or stay the same after moving to PIP but 509 had their awards withdrawn between October 2013 and October last year.
Of the cases disallowed, 380 applicants were rejected after failing to score enough points during the assessment part of the process, 51 were refused for not attending assessments without good reason and 78 did not meet the basic eligibility criteria.
Another 136 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.”