Nearly 300 children in Swindon have had their disability benefits withdrawn after their 16th birthday.
Over a third of young people who applied for Disability Allowance as children were not eligible for the adult version of the benefit known as the Personal Independence Payment.
Disability Charity Scope said this was unacceptable, claiming the PIP assessment process was fundamentally flawed and in need of revision.
Just over half of all young applicants in Swindon County – 426 people – saw their performance awards increased or stayed the same after moving to PIP, but 295 had withdrawn their awards, according to the Department of Labor and Pensions.
Of the cases that were not admitted between October 2013 and October last year, 221 applicants were rejected after failing to score enough points during the assessment part of the process to match their mobility and care needs.
And 24 teenagers were turned down for not taking the exams for no good reason, plus 50 others who didn’t meet the basic eligibility criteria. Another 76 applicants were admitted to PIP, but their award rate was reduced.
If the number of results is zero or very low, numbers have been excluded so the totals could be higher.
Scope’s James Taylor said, “The government must ensure that young people with disabilities do not lose vital incomes to meet additional costs at such a crucial time in their lives.”
A spokesman for the Department of Labor and Pensions said over 60 percent of DLA applicants continue to receive PIP, with premium rates staying the same or rising for more than half of all applicants.
He added that the government had “worked hard” to ensure that young adults with disabilities received support: “The purpose of PIP is to assess how people are affected by their disability, not just the disability itself.
“Many DLA applicants have not had any needs assessment in a number of years and as a result, their condition or needs may have changed significantly because of their condition.”
DLA and PIP are awarded to help individuals and families meet the additional costs associated with long-term health conditions and disabilities. Applicants are currently eligible for up to £ 152 per week tax free.
Ken Butler of Disability Rights UK said sudden withdrawal of benefit support at a young age could be traumatic and affect household finances, care payments, eligibility for assistance from local authorities and the ability to stay in education.
He said, “If a young person qualifies for DLA as a teenager, it is difficult to see why they don’t have the same needs by the age of 16.
“The level of support and the additional financial costs don’t go away overnight when a disabled young person turns 16.”
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