More than 350 teens in Doncaster stripped of disability benefits after 16th birthday

More than 350 children in Doncaster were stripped of disability benefits after their 16th birthday.

Monday, 10th May 2021, 1:41 pm
Updated Monday, 10th May 2021, 1:41 pm

A third of the young people who claimed Disability Living Allowance in childhood failed to qualify for the adult version of the benefit, Personal Independence Payment

Disability charity Scope said the number of young people losing disability benefits at 16 was unacceptable and said the PIP assessment process was fundamentally flawed and in need of an overhaul.

Around 620 young claimants in the area - 57 per cent - saw their benefit award rates increase or stay the same after moving to PIP but 363 had their awards withdrawn, according to data from the Department of Work and Pensions.

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Of the cases disallowed between October 2013 and October last year, 268 applicants were rejected after failing to score enough points - awarded to reflect their mobility and care needs - during the assessment part of the process.

There were also 27 youngsters who were refused due to failing to attend assessments without good reason and 68 who did not meet the basic eligibility criteria.

Another 91 applicants were approved for PIP but had their award rate cut.

A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said over 60 per cent of child DLA claimants go on to receive PIP, with award rates staying the same or increasing for over half of all claimants.

He said the Government was working hard to ensure disabled young adults received support, adding: “PIP is designed to assess how people are affected by their disability, rather than just the disability itself.

“Many DLA claimants have not undergone any kind of assessment of their needs for several years and as a result their condition or their needs arising from their condition may have changed substantially.”

DLA and PIP are awarded to help individuals and families meet the extra costs associated with long term health conditions and disabilities, with claimants currently entitled to receive up to £152 a week tax free.

Ken Butler from Disability Rights UK said sudden withdrawal of benefit support at a young age could be traumatic and impact upon household finances, care payments, local authority support entitlement and the ability to remain in education.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.